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2013年10月 5日 (土)

防衛指針改定へ 日本がより責任果たす同盟に

The Yomiuri Shimbun October 5, 2013
Japan must take greater role to bolster alliance with U.S.
防衛指針改定へ 日本がより責任果たす同盟に(10月4日付・読売社説)

It is essential for Japan to expand the country’s role in ensuring the nation’s security, to strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance and share greater responsibilities between the two countries.

The Japanese and U.S. governments held a meeting of the bilateral security consultative committee, known as a two-plus-two meeting, in Tokyo on Thursday, attended by the foreign and defense ministers from both nations. The participants agreed to revise the guidelines for Japan-U.S. defense cooperation, and the process for rewriting the guidelines is scheduled to be completed by the end of next year.

The current guidelines, which were drawn up in 1997, established a framework for the Self-Defense Forces to provide U.S. forces with rear-area logistic support in the event of emergencies in areas surrounding Japan, including the Korean Peninsula.

The 1997 defense cooperation guidelines were of historic significance, as they paved the way for the enactment in 1999 of a law on dealing with security emergencies in areas surrounding this country, as well as 2003 legislation defining the nation’s response to an armed attack from abroad.

How should security emergencies for this country be defined? And how will the government, the SDF and U.S. forces act if such emergencies take place?

The developments that followed the 1997 guidelines were extremely important in deepening awareness and discussions among the public concerning the nation’s security.

Recently, the environment surrounding Japan’s security has grown more and more severe due to such elements as the progress of North Korea’s nuclear and missile development programs, China’s military buildup and its increasing acts of intimidation, and the increasing danger of cyber-attacks.

It is quite worthwhile to revise the guidelines with the aim of enabling Japan and the United States to jointly cope with a diversity of crises more promptly and effectively.

The current guidelines stipulate Japan-U.S. cooperation in three situations: peacetime, emergencies in areas surrounding Japan and emergencies directly involving this country.

Act tenaciously on China

Of key importance to the envisioned revision of the guidelines is crafting a framework within which Japan and the United States can cooperate flexibly from an earlier stage as a situation transitions from peacetime to active hostility.

A joint statement released at the close of the two-plus-two meeting stated clearly that the United States “welcomes” the security policy of the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which is seeking a review of the constitutional interpretation regarding Japan’s right to collective self-defense and the creation of the Japanese version of the U.S. National Security Council.

Broadening the roles of the SDF in keeping with the defense strategy of U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration, which is placing greater emphasis on Asia, will be sure to strengthen the bilateral alliance and enhance deterrence.

Study should be conducted on such topics as giving Japan the capability to make strikes on enemy military installations to complement the bilateral alliance and enhance Japan-U.S. cooperation to meet new challenges in areas such as cybersecurity and space.

Taking China into account, the joint agreement declared in reference to the regional situation in Asia that the two countries strongly oppose “coercive and destabilizing behaviors in the maritime domain” and “disruptive activities in space and cyberspace.” The joint statement identified China by name, thereby expressing the resolve of Tokyo and Washington to urge Beijing to adhere to international norms of behavior and boost “openness and transparency” in the military field.

It is important for both Japan and the United States to take every opportunity to cooperate with various other countries to act together tenaciously on China.

On the issue of relocating functions of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station in Okinawa Prefecture, the joint agreement reconfirmed the two countries’ “strong determination” to realize the base’s transfer to an area off the Henoko district of Nago in the same prefecture as “the only solution.”

Both the Japanese and U.S. governments must do their utmost to accelerate efforts to alleviate Okinawa Prefecture’s burden of hosting U.S. military bases through such means as promoting the return of U.S. forces’ installations and related tracts of land, so Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima will find it easier to accept that Futenma Air Station will be relocated to Henoko as planned.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 4, 2013)
(2013年10月4日02時12分  読売新聞)


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