Even Ruling Bloc Members Question Abe's SDF Recruitment Remarks

Politics

Tokyo, Feb. 14 (Jiji Press)--Not only opposition camp members but also lawmakers in the ruling coalition have questioned the appropriateness of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's remarks alleging noncooperation by local governments in recruiting Self-Defense Forces personnel and linking the recruitment difficulties and the necessity of revising the Japanese Constitution.

"I doubt that it is appropriate" to directly connect the recruitment difficulties and constitutional revision "in the context of newly stipulating the existence of the SDF in Article 9," the war-renouncing clause of the supreme law, Kazuo Kitagawa, chairman of the constitution research council of Komeito, the coalition partner of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, told a press conference on Thursday.

If municipalities are uncooperative, "measures to facilitate their cooperation, including amendment of relevant laws, should be considered," he added.

The recruitment of SDF members "has nothing to do with the Constitution," former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba, who challenged Abe in the LDP leadership election last year, said at a meeting of his party faction.

"Provincial cooperation offices (of the SDF) are making utmost efforts to develop cooperative ties with local governments," Ishiba pointed out.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press