Tokyo: The Japanese Defence Ministry has decided to extend a bilateral agreement with the US military on providing goods and services to each other to cooperate in international emergency relief operations, according to sources.
By submitting a bill for amending the Self-Defence Forces Law to an extraordinary Diet session this fall, the ministry hopes to allow the 1996 Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement with the United States to expand its fields of coverage.
Calls for the amendment have grown as another ACSA, reached with Australia in May, already covers international emergency relief activities, and as the SDF failed to respond to the US request to transport its military personnel to Haiti when a major earthquake hit the country in January on the grounds that there was no legal basis for doing so.
The agreement with Australia is aimed at achieving bilateral cooperation in UN peacekeeping operations as well as humanitarian assistance in major disasters.
The Japanese government is also trying to reach another ACSA with South Korea by starting talks with Seoul from this fall, the sources said yesterday.
The acquisition and cross-servicing agreements are aimed at providing food, water, fuel and other goods as well as services including transportation and repair between the militaries of contracting states.