Japan is considering whether Self-Defense Forces troops should participate in a US-proposed coalition to protect strategic waters near the Strait of Hormuz, amid reports saying that the government is analyzing such a move.
Namely, Koichi Hagiuda, executive acting secretary-general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, highlighted the need to consider a response to the proposal. However, he noted that the current situation is not urgent enough to require the deployment of SDF troops to the Middle East.
In addition, Tetsuo Saito, secretary-general of Komeito, the junior coalition partner of the LDP, believes that Japan should consider how it can contribute by looking at the law on the fight against piracy.
On the other hand, Tetsuro Fukuyama, secretary-general of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, thinks that any dispatch would be impossible under current law.
[smlsubform prepend=”GET THE SAFETY4SEA IN YOUR INBOX!” showname=false emailtxt=”” emailholder=”Enter your email address” showsubmit=true submittxt=”Submit” jsthanks=false thankyou=”Thank you for subscribing to our mailing list”]
Moreover, Akira Koike, head of the secretariat of the Japanese Communist Party, and Hajime Yoshikawa, secretary-general of the Social Democratic Party, are also against the dispatch of SDF troops.
Now, according to local media, the Japanese government is facing a tough decision, as its decision could lead to a strong public backlash.
One possible option could be for the government could dispatch the SDF for maritime security operations, an action which would fall within the law. Namely, the SDF is allowed to protect Japanese ships, and ships transporting goods for Japan, while it cal also perform on-the-spot inspections of suspicious ships. However, the scope of such operations is limited and weapons can only be used for self-defense.
According to the law, the SDF can protect non-Japanese ships, but it only allows for action to be taken against pirates, and not threats from ships controlled by foreign governments.