Legislation on the new Japan-U.S. defense guidelines must provide the state with legal grounds for asking local administrations to give logistical support to U.S. forces in emergencies, a top defense agency official said April 16.
The defense guidelines, revised last fall, urge better cooperation between troops from the U.S. and the Japanese Self-Defense forces in contingencies in areas surrounding Japan.
In such circumstances, cooperation could be sought from local governments and private sectors, according to an outline of the planned legislation. “As for private sectors, we would just ask for cooperation,” Masahiro Akiyama, vice minister of the Defense Agency, told reporters at a regular press conference. “But with local governments, a simple request is not enough.”
Akiyama said the state should seek cooperation from local governments in a way that makes them take an action in concert with the national government, unless there is a reasonable excuse for refusing to cooperate.
As for the necessary legal grounds, Akiyama said the Cabinet Legislation Bureau is working on the text, but that the legislation may not have legal binding force.
Meanwhile, the scope of areas surrounding Japan in which the Japanese military would be required in emergencies to support U.S. military forces according to revised Japan-U.S. defense guidelines would be limited to the Far East, Vice Foreign Minister Shunji Yanai said April 16.
The areas should be specified by whether an incident has a substantial influence on Japan’s peace and security, Yanai as he gave a speech. “Does it mean that the scope of the areas is unlimited? It has a limitation because it is related to Japan’s peace and security,” Yanai said.
The Far East itself has not been clearly defined, but it is generally said the scope of the Far East is north of the Philippines, Yanai said.
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