Panel proposes making activities abroad main SDF mission

An advisory panel to Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro has called for making "international activities" the main Self-Defense Forces mission, a clear departure from the current definition that the primary SDF task is to "defend national land".

The proposal was set out in the panel's interim report on the discussion on national security published on July 27.

The Council on Security and Defense Capabilities, chaired by a Tokyo Electric Power Co. adviser, published the main points raised by council members that include the Toyota Motor Co. president, former Joint Staff Council chairman, and former Defense Agency administrative vice director general.

The report suggested that the present government defense policy of "maintaining the minimum defense capabilities that an independent country needs" should be reviewed because the need now is to achieve a drastic arms buildup.

The panel report also said that the Three Principles on Arms Export is "not reasonable" and called for a review of the present ban on Japan's arms export based on constitutional principles.

The council is expected to publish a final report in September to boost the government policy of revising the SDF law and the National Defense Program Outline. (end)

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