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    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reviews members of the Japan Self-Defense Force during the annual Self-Defense Forces Commencement of Air Review at Hyakuri Air Base, north of Tokyo.

    Japan Considers Easing Use of Troops Overseas

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    Tokyo’s plans to boost Japan’s military role in the world may crack the ruling coalition and expose the country to both external and internal criticizm.

    MOSCOW, December 28 (Sputnik) – Japan is mulling over a bill making it easier to deploy troops overseas, AFP reports.

    The proposed law, if passed, will allow Japan to more easily deploy its Self-Defense Forces (SDF) abroad and organize logistical support for Tokyo’s allies, including the United States. Currently, the deployment of Japanese troops is burdened with complicated legislation.

    After the recent reelection, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is likely to face no obstacles in changing the national military strategy, as his administration is supported by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) –  the party he presides over. However, “the LDP still needs to convince its junior coalition partner, Komeito, to support the plan, as Komeito remains reluctant to enact such a law,” The Japan Times notes, citing a government source.

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
    © AP Photo / Shizuo Kambayashi
    According to Kyodo News, the two ruling parties are to discuss the extent to which the SDF activities can be broadened.

    Nowadays, the Japanese legislation permits the SDF use to uphold US-conducted counterterrorism operations in Afghanistan and to provide humanitarian assistance in Iraq, The Japan Times conveys. But the US may consider its most important Pacific ally’s contribution insufficient, and therefore is pressuring Tokyo to enhance its military readiness, AFP suggests.

    A members of Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force takes part in the new year drill of the 1st Airborne Brigade at the Narashino Training Field in Chiba prefecture, Japan
    © East News / UPI Photo / eyevine
    A members of Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force takes part in the new year drill of the 1st Airborne Brigade at the Narashino Training Field in Chiba prefecture, Japan

    This pressure puts Japan between two fires, as neighboring countries, first and foremost China and North Korea, always feel suspicious of every military plan. Moreover, the increase of Tokyo’s military involvement worldwide is likely to come under public fire, as it contradicts the country’s constitution. Japan’s “Peace Constitution,” was adopted in 1947 and is known for Article Nine, which renounces war as “means of settling international disputes.” However, on July 1, 2014 Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet reinterpreted the article as allowing Japan to participate in “collective self-defense” and take military action to protect an attacked ally.

    Japan’s military doctrine maintains an exclusively defense-oriented policy, prohibits nuclear weapon development, ensures civilian control and observes security cooperation with the United States. The Self-Defense Forces have participated in peacekeeping operations and humanitarian missions in several regions, including Mozambique, the Golan Heights, Cambodia, Iraq and Indonesia.

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    Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK), peacekeeping mission, nuclear non-proliferation, counterterrorism, humanitarian aid, constitution, military cooperation, Komeito, Japanese Self Defense Force (JSDF), Liberal Democratic Party, Shinzo Abe, Afghanistan, China, Japan, Iraq, United States, Mozambique, Golan Heights, Cambodia, Indonesia
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