New defense chief's unconstitutional statement criticized

At an Upper House committee meeting of October 10, Japanese Communist Party representative Koizumi Chikashi criticized Ishiba Shigeru, the new Defense Agency director general, for publicly arguing that conscription is constitutional in Japan.

Ishiba has asserted the constitutionality of military conscription system even though successive governments have denied it.

JCP Koizumi said, "Article 9 of the Constitution renounces war and denies the possession of a military force. From this viewpoint, it definitely rejects conscription." Asked why he insists on the system's constitutionality, Ishiba could not give any logical reason.

Pointing out that Ishiba is still running a column on his web site stating that a conscription system is not against the Constitution, Koizmuni said such a person is not suitable as a cabinet member. (end)