New Komeito and the Democratic Party of Japan have separately submitted proposals for amending bills covering the updated Japan-U.S. defense cooperation guidelines to a board meeting of the Lower House special committee debating them, party officials said Friday.

The two opposition parties are proposing that the bills be revised to mandate that Self-Defense Forces missions in support of U.S. forces get prior Diet approval except in cases of “high-level emergencies.”

What would constitute a high-level emergency was not clarified.

With Friday’s proposals by the two parties, negotiations were formally begun to revise the bills. Details will be discussed during board meetings of the special committee next week.

However, some party sources said the Liberal Democratic Party has already been engaged in separate behind-the-scenes negotiations with the DPJ and New Komeito and that it is ready to accept most of New Komeito’s proposals.

While the LDP expressed hope that the committee will wrap up debate by the end of next week so the bills can be put to an immediate vote, DPJ members said they will first need to see how amendment talks develop.

According to New Komeito’s proposal submitted Friday, a basic plan involving SDF operations during “high-level emergencies” must be approved by the Diet within 20 days after SDF operations.

The party is demanding that detailed reports about SDF dispatches be submitted to the Diet without delay. The party also is insisting that SDF operations fall “within the framework of the Japan-U.S. Security Pact.”

The second-largest opposition party also agrees with the original bills that ship inspections by the SDF be carried out only under the guidance of U.N. resolutions.

The original bills state that the SDF can conduct inspections of unidentified ships based on U.N. Security Council resolutions to enforce economic sanctions.

The Liberal Party — the LDP’s coalition partner — has been demanding that the bills be revised to enable the SDF to conduct ship inspections regardless of U.N. resolutions.

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