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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 December 19 - 2008 January 8  > DPJ submits bill as counterproposal to government’s anti-terrorism special measures bill
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2007 December 19 - 2008 January 8 TOP3 [POLITICS]

DPJ submits bill as counterproposal to government’s anti-terrorism special measures bill

December 22, 2007
JCP Kokuta said, “The DPJ bill tramples on the ongoing peace process in Afghanistan as well as the wishes of the Japanese people.”

The Democratic Party of Japan on December 21 submitted to the House of Councilors a special measures bill to “assist in the reconstruction of Afghanistan” as a counterproposal to the government-sponsored anti-terrorism special measures bill. The DPJ seeks to bring it up for discussion as early as possible and have a vote taken.

The DPJ bill will allow the Self-Defense Forces to be deployed to Afghanistan in order to provide humanitarian assistance as their main mission and to relax the regulations on the use of weapons that will surpass the framework established by existing laws.

The bill calls for an early enactment of a permanent law to dispatch the SDF abroad, which Prime Minister Fukuda Yasuo and DPJ President Ozawa Ichiro in their recent one-to-one talks discussed as a main agenda item in forming an LDP-DPJ “grand coalition.” It also calls for Diet consideration on whether the SDF be dispatched to engage in the Maritime Interdiction Operation in the Indian Ocean in case that the United Nations adopts a resolution calling on member states to take part in such operations.

Asked by reporters to comment on the DPJ bill on the same day, Japanese Communist Party Diet Policy Commission Chair Kokuta Keiji said, “This bill tramples on the ongoing peace process in Afghanistan as well as the wishes of the Japanese people.”

Kokuta pointed out that in Afghanistan the “process for peace and reconciliation” is being conducted via political negotiations between the government and anti-government forces, including the Taliban, and that the important thing is to carry forward this process.

To this end, Kokuta stressed, the need is to make diplomatic efforts in support of the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan, not assistance to the U.S. military operations.

Kokuta specifically pointed out the following problems of the DPJ bill: (i) it will violate the Constitution because its main purpose is to dispatch the SDF to Afghanistan in the name of “reconstruction assistance” and because it will relax the restrictions on the use of weapons, and (ii) it includes a discussion of enacting a permanent law to dispatch the SDF abroad and expanding the range of SDF activities to the entire Maritime Interdiction Operation.
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