Protecting citizens against what? -- Akahata editorial, March 26, 2005

The Cabinet approved a set of "basic guidelines" for the protection of people based on the Citizens' Protection Law, a law established as part of contingency-related laws with the aim of assisting in U.S. wars. Thus the "guidelines" will force people to cooperate in wars in the name of protecting citizens by sheltering and relieving them from armed attacks. They will be the basis on which the designated administrative bodies (including government agencies) and prefectures will work out plans for protecting the public, while designated public entities (suppliers of electric power and gas, transport, communication, medical services, and media organizations) will draw up plans to help protect citizens.

All is OK on the home front

The "basic guidelines" establish specific responses to armed attacks according to their types: invasion, guerrilla attacks, ballistic missile attacks with nuclear, biological, or chemical (NBC) weapons, and air strikes. What would armed attacks be like? The "basic guidelines" say that it is impossible to tell, meaning that armed attacks are inconceivable.

Under the guidelines the prefectures, including Tokyo, are obliged to establish readiness to respond promptly to emergencies. Cities, towns, and villages are asked to strengthen their watch systems. The guidelines include instructions making it possible to use land, houses, and supplies for war without owners' consent, and mobilize transport service providers for the transportation of war supplies. The guidelines put emphasis on the need to carry out practical drills for responding to NBC attacks by using necessary materials and equipment. The guidelines are manipulating the people into accepting a wartime readiness and to think that it is reasonable for them to prepare for a war.

The basic guidelines contain provisions that will restrict freedoms and civil rights. Despite the explanation that "there will be only minimal restrictions," Chief Cabinet Secretary Fukuda Yasuo in May 9, 2002 stated the government view that "rallies and media reports will not be restricted unless they conflict with public well-being." There is the danger that the 'guidelines" will be used to suppress free speech and movements expressing opposition to war and that NHK and private broadcasters as designated public organizations will be forced to broadcast "self-controlled" news in accordance with the "guidelines." Isn't this a revival of the Imperial Headquarters'?

The government's National Defense Program Outline announcement in December 2004 made it clear that national security will be achieved through preventing threats from reaching Japan and repelling them when they take place, and "improve the international security environment to ensure that threats do not reach our nation." The "guidelines" argue that the system of citizens' protection is necessary to deal with these two "threats."

However, the "guidelines" state that the possibility of a surprise "direct threat" reaching Japan has been decreasing.

The major aim of the "guidelines" is to "improve the international security environment and to ensure that threats do not reach our nation." The government has in mind dispatches of the SDF overseas as it did to Iraq. It also maintains that dispatching the SDF abroad in cooperation with U.S. forces to fight international terrorism and threats from weapons of mass destruction will help ensure Japan's security.

That's not true. Dispatching the SDF abroad to take part in U.S. preemptive wars will only expose Japan to dangers. By setting up a "citizens' protection" system to mobilize the people, the government is trying to get the SDF to fight wars abroad without worrying about the future.

Thus the government is rushing to cooperate with U.S.-caused "global emergencies" with such a basic policy under the National Defense Program Outline.

There is a growing anti-war current in Asia. If the government is serious about "protecting" people's lives and security, it must defend Article 9 of the Constitution and make efforts to help increase the global and regional trends for peace. (end)

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