The Abe administration is pushing to substantially expand the scope of Self-Defense Forces’ overseas missions in talks with ruling coalition parties on a package of security legislation designed to implement a decision that his Cabinet made last July. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe repeatedly emphasizes that Japan needs to “be able to respond seamlessly to all possible situations” in providing support for other forces involved in international conflicts. But that could remove key restrictions placed on the SDF’s activities abroad.

In the talks with Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner Komeito, the administration has proposed eliminating the geographical concept in the 1999 law on Japan’s logistical support for the U.S. military in emergencies in areas surrounding the country. While the law, which effectively assumed Japan-U.S. cooperation during a possible conflict in and around the Korean Peninsula, does not specify the geographical boundaries of the SDF activities, then Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi told the Diet that the government does not have in mind an SDF dispatch to the Middle East or the Indian Ocean.

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