Shii: Enacting bills allowing use of force abroad and suppressing rights is intolerable

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo at a regular news conference on May 22 summed up the Diet situation concerning the three contingency bills.

Shii said that the discussion for the limited period so far showed that the main bill of the three contingency bills has very serious problems in that it allows Japan's Self-Defense forces to use force abroad in order to cooperate with U.S. wars, and to suppress freedom and human rights.

What is worse, the government fails to argue against the points concerning these problems.

He criticized the three ruling parties for unilaterally setting dates for public hearings necessary to enact the bills, and made clear that the JCP aims at getting the bills scrapped by exposing the problems thoroughly.

On the serious problems which have emerged during the Diet discussion of the three contingency bills, Shii made the following four points:

Firstly, the bill lacks any geographical constraint as to where the SDF use of force will be allowed to reach.

Shii said that the government reply that an armed attack "on our country" includes one against SDF ships on high seas is serious. The law, if enacted, will be invoked in case SDF units supporting U.S. forces operating abroad in accordance with the Law to Deal with Situations in Areas Surrounding Japan and the Antiterrorism Special Measures Law, are in danger. He explained that the SDF will thus be able to operate anywhere abroad, in Asia or in the Indian Ocean or beyond.

Secondly, the bill lacks any provisions specifying and restricting the use of force by the SDF operating overseas.

Shii explained that the bill's text reads that the SDF is allowed to use force in the event of there being "threats" or "predictions" of armed attacks. He pointed out that the government was completely unable to show any legal grounds that use of force at these two stages is prohibited.

Shii made the serious point that allowing use of force at stages of "threats" and "predictions" of armed attacks means that the SDF is allowed to use force to support U.S. forces so as to enable joint Japan-U.S. operations, even though the SDF isn't attacked. He said this is just a step short of Japan exercising the right of collective self-defense.

Thirdly, the bill lacks any specification as to the range of SDF support action for the U.S. forces operating abroad.

Shii said nothing has been made known of the details of a law for supporting U.S. forces which the government promises to enact within two years. He said that the government has also withheld information as to what changes SDF support for U.S. forces under the Law on Situations in Areas Surrounding Japan should undergo under a law to respond to armed attacks.

Fourth, the bill lacks any specification as to how far the restriction of the people's rights and freedoms should go. The bill has provisions on instructions and direct enforcement to be made by the prime minister but lacks any description as to what obligations municipalities should bear. Also, it is still not clear which organizations will be named as designated public organizations and what obligations they should bear.

Shii said, "While these serious problems are left unexplained, dates were unilaterally settled for public hearings as a procedural requirement for a vote on the bills. The JCP is absolutely opposed to the bills being enacted by suppressing all questions and discussion." (end)