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2008年5月25日 (日)


(May. 25, 2008) The Yomiuri Shimbun

Standing law on overseas dispatch of SDF needed

自衛隊海外派遣 もう特措法を卒業する時だ(5月25日付・読売社説)

It is time to break the political habit of making a new special measures law whenever something important happens.

At this time, when Japan is not under attack, in-depth discussions should be held on international peace cooperation activities by Self-Defense Forces in a calm manner toward the development of permanent legislation in respect of such activities.



A joint Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito project team tasked with compiling a permanent law on the dispatch of SDF members abroad decided at its first meeting Friday to draft an outline of such a bill by the end of the current Diet session.


The new Antiterrorism Law, which provides the legal basis for the Maritime Self-Defense Force's refueling mission in the Indian Ocean, will expire in January.


It would be best to enact the permanent law at the extraordinary Diet session in autumn, but the ruling coalition parties have not yet reached agreement on this.


SDF troops have been sent to the Indian Ocean and Iraq, respectively, since the old Antiterrorism Law was enacted in 2001 and the special measures law for reconstruction of Iraq took effect in 2003.

Since then, development of permanent legislation has been an outstanding issue.




Mission statements missing


To allow for rapid and flexible deployment of the SDF, it is natural that principles governing the dispatch of SDF personnel and the list of missions they can perform should be decided before they are actually sent abroad with Diet approval.


With the revision of the Self-Defense Forces Law in 2006, international peace cooperation activities have been upgraded to a primary duty of the SDF from a secondary one.


Nonetheless, there is no law stipulating the basic functions of SDF personnel who are dispatched on missions overseas. This situation can only be described as abnormal.


In the past, the SDF's activities were confined to training, to hone their capability to defend Japan against an armed attack.



But nowadays they perform a variety of real missions in and out of the country. The laws need to be adapted to this new reality.


This permanent legislation is very significant for Japan's national security.


All Diet members should join discussions to reach a consensus on it.


The Democratic Party of Japan, which is the dominant party in the House of Councillors, cannot be allowed simply to look on as a spectator.



Why doesn't the party work on such a bill by itself and hold talks with the ruling coalition parties?


The contentious points of the envisaged permanent legislation have already become obvious.



The first question is whether a U.N. Security Council resolution should be made a prerequisite for the SDF dispatch.



We feel skeptical about such a prerequisite being set. It should be considered as just one of the conditions for deciding on a dispatch.



Let SDF do their jobs


Power games influence Security Council resolutions.


A resolution cannot be approved if one of the five permanent members of the council exercises a veto over it.


(veto=拒否権の行使)(exercise ones veto=拒否権を行使する)

Japan should have the option of being able to send SDF troops to participate in international peace cooperation activities without such a resolution.


The second issue is the type of overseas mission to be allowed.


SDF missions have so far been limited to logistic support, ceasefire monitoring and humanitarian and reconstruction assistance.

But protective activities and ship inspections should be added to this list.


logistic support=logistic supply=後方支援)(ceasefire monitoring=停戦監視)(humanitarian and reconstruction assistance=人道復興支援)

If ship inspection is added to the list of missions allowed for SDF members, it will open the way for MSDF ships to play an active part in maritime interdiction operations in addition to refueling vessels of other countries in the Indian Ocean.


interdiction=禁止、停止)(maritime interdiction operations=海上阻止活動)

Also, standards on the use of weapons for SDF troops should be relaxed.


SDF members should be allowed to use their weapons with fewer restrictions to eliminate any obstruction to carrying out their missions effectively.



(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 25, 2008)

20085250139  読売新聞)


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