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Japanese 'NSC' scheduled to be launched next week

Publication Date : 28-11-2013


Japan's House of Councillors on Wednesday passed into law a bill to establish the Japanese version of the US National Security Council, which is expected to function as the headquarters for Japan’s foreign and security policies.

The council, comprising the prime minister, the chief Cabinet secretary and the foreign and defence ministers, is expected to be launched next week.

Prior to the vote at the upper house plenary session, the purpose of yet another bill, designed to strengthen the protection of specifically designated secrets and passed through the House of Representatives on Tuesday, was explained to the house members. It was followed by a question-and-answer session.

The government aims to have the secret protection bill passed into law at the current Diet session, as it considers the secrets protection bill inseparable from the bill to establish the national security council.

The bill to establish the national security council passed into law, with 213 members voting for and 18 against.

Those from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito, as well as those of opposition parties, including the Democratic Party of Japan, Your Party and Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party), approved the bill, while members of the Japanese Communist Party, the Social Democratic Party and the People’s Life Party voted against it.

The soon-to-be-launched organ is modelled on the US National Security Council. The Japanese version of the NSC will entail a meeting of the prime minister and three key Cabinet members about once every two weeks to discuss national security issues and lay down basic principles regarding how to deal with key problems.

The government expects the NSC will address such issues as North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats, relations with China and matters related to the nation’s territory.

The Cabinet Secretariat is scheduled to establish a national security bureau as the NSC executive office by the end of January. The new bureau will collate information gathered by each government office and provided by foreign governments. This information will be provided to the NSC as reference material for making decisions.

Former Administrative Vice Foreign Minister Shotaro Yachi, who currently is an adviser to the Cabinet Secretariat, has been unofficially named the first director general of the bureau.

The NSC will likely have about 60 personnel. About 50 officials will come from the Foreign Ministry, the Defence Ministry, the National Police Agency and some other government offices, combined with about 10 Self-Defence Forces members as military experts.

The NSC scheme will involve the appointment of a special adviser to the prime minister who will be in charge of national security issues. The position will likely be assumed by Yosuke Isozaki, an upper house member, who is currently an aide to the prime minister.

Major points of new law

—Prime minister, chief Cabinet secretary, foreign minister and defence minister will meet to adopt basic foreign and security policies.

—If necessary, these meetings will also be attended by five other ministers, including the land, infrastructure, transport and tourism minister. Gatherings might also include a meeting of Cabinet members responsible for dealing with a national emergency.

—A national security bureau comprising about 60 personnel will be established at the Cabinet Secretariat to serve as the NSC executive office.

—A special adviser to the prime minister who will be in charge of national security issues will be appointed as a permanent NSC member.

—Each ministry and agency will be required to supply the NSC with pertinent information.


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