(Mainichi: July 30, 2015 – p. 5)
Makoto Nishida (Komeito): What are the issues in the regional security environment, including Japan"?
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe: The security environment has changed. North Korea has deployed hundreds of ballistic missiles taking Japan into their range. It is also developing nuclear arms. China is intruding into Japan’s territorial sea near the Senkaku Islands repeatedly and engaging in unilateral resources development in the disputed sea area (between Japan and China) in the East China Sea. In the South China Sea, it is rushing massive unilateral reclamation work arbitrarily. It is attempting to change the status quo by force based on its own logic that is unacceptable in the international order.
Nishida: How will Japan deal with the attempts to change the status quo?
Abe: Both Japan and China share great responsibility for regional peace and prosperity. We will continue dialogue at various levels to develop stable friendly relations.
Toranosuke Katayama (Japan Innovation Party [JIP]): Will the government be willing to revise the bills if there are proposals that make sense?
Abe: While we believe the government’s proposals are the best, if the JIP comes up with counterproposals, we will discuss them. We will deal with them in good faith if we can reach an agreement in the discussions.
Akira Koike (Japanese Communist Party): If the security bills are enacted, the U.S. forces attacking the enemy will be refueled by the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) and go on to attack again. This means becoming an integral part of the U.S. military’s use of force.
Abe: We think this is not the case. Japan will only engage in logistic support in accordance with the Constitution.
Koike: Logistic support is extremely vulnerable to sudden attacks, such as in a war against terrorism. You should admit that there is danger.
Abe: It goes with saying that safety will be ensured in logistic support operations. Logistic support will not be undertaken unless safety is ensured.
Kota Matsuda (Assembly to Energize Japan): The fact that one new law and amendments to 10 laws were submitted in a package is causing confusion. The bills should be resubmitted separately.
Abe: The purpose of the amendments to 10 laws is to safeguard peace and security of Japan and the international community. They are all related and form one legal system. Separating them will rather blur the relation between the bills. We have no plan to resubmit them.
Masamune Wada (Party for Future Generations): Will Japan undertake minesweeping if mines are laid in the South China Sea?
Defense Minister Gen Nakatani: The government will make an objective and rational decision based on all available information in response to the specific circumstances in each situation.
Kenichi Mizuno (independent): The laws on punishment of crimes committed outside the country have no provisions on illegal use of weapons by SDF members deployed for overseas missions.
Nakatani: Causing the death of another person willfully constitutes murder. Murder is a crime punishable by Japanese law even if committed overseas, so it is possible to apply the criminal law to punish the crime. As to illegal use of weapons, since (the SDF Law) has no penalty provisions for crimes committed outside Japan, this will not apply to acts committed in a foreign country.
Tadatomo Yoshida (Social Democratic Party): Is the concept of these bills positive contribution to the U.S.’s world military strategy in return for deterrence provided by the U.S.?
Nakatani: They are meant to enable seamless response to all conceivable situations for the defense of our country.
Yoshida: These bills are broadly opposed by the people. They should be withdrawn and resubmitted.
Abe: They were submitted after a thorough discussion on what are the self-defense measures necessary to protect the people’s life and peaceful living.
Taro Yamamoto (People’s Life Party): There needs to be a simulation of what will happen if nuclear plants are attacked by ballistic missiles.
Abe: Comprehensive exercises are being conducted by the police, the fire department, the SDF, and other relevant agencies to deal with terrorist attacks and so forth. The basic policy for the protection of the people takes into account ballistic missile attacks but has no quantitative estimate of damages.
Hiroyuki Arai (New Renaissance Party): We hope you will be flexible about revision proposals and counterproposals presented by other parties.
Abe: We would like to make efforts to win broad support. Discussion among the parties will be held if there are good proposals.