This article explains Japanese legal challenges in rescuing its nationals abroad and analyzes the mechanisms that limit Japanese Self-Defense Force responses to potential crises. The scope of analysis encompasses Japan’s national security laws, defense policies, and engagement in bilateral and multilateral cooperation. It provides noncombatant evacuation operation case studies to explore collaboration between the rescuing State, the host State, and third parties.
The article outlines Japanese laws and policies regarding the Self Defense Force’s mandate to rescue Japanese nationals abroad. It focuses on details of current legislation that provide authority and limitations for the operation. It will also track the historical developments regarding this policy in Japan. It focuses on key players in the East Asian region in this context—Japan and the United States—to discuss the legal and operational challenges and the way forward to build international cooperation mechanisms. The article also discusses hypothetical scenarios involving crises in the Korean Peninsula and the Taiwan Strait.