Civilians have control over Japanese military: Minister

Tokyo, Feb 23 (INAS) Japanese Defence Minister General Nakatani on Tuesday said the country’s civilians still have control over the Self-Defence Force.

He downplayed the report that senior officials in the SDF demand a bigger role than the civilians in drafting the next three-year overall operation plan, the Japan Times reported.

Nakatani said that both the civilians and officials were still deciding who will take part in drafting the plan, which will reflect the new security laws taking effect in March. These will expand the SDF’s overseas role.

Nakatani rejected the notion that the Joint Staff will have the final authority.

“The basic policy will be drafted with the assistance of both civilian and uniformed defence officials,” said Nakatani, adding that “ultimately I will be fully in charge of making decisions.”

His comments were in response to a report that the Joint Staff wants to have a bigger role in drafting the defence ministry’s basic policy for the overall operation plan.

The law outlining the role of the defence ministry was revised last year, stripping civilian bureaucrats of their authority over uniformed SDF officers and placing them on an equal footing.

Following the revision, the defence ministry’s operational policy bureau, which drafted basic policy, was abolished.

Its mission was partially split between the Joint Staff and the ministry’s Defence Policy Bureau.

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