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HOME  > Past issues  > 2021 March 24 - 30  > 5th year of war laws increases risk of being involved in US-led battles
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2021 March 24 - 30 TOP3 [POLITICS]

5th year of war laws increases risk of being involved in US-led battles

March 29, 2021

Akahata editorial (excerpts)

March 29 marks five years since the former Abe government forcibly enacted the national security-related legislation, the so-called war laws, in complete disregard of the principles of constitutional pacifism and constitutionalism.

Based on the war laws, the Japanese Self-Defense Forces protected U.S. forces two times in 2017 when the laws were first put into practice, 16 times in 2018, 14 times in 2019, and a record 25 times in 2020. The 25 included guarding U.S. warships four times engaging in information gathering on ballistic missiles and warning/surveillance activities, and guarding U.S. military aircraft 21 times in Japan-U.S. joint military exercises.

The guarding of U.S. military vessels or aircraft by SDF units has no geographical limitation. If the U.S. military is under attack, an SDF unit can technically use arms to strike back in order to protect the U.S. military. Therefore, the SDF may unintentionally be involved in combat.

For example, an incident may occur between the Chinese military and the U.S. forces taking part in joint military exercises with the SDF in the South China Sea. The SDF unit on duty to guard the U.S. forces is required to protect them with the use of force.

Under the security legislation, in the event of a crisis in the South China Sea or in Taiwan, if the Japanese government recognizes it as "a situation having a serious impact on Japan's peace and security", the SDF will provide logistical support to U.S. forces, such as supply and transportation of necessary materials, even in areas where a battle is taking place. The SDF will also guard U.S. logistics units. If this happens, not only the SDF but also Japan, especially Okinawa where many U.S. military facilities are located, will be a target of attack.

Furthermore, if the Japanese government recognizes it as "a situation posing a clear danger that threatens Japan's existence", the SDF will exercise the right to collective self-defense which will entail Japan's full participation in combat operations.

Abolishment of the security legislation and the withdrawal of the Cabinet decision which allows Japan's use of collective self-defense right are urgently needed.

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