A law allowing Japan to go to war -- Akahata editorial, May 22

The Koizumi Cabinet decided to extend another six months the mission of Self-Defense Forces units in the Indian Ocean, which have been sent under the Antiterrorism Special Measures Law to take part in the U.S. Forces' attack on Afghanistan.

Although the war of retaliation has turned out to be ineffective in capturing the suspects of the 9/11 terrorist attacks or getting rid of terrorist groups, the U.S. refused to stop attacking Afghanistan; it has even declared an expansion of targets of military attacks to Iraq, Iran, and North Korea, calling them an "axis of evil."

With the SDF standing in the Indian Ocean for operations with the U.S. Forces, the increasing danger is that the SDF will have to take part in U.S. attacks on Iraq or other nations.

Increasing danger of use of force

Note that the cabinet took this decision when the major issue in the Diet discussion on the contingency legislation is the real danger that the SDF deployed in the Indian Ocean will take part in U.S. attacks on Iraq and that the Law to Respond to Armed Attack would be invoked.

The chief cabinet secretary stated that "armed attacks," which will cause the government to invoke the contingency laws, will include attacks on the SDF operating in foreign territories.

If an SDF ship supporting the U.S. forces outside Japan is attacked, the government will regard it as if "Japan is attacked" and use force to counterattack, even though Japan is not under attack.

The contingency legislation will allow Japan to use force not only when there is a "threat" of an armed attack, but also when an armed attack is "predicted."

In the bills, the term "armed attack" that will invoke the laws assumes three cases: an outbreak of an armed attack on Japan, a "perceived threat" of an armed attack, and a "predicted" armed attack. In order to "end these three situations," the bills will require the SDF to use armed force.

No express provision or article in the bills prohibits the use of force when an armed attack is just "predicted" and there is just a "threat" of an armed attack. The use of force will be unrestricted under the bills.

While saying that "the use of force is not required when a foreign attack is only predicted," the chief cabinet secretary stated that the concept of "necessary use of force" includes a "predicted" event or a "perceived threat" of such event.

The chief cabinet secretary also stated that the new legislation will allow the SDF to use force as it is necessary "for repelling armed attacks," and will enable Japan to provide supplies, facilities, and assistance to the U.S. forces even "when the U.S. forces take preparatory actions before an armed attack breaks out." His statement amounts to what the SDF will back up is U.S. wars, which may take place even when the situation is "predicted" or there is a "perceived threat."

Under "the Law on Measures to Deal with Situations in Areas Surrounding Japan," the SDF are not allowed to use force. But by replacing these "situations" with "situations involving armed attacks," the new law will give the SDF an excuse to use force, which "the law on measures to deal with situations in areas surrounding Japan" fails to allow.

Now some SDF units are sent out abroad under "the Antiterrorism Special Measures Law" and "the Law on Measures to Deal with Situations in Areas Surrounding Japan." If there is an attack on these units, the government may take it as "an attack on Japan" and invoke the wartime legislation. This is a real danger.

Absurd outrage

The wartime legislation not only goes against the Constitution prohibiting the use or threat to use force. It also undermines the people's wish for peace, that never again Japan will make the same mistakes it committed in the past war.

Diet discussions on the wartime bills have just started. Without consent from the opposition parties, the Liberal Democratic, Komei, and Conservative parties have decided on a schedule of public hearings, the holding of which will be used as an excuse for railroading through the bills with their majority force. This is an absurd outrage and is absolutely intolerable.

Let's push the bills into abortion by informing the people of the dangerous nature of the bills: "the wartime legislation enables Japan to take part in U.S. military interventions." (end)