LDP plans Pentagon visit for security guideline review

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party on June 9 will call on its two non-Cabinet allies — the Social Democratic Party and New Party Sakigake — to form a delegation to visit the U.S. to discuss security-related matters with officials of the Pentagon, LDP policy chief Taku Yamasaki told reporters June 6.

The discussions will be held as a part of ongoing work to review of the Guideline for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation, Yamasaki said. Yamasaki delivered the idea late June 6 to Kurt Campbell, deputy assistant secretary for defense, when they met at the LDP headquarters in Tokyo.

Although the tasks for the delegation have not been detailed, “It is certain that we will meet with U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen,” Yamasaki said. “Whether the formation of the tripartite delegation will go successfully or not will tell the fortune for the three parties in jointly promoting the review of the guideline,” Yamasaki said. “If we fail in forming the delegation together, then it will become impossible for us to cooperate with each other for the review.”

The review of the guideline, the first to be undertaken in the past nearly two decades, may shake the current cooperative relations among the three parties since the LDP and the SDP have considerable policy differences on security, observers say. The review is planned for completion in fall.