A plan has been drafted to set up a national security council for the prime minister where four Cabinet ministers will meet to share top secret intelligence, government officials said Thursday.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants such a council formed to promote information sharing among the government’s various ministries and agencies so confidential information and other intelligence resources can be integrated more quickly and easily.
The council will “drastically change the vertical divisions” among the ministries, a senior government official told reporters after the draft was presented to an advisory panel to the prime minister. The panel, composed of outside experts, was launched in February to discuss issues related to the council’s formation.
According to the draft, the core members of the proposed security council would be the prime minister, foreign minister, defense minister and chief Cabinet secretary. They would meet about once every two weeks.
The council will have access to dozens security and defense specialists as well as director generals and the special security adviser to the prime minister.
Its main mission will be to draw up mid- to long-term policies on security and diplomacy and provide policy options to the prime minister.
“The director general should be someone who is familiar with both diplomatic and defense matters. That person should also be able to deal with counterparts from similar organizations in other countries, too,” the official said.
Meanwhile, the members of the council might be expanded to include other ministers as necessary to cope with contingencies, such as a military attack or natural disaster.
The bill for creating the council will oblige the ministries to provide their top-secret information to the security council to bypass the bureaucracy’s red tape, and oblige its members not to leak classified information, the official said.
Everyone on the advisory panel Thursday basically accepted the draft, which is likely to be finalized at the panel’s next session, the official said.
The government will then submit the bill to the Diet, which is scheduled to close at the end of next month.
In the meantime, the government is drafting another bill to impose heavier punishment on civil servants who leak confidential information.