| The Japanese government is revising the U.S.-Japan defense guidelines to enable Tokyo to supply weapons and ammunition to the U.S. military and provide aerial refueling in the event of war on the Korean Peninsula, the Yomiuri Shimbun said on Wednesday.
The Japanese newspaper says that Tokyo has decided to include these provisions in the interim report on revision of the guidelines that will be announced next month, and is conducting last-minute coordination with Washington. If the guidelines are finalized and revised at year뭩 end, Japan will provide direct combat assistance to U.S. troops that will maneuver from Okinawa and elsewhere in the event of war on the Korean Peninsula. However, if the Japanese Self Defense Force is to provide assistance to the U.S. troops on the Korean Peninsula, it should win prior consent from the South Korean government.
According to Japan뭩 law on situations in neighboring areas under the current guidelines, the Japanese government is not allowed to supply ammunition and other assistances to the U.S. military, and is allowed to only provide on a limited basis water, food and beverage, and fuel within the Japanese territory. Japan has also decided to significantly expand the geographical scope in which it can provide assistance to the U.S. military by amending the guidelines. Currently, Japan can only provide assistance to the U.S. military in rear areas where combat does not take place, but the planned revision to the guidelines calls for Tokyo providing assistance to the U.S. troops also in areas where future combat is expected to occur.
If the guidelines are amended, synchronization of operations between the U.S. military and the Japanese Self Defense Force will likely accelerate in areas of international conflicts. Tokyo aims to be assured of U.S. military interventions in the Senkaku Islands (called Diaoyudao in China), over which it is in territorial dispute with China, and other such areas. The U.S.-Japan guidelines are rules defining the roles of the U.S. military and Japan뭩 Self Defense Force in the event of armed conflict, which were initially set in 1978 to prepare for the former Soviet Union뭩 possible invasion into Japan. The U.S. and Japan are to amend the guidelines by year뭩 end to strengthen U.S. and Japan military cooperation by reflecting China뭩 expansion and Japan뭩 exercising of collective self-defense right.