The Liberal Democratic Party on Thursday put off a decision on whether to endorse the government’s draft of a new Iraqi reconstruction bill, as some members questioned the rules on weapons use by the Self-Defense Forces.
The government was aiming to have the bill approved at a regular Cabinet meeting Friday morning, but that is likely to be delayed until later in the day, after it gets formal approval from the LDP.
“We have heard various opinions about the draft, and many said that we need to have more thorough discussions,” said Mitsuo Horiuchi, chairman of the LDP’s Executive Council, the party’s decision-making body.
Horiuchi said the council would present its final stance Friday. Despite the divided opinions, the LDP is likely to endorse the draft.
According to party members who attended the meeting, some criticized the draft’s strict rules on use of weapons by SDF personnel, which are limited to cases of self-defense and defense of others under their protection.
Others questioned disposal of weapons of mass destruction by SDF personnel as stipulated in the draft, saying WMD have not been discovered and the SDF does not have capabilities to dispose of chemical and biological weapons.
“The government should carry out more studies regarding what the SDF would be needed to do,” said Shin Sakurai, vice chairman of the council. “We should not hurry about sending the SDF to (Iraq).”
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