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Japan aims to seek ROK’s understanding of new security laws

  • 2015-10-21 15:00:00
  • , Asahi
  • Translation

(Asahi: October 21, 2015 – p. 13)

 

 At the start of a meeting on Oct. 20 with South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-koo, Defense Minister Gen Nakatani emphatically said: “Japan and South Korea share common security interests in the region and the world. It is important that the two countries share views from a global perspective and cooperate in security.”

 

 In response to North Korea, which has repeatedly taken provocative actions, Japan intends to rush to strengthen security cooperation with South Korea. In order to gain understanding from Han on Japan’s new national security laws, which were enacted in September, Nakatani strongly hoped for a trip to Seoul.

 

 The new security legislation enables [Japan’s Self-Defense Forces] to protect Japanese nationals overseas, guard U.S. vessels transporting Japanese people, and provide logistical support to militaries of other countries in combat. However, South Korea’s consent is required for the SDF’s operations in contingencies on the Korean Peninsula such as an attack on South Korea.

 

 During Diet deliberations on the security bills, Nakatani replied: “If Japan cannot secure the consent of a territorial state, it will be difficult to dispatch SDF personnel to rescue Japanese nationals under international law and the Constitution.”

 

 Although both Japan and South Korea are allies of the United States, the two countries are not allied. In recent years, bilateral relations between them have deteriorated over the issues of Takeshima [a group of disputed islets in the Sea of Japan] and comfort women. A senior Defense Ministry official said with frustration: “Without Seoul’s understanding of Japan’s security legislation, bilateral security cooperation will never be stepped up.”

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