The Guardian 30 January, 2008
Japan: PM Fukuda calls
to deploy SDF abroad
Prime Minister Fukuda Yasuo in his policy speech delivered to the Diet (parliament) on made clear that his government will seek the enactment of a permanent law to allow it to deploy Self-Defence Forces (SDF) abroad at any time.
It was the first time a prime minister has called for the enactment of such a law in policy speeches. Declaring that Japan will play a role of as a "peace fostering nation", Fukuda stated that "We will proceed with the consideration of a so-called ‘general law’" in order to send the SDF abroad "expeditiously and effectively".
Concerning an adverse revision of the Constitution that the Liberal Democratic Party is seeking, he stated, "I strongly hope that sincere discussions will take place" and even called for Diet discussions "on the topic of any possible revision".
The prime minister also suggested that his government will raise the consumption tax rate by stating, "We must promptly realise a fundamental reform of the taxation system, including the consumption tax".
Fukuda insisted that he will "thoroughly" promote "integral reforms of government revenue and expenditure" that the Koizumi government initiated.
He made it clear that he will try to restore "fiscal health" by continuing to slash the amount of growth in the social welfare budget every year as well as to impose massive tax hikes.
Fukuda also vowed to implement an "economic growth strategy" serving the interests of large corporations in the name of creating "an economic society with vitality."
Commenting on Fukuda’s policy speech, Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo said, "The prime minister has proposed no measures to overcome the current political deadlock.
"Mr. Fukuda made clear that he will push ahead with two highly dangerous schemes that are paving the way for expanding the overseas dispatch of the SDF in violation of the Constitution and further destroying the people’s living conditions by increasing the consumption tax rate. We will promote discussions and struggles to block such moves", Shii said.
Pointing out that the LDP policies are facing a serious deadlock in issues such as employment, social welfare, and the dispatching of the SDF abroad, Shii said, "It is important to force the government and ruling bloc to dissolve the House of Representatives for a general election by calling for an end to the old policy framework in support of the US and Japanese business circles".