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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 September 19 - 25  > Abe government’s dangerous moves during 3 years following enactment of war laws
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2018 September 19 - 25 [POLITICS]

Abe government’s dangerous moves during 3 years following enactment of war laws

September 19, 2018

Three years have passed since the national security legislation (so-called war laws), which legalizes Japan’s use of forces abroad for the first time after the end of WWII, was forcibly enacted on September 19, 2015. Following the enactment, the Abe government began making dangerous moves. For instance, it promoted further Japan-U.S. military integration and assigned to Self-Defense Force units stationed abroad the so-called “rush-and-rescue (kaketsuke keigo)” duty, which entails the risk of SDF members “killing” and being “killed”. The war laws must be abolished without delay.

In May 2017, Maritime SDF ships escorted a U.S. military supply ship heading toward the Sea of Japan in accordance with Article 95 of the revised Self-Defense Forces Act, one of the war laws, which stipulates the provision of protection for allied forces. Four months later, it came to light that MSDF supply ships had provided fuel and other supplies to U.S. military Aegis warships under the revised Japan-U.S. Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA). Each of the two missions was enabled by the war laws and carried out for the first time ever.

These two missions were aimed at providing support for U.S. Navy ships which were preparing for an attack on North Korea. At that time, relations between the U.S. and North Korea were so tense that a nuclear war was deemed an option, and Japan provided military support to the U.S. military. This means that if a military clash had occurred between the U.S. and North Korea, Japan could have been regarded as a belligerent country and become a target of attack.

Furthermore, it is even more controversial that the Abe government intends to have the SDF participate in non-UN international joint operations for peace and security (the so-called multinational forces) as an initial means to enable the dispatch of the SDF to battle areas, which is the true aim of the war laws.

The Abe government is considering sending Ground SDF troops to join the Multinational Forces and Observers on the Sinai Peninsula which conduct peacekeeping activities in the border area between Egypt and Israel. The revised peacekeeping operations law, which is part of the war laws, has a clause allowing the SDF to take part in multinational force operations which are not controlled by the United Nations.

Before the war laws were passed, the enactment of a special measures law was required to send SDF troops abroad. The current PKO law enables the government to have the SDF join in even non-UN multinational forces operations without having to face a possibly long and challenging parliamentary approval process.

In addition, the revision of the PKO law drastically relaxed regulations on the use of weapons and expanded the scope of duties allowed, including the “kaketsuke keigo” duty in which SDF personnel could open fire on alleged hostile troops. The Abe government in October 2016 assigned this duty for the first time to the SDF units engaged in the UN PKO missions in South Sudan.

The Abe government reportedly seeks to send SDF officers to the MFO as members of the headquarters’ staff after the end of 2018. Using this as a precedent, the government will most likely try to send combat troops as well to the MFO.

Past related articles:
> Gov't found to have failed to control SDF [April 6, 2018]
> 1 in 6 South Sudan-dispatched SDF members suffered from insomnia [January 15, 2018]
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