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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 October 15 - 21  > DPJ official says it will change government interpretation of Constitution if it takes power
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2008 October 15 - 21 [PEACE]

DPJ official says it will change government interpretation of Constitution if it takes power

October 21, 2008
The Democratic Party of Japan’s senior policy-making official says that the DPJ may change the current government interpretation of the Constitution in order to enable Japan to use military forces in overseas missions that were authorized by U.N. resolutions.

The remark was made by DPJ Policy Commission Chair Naoshima Masayuki in answer to a Liberal Democratic Party member Nakatani Gen at the October 20 meeting of the House of Representatives special committee on terrorism.

Pointing out that DPJ President Ozawa Ichiro stated that the Japanese Self-Defense Forces should be allowed to use force abroad if it is based on a U.N. resolution, Nakatani asked Naoshima if that is the official DPJ position.

Naoshima answered that the SDF’s use of force abroad is “possible in cases in which military operations take place under Article 42 of the U.N. Charter (*).”

Nakatani also asked Naoshima, “Will the DPJ change the present government interpretation of the Constitution that Japan cannot use force abroad?”

Naoshima said, “When we take power, our government will start working on changing the interpretation of the Constitution.”

The government’s current interpretation is that it is unconstitutional for the SDF to take part in a U.N. force that is tasked to use force.

(*) U.N. Charter states as follows:

Article 41: The Security Council may decide what measures not involving the use of armed force are to be employed to give effect to its decisions, and it may call upon the Members of the United Nations to apply such measures. These may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations.

Article 42: Should the Security Council consider that measures provided for in Article 41 would be inadequate or have proved to be inadequate, it may take such action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security. Such action may include demonstrations, blockade, and other operations by air, sea, or land forces of Members of the United Nations.
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