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Gov't outlines bills for setting up U.S.-style security council


The Japanese government on Wednesday compiled an outline of bills for the setting up of an institution similar to the U.S. National Security Council, with the aim of strengthening the leadership role of the prime minister's office in security and foreign policy, government sources said.

The outline, which includes a plan to establish a head office for the body in the Cabinet Secretariat, will be presented Thursday at a meeting of an expert panel, which Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is also scheduled to attend, the sources said.

The government aims to submit related bills for launching the body during the current Diet session scheduled until June 26, they said.

Under the outline, the government would keep its existing organization that handles crisis management and open the office with several dozen members who would be in charge of coordination among government ministries and agencies, according to the sources.

The government-appointed panel of experts has been discussing the new organization since February, bearing in mind recent crisis management cases, including the Algerian hostage crisis in January and fears of a possible missile launch by North Korea.

The panel was set up in line with Abe's pledge to establish such a security council during campaigning for the general election in December.

Abe set up a similar panel during his previous stint as prime minister in 2006 but bills aimed at establishing the council were scrapped by Yasuo Fukuda, his successor as prime minister, in 2007, when there were slim prospects for them to be passed in the divided Diet, with the opposition camp in control of the House of Councillors.