Japan eyes creation of U.S.-style NSC by year’s end

Kyodo

The government plans to set up an institution similar to the U.S. National Security Council as early as year’s end to strengthen the leadership of the prime minister’s office in crafting long-term security policy for the changing security environment in East Asia, government sources said Tuesday.

Together with bills to create a Japanese version of the NSC, which will likely be deliberated on in the extraordinary Diet session in the fall, the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is also expected to submit another bill to impose tougher penalties on civil servants who leak national secrets.

But the outlook for passage of the bills remains uncertain and the government may need to wait until next year to create the NSC depending on whether the Liberal Democratic Party can secure the cooperation of its coalition partner, New Komeito, which has expressed a cautious stance on the bill regarding penalties for leaking.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga on Tuesday expressed his desire for a Japanese version of the NSC to be created at an early date, saying in a speech that “the diplomatic situation and security environment around Japan are extremely severe.”

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