Defense agency chief's call for review of 'arms export ban' criticized

Japan's defense chief has expressed his intention to move toward lifting the government ban on arms exports so that Japan can increase its participation in missile defense programs.

Referring to the need to review the three principles banning Japan from exporting arms on Tuesday (local time) at a news conference on Wednesday in The Hague, the Netherlands, Defense Agency Director General Ishiba Shigeru said, "The need now is for Japan to solve this problem in order to be able to proceed with the practical application of the missile defense system."

Although Ishiba said, "Japan must not become a merchant of death," he insisted on Japan's participation in joint weapons development not only with the United States but with other countries, pointing out that "joint weapons development is a common practice in Europe and the United States, and Russia is expected to join with them. Japan could be an outsider."

In a published comment on January 14, Japanese Communist Party Policy Commission acting chair Sasaki Kensho said, "The 1976 Three Principles on Arms Exports is the practical application of the constitutional principle of 'no threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes' (Article 9). This must be maintained as a lasting principle."

Mr. Ishiba made the statement in a bid to gut the constitutional principle of peace and promote the missile defense project.

It is particularly serious that Mr. Ishiba timed the release of this statement to coincide with the Koizumi Cabinet and the Liberal Democratic Party revelation of their intention to rush to adversely revise the Constitution.

The Japanese Communist Party opposes any attempt to a statutory revision to the Constitution to gut the constitutional principles of peace and democracy. (end)

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