JCP Shii speaks on SDF and emperor system to foreign press corps

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo gave a talk on the Self-Defense Forces and the emperor system at the Foreign Correspondents' Club in Tokyo on August 4.

Referring to media reports that the JCP has changed its position to come to terms with the Self-Defense Forces, the emperor system, and other issues, the JCP chair said that these arguments are based on a misunderstanding. He stated that the JCP will firmly maintain the ideals it has held so far.

Shii said, "In the revision at this time, the JCP is trying to present specific steps to solve these problems in cooperation with the people." He said that this is the position from which the JCP has put out new descriptions of the SDF and the emperor system.

Shii said that the JCP basic understanding of the SDF remains that the SDF now exists in violation of the Japanese Constitution which renounces war and pledges not to maintain armed forces.

Stating that the JCP aims at solving the contradictions between the SDF and the Constitution by transforming the SDF, Shii explained the following three serious aspects in the present state of the SDF:

First, the already gigantic SDF continues expanding. Japan's annual military expenditure has increased to 5 trillion yen (41 billion dollars), and it is excluded from budget cuts.

Last year, the U.S. Defense Department's annual "report on allied contribution to common defense" said Japan ranks second among the 26 U.S. allies in military spending in the year 2001, second only to the United States.

Secondly, the SDF is very distorted as armed forces of an independent country. The SDF are armed forces devoted to the defense of the U.S. forces, instead of Japan.

For example, the Maritime SDF has no aircraft-carrier, but it does have 53 escort ships. This means that the MSDF is assigned to protect U.S. aircraft-carriers.

The third point Shii made was the strengthened system of sending the Self-Defense Forces abroad under a series of legislative measures: the PKO Law, the law on measures to deal with situations surrounding Japan,the special measures law against terrorism, the contingency legislation, and the law for sending the SDF overseas.

He said, "The gulf that separates the SDF from the Constitution is very big today. Under such a situation, we cannot believe it possible to achieve the goal of dissolving the SDF very quickly. The goal can only be achieved with a step-by-step approach on the basis of national consensus."

With regard to the emperor system, he pointed out the importance of no longer treating the emperor as constitutional monarch and of completely prohibiting the use of the emperor as despotic monarch and using the emperor for particular political purposes and various other deviations from the Constitution.

He emphasized, "The JCP holds fast to the position of realizing a democratic republic by abrogating the emperor system in the future. But it should be resolved through the will of the whole people."

During the question and answer session after his speech, he was asked, "Isn't it necessary for Japan to maintain a certain degree of military power?" In his answer, pointing out new friendly relations with East Asian countries, and a path to conclude a treaty of friendship with the U.S. instead of the current security treaty, he showed the JCP outlook, saying, "The time will surely come in the future when the majority of the people believe that 'they can live safely without military forces.'" (end)

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