The government has drafted legislation for protecting the public in the event of an attack that will be attached to war contingency bills to be discussed in an extra Diet session expected to start in mid-October, sources said.
The public protection bill is expected to contain some 200 provisions, including one stipulating that local governments must develop plans to evacuate and rescue residents in the event of an armed attack on Japan, according to the sources.
The government intends to submit the package to the upcoming Diet session, they said.
The protection bill would also include compensation measures by the central government for damage caused by equipment used to defend against attack and for land appropriated from residents and municipalities in such emergencies. It says the central government would pay to safeguard the public when prefectural and municipal governments take measures to comply with the legislation.
The Cabinet Secretariat has been hearing the opinions of government ministries and agencies on the legislation. In early August, it ordered them to discuss basic ideas and draft bills for public protection, using the Disaster Prevention Basic Law as a point of reference.
The bill would also include the issuance of attack warnings, information-gathering and coordination involving many prefectures serving the function of the state.
In April, the government submitted to the Diet a set of bills to govern how Japan would respond in the event of a foreign attack.
They would place governors and mayors under the supervision of the prime minister, who would be able to issue executive orders in their place in the event of an emergency.
Quick enactment of the bills fell through, however, because lawmakers in the ruling coalition claim too much of the legislation remains vague, including even the definition of a “military attack.”
Another lingering question is how people’s rights can be legally curtailed in such emergencies in light of Japan’s war-renouncing Constitution.
Lawmakers have also criticized three of the bills for failing to spell out how people would be evacuated in the event of an attack.
Mounting concerns were also voiced by a number of municipal governments that, since the war, have given little thought to such legislation.
The central government will need a lot of time to sell the planned legislation to the public as well as local governments, and thus passage before the extra Diet session’s expected late December close is not a given, experts say.
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