Gov't eyes adding joint defense of PKO camps as SDF mission.
The government is considering revising Japan's peacekeeping cooperation law to authorize the Self-Defense Forces to defend shared encampments jointly with other countries' militaries, government sources said Sunday.
SDF personnel taking part in U.N. peacekeeping operations would also be newly tasked with guiding Japanese nationals in dangerous situations to safety, the source said, adding the government plans to maintain the current restrictions on use of weapons for both of the envisaged new missions.
The government of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda is taking into account growing calls for allowing SDF peacekeepers to join foreign forces if they find it necessary to defend the camp premises they share as part of ongoing PKO activities in South Sudan, the Golan Heights and Haiti, as well as in similar future missions, according to the sources.
The other mission of guiding Japanese nationals to safety would apply to situations in which those people are about to become embroiled in riots, they said. Such a mission would not include operations to rescue people taken captive by armed groups.
In both of the missions being considered under a revised law, SDF peacekeepers would be allowed to use minimum necessary arms to protect people and equipment under their control. Use of weapons, according to the government's interpretations, is deemed not to violate the Constitution's ban on the use of weapons overseas in such cases, the sources said.
Defense Minister Naoki Tanaka has said his ministry is considering submitting a bill to revise the PKO law to the current parliamentary session through June 21. But such legislation is likely to be blocked at the opposition-controlled House of Councillors.
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|Publication:||Japan Policy & Politics|
|Date:||Mar 26, 2012|
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