DA chief: 'Launching guided missiles has nothing to do with combat'

Defense Agency Director General Nakatani Gen has made a tricky statement
that if the U.S. launches guided missiles, it doesn't necessarily mean war
actions, and therefore Self-Defense Forces may supply U.S. warships in

He said this on October 16 in answer to Japanese Communist Party
representative Kijima Hideo at the Lower House special committee on a law
allowing SDF units to take part in U.S-led retaliatory wars.

Contrary to Nakatani's similar answer at the committee meeting on the
previous day, Legislative Bureau Director General Tsuno Osamu said,
"Generally speaking, launching missiles can be regarded as the start of or
part of 'war actions'." However, he suddenly changed this, saying that it is
allowable for SDF units to supply U.S. Forces vessels when they are not
launching missiles, viz. when they are not considered to be engaged in

Pointing to the government definition in the bill that 'combat' means
"killing or injuring persons or destroying properties," Kijima asked what
steps the SDF will take when a U.S. ship launches Tomahawk cruiser missiles
in their on-going attacks against Afghanistan.

Nakatani in answer said that if the launched missiles are guided
missiles, it is regarded as 'combat,' but if they are not, it doesn't
directly mean being engaged in "killing or injuring persons or destroying

Akahata on October 17 said that with the DA chief's remarks, the
government is being deceptive when insisting that SDF units can supply and
support U.S. Forces ships just launching guided missiles. (end)