SDF observer participation in U.S. Forces multinational exercise is unconstitutional

Akahata on April 17 reported that the Defense Agency has decided to send Self-Defense Forces officials to take part in the U.S. Forces-led multinational Asia-Pacific exercise "Team Challenge," and criticized it for the unconstitutionality.

Akahata said that sending JSDF observers to such an exercise for regional conflicts will pave the way for Japan to exercise the right to collective defense, which the government sees as unconstitutional.

On April 16, the Defense Agency reportedly decided on the participation of officials from the Ground, Maritime, and Air Self-Defense Forces with the purpose of observing the exercises, in which the Philippines, Thailand, and Australia will take part along with the U.S. Forces.

Including peace-making operations in regional conflicts, the exercise will be made up of three bilateral exercises between the U.S. and the Philippines (April 27 to May 18), Australia (May 3 to 26), and Thailand (May 15 to 29). Participation by Singapore and Canada are also expected.

The JSDF observers will take part in the U.S.-Thailand exercise, the centerpiece of the multinational practices, observe map exercises using computer simulations, the multinational chair of command, and information. (end)