[EDITORIALS]Japan's Rush to Battle AlarmingJapan is readying a move to send its Self-Defense Force overseas as the retaliation by the United States draws near. Five vessels of the Japanese Coastal Guard, including a warship, already have sailed from Yokosuka accompanying the U.S. aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. Japan is also considering sending airborne warning and control system aircraft. Reportedly, other aircrafts are planned to be dispatched to rescue refugees. The Japanese government plans to pass a special law and an amendment of the Self-Defense Force law within a couple of days through an extra session of Japanese parliament to resolve legal restraints involved with sending the Self-Defense Force overseas. Though the Japanese government said it would send the troops to support rear military operations, including gathering information and transporting military goods in non-battling areas, it gives us the suspicion that Japan is in more of a hurry than would seem necessary.
Sending the Self-Defense Force overseas is not unprecedented. Japan has already dispatched the Self-Defense Force soldiers in accordance with the UN Peacekeeping Operation Cooperation Law, which was passed in 1992, after turns and twists. Nevertheless, all the previous foreign operations were limited to neutral activities, such as supporting peacekeeping operations in disputed areas. However, this time is different. According to the reports by Japanese newspapers and television stations, the draft of the special law contains clauses that allow the force to transport arms and ammunitions and use weapons for self-protection. The special law enables the Self-Defense Force to expand the scope of the operation, if there is permission from the country, leaping over the boundary of a circumference situation law that limits its operation to rear support for the U.S. Army.
The sending of the force has a high likelihood of becoming a precedent case: Japan can directly participate in a war through the Self-Defense Force for the first time since the Pacific War. The Japanese government should acknowledge the dispatch of troops overseas as exceptional measures and make sure it does not make the dispatch of the force a precedent case.