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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 April 16 - 22  > Accept court decision and pull SDF out of Iraq now
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2008 April 16 - 22 [SDF]

Accept court decision and pull SDF out of Iraq now

April 19, 2008
Akahata editorial

The Japanese government has made it clear that it does not agree with the Nagoya High Court ruling that Air Self-Defense Force’s airlift missions in support of U.S. forces in Iraq is unconstitutional.

Prime Minister Fukuda Yasuo said, “I will not be affected by the court decision.”

Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura Nobutaka and Defense Minister Ishiba Shigeru are also insisting on continuing to deploy SDF units to Iraq.

How arrogant it is for the government to dismiss the court ruling that the airlift missions runs counter to Article 9 of the Constitution, trampling upon the principles of a law-governed country. We cannot allow the government to continue to turn its back on Article 9.

Airlifting U.S. troops in violation of Article 9

Presiding judge Aoyama Kunio of the Nagoya High Court ruled that the Air Self-Defense Force’s airlift missions for U.S. forces in Iraq includes activities contravening Article 9 of the Constitution and the Special Measures Law on Iraq. Concerning the plaintiffs’ claim of the constitutional right to live in peace, the court recognized that “people can seek legal protection and relief based on the Constitution.”

Notably, the court based itself on the stated government interpretation of the Constitution to deny the reasoning the government used to rush to send Self-Defense Force troops to Iraq.

Referring to the situation in Iraq, the ruling said, "The ongoing combat in Iraq is an extension of the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. It is an international conflict between a multinational force and Iraqi insurgents." The government sent Ground Self-Defense Force units to southern Iraq and has expanded the area of Air SDF missions to include Baghdad, claiming that although Iraq is in a bad security situation, it is not correct to characterize the whole of Iraq as a "combat zone." The ruling thus exposed the government’s use of deception.

It is particularly important that the ruling characterized Baghdad as a “combat zone where the killing of people and destruction of properties are taking place.” It confirms that it is untenable for the government to assert that Baghdad, where Air Self-Defense Force planes are landing and taking off, is a non-combat zone. The fact that transport aircraft are compelled to land at Baghdad Airport using a decoy flare is proof that Baghdad is a "combat zone."

The ruling also said, "The ASDF’s airlift missions in support of the multinational force should be regarded as an act integral with U.S. forces’ military activities. The ASDF cannot deny exercising military force.” The ASDF’s airlifting of U.S. troops and supplies to Baghdad enables U.S. forces to obtain reinforcements to continue military operations. No one can deny the fact that the ASDF airlifting mission in Iraq is integral with the U.S. forces’ military activities.

The government has stated that it is unconstitutional for SDF activities to be integrated with the use of force by foreign forces. So, there is nothing peculiar in the high court ruling.

It is also important that the high court ruling stated in its arguments on the right to live in peace, which is stated in the Constitution’s preamble.

The judge stated that the right to live in peace should be recognized by law as a concrete right of the citizens instead of a mere ideal. This has an important bearing on the future struggle of the citizenry.

Make best use of this verdict

Now that the high court ruling recognized that the plaintiffs’ opposition to sending SDF units to Iraq and their call for an immediate withdrawal of SDF troops from Iraq is a legitimate demand based on the Constitution, the government must respect this ruling.

In defiance of the court ruling that some of the SDF activities in Iraq are unconstitutional, the government is insisting on keeping SDF units in Iraq. We will be able to meet the people’s wish for peace only by isolating the government which insists on sending troops to Iraq, to get Air SDF units withdrawn and prevent the enactment of a permanent law that is aimed at sending more SDF troops abroad.
- Akahata, April 19, 2008
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