Amended PKO Law will help SDF to intervene in world's disputes -- Akahata
editorial, December 5, 2001
The Koizumi Cabinet intends to adversely revise the PKO Law to enable
Japan's Self-Defense Forces to use force in the name of United Nations peace
keeping operations (PKO). The law, if revised, will allow the SDF to take
part in U.N. peace keeping forces (PKF) and use weapons to defend military
personnel of other countries.
Military can't contribute to peace
A peace keeping force will consist of armed infantry units which will
engage in military activities such as monitoring cease-fires, disengaging
forces, disarming forces, and maintaining order.
The SDF's participation in these activities means resorting to the threat
or use of force, which is exactly what the Japanese Constitution prohibits.
When the government railroaded through the PKO Law in 1992, the
government was unable to defy the criticism that the PKO law is
unconstitutional. As a result, the government had to "freeze" Japan's
participation in the PKF and write in the five principles for Japan's
participation in PKO. The five principles include an SDF withdrawal from PKO
when any of the conditions of a cease fire agreement, host country's
agreement, and neutrality fails to be achieved, and restricting the use of
weapons to when there is the need to protect the life and body of members.
The amendment bill, if enacted, will "lift the freeze on" Japan's
participation in PKF, and undermine part of the five PKO principles by
allowing members to use force to protect the life and body of those who come
under their control.
This is the same argument that the Koizumi Cabinet used to railroad
through a bill to allow the SDF to take part in the U.S.-led retaliatory war
under the cover of "anti-terrorism."
The Koizumi Cabinet flagrantly violated the Constitution by taking part
in the ongoing war; in the same logic, now it wants to go further by
allowing the SDF to operate in any war or any regional conflict in the
The law for supporting the U.S. forces is a law effective only for a
certain period, as its aim is to deal with the simultaneous terrorist attack
against the United States. By contrast, the bill for adverse revision of the
PKO Law is more sinister in that the SDF would go abroad to intervene in a
regional conflict under a U.N. flag.
The basic principle of PKO is that force can be used to secure a cease
fire agreement, neutrality, and self-defense. There have been many cases,
however, that a cease-fire agreement is broken, followed by a resurgence of
armed conflict in which PKF units are attacked and use force in return. A
recent U.N. document acknowledges the use of force not just in response but
to the extent capable of silencing the armed forces which attacked U.N.
To achieve the aim of sending the SDF to take part in such military
activities, the Koizumi Cabinet is not concealing its intention to adversely
revise the PKO Law and undermine the five PKO principles.
What we must always bear in mind is why Japan has a constitution that
declares that Japan does not use threat or force.
This is because Japan renounced war based on reflections on the mistake
it made in killing and injuring people of other countries in its war of
aggression. If Japan now says that it may kill and injure people of other
countries for the sake of the international community, Japan will only lose
the trust of the international community. The international community will
regard Japan as reneging on its postwar pledge and as a country that is
incapable of keeping the promise avowed in the Constitution.
The U.N. Charter acknowledges that member countries cooperate with the
United Nations in accordance with their own constitutions.
Even the Japanese government has the perception that non-military PKO
activities such as monitoring elections, giving aid to refugees, and medical
and food aid have been increasing. There is a vast scope for Japan's
contribution without having to set foot onto unconstitutional military
Japan on peace course
A non-military path toward peace is the course the world needs.
Japan with its peace Constitution, a pride in the world, would be the
best to work at the head of a team to make the 21st century one of peace;
there is no greater contribution to the international community.
In contrast, the Koizumi Cabinet and its political parties will drag
Japan into the opposite course. (end)