Proposed PKO bill prohibits police action
August 20 , 2015
On Wednesday, August 19, during a hearing held at the Special Committee on Legislation for the Peace and Security of Japan and the International Community, Komeito House of Councillors member Yoshihiro Kawano raised questions on issues regarding the Japanese government’s proposed revisions to the existing UN Peace Keeping Operation (PKO) law.
The amended law will enable Japan’s Self-Defense Forces (SDF) to engage in security activities in order to protect the lives of local noncombatants in a conflict zone. The SDF will be limited exclusively to surveillance, patrol, checkpoint and defensive operations, as well as to garrisoning.
Calling for the revisions to be limited to what is actionable under Article 9 of the Constitution, Kawano asked if police action would be included among the measures the SDF can undertake. He also asked what weapons will be authorized for use in security activities and the rules of their engagement.
Hirotaka Ishikawa, parliamentary secretary for the Ministry of Defense and a member of Komeito, said the bill excluded police actions and other law enforcement activities. The use of force, he added, would be allowed only under such compelling situations as self-defense or during emergency evacuations to save lives and assets, as well as to oppose actions that undermine PKO activities.