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HOME  > Past issues  > 2024 May 8 - 14  > Yamazoe opposes gov’t plan to establish ‘joint operations command’ in SDF
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2024 May 8 - 14 [POLITICS]

Yamazoe opposes gov’t plan to establish ‘joint operations command’ in SDF

May 9, 2024

Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Yamazoe Taku on May 8 said that the government’s plan to establish a “joint operations command” in the Self-Defense Forces is unacceptable as it aims to enable the SDF to conduct military operations jointly with U.S. forces across the entire Indo-Pacific region.

On this day, the House of Councilors began discussing a bill to establish the SDF’s new “joint operations command”, following the passage of the bill by the House of Representatives late last month. The new joint command to be set up in Ichigaya (Shinjuku Ward) in Tokyo will integrate operations of the three SDF branches (ground, maritime, and air).

At the House of Councilors plenary meeting, Yamazoe referred to media reports that the United States, with the planned creation of the new SDF “joint command” in mind, intends to strengthen the command function of the U.S. Forces Japan (USFJ), which is headquartered at the U.S. Yokota Air Base (Tokyo), by such means as transferring some authority to the USFJ from the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command in Hawaii.

Yamazoe said, “With the concentration of command functions of the Japanese and U.S. forces, Tokyo will become the hub for a ‘seamless integration’ between the two forces. This will put Tokyo at greater risk of being attacked.”

Yamazoe pointed out that successive governments in Diet discussions have claimed that the use of force by the SDF under foreign military command is “constitutionally impermissible” as it goes beyond the “minimum necessary for self-defense”. He went on to point out that if the SDF jointly acts with the U.S. military under the “closely coordinated” U.S. command and control, it may use force jointly with the U.S. military. He asked, “Can the government assert that the SDF’s use of force does not exceed the ‘minimum necessary’?”

Defense Minister Kihara Minoru in reply only said that there is no change in the government’s stance and that the SDF engages in its activities in compliance with the Constitution and domestic laws.
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