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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 November 12 - 18  > It is unconstitutional to use space for military purposes
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2008 November 12 - 18 [POLITICS]

It is unconstitutional to use space for military purposes

November 16, 2008
Akahata editorial (excerpts)

The government is hastily pushing ahead with the use of space for military purposes, obviously in violation of the war-renouncing Constitution and in contravention of the 1969 Diet resolution limiting the use of space to “peaceful purposes.”

Japan currently uses an intelligence-gathering satellite to spy on the movements of North Korea and some other countries. It also plans to develop and posses various types of military satellites.

Why is the government seeking to acquire spy satellites with higher-precision capabilities? It is because such satellites are instrumental to waging wars abroad. The government is considering the development of a satellite early-warning system in order to promptly detect enemy ballistic missiles launched to intercept U.S. preemptive attacks, the aim being to defend U.S. forces in Japan as well as in the U.S. homeland.

The United States has been putting pressure on Japan to change its policy to one of using space for military purposes. In February, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense Joseph Nye published a report on the Japan-U.S. alliance, which states, “We welcome Japan’s interest in the use of space.”

The government is also planning to incorporate the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) into a space program in defiance of Article 4 of the JAXA Law, which limits its space programs to “peaceful purposes.” If JAXA involves its programs in military programs, it will not only violate the principles of “independence, democracy, and openness” as stipulated by the law but also withhold the achievements of space science and technology from public purview under the pretext of military secrecy.

The use of space for military purposes is in line with the U.S. plan to promote military integration between Japan and the United States and with the interests of the business sector, the war industry in particular, which is looking for windfall profits from space development. They are stressing, “It is necessary to make the aerospace industry more competitive.”

We must strongly oppose this move toward the militarization of space that clearly violates international law as well as Japan’s Constitution. The government should immediately stop going ahead with the program that prepares for wars abroad and that will only force the public to pay more in taxes.
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