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Analysis: New security legislation to push SDF closer to battlegrounds

  • 2015-03-16 15:00:00
  • , Asahi
  • Translation

(Asahi: March 14, 2015 – p. 1)


 Komeito’s acceptance of a security legislation framework will expand the role of the Japan Self-Defense Forces from defense-oriented troops to a “conventional military” like those of other countries.


 The government and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party have long aspired to establish permanent legislation that enables the SDF to support other countries’ militaries in combat ever since SDF vessels were deployed to the Indian Ocean following the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001. The meaning of the new legal framework is not limited to making it possible for the SDF to be swiftly deployed overseas.


 The cabinet approval reached last July enables the SDF to be sent closer to battlegrounds and supply ammunition. If the legislation is enacted, the degree of cooperation that the SDF will be able to extend to other countries’ militaries engaging in war will expand substantially. Although the SDF limits its operations to rear-area support, it could be perceived as an enemy and be targeted for attacks.


 Revisions to the act on cooperation for peacekeeping operations envisage cases similar to humanitarian and reconstruction assistance performed at the time of the SDF deployment to Iraq in 2003. The risk of the SDF being attacked by insurgents is undeniable. Revisions to legislation to deal with contingencies surrounding Japan would allow the SDF to extend support to militaries beyond the U.S. forces. Either situation could broaden the SDF’s overseas operations in terms of both quality and quantity and push the SDF closer to global battlegrounds.

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