After only little more than a month of discussion, the ruling coalition reached a formal agreement Friday on basic frameworks for security legislation that will allow the Self-Defense Forces to play a much greater role overseas and pave the way for the Abe administration to alter Japan’s pacifist defense posture.
By clearing yet another hurdle, the administration is a step closer to legally loosening the constitutional constraints on the Self-Defense Forces, an effort that began with last July’s landmark Cabinet decision to reinterpret war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution.
Based on the agreement, the administration will prepare bills to present to the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito in mid-April. It hopes to get the parties’ nod and submit a package of more than 10 bills to the Diet by mid-May.
“I believe we have settled for what we can do at this stage,” LDP Vice President Masahiko Komura, who has been chairing the LDP-Komeito talks.
The allies reached their seventh round on Friday.
Saying that more heated debate will be expected after seeing the actual bills, Komura said he will continue the talks “with the intention of reaching a good goal in the end.”
Friday’s deal included: creation of a permanent law enabling the government to dispatch SDF personnel overseas to provide logistic support to foreign militaries; revising a law to effectively remove a geographical limit on SDF activities; and allowing the SDF to rescue Japanese nationals caught in emergencies overseas — with limited use of weapons.