Japan Enacts Bill to Enable Foreigner-Only Transport by SDF
Tokyo, April 13 (Jiji Press)--The Diet, Japan's parliament, enacted a bill Wednesday to allow the Self-Defense Forces to transport only foreign nationals in the event of natural disasters and other emergencies overseas.
The bill to revise the SDF law cleared the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of the Diet, after the passage by the House of Representatives, the lower chamber, last month.
The Upper House approved the bill by a majority vote with support mainly from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, its coalition partner, Komeito, and the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan.
The foreign nationals chiefly targeted by the revised law are people working at Japanese diplomatic missions abroad and overseas offices of the Japan International Cooperation Agency and similar organizations.
Previously, Part 4 of Article 84 of the law stipulated that foreign nationals could travel on SDF-operated planes if these were dispatched to evacuate Japanese nationals, but it did not assume an SDF mission to transport only foreign nationals.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]