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LDP OKs outline of bills to create U.S.-style National Security Council

Kyodo

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Wednesday approved an outline of bills to create an institution similar to the U.S. National Security Council, allowing the Prime Minister’s Office to take the lead in security and foreign policy.

The government plans to submit the bills, agreed upon at the party’s joint committee on foreign and defense policy, to the current Diet session after gaining Cabinet approval early next month. It will then seek to enact the legislation during an extraordinary Diet session in the fall.

“It is important to gather information to protect the safety of Japanese people,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said in reference to the NSC, adding that the aim of the body would be to strengthen information-gathering functions.

The envisioned institution would enable Tokyo to respond in a more timely and strategic manner to Asia’s changing security environment, including North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats.

Under the plan, the prime minister, chief Cabinet secretary, the foreign and defense ministers will first decide on Tokyo’s basic stance on foreign and defense policies.

The head office of the council, set up at the Cabinet Secretariat, will assist the committee and coordinate with government ministries and agencies.