Japan Press Weekly
[Advanced search]
 
 
HOME
Past issues
Special issues
Books
Fact Box
Feature Articles
Mail to editor
Link
Mail magazine
Blog [Japanese]
 
   
 
HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 April 9 - 15  > Limited use of right to collective self-defense will lead to unlimited use
> List of Past issues
Bookmark and Share
2014 April 9 - 15 TOP3 [POLITICS]
editorial 

Limited use of right to collective self-defense will lead to unlimited use

April 10, 2014

Akahata editorial (excerpts)

The Abe government, by bringing up a 1959 Supreme Court precedent, has worked out a new logic that Japan can “limitedly” exercise the right to “minimum necessary” collective self-defense.

Vice President of the Liberal Democratic Party Komura Masahiko gave the following example that would be considered as minimal use of the right to collective self-defense for the sake of Japan’s existence:

In a hypothetical situation in which country A may invade Japan, country A attacks a U.S. warship operating in the sea off the coast of Japan based on the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, the U.S. vessel suffers extensive damage because Japan does not protect the ship on the ground that to come to the assistance of a foreign warship would be equal to the use of the right to collective self-defense, and county A later invades Japan. “In this case, to protect the U.S. vessel could be an example of a minimum use of the right to collective self-defense,” Komura explained.

However, during the first Abe administration, Assistant Chief Cabinet Secretary Yanagisawa Kyoji gave a different explanation: If a U.S. warship was attacked in waters near Japan, such an attack would normally be considered as a harbinger of an assault on Japan and thus identified as a national emergency which permits Japan’s Self-Defense Forces to guard the U.S. vessel based on the right to individual self-defense.

The right to individual self-defense would be enough to cover the scenario Komura used as above. Nevertheless, the present Cabinet dares to categorize it as an example applicable to the exercise of the right to collective self-defense. The government is using it to justify Japan’s use of the right to collective self-defense.

It is impossible for the government to conveniently utilize the Supreme Court decision on the Sunagawa Incident. Successive governments have taken the stance that the top court did not rule on anything other than Japan’s right to self-defense associated with the stationing of the U.S. forces in Japan (Director of the Cabinet Legislation Bureau Takatsuji Masami, Upper House Budget Committee on March 30, 1967). Therefore, this Supreme Court ruling cannot be used to provide a basis for Japan’s use of the right to collective self-defense.

The government wants to minimize the issue by using the word “limited”, but it will be up to the government to judge the emergency as a threat to Japan’s existence. The scope of that judgment will “unlimitedly” expand.

* * *

The Sunagawa Incident occurred in July 1947. Several demonstrators opposing the expansion of the U.S. Tachikawa base in Sunagawa Town (currently Tachikawa City) were indicted for trespassing onto the base. The focal point of the trial was whether or not the stationing of the U.S. forces in Japan under the former Japan-U.S. Security Treaty was constitutional.
> List of Past issues
 
  Copyright (c) Japan Press Service Co., Ltd. All right reserved