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Government must stop using deceit in justifying MSDF refueling operation

Akahata editorial (excerpts)


   In order to justify the Maritime Self-Defense Force refueling operation in the Indian Ocean, both the government and a Liberal Democratic Party Dietmember in a House of Representatives Budget Committee meeting on October 9 stressed that the MSDF operation is different from the U.S. use of force in Afghanistan and that the operation is necessary for Japan to secure its oil supply.


   Their assertions are untrue since the MSDF operation is nothing but an act of war assisting the U.S. war of retaliation called gOperation Enduring Freedom.h


   Masking the reality of the war, the government seemingly claims that the U.S. and other nationsf warships refueled by the MSDF are taking part in the Maritime Interdiction Operation that is separable from the war. Such logic, however, is simply absurd.


   U.S. warships that have been refueled by the MSDF have in fact taken part in attacks against Afghanistan.


   For instance, the MSDF supply ship Mashu on September 4, 2006 refueled the U.S. amphibious assault ship Iwo Jima. Since then until September 21, Harrier fighter jets that took off from the Iwo Jima carried out a total of 136 sorties on Afghanistan, according to U.S. Navy news.


   The oil provided by Japan has been used to kill innocent civilians in Afghanistan. The government bears grave responsibility for deceiving the Diet and the public with the distortion of the facts.


   At the same time, an interesting discussion took place in the committee meeting.


   While insisting that the MSDF refueling has nothing to do with the war, Defense Minister Ishiba Shigeru stated, gIt is unconstitutional for Japan to take part in the International Security Assistance Force because its activities entail the use of force.h


   Ishiba was referring to Democratic Party President Ozawa Ichirofs article published in the recent issue of a magazine in which he argued that Japanfs participation in the ISAF gdoes not go against the Constitutionh on the grounds that the ISAF was established by a U.N. Security Council resolution.


   Although Ishiba was meant to criticize the DPJ, the fact that the government acknowledged that the ISAF is tasked with the use of force is important.


   The ISAF, mainly made up of NATO forces, is conducting bombings and military operations that are unlimited in terms of geographical coverage and mission, inseparable from the U.S. OEF. An increasing number of ISAF troops are being killed in fierce battles.


   The U.S. forces are strengthening not only their ground operations but air strikes from the Indian Ocean.


   Since the beginning of this year, fighter jets taking off the U.S. aircraft carriers Stennis and George Washington have repeatedly conducted indiscriminate bombardment in Afghanistan, according to the U.S. Navy websites.


   The government has recognized that the ISAF operations involve the use of force and thus Japanfs participation in the ISAF would be unconstitutional. Since operations of the U.S. forces are inseparable from that of the ISAF, it is clear that Japanfs assistance to the U.S. retaliatory war is also unconstitutional.

- Akahata, October 10, 2007


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