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PM Abe sees SDF deployment to South China Sea as an “option”

(Tokyo Shimbun: November 12, 2015 – p. 2)



Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other ministers attended an adjournment inspection session of the House of Councillors Budget Committee on November 11. Regarding the possibility of the deployment the Self Defense Forces (SDF) to the South China Sea for joint exercises or warning and surveillance activities with the U.S. military, Abe said, “By keeping various options in mind, I want to fully deliberate on the matter.”



Abe made this statement in reply to a question from Toranosuke Katayama, who recently joined Osaka Ishin no Kai (One Osaka), regarding a U.S. warship’s passage in the South China Sea where China is building artificial islands. Katayama said, “The SDF could conduct joint exercises and patrol,” and asked how the government would respond to the situation. The prime minister said: “The SDF is already conducting joint exercises with the U.S. Navy. The SDF will continue conducting multilateral and bilateral joint exercises.”



As for the U.S. warship’s passage near the artificial islands, Abe clearly said, “I support it because it shows leadership in the international community,” issuing a warning against China.



With regard to agricultural policy in response to the conclusion of a broad agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Abe said, “Small-scale farming will become more costly. I will basically promote expanding the scale of farming,” indicating his intention to promote the consolidation of farmland.



Referring to constitutional amendment and the possible addition of an emergency provision, Abe said, “It is extremely important to define in the Constitution the roles that the government and the public will play in the event of an emergency such as a large-scale disaster in order to protect people’s safety.”

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