March 30, 2017
TOKYO- One year has passed since Japan enforced its national security legislation designed to expand the scope of the Self-Defense Forces’ activities abroad and enable the country to exercise the right to collective self-defense. In an increasingly severe security environment, such as enhanced provocations by North Korea and China’s military rise in the Asia-Pacific region, the legislation has made it possible for the SDF to work more closely with the U.S. military. But also fears have grown that Washington may make excessive military cooperation demands for Japan, whose supreme law denounces war.
The Japanese government highlights the significance of the Japan-U.S. military alliance based on the bilateral security pact.
“Japan has built a strong partnership with the United States for protecting the lives and peaceful livelihood of its people,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a press conference on Tuesday.
Speaking to the press separately the same day, Defense Minister Tomomi Inada said, “Under the security laws, Japan will build up its defense capabilities and deepen and evolve its alliance with the United States.”
The government has steadily implemented provisions in the new legislation since its enforcement on March 29, 2016.
It assigned in November new duties to its Ground SDF troops participating in the U.N. peacekeeping mission in South Sudan, including rescuing U.N. and other workers if they come under attack, and set in December guidelines for the SDF’s engagement in the protection of U.S. and other foreign warships during not only wartime but peacetime.
In addition, Japan’s parliament is set to approve acquisition and cross-servicing agreements to enable logistics cooperation, including mutual ammunition supplies, between the SDF and U.S., British and Australian forces.
The SDF troops already have conducted drills so they can carry out their new missions stipulated by the security legislation, comprising 10 amended laws and a new international peace and cooperation law.
Specifically, the exercises covered operations to protect foreign warships and respond to contingencies with possible grave repercussions for the peace and safety of Japan, on the back of North Korea’s repeated missile firing and nuclear tests and the Chinese military’s stepped-up activities in the skies near Japan, which have prompted the Air SDF to scramble fighter jets at a record-setting pace.
The SDF are also preparing to conduct drills for Japan’s possible use of the right to collective self-defense, the main aim of the security legislation. Jiji Press
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