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HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 July 30 - August 12  > 2014 Defense White Paper highlights the collective self-defense right
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2014 July 30 - August 12 [POLITICS]

2014 Defense White Paper highlights the collective self-defense right

August 7, 2014
Akahata editorial (excerpts)

This year marks the 60th year of the creation of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces, and the 40th year since the Defense Agency (the predecessor of the present Defense Ministry) issued the first white paper on defense.

Defense Minister Onodera Itsunori submitted the FY2014 White Paper on Defense to a Cabinet meeting on August 5. The paper asserts that the July 1 Cabinet decision which enables Japan to use the right to collective self-defense has “historical importance” in ensuring Japan’s peace and security. In point of fact, that decision intends to turn Japan into a nation that can wage war abroad.

Last year’s white paper stated clearly that Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution forbids Japan to use armed force to rebuff attacks on other countries. On the contrary, this year’s paper gives a detailed explanation of the controversial Cabinet resolution.

At the same time, the paper stresses that Japan continues to uphold its strictly defensive national security policy.

The Cabinet decision authorizes Japan to use force even when it is not under attack. Even though Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s government insists that the use of force is permitted only when “Japan’s survival” is threatened and there is “a clear danger to fundamentally overturn people’s right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness”, it falls outside Japan’s “defense-only” policy. It is the administration that will make the judgment as to whether Japan faces “a clear danger” or not, which may lead to dispatching SDF troops overseas without constraint.

This white paper also notes that the Constitution bans the state from sending to other nations SDF troops with the aim of using armed force. However, PM Abe is now planning to send SDF minesweepers to the Strait of Hormuz. In addition, the Cabinet resolution assumes that SDF members will provide logistic support to foreign troops in potential battlefields and even make counterattacks there.

The annual report is full of contradictions. This is because the Abe administration is trying to pretend to maintain Japan’s conventional defense policy in order to stave off public criticism against the Cabinet decision. The government should immediately retract the decision which will place the lives of Japanese people at risk.
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