(Sankei: September 19, 2015 – p. 2)
By Kazuyuki Sakamoto, Kei Ishinabe
Japan-U.S. cooperation in the areas of diplomacy and security will further expand with the enactment of the security bills that include the authorization of the limited exercise of the right to collective self-defense.
A senior Defense Ministry official pointed out that “the U.S. government welcomes the fact that the term ‘right to collective self-defense’ can now be used.”
This is because the U.S. has been dissatisfied with the legal system under which “Japan will do nothing to support U.S. forces attacked while engaged in operations to defend Japan,” according to a U.S. diplomatic source.
Once a survival-threatening situation is recognized, the protection of U.S. ships, missile defense, and other once-banned operations will now be possible.
In terms of logistic support under the new law on situations with a major impact, provision of ammunition to the U.S. forces and refueling of aircraft preparing to take off will also be possible. The U.S. wants to obtain the cooperation of the Self-Defense Forces in its efforts to stabilize the South China Sea and other areas where China is stepping up its maritime advances.
On the other hand, Japan has great expectations for the U.S. forces’ involvement in providing deterrence in the southwest, including the Senkaku Islands (in Ishigaki City, Okinawa). Exchanges at the troop level, including joint island defense exercises, will be strengthened.
A senior Foreign Ministry official noted that “greater mutual trust will result in broader cooperation between allies.”
A source on the TPP talks expressed hope that “closer security cooperation will also result in deeper economic cooperation.” (Slightly abridged)