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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 April 30 - May 13  > Court recognition of SDF dispatch to Iraq as unconstitutional established
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2008 April 30 - May 13 [SDF]

Court recognition of SDF dispatch to Iraq as unconstitutional established

May 3 and 4, 2008
The recent Nagoya High Court ruling that the dispatch of the Self-Defense Forces to Iraq is in violation of Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution was finally established on May 2. It was the first time that a court ruling that the SDF or its activities are unconstitutional was established.

The government, defendant in the case, could not appeal to the Supreme Court since the high court rejected the plaintiffs’ demands, including one for damages. The ruling was fixed two weeks after it was issued. The plaintiffs, who were mainly residents of Aichi Prefecture, could appeal to the Supreme Court during the two-week period.

The high court ruled that Baghdad should be considered a combat zone and stated that the Air SDF’s transportation of multinational troops in that region constituted “participation in the use of force,” which is prohibited by the Constitution.

The ruling concluded that the SDF activities “contravene the Constitution’s Article 9, paragraph one, even if the special measures law to dispatch the SDF to Iraq is recognized as constitutional based on the government interpretation of the Constitution.”

It also stated that the constitutional right to live in peace is the foundation of the people’s basic rights and that they can claim it in court.

In a speech at a rally to commemorate Constitution Day on May 3, Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo stressed the importance of the high court decision as follows:

“The government has emphasized its stated principle that SDF units will neither use force abroad nor carry out activities that are related to the use of force. It also said that SDF missions are not unconstitutional because they will not be allowed to operate in combat zones.

However, the court has ruled that even if the government’s argument is used, Baghdad is a combat zone and that the SDF’s airlifting of troops there is unconstitutional because it is integral to the use of force and is considered the use of force by the SDF. I believe that the ruling shows the vital power of Article 9.”
- Akahata, May 3 and 4, 2008
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