TOKYO -- Japan's ruling coalition has agreed to require advance parliamentary approval for providing logistical support to foreign militaries under new security legislation, resolving a major sticking point and moving closer to wrapping up the debate.
The Liberal Democratic Party and junior coalition partner Komeito have been working on legislation based on a framework adopted in March. They have already agreed to revise existing laws to reflect a new interpretation of the constitution allowing the use of force to defend attacked allies.
The LDP and Komeito also intend to change the law on peacekeeping operations to let the Self-Defense Forces provide humanitarian assistance outside the United Nations framework, as well as to pass legislation allowing logistical support to foreign militaries taking part in international operations.
The remaining stumbling block was whether to require advance approval to ensure that SDF deployments are not unilaterally expanded at the government's discretion and to prevent entanglement in conflicts.
The matter was particularly contentious regarding logistical support. The original framework agreed on in March called for advance approval as a basic rule. But a proposal emerged afterward that would let the government seek retroactive approval instead in emergencies -- a measure Komeito opposed.
In light of Komeito's objections, the final coalition proposal will make logistical support to foreign militaries subject to advance approval in all cases. Rules will also be put in place to encourage speedy decisions. The lower house will likely need to vote within seven days after the request is made, and the upper house within seven days after that.
The proposal is also expected to include measures to ensure continued input from the legislature, requiring periodic re-approval for SDF operations that last beyond a certain threshold.
The document will be presented Tuesday, and the parties plan to reach broad agreement at an April 27 meeting. If all goes well, the legislation will receive cabinet approval around mid-May and will be submitted to the Diet. To ensure sufficient time for debate, the government and ruling coalition are planning to extend the current Diet session, now scheduled to end June 24, until early August.