The government plans to make key amendments to the wording of a bill that dictates how the Self-Defense Forces will deal with a military attack in the hope that it will be enacted during the extraordinary Diet session expected to be held in the fall, informed sources said Saturday.
According to the sources, the amendments would include changes to the definitions of when a military attack “can be anticipated” and when it “is imminent.”
The wording, and explanations given by the government as to when the SDF can be mobilized, had been criticized as being too ambiguous during the ordinary Diet session that closed at the end of July.
The bills failed to clear the legislature during that session and were put on the back-burner.
The government hopes that by providing wording and concrete examples that are clearer, the bill will gain broader support from both the ruling and opposition parties, according to the sources.
However, some within the government remain skeptical about whether amendments are viable, pointing out that it will be difficult to explain certain, specific circumstances to describe an attack in something as broad as a law.
According to the sources, several amendment options are currently being considered. As one example, the wording “when there is a clear danger (of military attack)” is being considered as a replacement for “imminent.”
Officials from the Defense Agency and the Cabinet Secretariat are also discussing the possibility of presenting clearer examples of attacks and clarifying the relationship between a military attack on Japan and a contingency in areas surrounding Japan.
Government officials plan to finalize their position on the matter by mid-September before presenting the proposals to the three ruling parties for further deliberations, the sources said.
In May, the government released general examples of what it viewed as military attacks on Japan that could allow the SDF to act. Situations in which attacks could be anticipated included when a nation “begins calling up reservists, ordering key military officers to stay at certain places, conducting an emergency mustering of troops or building new military camps.”
A military strike would be seen as being imminent when “numerous warships and aircraft are being assembled for an attack.”
The opposition responded by saying the explanations are still too vague and leave things open for the arbitrary deployment of the SDF.
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