Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to create a ministerial post in charge of national security legislation to help broaden the scope of Self-Defense Forces’ activities under his administration’s new defense policy.
Before departing on a three-country tour in Oceania, Abe told reporters Sunday that his Cabinet will introduce a package of legal measures to redefine the SDF’s roles, allowing the military to engage in collective self-defense missions, cope with “gray zone” situations that fall short of full-blown military clashes and do more during United Nations-led peacekeeping operations.
“Because it will be a major change in Japan’s legal framework for national security, I want to name a minister in charge,” Abe said.
The minister, to be named in a planned Cabinet reshuffle in early September, will be tasked with answering questions in the Diet on bills related to SDF reforms, Abe said.
Asked about the Cabinet decision Tuesday to change the official interpretation of Article 9 of the Constitution and allow Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense, Abe said he intends to give the Diet a full explanation of how the move will help protect the lives of Japanese nationals.
The prime minister did not specify when the relevant SDF reform legislation will be introduced. But analysts said the administration is likely to submit a package of more than 10 bills to an ordinary Diet session next year.
The security legislation minister will be a concurrent post because the Abe Cabinet already has 18 ministers, the maximum allowed under current law.