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HOME  > Past issues  > 2015 June 10 - 16  > During Gulf War, prime minister cited constitutional restrictions to reject US request for SDF dispatch
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2015 June 10 - 16 [POLITICS]

During Gulf War, prime minister cited constitutional restrictions to reject US request for SDF dispatch

June 16, 2015
Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Akamine Seiken at a Diet committee meeting revealed that during the Gulf Crisis the prime minister at that time declined a U.S. request to dispatch the Japan’s Self-Defense Forces to the Middle East by citing the government interpretation of the Constitution.

At a meeting of the House of Representatives Special Committee on the war legislation on June 15, Akamine presented an official record of telephone conversations between Japanese Prime Minister Kaifu Toshiki and U.S. President George H. W. Bush which the U.S. government declassified in 2012.

According to the record, on August 13, 1990 after Iraq invaded Kuwait, President Bush requested PM Kaifu to provide support for the multinational maritime forces. The president, in particular, asked the prime minister to dispatch the Maritime SDF for mine sweeping operations in the Persian Gulf.

Prime Minister Kaifu refused the U.S. request by referring to Article 9 of the Constitution and a Diet resolution banning the SDF overseas dispatch. He added that it is unthinkable for the SDF to join in military missions abroad. As a result, Japan did not dispatch SDF minesweepers until after the Gulf War ended in April 1991.

Akamine said that if the proposed war legislation is approved, the SDF will take part in multinational military operations in a way that was not allowed previously. He also said that the SDF will be deployed to anywhere in the world and engaged in dangerous mine-sweeping activities.
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