Diet will not debate defense guidelines

Foreign Minister Yukihiko Ikeda said June 10 that the final report on Japanese cooperation in U.S. combat operations and other related activities in the region surrounding Japan will not require Diet approval.

Speaking at a meeting of the Lower House committee on security matters, Ikeda said the final report on the review of the 1978 Guidelines for Japan and U.S. Defense Cooperation “will serve as something like guidance when Japan and the U.S. decide on specific cooperation activities, and therefore (drawing up the text for) the final report in itself would not require any legislation or extra government expenditure.”

The two countries last weekend released an interim report that included proposals for strengthening bilateral defense cooperation in the event of aggression against Japan, or when an emergency breaks out in unidentified “areas surrounding Japan.” The final report, which is expected to specify what Japan is able to do as well as what it cannot do under its war-renouncing Constitution, is due to be wrapped up this November.

Since the contents of the upcoming final report may be controversial, the Democratic Party of Japan, Shinshinto and a number of other parties are calling on the government to submit the report to the Diet for thorough examination by lawmakers. Ikeda said at the meeting that if some legislation or revision of current laws is deemed necessary for Japan to implement the guideline in an emergency, bills would be submitted to the Diet for deliberation anyway. Some leaders in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party say the contents of the renewed guideline do not need to be deliberated in the Diet because, given the sensitive nature of the report, it would be unlikely to get swift approval from the Diet.