In a meeting with Foreign Ministry and Defense Agency officials, lawmakers from the tripartite ruling coalition voiced concern April 15 over how the state could oblige local administrations to cooperate in providing U.S. forces with logistical support in contingencies.

New legislation concerning the Japan-U.S. defense cooperation guidelines sparked concern over the issue among coalition members at the meeting, part of ongoing discussions between the groups. If a local government refuses to cooperate under such circumstances, it would be an “illegal act” under the new legislation, according to Seiji Ema, director general of the Cabinet office for national security affairs and crisis management.

An outline of the new legislation stipulates that interested government offices could seek cooperation from local public organizations in emergencies. The central government could also request necessary cooperation from private sectors, according to the new legislation.

But the new legislation would have no binding force in such matters as applying penal regulations, Ema said.

Because of the controversial nature of the legislation, the Social Democratic Party demanded that it thoroughly discuss the issue within the party. This will defer the next discussion among the ruling coalition to sometime next week. SDP also called for more appropriate steps so that the national government can gain cooperation from local governments.

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