English language news outlets are reporting that Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide, in responding to a journalist's prompt, suggested today that the Abe government has the option of considering having "public officials" (komuin) deployed as a continous presence upon the Senkaku Islands. (Link - J)
What the news outlets are not explaining is that soldiers and sailors of the Self Defense Forces are, like the prime minister, judges, the policy secretaries of Diet members and Japanese employees of UNESCO working inside Japan (I have no idea why the last category gets special mention or consideration, but it does), "special employment national-level public officials" (tokubetsu shoku kokka komuin). (Link - J).
I think that that decoding this invitation to casuistry -- where a government spokesman can, in the aftermath of a garrisoning of the Senkakus, say, "But we told you we were considering permanent deployments of public officials to the islands!" -- would really help readers, listeners and viewers comprehend the threat of crisis implicit in Suga's airy and evasive suggestion.
For longtime readers, I am aware that this is not the first time I have shown irritation over the omission of crucial background about the legal status of SDF personnel. Ignosce mihi.
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