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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 January 9 - 15  > Upper House committee votes down anti-terrorism special measures bill
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2008 January 9 - 15 [POLITICS]

Upper House committee votes down anti-terrorism special measures bill

January 11, 2008
The House of Councilors Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on January 10 rejected a government-sponsored anti-terrorism special measures bill to resume the Maritime Self-Defense Force refueling mission in the Indian Ocean with the majority of the Japanese Communist, Democratic, and the Social Democratic parties.

The committee also voted down a bill submitted by the DPJ to enable the SDF to be dispatched to Afghanistan with the majority vote of the ruling parties, JCP, and SDP.

It was the first time that a bill to send the SDF abroad has been voted down in the Diet since 1992 when the first such law (the PKO Cooperation Law) was enacted. This development reflects the public will expressed in the House of Councilors election held last summer and the subsequent changes in the political situation.

JCP representative Inoue Satoshi expressed opposition to the government bill, stating, “The SDF refueling operations will inevitably support U.S. air strikes in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is already clear that war cannot eradicate terrorism. The need now is for Japan to engage in diplomatic efforts for peace.”

About 450 citizens and trade unionists on the same day marched in demonstration to the Diet building, shouting, “We will not allow the Lower House to forcibly enact the bill!” They staged a sit-in protest in front of the Diet building.

National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) President Ban’nai Mitsuo in a rally stated that the public demands a thorough investigation of the ongoing defense scandal and an end to Japan’s cooperation in the war of retaliation. He criticized the ruling parties for attempting to forcibly enact the anti-terrorism bill by using their two-third majority in the House of Representatives in defiance of public opinion.  
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