TOKYO, JAPAN — With the amendments of Japan’s new law which is a legal framework needed for such patrols and surveillance.
A security legislation drawn up by the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe includes amendments to the SDF law that would allow the Japanese Self Defense Force to defend United States warships in the event of an emergency.
The U.S. Defense Department said Friday that it would “welcome” air and naval patrols by Japan over the South China Sea, where China is involved in territorial disputes with some Southeast Asian countries.
According to Japan Times: “Defense Minister Gen Nakatani and U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter agreed at a meeting in Tokyo on April 8 that the plan will reportedly be fleshed out in more detail when Japan and the US update their bilateral defense cooperation guidelines later this month. And will oppose any attempts to change the status quo by force.”
Nakatani said. That Japanese Self Defense Force will explore the possibility of working with the U.S. for a more active role in conducting air and sea patrol from East extending to the South China Sea.
Citing a Japanese government source, the report says that the Japan Self-Defense Forces and the United States Armed Forces aim to ensure the stability of sea lanes Japan needs for the importation of crude oil. The move is also allegedly targeted at pressuring China to back off from its aggressive stance in the region, where it is embroiled in territorial disputes with Vietnam and the Philippines.
With Japan and China divided over the Japan-administered Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, extending SDF activity to the South China Sea is likely to trigger a backlash from China, which claims the islands as Diaoyu. Taiwan claims the uninhabited islets as Tiaoyutai.