Attack on SDF operating in foreign territory will be 'contingency'

The Japanese government says that the proposed contingency laws, which will force the whole nation into cooperating with wars, can be invoked when the Self-Defense Forces' units operating outside Japanese territory came under what is believed to be a planned and organized attack.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Fukuda Yasuo stated this view at the House of Representatives Special Committee on Contingency Legislation meeting on May 8 in answer to Kijima Hideo of the Japanese Communist Party.

It is the first time that the government stated that an attack on SDF units operating in foreign territory will be regarded as an "armed attack" to which Japan can respond by invoking the contingency laws.

Although Japanese Self-Defense Forces are barred from engaging in military actions abroad, they are now operating abroad under the law allowing the SDF to go abroad in support of United Nations peacekeeping operations or the Antiterrorism Special Measures Law.

The government has so far explained that an attack on SDF ships in the high seas, including the Indian Ocean, will be considered to be an "armed attack."

Fukuda also admitted that an attack on Foreign Ministry offices abroad "under certain circumstances" will be regarded as an "armed attack."

Asked by Kijima if the definition of the term "armed attack" in the bill to respond to armed attacks includes "perceived threats of armed attacks," Fukuda answered, "No." But asked again by Kijima, Fukuda changed his explanation and restated that threats of armed attacks will be included. Fukuda's statement clearly contradicted what Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro had claimed the day before.

Fukuda said that "armed attacks" referred to in the bill do not include those at the stage of "perceived threats" but when "armed attacks" are referred to in connection with "troop deployments and other specific operations," they will include such threats or predictable attacks.

Kijima exclaimed how defective the "contingency laws" are, pointing out that they can be invoked based only on the government's wishful thinking. (end)