The government is eyeing the Self-Defense Forces' participation in joint drills with police and the coast guard to prepare for possible terrorist attacks on nuclear power plants, Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said Wednesday.
While police and the coast guard are in charge of security at nuclear plants, there have been growing calls since the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi complex triggered by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami for Japan to boost its preparedness for potential terrorist attacks.
Under the SDF law, the prime minister can issue an order to mobilize the SDF in cases that cannot be handled by police and the coast guard. The envisioned joint exercises will be based on this clause.
Onodera told reporters in Toyama Prefecture that he will consider the SDF's participation if they can play a role in cooperation with police and the coast guard, while declining to elaborate when the exercises would take place.