SDF dispatch bill bulldozed through Upper House

The controversial bill to allow the Self-Defense Forces abroad to take
part in the U.S. war on terrorism was enacted on October 29 amidst a global
call for an end to the bogged down U.S.-led military strikes on Afghanistan.

The three ruling parties (Liberal Democratic, Komei, and New Conservative
parties) used their majority on October 29 to railroad through the bill in
the House of Councilors. The Japanese Communist, Social Democratic, Liberal,
and Democratic parties voted against.

Yoshikawa Haruko took the rostrum and spoke on behalf of the JCP against
the bill. She protested against the undemocratic parliamentary steering by
the government which railroaded through such a grave bill, one of the most
important bills in postwar Japan, after only a 4-day discussion in the Upper

She pointed out that the bill is aimed at allowing SDF units to take part
in U.S.-led military operations by giving a carte blanche to the U.S.
Contrary to Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro's denial, for Japan's SDF to
carry out rear-area support means nothing other than committing the use of
force, she said.

Now that the government arguments that the SDF will neither use force nor
be sent to combat zones have completely been refuted, the bill must be
withdrawn, insisted the JCP lawmaker.

Another bill to revise the SDF Law, aimed at allowing SDF units to guard
U.S. military bases in Japan and also strengthening penal regulations on
defending "defense-related secrets" was adopted by the majority votes of the
ruling parties and the DPJ.

Members of the Joint Action Center against Terrorism, Retaliatory War and
Sending SDF Abroad held an urgent meeting in the Diet Building to protest
against the arbitrary enactment of the bill. (end)