LDP panel proposes boost in crisis response

A panel within the Liberal Democratic Party drew up a proposal Mar. 18 for strengthening the government’s ability to cope with crises such as natural disasters and war.

The LDP’s Research Commission on Security said in the proposal it is imperative that measures taken by various state ministries and agencies to cope with crises under the leadership of the prime minister have “organic integration.” The panel is urging guidelines to cope with a national crisis and laws to effectively deal with emergencies resulting from war.

To strengthen the leadership of the prime minister in times of crisis, the panel proposes a review of the power and function of that office under the Cabinet system, inauguration of a “crisis management specialist” post as part of the prime minister’s staff and a strengthening of the Security Affairs Office within the Prime Minister’s Office. Up to now, the government has been only interested in coping with nonmilitary crises and natural disasters, the panel said, thus urging the state to work out measures to protect Japanese overseas in time of crisis, to deal with large numbers of refugees from abroad, to protect the nation’s shores and important facilities and to enhance cooperation with the United States in various fields.

The panel also wants a review of the guidelines for defense cooperation between Japan and the U.S. to make it more effective. To strengthen the Security Affairs Office, the proposal said it should be staffed with officials knowledgeable about the Self-Defense Forces and police. The panel also wants a crisis management operation center set up in the Prime Minister’s Official Residence.