June 16, 2015
Lack of Japanese legislation could slow Soryu sale
A Soryu submarine. Soryu means "blue" or "green dragon". More Japanese legislation and public support are needed for the sale of an enlarged Soryu to Australia.
---Yuki Tatsumi for The Diplomat, has written an interesting article (June 16, 2015) indicating that Japanese Prime Minister Abe is having difficulty pushing through crucial alliance legislation. Implicitly this legislation is necessary to justify the sale of enlarged Soryus to Japan’s emerging ally Australia.
It appears that pushing the legislation through Japan’s Parliament (“Diet”) will not happen next month, as hoped, but maybe next year. The political hesitation is, in part, prompted by legal arguments that difficult constitutional change is necessary earlier than first thought. Also too many of the Japanese public remain hesitant about the Japanese military becoming more active as an alliance partner (regionally and further afield).
This complicates the Soryu sale because Abe has been painting the sale as an alliance cementing activity with Australia.
This political uncertainty in Japan makes it difficult for Australian selectors to choose the Soryu, or eliminate one of the contenders, early next year after the “competitive” evaluation process is completed. On a favourable note for Abbott a Soryu decision is better made AFTER the next Australian election, which may be as late as November 2016. Choice of the Soryu is likely to be politically unpopular in Australia as it is strongly assumed to mean fewer submarine building jobs for Australians.
Posted by Peter Coates