Iraq war shows how dangerous wartime legislation is

Kawamura Toshio, secretary general of the Liaison Council of Various Circles for Prevention of Mal-Revision of the Constitution, called for actions to block the contingency bills which the Koizumi Cabinet and the governing parties want to bulldoze through the current Diet session. In an interview with Akahata published in its April 8 issue, Kawamura stated as follows:

The movement against the wartime bills has twice foiled the government attempt to enact them in the past two consecutive Diet sessions.

Nevertheless, the Koizumi Cabinet and the Liberal Democratic, Komei, and New Conservative parties are saying it is necessary to have the bills passed in the House of Representatives this month. They say that this will pave the way for the quick enactment of a bill enabling Japan to assist in the post-war reconstruction of Iraq.

The LDP-government is publicly supporting the U.S. war against Iraq which is killing many innocent children and destroying Iraq's land and infrastructure. It is also calling for urgent steps to be taken to help Iraq's reconstruction. How absurd the Japanese government's attitude is!

Fueling public uneasiness in order to railroad the bills through

In Japan, TV screens are showing the footages of U.S. forces at war in Iraq, and mass media are reporting stories about "North Korean threats". Taking advantage of such coverage, the government is fanning the flame of people's uneasiness concerning emergencies so that the contingency bills will get enough support for enactment.

The ongoing U.S. war against Iraq, however, throws light on the real danger of the contingency legislation.

As you know, the United States has attacked Iraq although it were not attacked by Iraq, a so-called preemptive strike without a U.N. resolution. This is a flagrant violation of international law. The United States will make unilateral attacks on other countries based on an arbitrary judgment that there is a perceived threat to the United States.

U.S. wars which Japan is going to cooperate with under the contingency laws will be just such unjustifiable wars. The wartime legislation will allow the Self-Defense Forces to take part in wars even though Japan is not attacked or when an attack is just being predicted. How dangerous it will be if Japan exercises these bills by regarding such situations as a "situation of armed attacks on Japan!"

It is also serious that the government and the ruling parties, which are working hard to enact the contingency bills, expressed their support for the war.

Some governing party leaders denounced the anti-war movement for "benefiting the enemy". Japan's government circles are mechanically repeating U.S. officials' statements.

Debates in the Diet so far made on the war bills brought to light that key but still vague points in the bills will be decided and executed by the government, according to the provision of the bills. How can we give the government carte blanche despite the matter being so grave?

Government strengthens structure for Japan's participation in U.S. wars

The U.S.-led war on Iraq is taking place at a time when Japan is strengthening the structure for its participation in such U.S. wars. Based on the "New Guidelines" for Japan-U.S. military cooperation adopted in 1997, Japan's government enacted the Law for Measures to Deal with Situations in Areas Surrounding Japan in 1999 and the Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law in 2001.

The Aegis destroyer, which the Japanese government dispatched to the Indian Ocean ostensibly to work with the U.S. forces in the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan, has been operating there to refuel U.S. warships and to collect information for them.

Japan's Constitution prohibits the government from sending the Self-Defense Forces abroad to engage in combat operations with the U.S. military forces or from mobilizing its citizens for U.S. war.

However, the wartime legislation, if enacted, will remove these limits and fully involve Japan in U.S. wars throughout the world. The U.S. government has urged Japan to enact the wartime legislation in order to complete their "New Guidelines" structure.

Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro always says, "Readiness is all." This is the pretext he uses in general terms to conceal the true aim of the contingency bills.

But the legislation not only conflicts with the Constitution which prohibits Japan from using force; it will allow Japan to be ready to respond to U.S. emergencies. The bills contain a grave provision that will allow the contingency laws to be invoked if an attack on Japanese ships in the high seas is "predicted" or even "perceived."

When the bills were discussed in parliament last year, the government was unable to give any clear definition of the term "predicted" or "perceived" in a convincing manner. Later, the government submitted to the Diet "amendments" to its draft. But the dangerous nature of the bills remains unchanged.

As for the proposed "personal information protection law," which is intended to restrict citizens' basic freedom and rights, the government has only published outlines. The full text of its draft will be published only after the enactment of the three contingency bills.

The draft bills are not ready for parliamentary discussion.

Public opposition to the contingency bills is increasing at the grassroots level because they will trample upon constitutional principles, including the war-renouncing Article 9 and the principle of local autonomy. More than five million signatures in opposition to the contingency legislation were presented to the Diet as of the end of January.

Cooperation is developing among broad sectors of people, irrespective of ideology or religion, with 20 organizations of land, sea, air, and port workers' unions and persons of faith united. Many municipalities, which will be forced into war cooperation under the planned bills, have expressed objection to the wartime laws. More than 600 municipal assemblies have adopted resolutions calling for the contingency bills to be scrapped or discussed carefully in the Diet.

Let us produce results in the simultaneous local elections

The task now is for us to further strengthen our call: "Stop the war on Iraq now!" and "Scrap the wartime bills!" in order to check the reckless actions of the ruling coalition parties. Let us increase our signature-collection campaigns and lobbying activities to local assembly members. Let us have our demand reflected in the results of the simultaneous local elections. There can be no future for forces which turn their back on peace. (end)

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