Revision of defense program outline is in violation of the Constitution -- Akahata editorial, September 29

The government is hastily laying the groundwork for adopting a new National Defense Program Outline by the end of this year. The Council on Security and Defense Capabilities, an advisory panel to Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro chaired by a Tokyo Electric Power Co. advisor, reportedly plans to compile a report and submit it to the prime minister. In the Defense Agency, a committee on national defense is preparing a drastic review of the current military organization and equipment. All those moves are in contravention of the constitutional principles of peace.

Attempting to set overseas activities as main SDF mission

In the ongoing review, they are focusing on putting emphasis on the need for the Japan-U.S. military alliance, reviewing the "concept of standard defense program", upgrading SDF activities abroad to be a main mission, and easing the three principles banning arms exports.

These are issues that the government has been unable to address because of the constitutional principles of peace.

The "concept of standard defense force" was established in 1976 when other Asian countries were alarmed by the SDF buildup. With this "concept" the government explained that the SDF only has a defensive capability "to effectively deal with limited and small-scale invasions or less urgent situations," in an attempt to show that Japan is not engaged in an unlimited arms buildup. However, the SDF have become one of the world's major military forces under this concept. The revision of this concept will promise further expansion of war potential prohibited by the section 2 of Article 9. The military budget will be further increased, and it will cause further reductions in the budget to support people's living conditions.

It is a serious problem that their activities abroad are defined as the main part of SDF activity. Article 3 of the Self-Defense Forces Law states: "The main duty of the SDF is to defend the country and to maintain public order if necessary." This provision is based on the government view that Article 9 of the Constitution recognizes Japan's right of self-defense as an independent country (Hatoyama government's unified view published on December 22, 1954). The fact is that neither the Constitution nor the government view allows the SDF to make activities abroad as their main duty because they have nothing to do with defending Japan. The government in 1981 explained that "exclusively defensive defense" policy means a passive defense strategy that stems from the spirit of the Constitution (DA director general Omura in the House of Councilors Budget Committee meeting on March 19, 1981). In light of these government views, SDF activities abroad cannot be legally or logically regarded as the SDF's main duty.

Why is the government now so keen to upgrade SDF activities abroad to be a main SDF duty? It is because the government wants to send the SDF wherever the United States want them to be, be it in United Nations peace keeping operations, in Iraq, or elsewhere,so that the SDF can support U.S. wars as part of a multinational force or as a Japan-U.S.joint force.

Easing restrictions on arms exports is serious problem along with the plan to force Japan to play a part in the U.S. missile defense program. It is said that lifting the ban is aimed at making it possible for Japan to export missile parts in case Japan-U.S. joint technological research bears fruit. The three principles on arms exports were adopted by the government to give a concrete shape to the constitutional principles for peace and have been many times endorsed by the Diet. It is absolutely out of the question to allow Japan to export parts of weapons.

Going against peace in Asia

Prime Minister Koizumi is intent on adversely revising the Constitution to meet U.S. requests. Reviewing the "Defense Program Outline" is seen as one of the preliminary moves to achieve this aim. If the outline is reviewed as proposed, however, other Asian countries' concerns over Japan's military buildup and military expansion will rapidly increase and Japan's relations with these countries will deteriorate. Let us increase public criticism against the government attempt that goes against peace in Asia and the rest of the world. (end)

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