Confusing government statements reveal danger of all-inclusive war legislation -- Akahata editorial, May 12 (excerpts)

As soon as the discussion on bills for contingency legislation began in parliament, confusing and incoherent government statements threw the dangerous contents of the bills into stark relief.

The main bill to respond to armed attacks assumes three cases: outbreak of an attack, the perceived threat of an attack, and a predicted attack. However, the bill's provisions don't clearly differentiate the three cases.

Asked whether use of force or deployment of troops in response to an armed attack is applicable to a "threat" case, the chief cabinet secretary changed his answers more than twice.

Low hurdles to use of force

Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro said that there will be no need to use force at the stage of a perceived threat or a predicted attack. To the contrary, the text of provisions enable the law, if enacted, to be invoked if the government acknowledges there is a threat of an attack or an armed attack is predicted. Here lies the extraordinary danger of the bill.

In relation to the Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law, if a country under U.S. military attacks regards as its enemy Japan's Self-Defense Forces operating in support of the U.S. forces in the Indian Ocean based on the anti-terrorism law, the Japanese government may recognize the situation as predicting an armed attack and invoke the contingency laws.

The Law on Measures to Deal with Situations in Areas Surrounding Japan technically prohibits the SDF from using force. If the contingency laws are invoked on the grounds that armed attacks are imminent against SDF ships supporting U.S. forces, it follows that the SDF will be allowed to use force.

In fact, asked when do the SDF use force in reply to attacks, the chief cabinet secretary said that such an action is possible not only when actual damage has been caused but when an armed attack has started.

The discussion has clearly shown that the contingency laws will help Japan to take part in U.S. wars by substantially lowering the hurdles for the SDF to use force to facilitate U.S. wars.

The chief cabinet secretary made another serious remark that external armed attacks which call for contingency laws to be invoked include one against Japan's territory as well as one against SDF operating in the territory of other countries. Also, Japanese embassies and legations abroad will be included, depending on circumstances.

War and restrictions on human rights

To a question as to how anti-war rallies and demonstrations will be dealt with under the legislation, the chief cabinet secretary stressed that freedom of assembly and the press will be secured unless they are against public welfare.

The government is of the position that it stands to reason for the government to restrict people's freedom and rights in the name of public welfare. This is the course which Japan took to force the people into WW II. (end)