National

SDF may acquire global reach: Ishiba

Japan could exercise the right of collective self-defense “on the other side of the globe” if national security required it, said Shigeru Ishiba, the Liberal Democratic Party’s No. 2 official.

“Basically we don’t expect we will go to the other side of the globe,” Ishiba, the LDP’s secretary-general, said on a TV program Saturday. “But if we face a situation that has a great impact on Japan, we do not completely rule out” the chance of deploying the Self-Defense Forces abroad.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government recently proposed that the SDF be allowed to engage in collective self-defense in Japanese territorial waters and on the high seas, while saying Japanese troops would not — in principle — be sent to other countries or their territorial waters.

So the remarks by the LDP’s No. 2 will likely make coalition partner New Komeito even more wary of the government plan.

Ishiba also suggested that under the principle of collective self-defense, Japan may find it necessary to come to the aid of countries other than the United States, its closest ally. For example, Japan could be called upon to come to the aid of New Zealand if it were attacked, Ishiba indicated.