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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 May 9 - 15  > Defense Minister shaping policy to turn Japan into a merchant of death
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2007 May 9 - 15 [SDF]
editorial 

Defense Minister shaping policy to turn Japan into a merchant of death

May 8, 2007
Akahata editorial (excerpts)

Defense Minister Kyuma Fumio in his May 2 lecture at the U.S. Heritage Foundation stated that “now is the time for Japan to review the Three Principles on Arms Export” banning the export of weapons and military technologies to foreign countries.

Not confined to a government decision in 2004 to make the Japan-U.S. joint development and production of a ballistic missile defense system an exception of the Three Principles, Kyuma’s statement revealed the intention to open the way for a wide range of joint development, production, and export of weapons, thereby turning Japan into a merchant of death.

The Three Principles on Arms Export was first declared by the Sato Cabinet in 1967 and elaborated by the Miki Cabinet in 1976 in order to abide by the pacifist principle of Article 9. On February 27, 1976, Prime Minister Miki Takeo stated, “Japan will refrain from arms exports in order to avoid promoting international conflicts.”

The Houses of Representatives and Councilors also repeatedly adopted resolutions calling on the government to strictly abide by the Three Principles.

Although the Japan-U.S. joint development and production of the BMD system has been made an exception to the rule, the Three Principles have been playing the role of a check on arms exports to any country, including the United States, as a peace principle based on the Constitution.

Kyuma’s statement indicated the Abe Cabinet’s dangerous move towards the complete emasculation of the Three Principles. The fact that Kyuma announced this policy at the conservative Heritage Foundation illustrates the Abe Cabinet’s wish to win U.S. favor.

While welcoming the Japanese government’s amendment to the Three Principles in 2004, former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage in February 2007 openly demanded the abolition of the Three Principles in his report entitled “The U.S.-Japan Alliance,” stating, “As a next step Japan should lift the remaining prohibitions.”

The Japan-U.S. joint research, development, and export of weaponry that the U.S. needs to use in its wars of aggression would involve Japan in U.S. indiscriminate killings.

Claiming “a challenge to a taboo,” the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren) has also been pushing the government for a drastic review of the Three Principles.

Succumbing to the U.S. government and the Japanese munitions industry would turn Japan into a dangerous threat to other nations.

Today, the international community is discussing imposing restrictions on small arms sales. The Foreign Ministry in 2004 stated that with regard to this issue Japan is in a position to lead the international community because Japan in principle is not exporting arms.

The Three Principles on Arms Export is a treasure that Japan’s diplomacy should make use of. The need now is for Japan to defend the Three Principles.
- Akahata, May 8, 2007
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