Call for a review of Japan's 'exclusively defensive defense posture'

Following is part two of Akahata's series: "Young pro-arms buildup lawmakers incline towards bipartisanship in support of warlike security and diplomatic policy".

A play they wrote themselves

"We suggest that Japan be allowed to maintain minimum 'capabilities to attack enemy military bases' and reorganize Japan's 'exclusively defensive defense posture' to meet the present-day needs."

This a call for a review of the present "exclusively defensive defense" policy in a resolution adopted by the "Association of Young Lawmakers Contemplating a New Security Policy" at its general assembly on June 23. The group is comprised of 103 Dietmembers from the Liberal Democratic, Democratic, and Liberal parties. The general meeting was attended by Defense Agency Director General Ishiba Shigeru and Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Abe Shinzo.

Abe in a lecture on May 12 put forward a review of the "exclusively defensive defense" policy. Reporting this, the daily Yomiuri Shimbun of May 13 quoted him as saying, "New weapons have been developed and strategy and tactics are changing. This makes it imperative for Japan to review the effectiveness of the 'exclusively defensive defense' policy."

The next day, Defense Agency Director General Ishiba Shigeru echoed Abe's call, saying, "Given the significant proliferation of missiles and weapons of mass destruction, the task is for Japan to review the 'exclusively defensive defense' posture."

Abe and other members of the parliamentary group had written the text that was to be played up in the group's resolution.

The call for a review of the exclusively defensive defense posture has arisen from the argument that: "Strike the enemy before being attacked" which was put forward in parliament last year under the pretext of the need to respond to "North Korean threats".

'Strike first'

In the parliamentary discussion on the contingency laws, Nakatani Gen, Defense Agency director general at the time, said, "Striking missile bases of a foreign country is within limits of self-defense if Japan has no other effective means to defend itself." This argument is no longer about the theoretical possibility; it has led to a debate over whether Japan should maintain the capability to attack enemy bases in preventive wars.

In his questioning on January 24 at the House of Representatives Budget Committee meeting, Suematsu Yoshinori, a Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) representative, stated, "If North Korea fires a missile, or if the probability is high, it would be impossible for Japan to evade the first strike unless Japan strikes enemy bases first, following a U.S. decision."

Defense Agency Director General Ishiba answered, "That would be a case in which we will discuss the capabilities Japan should have in relation to the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty."

On March 27 at the House of Representatives National Security Committee, Maehara Seiji of the DPJ stated, "If Japan is to acquire capabilities to strike (enemy bases), U.S. cooperation would be essential. At any rate, we may have to discuss whether or not Japan should possess the minimum capabilities for such action."

Ishiba answered, "What you have suggested is worth considering. It would be necessary to study the issue from various angles. I don't think it appropriate to avoid discussing the issue."

Prime Minister said that 47 years ago

These answers were in reply to questions of DPJ Dietmembers. Government officials have always quoted the 1956 Prime Minister Hatoyama Ichiro statement: "The Constitution is not intended to see the nation idly wait for death." This statement from half a century ago has been revived as calls for constitutional changes become louder. (end)

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