In the wake of North Korea’s nuclear test, national security issues have become an even greater priority for Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, who is in the early stages of his second run as Prime Minister.
However, his responses to the DPRK are already under fire, especially from liberal circles, such as The Asahi Shimbun, one of the nation’s leading dailies. It criticized the Prime Minister’s latest plans as “unclear” at best.
The government plans to submit a bill that would create a National Security Council reminiscent of the United States. If passed, the council would “serve as the nation’s control tower for diplomatic and security policies.” This approach, however, is nothing new for Japan; during his first stint as Prime Minister, Abe attempted to get a similar bill passed. The Asahi Shimbun acknowledged the need for improved security but questioned the need for the proposed organization. There is already a Security Council of Japan in place, making the new bill’s utility debatable. According to Abe, the proposed council would be set apart by its information gathering and analysis functions. However, the editorial asserts that “developing a pool of highly skilled specialists in the field” would be more beneficial.
It’s a tense time for Japan and the surrounding region. If Abe wishes to better reassure his citizens that everything possible is being done to make Japan safer, he must do better than this. As the liberal Asahi Shimbun argues, a group of specialists could be far more efficient than another cog in Japan’s already massive government bureaucracy. Conversely, the more center-right Yomiuri Daily had a more hopeful view of the proposed council. However, they did stress the necessity for careful organization and planning. Either way, Abe’s administration has rough times ahead of them, making every step they take crucial to the nation’s future.