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While bills to implement the revised Japan-U.S. defense cooperation guidelines are being suspended in the Diet, the Democratic Party of Japan — the largest opposition party — released new proposals Wednesday, calling for the bills’ early passage by the Diet.In the draft proposals, the DPJ shows a more flexible stance, allowing Self-Defense Forces personnel to use arms when they engage in rear-area activities to support U.S. forces.A member of the DPJ’s policy affairs council told reporters that the flexible stance shows that the party is pushing realistic policies on securities issues. The DPJ plans to promote party discussions before finalizing the revision proposals.While the government-proposed bills state that basic plans for implementing measures under the revised guidelines do not require Diet approval, the DPJ calls for giving the Diet more power to revise or reject the basic plans.However, the party says that Diet approval can be obtained later in the event of an emergency. Additionally the DPJ calls for the clarification of the vague “areas surrounding Japan” where Japan can provide support to the U.S. military.The government maintains that “areas surrounding Japan” is a concept emphasizing any potential incident, not a geographic concept. The DPJ considers it a reference to the “Far East and its vicinity” as stipulated in the Japan-U.S. Securities Treaty.

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