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Komura pitches conditions on SDF use of weapons to placate Komeito

JIJI

A top Liberal Democratic Party official has proposed setting out conditions for the use of weapons by the Self-Defense Forces in a permanent law that would allow the dispatch of troops at any time to provide logistic support for foreign militaries.

Speaking at a conference in Fukuoka on Saturday, LDP Vice President Masahiko Komura said legislation is necessary to establish a framework to prevent the excessive use of force by SDF troops during such operations.

The proposal is apparently intended to help soften the stance of LDP coalition partner Komeito on the permanent law. The legislation would make it unnecessary to set up an ad hoc law each time an overseas SDF mission is planned.

Komeito has balked over how far the ruling coalition should expand the SDF’s overseas activities.

Komura, head of the coalition’s committee for national security legislation, noted the need to take into consideration Komeito’s requests regarding the use of weapons.

He also reiterated his support for the government’s recent proposal to revise the existing law, which currently only allows for the SDF’s logistic support for U.S. forces in the event of “contingencies in areas surrounding Japan.”

Komura said the legislation does not define a geographic concept but represents the nature of contingencies. “Any misleading phrase should be dropped” from the law, he said, adding that the concept of “areas surrounding Japan” should be omitted.