What emergency to prepare for? Akahata on wartime legislation

Akahata's editorial of March 28 criticized the government and the Liberal Democratic Party for rushing into preparations for wartime legislation which completely goes against the world current toward peace. The full text of the editorial entitled, "What emergency to prepare for?" is as follows:

Following Prime Minister Mori Yoshiro's pledge to the U.S. president that Japan will consider wartime legislation, the government will shortly set up an interagency panel to promote such legislation. Chief Cabinet Secretary Fukuda Yasuo has said that the preparations must start without delay, although there are many aspects to study, suggesting that the work should be launched under the Mori Cabinet.

In his policy speech, P.M. Mori stressed the need for wartime legislation. In its latest convention, the Liberal Democratic Party adopted an action policy calling for necessary measures to be taken, including "legislation to deal with emergencies."

Is there any possibility of Japan being attacked?

Wartime legislation will be a set of laws enabling the government to expropriate the civil workforce, materials, and land, on the assumption that Japan has turned into a battlefield.

In 1978, the Fukuda Cabinet made a similar attempt. At the time, the "Soviet threat" doctrine was prevalent and the bill was proposed under the pretext of the need to "prepare Japan against an attack." As regards the probability of such an attack taking place, however, P.M. Fukuda admitted that it would be one in 10 trillion, which is almost unrealistic.

Prime Minister Mori in the Diet explained that legislation is necessary for allowing the Self-Defense Forces to secure the safety of the nation and the people, giving the impression that it is for dealing with aggression from outside.

Today, an armed invasion of Japan by another country is more hypothetical than ever. Then, what is the necessity for such legislation?

Stressing the need for wartime legislation as a measure to respond to emergencies which include various possibilities, the LDP National Defense Division in its recent proposal said that the War Laws on Measures to Deal with Situations in Areas Surrounding Japan, which is based on the Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation, is just a first step toward increased Japan-U.S. defense cooperation. This means that in their thinking the war laws alone are not sufficient for Japan to take part in a U.S. war, and that wartime legislation is necessary.

A report which U.S. bipartisan defense experts published last October said that the Japan-U.S. Guidelines are "not the ceiling," and urged Japan to establish the right of collective self-defense and to enact law for crisis management.

In the 1994 crisis related to North Korea's supposed nuclear threat, the U.S. Forces were at the brink of launching an attack against it.

Drawing lessons from that event, the U.S. has increased its demand on Japan in relation to U.S. contingencies in the Asia-Pacific region, that the U.S. must be allowed to use Japan's air and sea ports as its bases for transporting U.S. personnel and weapons, for which Japan must give the U.S. the right of priority, including permanent use of Japan's civil air and sea ports by U.S. aircraft and vessels.

An internal document submitted to the government in 1996 by the Self-Defense Forces Joint Staff Council gave details of such U.S. requests listing 1,059 items. Under wartime legislation Japan is obligated to meet U.S. demands in preparation for U.S. wars.

The Constitution of Japan, which was enacted based on a reflection of the tragic lessons of WWII, states that Japan renounces war, guarantees the freedoms of speech, assembly, and association, and supports local autonomy as one of its principles. No one has a right to take away the people's rights and properties for any reason whatsoever.

It is all the more impermissible to enact such a wartime law aimed at cooperating with U.S. wars.

Go along with the tide for peace

Recently, Asian countries have an established forum for dialogue with all regional member countries, aimed at getting regional disputes settled through peaceful talks. The tide for peace is growing stronger day by day.
The need now is for Japan to not prepare for wars, but work to develop the peace wave in Asia through increased dialogues and cooperation so as to prevent any war happening again.

Let's block the plan to enact a wartime law! Let's deal a blow to the coalition government of the Liberal Democratic, Komei and New Conservative Parties! (end)