Compensation system for terrorism victims may expand

Kyodo

A government panel has compiled a set of proposals calling for expanding the compensation system for those caught up in terrorist attacks overseas, sources close to the panel said Thursday.

The proposals, to be submitted to Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga on Friday, come in the wake of the fatal hostage crisis in Algeria in January that left at least 40 people dead, including 10 Japanese employed by JGC Corp.

The proposals are apparently aimed at supporting Japanese corporate activity in dangerous areas where Japan has energy and other interests.

The proposals urge manipulating existing compensation frameworks to address the issue because private-sector insurance policies generally don’t cover damage caused by terrorist attacks. This means the government must look at applying international trade insurance policies, benefits for crime victims and workers’ compensation to such cases.

It also calls for developing more effective legal systems by, for example, revising the Self-Defense Forces Law to allow the government to swiftly evacuate Japanese in emergencies.

Given that the government and private sector failed to share information on the security situation in southeastern Algeria, where the attack on the In Amenas gas complex occurred, the panel emphasized the need to establish a credible information exchange system.

It also said that Japan should seek a full explanation of the Algerian government’s counterterrorism operation to uncover the whole truth behind the hostage crisis.

The panel, which is tasked with mulling how to protect Japanese people and companies overseas, is led by Kunihiko Miyake, a diplomat who has become a visiting professor at Ritsumeikan University.

Another panel in February proposed revising the SDF Law so the military can use vehicles to transport Japanese overland during overseas emergencies. The law currently limits the SDF to transporting Japanese by sea or air.

Based on the proposal, the government submitted a bill to the Diet earlier this month to revise the law.