The outline of a package of security legislation planned by the Abe administration, agreed on last week by the Liberal Democratic Party and its junior coalition partner Komeito, fails to set clear restrictions on the scope of the Self-Defense Forces’ overseas missions and leaves much room for discretion on the part of the current administration. As such, it won’t dispel concerns that the SDF’s activities abroad could be expanded without limits, following the Abe Cabinet’s decision last year to reinterpret the war-renouncing Constitution to enable Japan to engage in collective self-defense and undertake joint military action with its allies.

The planned legislation is meant to implement the Cabinet’s decision last July, which marks a major change in Japan’s postwar defense posture. Still, its drafting appears to be proceeding according to the political interests of the parties involved, without sufficient public discussions on key questions.

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