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SECURITY > Self-Defense Forces

SDF to launch exercises for “kaketsuke-keigo”

  • August 25, 2016
  • , Asahi , p. 3
  • Translation

The government announced on Aug. 24 that it will have the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) conduct successive exercies based on security legislation. The legislation, which came into existence last September and went into force in March this year, will be gradually implemented. A Ground Self-Defense Force unit that will deploy to South Sudan in mid-September or later to participate in the UN peacekeeping operation (PKO) will conduct exercises for “kaketsuke-keigo,” or “going to the aid of people under attack.” The focus of attention from now will be on when to authorize the SDF to perform this new mission and on how to secure SDF personnel’s safety during its performance.

 

On Aug. 24, Defense Minister Tomomi Inada explained the reason for the start of the exercises to reporters at the Prime Minister’s Office, saying, “To a certain extent we have set target dates for the conduct of various kinds of preparations.” The Abe administration hopes to demonstrate its proactive security approach based on the security laws to the international community. However, with the potential for the issue to have had a negative impact on the House of Councillors election in July, the government refrained from carrying out the exercises.

 

Kaketsuke-keigo, an SDF mission included in the revised PKO Cooperation Law, involves weapon-bearing troops rushing to distant places to protect UN and NGO workers under attack by an armed group. The GSDF unit to be dispatched will conduct exercises for about two months from Aug. 25. The unit will also launch exercises for “protecting camps” in cooperation with foreign forces. With an eye on exercises for logistical support under the “law on important factors bearing on security,” Japan will implement exercises jointly with the U.S. and multilateral exercises. Regarding exercises for “protecting military assets,” including U.S. warships, in peacetime, the government will work seriously on arrangements with the U.S. side on the timing of the start of exercises. In autumn, the SDF will likely initiate exercises to protect and rescue Japanese nationals overseas.

 

The focus of attention will be on whether the government will actually give the GSDF unit to be deployed the mission of kaketsuke-keigo. The Abe administration will hold a National Security Council meeting possibly in early October to make a decision on the appropriateness of the new SDF mission. (Abridged)

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