From Liberal Japan:
Creation of Japanese National Security Agency on hold? Abe has been keen to form in Japan a Japanese version of the NSC. (Which would be a boon to conspiracy theorists everywhere and also give manga writers new ideas for interesting comic plots.) However, the bill for the creation of such an agency will have to wait probably until next April. Right now Abe has decided he must concentrate on having Japan’s unconstitutional support for American ships in the Indian Ocean renewed. Japan supports these ships by giving them all the fuel you can guzzle at cut throat if not free rates. (Probably 30% to 50% of all fuel comes from Japan.) This helps America not only nation-build in Afghanistan but also intimidate the hell out of Iran. The renewal for the Indian Ocean operation, which also includes policing the waters, comes up November 1st, but Abe will likely start dealing with the issue by the end of this month. As Abe has been intent on fueling nationalism in Japan, and playing up the North Korean threat, he has isolated Japan from Asia, and cannot afford to allow the alliance with America to weaken.
Matt provides an interesting take on this news.
We mustn’t forget that the Counter-Terrorism Special Measures Law was created to improve ties with the US. With the 1991 Gulf War lurking in their minds, Koizumi took Japan to the front of the queue and to provide aid to a US in need. The operation is logistical, and the US encourages it because it has put Japan into a productive frame of mind: continued operations. Both sides benefit, and Japan is doing no extra harm in being there.
By choosing to focus on extending the Special Measures Law, Abe is betting on stability rather than reform. The creation of a Japanese NSC, the difference to the current Security Council I am unsure about, is an interesting step and perhaps a necessary one for becoming a ‘normal’ country, but ultimately it is a matter of reform. Reform does not come cheap, nor easily, and it would be a more difficult fight than the extension (so I gather from the Japanese news article LJ cites).
I think Abe made the right call on this one.