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Discussion with LDP's Vice-President Masahiko Komura on security legislation Three new conditions on self-defense measures

July 1, 2014

In a cabinet decision on July 1, a resolution entitled "Development of Seamless Security Legislation to Ensure Japan's Survival and Protect its People" was adopted. The resolution was based on deliberations in a committee meeting of the ruling parties. We talked with Party Vice President Masahiko Komura, who chaired the meeting, about its significance.

Q: What is the significance of the cabinet decision?

Komura: The cabinet decision will allow the use of the right of collective self-defense up to a certain degree, which will serve as a considerable deterrent and will strengthen the alliance with the United States.

As chair, I proposed three new conditions on self-defense measures, and they were adopted.

These conditions impose considerable hurdles on the exercise of forces by requiring that there be a clear threat to the existence of Japan, as well as to fundamental rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness of the Japanese people. I believe with proper explanation, this is something that the Japanese people will understand.

Q: What was the most difficult issue in the committee meeting of the ruling parties?

Komura: We will be revising the guidelines for Japan-U.S. defense cooperation at the end of the year. This is the first revision in 17 years, and we needed to have a conclusion from the committee by the end of June at the latest.

Natsuo Yamaguchi and Kazuo Kitagawa, the Chief Representative and Vice Representative of the New Komeito, respectively, are both lawyers and experts in security, so it was relatively easy to gain their understanding. However, the New Komeito's leaders seem to have had a very hard time convincing other party members and supporters.

Q: What are the issues going forward?

Komura: I think there are many people out there who believe that all it takes is a cabinet decision to exercise the right of collective self-defense.

The cabinet decision is just the starting point in preparing government-initiated legislation. The right of collective self-defense can only be exercised if the legislation passes the Diet.

It is difficult to explain deterrence to the public. For example, it took several decades before the Self-Defense Forces obtained public understanding and support.

The relevant legislation will probably be submitted to next year's ordinary session of the Diet. We have a duty to explain our ideas and convince the Japanese people by then, and must do everything we can to ensure that happens.

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