Stop enacting new law to put SDF units in combat situations abroad

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo in parliament on October 2
urged the government to immediately stop working on a new law aimed at
sending Self-Defense Force units abroad, saying that the legislation runs
counter to the Constitution and international law.

The three ruling parties (Liberal Democratic, Komei, and New Conservative
parties) on the same day approved a government outline of two bills to be
submitted to the Diet. One is a law that, if enacted, will enable the
Self-Defense Forces to assist a U.S.-led operation against terrorism, and
the other is an amendment to the Self-Defense Forces Law allowing the SDF to
provide U.S. military bases in Japan with security.

The ruling parties say that a two-year time-limit will be imposed on the
new law, but that it can be extended for another two years if the Diet
concludes it necessary to do so. Thus, it will in fact be bound by no
time-limits. The measure will also ease restrictions on the use of weapons
by SDF personnel.

SDF units may operate not only on the high seas but in territories of
other countries if those governments agree to accept them.

The law completely overrides restrictions under the 1999 law on "measures
to deal with situations in areas surrounding Japan." With this, SDF units in
support of U.S. Forces will be sent abroad without restrictions.

Such a law is unacceptable, Shii said. He pointed out that it is aimed at
giving Japan the green light for SDF participation in a U.S.-led military
retaliation which is not justifiable under international law.

He also made clear that the proposed war law goes against Article 9 of
the Constitution of Japan.

If the Self-Defense Forces carry out logistical support for the U.S.
Forces, such as medical, transport, support, and other activities, they will
be regarded as participation in the use of force under international law.
"The enemy will regard SDF units as targets of attacks as well," Shii said.

By replacing the term "rear area support" with "logistics," the
government argues that such SDF activities will be constitutional. But,
there is no marker in the battlefield that separates the front line from the
rear area. Also, it is ridiculous to make such definitions in coping with

Referring to Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro's statement in the United
States that "this time, SDF units may have to go into dangerous sites," Shii

"In the parliamentary discussions of the 1997 Law on the New Guidelines
for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation, the government explained that there is
no possibility for the SDF to use force unless SDF units are deployed in
dangerous areas. Such a deception is no longer tenable to justify the new
law." (end)