(Asahi: February 27, 2016 – p. 4)
Defense Minister Gen Nakatani indicated at a news conference on Feb. 26 that the revision of legal provisions to expand the Self-Defense Forces’ duties will not be completed before the security laws take effect on Mar. 29. While the Abe administration had rushed the enactment of the security laws despite the opposition of public opinion last year, it appears that in contrast to this, it is taking care in the preparation work after that.
Nakatani admitted that “work to sort out all the regulations may not be completed by this date; this process will continue even after the laws take effect.”
Under the security laws, the SDF will take up additional duties including logistical support for foreign troops in combat, “asset protection” for U.S. ships and other equipment during peacetime, “rushing to the rescue” operations during UN peacekeeping operations (PKO), and rescue of Japanese nationals overseas.
The Ministry of Defense is undertaking the revision of rules of engagement and regulations on the use of weapons to enable the performance of these new duties. It is also studying operational and training plans for each type of duty. Nakatani, in effect, admitted that the revision process will be extensive and cannot be completed before the security laws take effect.
The government has also decided not to add “rushing to the rescue” duties for the SDF troops currently engaged in PKO in South Sudan.