Let the Constitution's Article 9 guide -- Akahata editorial, October 8, 2001
Asked to explain the constitutionality of the current bill to allow the
Japanese Self-Defense Forces to give military support to the U.S., Prime
Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro in the Diet said, "Japan is going to take part
in internationally coordinated efforts to combat terrorism." The remark can
be taken to suggest that measures to combat terrorism may not necessarily
comply with the Constitution.
Diplomatic efforts must be the answer
The proposed bill allows SDF troops to be sent into foreign territory to
support the U.S. military in such ways as supplying munitions, transporting
military supplies (including arms), repairing weapons, and giving medical
treatment to injured soldiers. It also allows SDF troops to use weapons to
counter enemy attacks.
These activities are exactly what the government described as "the use of
military force which is prohibited by the Constitution" during the
parliamentary discussion of the "bill on measures to deal with situations in
areas surrounding Japan." So they are unconstitutional.
That is why Prime Minister Koizumi had to say, "I can hardly answer
questions about how consistent or unequivocal we are. I have no clear-cut
answer to that."
Terrorism is a crime that involves mass murder of civilians.
The question is what Japan should do to eradicate terrorism.
Japan has a constitution which states that "the Japanese people forever
renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of
force as means of settling international disputes" and that "the right of
belligerency of the state will not be recognized" (Article 9).
Article 9 is a practical reinforcement of the UN Charter, which calls on
all nations to refrain from the threat or use of force against any country.
It is a manifestation of Japan's determination to contribute to efforts
to settle international disputes without resorting to military force. Japan
adopted this position based on reflections on past aggressions, which it
carried out in Asian countries under the pretext of "peace in the orient" or
"protection of Japanese nationals."
We know that after the Second World War, many international treaties have
been concluded to help solve international disputes without resorting to
military force. It is clear that the peace provisions of the Japanese
Constitution heralds the international order to be established in the 21st
It is clear that Japan can help establish international peace and
stability by carrying out the constitutional principle of peace, which we
hold with pride.
It is a good opportunity for us to let the Japanese Constitution serve as
a guide, as the whole world is looking for ways to eradicate terrorism.
Everyone wishes to see terrorism eradicated. To achieve this objective,
it is necessary to establish as much evidence as possible, determine who the
suspects are, and bring them to trial to face punishment.
In the present conditions, in which terrorist organizations form
international networks, increased cooperation between nations using
diplomatic means is essential for exposing and eradicating such networks.
A cycle of terrorism and retaliation will further produce victims.
This is why we call on the Japanese government to use the Constitution
for influencing the international community into promoting a non-military
to the present problem instead of rushing to support the U.S. Forces by
discarding the Constitution.
This is not the first time that Japan has tried to disregard the
constitutional principles of peace in order to join up with international
At the Gulf War a decade ago, the Japanese government tried to have the
Self-Defense Forces take part in the multinational forces, saying that SDF
participation in a UN force is constitutional, but failed to do so.
Such attempts have all failed because the people have exposed the
Now is the time for the people to join forces to demand the strict
implementation of the Constitution in order to foil the Koizumi Cabinet's
attempt to send the Self-Defense Forces abroad. (end)