The three ruling parties have failed to define the geographical scope of the new Japan-U.S. defense cooperation guidelines and will now move on to discuss other aspects of the pact, party officials said Oct. 3.The Liberal Democratic Party, the Social Democratic Party and New Party Sakigake failed to agree on the definition of cases of emergency and the specific delineation of “areas surrounding Japan,” conditions for which Japan would provide support to U.S. forces under the guidelines, they said.The three parties concluded deliberations on the pact review and issued a report on their results the same day. A council chaired by the policy chiefs of the LDP, the SDP and Sakigake will now begin a second phase of party discussions and debate measures that would enable the government to implement the new guidelines, including a revision of the Self-Defense Forces Law.Despite their failure to agree on the key points, the parties recognized the role the council played in helping the two countries finalize the new defense guidelines, issued on Sept. 23, they said. In their report, the parties agreed that the inspection of unidentified ships would only be conducted after the U.N. Security Council passes a resolution and that the use of civilian airports and facilities by U.S. forces would be done in a timely and appropriate manner, according to Taku Yamasaki of the LDP.On the definition of “emergencies surrounding Japan,” the guidelines say the concept is not geographical, but situational, indicating that no specific countries are targeted.
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