Abe says SDF could provide logistic aid to foreign forces in Middle East, Indian Ocean under new laws


Staff Writer

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Monday the Self-Defense Forces could provide logistic aid to foreign militaries in the Middle East and the Indian Ocean, detailing for the first time specific regions where Japanese troops could offer logistical support under contentious security legislation.

During debate on the bills in the Lower House, Abe said that if a situation is believed to have a potentially serious impact on Japan’s peace and security, the SDF could conduct refueling missions and provide ammunition to foreign forces engaged in combat far from Japan.

“If serious military tensions or an armed conflict occur in the Middle East or the Indian Ocean that could greatly impact Japanese ships carrying goods to Japan, and if the United States or other countries were dealing with such situations,” the SDF could provide logistical support to foreign troops, Abe said in response to a question from an opposition party member.

Abe’s remarks sparked concern that Japan could be dragged into a war involving the U.S., as well as raising the risk of SDF casualties.

Experts say logistic units are often the first to be targeted in combat, as they are usually more vulnerable than front-line units and provide key supplies such as food and ammunition to front-line forces.

The current law was effectively crafted to provide logistic support to the U.S. military during emergencies in and around the Korean Peninsula. But if enacted, the new legislation would remove the de facto geographical limits and allow the SDF to provide logistical support to foreign forces dealing with situations that seriously impact the peace and security of Japan.

Abe’s comments nullify a 1999 statement by Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, who famously said that dispatching the SDF to the Middle East, the Indian Ocean and the other side of the globe for such missions was inconceivable.

Abe claimed that the government would work to provide measures that reduce the risk to SDF personnel as much as possible.

In regards to the exercise of  collective self-defense, or aiding a friendly nation under attack, Abe reiterated that mine-sweeping operations in the Strait of Hormuz in the Middle East would be the only possible exception where Japan could be allowed to use force in another nation’s territory.

  • Liars N. Fools

    Or the Japanese government can bring up each of these scenarios as they develop in real life, rather than engage in this rather obtuse game of abstraction. Abe Shinzo wants the flexibility to dance quickly to America’s tune. It would be far more prudent to see what the nature of the dance is before giving the okay to put Japanese forces hi harm’s way.

  • Sounds like Abe Sama wants s piece of that Middle East pie and so dose Mitsubishi Heavy Indistries.
    Word to the wise, the price of your soldier’s lives is higher than a few billion dollars.

    • troll_harder

      Wise words indeed… but it will sadly fall on deaf ears… It would be very naive to expect only logistical roles for the Japanese forces…

  • Steve van Dresser

    Maybe this will enable Japan to join in America’s next fiasco. Just think how helpful Japan could have been with America’s invasion of Iraq. We could have been a part of this still unfolding disaster.

  • Testerty

    So, Japan will offer free transport and supplies to foreign military waging wars that has nothing to do with Japan simply because they are allies. You think that is not provocative to the invaded victim?