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Gist of Prime Minister Kishida’s responses to interpellations at Lower House plenary session, Jan. 19, 2022

The following is the gist of Prime Minister Kishida Fumio’s responses to interpellations at the plenary session of the House of Representatives on Jan. 19, 2022:  

 

Foreign policy

Japan will further enhance its ability to deter and respond under the Japan-U.S. security alliance. Joining hands with like-minded countries, Japan will promote initiatives to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific. Regarding various issues with China, such as human rights and the Senkakus situation, I will assert what needs to be asserted and seek to have China act in a responsible fashion. At the same time, I will also aim to create a constructive and stable relationship by engaging in repeated dialogue with our Asian neighbor on various outstanding matters and cooperating on shared issues.

 

Enemy base attack capabilities

Technology related to hypersonic weapons as well as missiles with irregular trajectories is advancing at a rapid pace. I will consider how to respond to this in a realistic fashion without eliminating any options, including gaining the so-called capabilities to attack enemy bases. The study will not be conducted at the request of the United States but will be conducted by Japan at its own initiative.

 

Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement

COVID infections are spreading at USFJ facilities and the surrounding communities, and this is of great concern. Any comparison of our SOFA with the United States with the agreements the U.S. has formed with other countries needs to be considered from an overall perspective, including actual operation and the security environment. Revising our SOFA with the United States is not under consideration.

 

Revision of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) Act

In light of the SDF’s experience in Afghanistan, I have been considering whether we can further improve the legislative aspects in order to make possible the speedy and flexible dispatch [of the SDF] in response to crisis situations overseas. There is the misunderstanding that under the current legal provisions the dispatch of SDF aircraft requires the same level of safety as the dispatch of commercial planes. I would like to resolve this misunderstanding. It is not true that the SDF Act was an impediment to the transport of Japanese nationals and others in Afghanistan. (Abridged)

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