'Defense of Japan 2001' calls for study on right to collective self-defense

The Koizumi Cabinet on July 6 approved the Defense Agency's annual report "Defense of Japan 2001," which calls for a discussion on allowing Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense.

The report, submitted by Nakatani Gen, Defense Agency director general, is the first annual defense report under the Koizumi Cabinet.

On the issue of the right to collective self-defense, which Koizumi has repeatedly advocated in defiance of the constitutional ban, the report introduces the cabinet's statement that it "needs a study from various angles."

The annual report in a new column states that there are "constitutional arguments concerning the Defense Agency and the Self-Defense Forces." Referring to the arguments in the parliamentary Commissions on Constitution Research, the column says that those are arguments "whether or not it is appropriate to explicitly write in the Constitution that Japan is allowed to maintain military forces and/or the SDF." It also says there are "pros and cons over the revision of the Constitution to make it possible for Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense."

In his first policy speech in the Diet, Prime Minister Koizumi stated that he would push ahead with a study on wartime legislation. Instead of the term 'study,' which was included in recent DA report, it uses the phrase 'to deal with' the matter. The report stresses that the study of the basic view and framework of wartime legislation is being conducted by concerned ministries and agencies, centering around the Cabinet Office.

An item of the SDF's Rules of Engagements appeared in this year's report to show that the working for the RoE has started. (end)