The legal framework concerning Japan's physical contribution to international peace and security through the presence of its Self-Defense Forces abroad underwent ad hoc changes twice since the beginning of the Twenty-First Century. The first change was brought about by the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001 and the second was the result of the war in Iraq in 2003. In both cases, Japan enacted laws that specifically enabled the Self-Defense Forces to operate abroad: the Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law and the Law concerning the Special Measures on Humanitarian and Reconstruction Assistance in Iraq, respectively. The latter and most recent legislation, the Law concerning the Special Measures on Humanitarian and Reconstruction Assistance in Iraq, is the object of this note. As its name indicates, it is a very specific law concerning the situation in Iraq that resulted from its war with coalition forces in 2003. The legislation is valid for four years, unless this expiration date is modified by the Diet. In the short term, this law is of immediate importance to the foreign policy of Japan, because it provides the legal basis for Japanese activities regarding Iraq and the international community there. Through supporting reconstruction work in Iraq, the legislation concretely demonstrates Japan's political desire to actively participate in and tangibly contribute to the international effort to strengthen peace and security in the world. In addition, the law also has long-term impact. For though an ad hoc law, together with the Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law, it is likely to provide a basis for a more permanent and comprehensive law pertaining to the Self-Defense Forces and their overseas activities, a possibility that the present Government plans to explore.
The Japanese Law Concerning the Special Measures on Humanitarian and Reconstruction Assistance in Iraq: Translator's Introduction,
13 Pac. Rim L & Pol'y J.
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