Government official says Japan can supply weapons to U.S. Forces

The Japanese defense chief has suggested that Japan may supply munitions to the U.S. forces under the contingency laws. This marks a major departure from the previous government view that such assistance needs to be carefully examined regarding constitutionality.

This was in answer to Japanese Communist Party representative Akamine Seiken during a Lower House committee meeting on May 12.

Defense Agency Director General Ishiba Shigeru said supplying the U.S. forces with munitions will be carried out "on a case-by-case basis" and "within constitutional limits".

In his question time on that day, Akamine was asking the government to explain what kind of support Japan will extend to the U.S. forces under the bill to deal with perceived threats or predicted armed attacks on Japan.

Akamine pointed out that one of the bills states that Japan would provide supplies, facilities, and labor to the U.S. forces but stops short of mentioning specific activities.

Foreign Minister Kawaguchi Yoriko said that the Japan-U.S. Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement (ACSA) may possibly be amended, but added, "We are not in a position to go into details."

Akamine said, "The contingency bills must not be put to a vote before the government gives further details of Japan's support for the U.S. forces."

The government in Diet sessions on the 1999 Law to "deal with situations in areas surrounding Japan" clearly defined Japan Self-Defense Forces' support for the U.S. forces. However, concerning the three contingency bills, the government has not given any details, saying that they will be made later as part of additional clauses to the war laws. (end)

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