Japan puts all of its security options on the table

PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 May, 2014, 5:08am
UPDATED : Monday, 26 May, 2014, 7:20pm
 

The Japanese government will present 15 scenarios - including eight that touch on the right of collective self-defence - to a ruling party panel tasked with considering a revision of the legal framework for national security.

The panel, chaired by Liberal Democratic Party vice-president Masahiko Komura, is part of the ongoing discussion among the LDP and its coalition partner New Komeito over security issues, including the possibility of revising the constitutional interpretation of exercising the right to collective self-defence.

The eight scenarios related to the right of collective self-defence include protecting US ships carrying Japanese citizens and clearing mines from sea lanes.

Leaving out two items related to sea lanes and counting only scenarios that involve allowing the right of collective self-defence to be exercised to the minimum extent necessary for self-defence - the "limited approval theory" - leaves six scenarios that are all related to activities in areas surrounding Japan.

The scenarios are separated into three areas: dealing with infringements that do not reach the level of an armed attack; participating in international activities such as UN peacekeeping efforts; and activities that could fall under "exercising armed force".

The first area of so-called grey-zone incidents comprises three items, including the seizure of remote islands.

The second area involving international co-operation comprises four items, including allowing the Self-Defence Forces to perform rescues and provide protection while on UN peacekeeping missions.

All eight items in the third area are activities that could be interpreted as exercising the right to collective self-defence.

Four of these scenarios involve protecting US ships - when US ships carrying Japanese citizens are under attack, are on alert for ballistic missile launches or are operating near Japan after the US mainland is attacked.

The remaining items include firing on missiles aimed at the United States that cross Japanese airspace, forcibly stopping and inspecting ships attempting to supply weapons to aggressor nations and participating in international minesweeping efforts before ceasefire agreements.

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