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HOME  > Past issues  > 2015 June 3 - 9  > Constitution needs to adapt itself to war-related bills: DefMin Nakatani
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2015 June 3 - 9 [POLITICS]

Constitution needs to adapt itself to war-related bills: DefMin Nakatani

June 8, 2015
“Based on the ruling parties’ discussions on how to adapt the current Constitution to these security bills, the Cabinet approved them.”

Defense Minister Nakatani Gen, who is in charge of the war-related bills, said this on June 5 in response to a lawmaker of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan at a Lower House special committee session. This remark has sparked public criticism that the minister places the controversial measures above Japan’s supreme law.

At a Lower House interpellation of unsworn witnesses on the previous day, three experts in constitutional law, including a scholar recommended by the governing parties, all stated that the government-proposed security bills run counter to the pacifist Constitution. Following that, the opposition parties such as the DPJ and the Japanese Communist Party again demanded that the administration retract the bills.

The point of the minister’s remark is that the measures in question are constitutional because the Abe Cabinet last year changed the conventional interpretation of the Constitution in order to allow Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense.

Article 98 of the Constitution stipulates that “this Constitution shall be the supreme law of the nation” and “no law” contrary to that “shall have legal force or validity”. Nakatani’s comment is thus going against the principle of constitutionalism.

Meanwhile, Liberal Democratic Party Vice President Komura Masahiko, who had chaired the ruling bloc’s talks to prepare the draft laws, denounced the three researchers by saying, “They place too much emphasis on Clause 2 of Article 9 of the Constitution.”

The clause states, “To accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph (the renunciation of war), land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.”

Under this provision, it is clear that Japan cannot support the U.S. in wars abroad or participate in wars. Such unconstitutional bills should be scrapped without delay.

* * *

TBS Television took up in its programs aired on June 6 and 7 the issue that all the constitutional experts summoned by the Diet recognized the war legislation-related bills as unconstitutional.

Keio University Professor Emeritus Kobayashi Setsu, one of the three unsworn witnesses, pointed out in the TV interview that the Constitution is “the most important agreement” between those in power and the people with sovereign power. “To break this agreement means the beginning of dictatorship,” he stressed.

A news anchor underscored the need for the Abe administration to review its security bills in light of the war-renouncing Constitution.

Past related article:
> Shii upsets PM Abe by asking questions about Japan’s use of collective self-defense right in possible US wars of aggression [June 2, 2015]
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