(Tokyo Shimbun: October 21, 2015 – p. 2)
By Kiyoshi Nakamura in Seoul
Defense Minister Gen Nakatani visited the ROK on Oct. 20 and met with his counterpart Han Min-koo. The two officials exchanged views on Japan’s security bills enacted in September. It turned out that the two sides have different views on the need for “request and consent” from the ROK when the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) are dispatched to North Korea.
This was the first Japan-ROK defense ministerial after the passage of the security laws and the first visit by a Japanese defense minister to the ROK in four years and nine months. According to the Japanese side’s briefing, Nakatani explained the security legislation at the meeting, stating that, “Japan’s policy with regard to the SDF’s operations on ROK territory is that this will require the ROK’s consent based on international law, that the basic framework of the Japan-U.S. alliance will be maintained, and that Japan’s activities will uphold a strictly defensive principle.”
Han responded: “Operations by the SDF in North Korea, which is part of the ROK’s territory under its constitution, will require our consent. Japan’s activities must be conducted in a manner beneficial for peace and stability in Northeast Asia.”
Nakatani pointed out that “generally speaking, the ROK’s administrative jurisdiction covers only territory south of the demilitarized zone (DMZ),” adding that “close cooperation among Japan, the U.S., and the ROK is necessary for dealing with a contingency on the Korean peninsula. We would like to continue our discussions with the ROK and the U.S.”
Nakatani invited Han to visit Japan next year.