Defense Agency chief: SDF are Japan's armed forces

Defense Agency Director General Nakatani Gen at a Lower House special committee on wartime legislation on May 16 insisted on the need to officially recognize the Japanese Self-Defense Forces as Japan's armed forces.

Nakatani stated this view in reply to a Liberal Democratic Party Dietmember who suggested that Japan "officially recognize the SDF as armed forces and consider a military penal code or a special court system such as a military court."

Although Article 76 of the Constitution stipulates that "No extraordinary tribunal shall be established, nor shall any organ or agency of the Executive be given final judicial power," the Defense Agency chief mentioned that he considers a court-martial system needs to be set up, stating, "The SDF needs to act based on international rules and domestic laws."

Asked if the SDF are armed forces or not, Nakatani replied, "If something that has an capability to counter a foreign invasion is called an armed force, the SDF can be that. I understand that the international community accepts the SDF as armed forces."

Nakatani also mentioned that the Defense Agency wants to study ways to send SDF personnel to guard Japanese diplomatic establishments abroad.

The Japanese government has so far explained that the SDF does not have war potential. The Nakatani remark conflicts with this government view and treats the Constitution in a very irresponsible way, Akahata criticized. (end)