Japan OKs security council amid tension
TOKYO - Reuters
Hawkish Prime Minister Abe hopes to centralize information gathering. AFP PhotoPrime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government approved legislation on June 7 to set up a national security council, moving to strengthen the premier’s grip on foreign policy in the face of North Korean missile threats and a territorial dispute with China.
The hawkish Abe has pursued the formation of Japan’s version of the White House’s National Security Council to centralize information gathering and speed up decision-making. The need for a centralized national security body has been highlighted by North Korea’s recent saber-rattling and a deadly January raid by militants on a natural gas plant in Algeria. Japan struggled to obtain information on the Algeria hostage crisis, where 10 Japanese nationals were among three dozen foreign workers killed during the four-day siege of the desert gas plant. In the East China Sea, a maritime territory dispute has escalated to the point where Beijing and Tokyo scramble fighter jets and patrol ships shadow each other, raising fear that miscalculation could lead to a broader clash.
Under the security council framework, the prime minister, chief cabinet secretary, foreign and defense ministers would meet regularly to hammer out strategy, while relevant ministers would be called together to respond to emergency situations.