Yamaguchi: Hold fast to principle of exclusive defense policy

December 19 , 2018

Yamaguchi met with the press after a meeting with Prime Minister Abe on Dec. 18Yamaguchi met with the press after a meeting with Prime Minister Abe on Dec. 18

On December 18, the government held a National Security Council and Cabinet meeting to approve the new National Defense Program Guidelines, which includes equipment procurement from fiscal 2019 to 2023. Among the key points of the guidelines and mid-term defense program is to allocate 27.47 trillion yen over the five-year term, along with fortifying defensive capabilities in outer space, cyberspace and electromagnetic spectrum as well as deploy the F-35 stealthy aircraft to succeed the aging F-15 fighter.

Following the meeting, Komeito Chief Representative Natsuo Yamaguchi spoke to the press after being briefed by the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Yamaguchi told reporters that he reiterated his party’s stand on staying true to Japan’s constitution and its defense-only mandate in his briefing with the prime minister. He also said he made it clear to Abe that a full explanation was vital in enlisting public understanding and in avoiding distrust or suspicion by other governments.

Yamaguchi cited the coalition government working team consisting of members from both the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito for its focus on two imperatives: first, to explain the defense allocation in readily understandable terms and second, to balance the funding with such big-ticket outlays as social security services and education despite the financial constraints. He added that Komeito had engaged in a meticulous review of the spending to ensure that the defense procurement remained entirely in line with Japan’s constitutional mandate.

Yamaguchi also believed that the Izumo-class warship will serve as a multi-functional vessel capable of not only monitoring maritime traffic of navies deployed by numerous countries in the Pacific, but also to act in lieu of large land-based airfields and as a supply and rescue ship in times of natural disasters. It was not, he reaffirmed, an attack aircraft carrier to be used for offensive military operations, and that only two would be deployed.