(Yomiuri: June 11, 2015 – p. 4)
Civilian officials of the Ministry of Defense and Self-Defense Forces personnel will be given the same legal status in October.
The new rule is stipulated in revisions to the Act for the Establishment of the Ministry of Defense that were enacted at a House of Councillors plenary session with a majority vote from the ruling parties, the Japan Innovation Party, and several others on June 10.
Defense Minister Gen Nakatani explains that civilian control over military “will not be weakened.”
The change will allow the chief of joint staff in the SDF to assist the Defense Minister on an equal footing with civilian officials from the ministry.
The revisions also include the establishment of a “defense equipment agency,” which will act as a unified body to handle the research and development, procurement, and export of defense equipment such as fighter planes.