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HOME  > Past issues  > 2015 May 20 - 26  > Abe overturns official view that use of force is not allowed under Article 9
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2015 May 20 - 26 [POLITICS]

Abe overturns official view that use of force is not allowed under Article 9

May 20, 2015
Prime Minister Abe Shinzo has discarded the official view that successive governments have held that the use of force abroad “is not permitted” and that the nonuse of weapons is a fixed principle of Japan under Article 9. Now he says the use of force “is not unpermitted”.

The Abe Cabinet on May 19 decided upon a written response acknowledging that the Japanese Self-Defense Forces can resort to arms abroad in a situation where the cabinet-set three requirements are all met.

The statement, written in response to Nagatsuma Akira of the Democratic Party of Japan, states that it will be considered constitutional to use armed forces abroad if all the three requirements are fulfilled. This completely overturns the conventional government position. In Diet deliberations on a bill to dispatch the SDF overseas for UN peace-keeping operations in the early 1990s, the then Prime Minister Miyazawa Kiichi confirmed that the SDF’s use of arms abroad is not allowed under the Constitution.

Prime Minister Abe at a recent news conference argued that SDF overseas dispatch remains forbidden “in general”. While approving SDF use of arms abroad, Abe is insisting that he did not lift the ban on Japanese military overseas missions. He deliberately made this contradictory argument in a lame attempt to deceive the public.

The three requirements allow the SDF to use armed force abroad when Japan is facing an obvious security threat and has no other effective measures to deal with the risk. However, the use of arms should be restricted to the minimum necessary level.
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