More SDF Dispatches Abroad without Diet Approval Feared
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Tokyo, Dec. 27 (Jiji Press)--Fears are growing that Maritime Self-Defense Force troops will easily be sent abroad from now on without the government obtaining parliamentary consent.
On Friday, the cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gave the go-ahead for the dispatch of an MSDF destroyer and patrol aircraft to the Middle East to strengthen information-gathering to ensure Japanese commercial vessels' safe navigation. In the mission, deployed SDF members are to protect those ships when needed and may have to use weapons.
The government was supposed to introduce special legislation to the Diet, Japan's parliament, and have it enacted to materialize the dangerous mission.
But it instead decided to base the MSDF dispatch to the Gulf of Oman and the Gulf of Aden on an existing clause of the Defense Ministry establishment law giving the ministry discretion to conduct research and study necessary for carrying out its clerical work. The government, thus, has deprived the Diet of an opportunity to perform its checking function.
The clause has already allowed the government to freely use SDF troops at the defense minister's order and also provided legal grounds for their routine vigilance and surveillance activities in waters around Japan.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]