WASHINGTON - The United States on Friday welcomed Japan’s enactment of new laws that ease restrictions on overseas activities of the Self-Defense Forces, including allowing them to help allies even if Japan is not directly attacked.
“We welcome Japan’s ongoing efforts to strengthen the alliance and play a more active role in regional and international security activities, as reflected in Japan’s new security legislation,” the State Department said in a statement.
The department commended the Japanese legislation for being in line with the Guidelines for U.S.-Japan Defense Cooperation, which the countries revised in April.
Japan has been committed to peace, democracy and the rule of law over the 70 years since the end of World War II and this record stands as “a model for all countries,” it said.
The Defense Department released a statement to the same effect.
The bipartisan leadership of the Senate’s Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees said in a joint statement the legislation “will contribute to international peace and security while strengthening the vital alliance between our two countries.”
“We welcome a larger role for Japan in regional and global security affairs,” the senators said.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling bloc passed the bills through the Diet despite growing public concerns that SDF activities allowed under the new laws, including their deployment through the exercise of the right to collective self-defense, may run contrary to the war-renouncing Constitution.