Contingency legislation will allow SDF to use force in violation of the Constitution -- Akahata editorial, May 27
The discussions on the contingency bills in the House of Councilors have brought to light the serious consequences of the wartime legislation aimed at preparing Japan to attack other countries with U.S. forces, instead of defending Japan against attacks.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Fukuda Yasuo confirmed that the responsive measures which the bills call for will be applicable to a situation in which armed attack is predicted. It follows that even when Japan is not under attack, the Self-Defense Forces are allowed to start using force and assist U.S. forces.
Defense Agency Director General Ishiba Shigeru stated that that situation may develop from a "situation in areas surrounding Japan" to a "situation in which armed attack is predicted", as well as to a "situation of armed attack". He claimed that a "situation in areas surrounding Japan" and a "situation in which armed attack is predicted" overlaps.
Breaking constitutional limits to use force
These statements by cabinet ministers show that the wartime legislation allows the SDF to cooperate with the United States in its wars in Asia and the Pacific by using force and assisting the U.S. forces.
That a "situation in areas surrounding Japan" may develop into a "situation in which armed attack is predicted" or that the two may overlap means that the SDF assisting U.S. forces in operations in a "situation in areas surrounding Japan" may use force elsewhere, on the grounds that armed attack may be predicted there.
Obviously, the Constitution of Japan prohibits Japan from using force abroad jointly with U.S. forces.
This is why the governments in the past explained that the SDF will withdraw from areas where they are supporting U.S. forces in "situations in areas surrounding Japan" if it turned into a combat zone. The government argument was that the SDF's use of force is part of the exercise of the right of collective self-defense which runs counter to the Constitution. The wartime laws allow the SDF to take part in U.S. actions subsequent to the government endorsement that the situation is tense and armed attack is predicted.
The government says that how the U.S. forces shall be supported will be specified by laws based on the bills which the government will propose in the future. This means that the government can task the Diet with enacting laws for supporting U.S. forces in combat areas by claiming the right to propose bills to that effect.
The Defense Agency director general has acknowledged in parliament that under the 1997 "Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation", Japan and the United States has been working on bilateral defense planning and mutual cooperation planning assuming that "situations in areas surrounding Japan" would evolve into "an armed attack against Japan."
The Self-Defense Forces Law allows the prime minister to order the SDF to take action and use force if Japan comes under armed attack. However, it does not stipulates who is responsible for ordering "Fire" or under what conditions such an order is made. Japan renounces the right of belligerency under Article 9 of the Constitution and lacks such stipulation.
But once the contingency bills are enacted, Japan-U.S. war plans will take shape in defiance of such constitutional provisions, allowing Japan to use force under direct U.S. instructions. This is the core aim of the war bills that would seriously affect Japan's future course and the people's life-or-death matter.
Anyone who favors enacting these war bills is responsible for all subsequent matters.
The Democratic Party of Japan voted in favor of the bills against its own policy rejecting the "use of force overseas beyond the individual right to defense." The DPJ cannot evade severe criticism of its position of supporting the enactment of the bills that may drag Japan into U.S. wars abroad.
Learn lessons from history
Under the Constitution, the Japanese people forever renounce war and the threat or use of force, as well as the right of belligerency of the state. We declared this based on the reflection of the war of aggression which was waged by the Imperial Army on the order of Tenno, the supreme commander, by completely trampling on the people's wishes.
Learning lessons from history, let's make utmost efforts, till the last moment, to foil the unconstitutional war bills. (end)
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