On 61st anniversary of outbreak of the Pacific War -- Akahata editorial, December 8 (excerpts)

December 8 marks the 61st anniversary of the outbreak of the Pacific War. The Japanese Army killed 20 million Asian people, and the war took the lives of 3.2 million Japanese.

Such brutality associated with wars of aggression must not be repeated.

The most important lesson drawn from the Second World War is that war should be further illegalized, and that world peace be maintained under an international collective security setup.

The United Nations Charter urges its member countries to refrain from the threat or use of force, stating that "Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security."

Furthermore, Japan's Constitution forever renounces "war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes," and reinforced this by banning all war potential and the right of belligerency of the state.

As a country which carried out a war of aggression in breach of the war-renouncing pact, Japan has no alternative but to thoroughly implement the constitutional principles if it really admits to its historical crimes and learns lessons from this.

A recent United Nations Security Council resolution urged Iraq to unconditionally accept inspections of its weapons of mass destruction, but it excluded any automacity in the use of force against Iraq. This indicates that the force in defense of the international peace centering on the U.N. Charter is taking the lead in international politics.

The question now is how Japan should act amidst two major conflicting positions in today's world; one in defense of the international peace order and the other based on arrogance that seeks total hegemony.

Actually, Japan's Koizumi Cabinet is forward-deploying Self-Defense Forces units and is going to deploy an Aegis destroyer to the Indian Ocean. This will eventually mean taking part in a possible war on Iraq.

These steps clearly indicate that the cabinet has not a sign of reflection on what Japan did in its war of aggression by sending its military to Asian countries under the pretext of protecting Japanese nationals abroad, eventually leading to the Pacific War.

No doubt the outcome of the Iraq question will seriously affect the whole of the 21st century world. Only when it is solved peacefully under the U.N. Charter, the world can avoid the history of war. (end)