Defense agency panel calls for readiness in line with U.S. preemptive attack strategy

A Defense Agency panel has compiled a report calling for a shift in Japan's Self-Defense Forces' main duty from one of deterring invasion to participating in overseas military activities on grounds that the task now is to deal with threats from terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction while pointing out that invasion of Japan is very unlikely.

This is expected to be adopted by the new "National Defense Program Outline" that is soon to be approved by the Koizumi Cabinet.

The Agency's semi-official newspaper Asagumo on December 12 reported that the Agency's panel on national defense proposed that in order to respond to these threats, the SDF should take on roles in overseas military activities in the name of international peace and stability.

It also emphasized the need for appropriate role sharing between Japan and the United States, and the SDF be capable of supporting the U.S. preemptive attack strategy.

The panel proposed that establishing a quick response setup will enable the Ground, Maritime, and Air SDF to be deployed abroad within 30 days after a U.S. Security Council resolution.

Since September 21, 2001, the panel has discussed the future structure of the SDF. It consists of the minister of state for defense, senior vice minister for defense, parliamentary secretary for defense, administrative vice minister, directors general of bureaus, SDF Joint Staff Council chairman, and land-sea-air chiefs of staff. (end)

Copyright (c) Japan Press Service Co., Ltd. All right reserved.