Japan launches National Security Council

Japan’s government has launched its version of the US National Security Council.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe convened the council’s first meeting on Wednesday at his official residence in Tokyo.

Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga attended the meeting.

They discussed issues such as Japan’s security strategy to be compiled this month and China’s unilaterally established air defense identification zone over the East China Sea. They also exchanged views on the possible downfall of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s uncle Jang Song Thaek.

Suga told reporters before the meeting that it’s important for key ministers to meet about once every two weeks to set basic policy on diplomacy, defense and national security. He added that the government expects the council to take charge of such policy making.

The council’s core decision-making panel consists of the prime minster, the foreign and defense ministers, and the chief cabinet secretary.

The government plans to launch a 60-member administrative office for the council next month.

Legislation to establish the council was enacted last week.