US, Japan unveil new defence guidelines

Washington: US and Japan announced on Monday new guidelines for bilateral defence cooperation, allowing Japan’s self-defence forces to take on more ambitious global role that the Shinzo Abe administration has been seeking.

Under the new guidelines, revised for the first time since 1997, Japan will have the rights to exercise collective self-defence, therefore being able to defend other countries that may come under attack, said the US Defence Department in a press release. It also allows for increased regional and global cooperation in the US-Japanese alliance, Xinhua reported.

A joint statement of the New Guidelines for US-Japan Defence Cooperation was released after the US and Japanese foreign and defence ministers met in New York City Monday morning.

US welcomes and supports the ongoing efforts to develop the legislation, which is to reflect Japan’s policy of “Proactive Contributions to Peace” and its July 2014 cabinet decision, the statement said.

The Abe administration last year gave green light to the Self-Defence Forces (SDF) to exercise the collective defence, which allows for Japan’s involvement in the defence of its allies. Previously, Japan’s constitution allowed SDF to use force only if Japan itself was directly threatened.