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HOME  > Past issues  > 2013 April 3 - 9  > Exposure of children to SDF ranger training exercise violates Geneva treaty
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2013 April 3 - 9 [SDF]

Exposure of children to SDF ranger training exercise violates Geneva treaty

April 8, 2013
A civil group is raising its voice in protest against a Self-Defense Forces event giving children a chance to observe and even participate in SDF ranger training exercise in violation of the Geneva Conventions.

The event will be held on April 14 to commemorate the 62nd anniversary of the foundation of a Ground SDF’s camp located in Tokyo’s northern suburb of Nerima Ward.

The purpose of the ranger training is to engage in attack, destruction, and obstructive tactics behind enemy lines.

The local civil group named “SDF Watch” points out that if the SDF allows children to take part in such mock training, it will infringe on the 1977 Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts.

The protocol states that “children who have not attained the age of fifteen years shall neither be recruited in the armed forces or groups nor allowed to take part in hostilities.” “Hostilities” include acts of battle and preparation for that.

At the commemoration event, the GSDF will provide guns so that children as well as adults can have the opportunity to experience pulling the trigger of firearms.

Criticizing the GSDF’s plan, the civil group pointed out the possibility that the general public, without the license to handle guns, though they are on the SDF’s premises, may be in violation of the Swords and Firearms Control Law.

Actually, in 2009, a person with no qualifications to handle guns carried a gun for a short time on a local TV program, and local police sent this case for consideration to the public prosecutors’ office.

The group also condemns the GSDF for involving children in a simulation demonstration of using guns.

The group sent to Defense Minister Onodera Itsunori an inquiry about his stance regarding the issue in March, but have yet to receive a reply from the minister.

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