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HOME  > Past issues  > 2022 March 30 - April 5  > Defense Ministry views 'news reports' as potential gray zone contingencies in addition to 'antiwar demonstrations'
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2022 March 30 - April 5 [POLITICS]

Defense Ministry views 'news reports' as potential gray zone contingencies in addition to 'antiwar demonstrations'

April 2, 2022
Materials, which the Defense Ministry Ground Staff Office distributed in February 2020 at a study meeting of the ministry's press club, cited "news reports" in addition to "antiwar demonstrations" as an example of "gray zone contingencies" which may invoke the national security-related legislation.

The materials listed terrorism, cyberattack, illegal behavior, subversive acts by special forces, news reports, and antiwar demonstrations in the category of "gray zone contingencies".

On these examples, "antiwar demonstrations" were revised to "demonstrations that turn violent" after several journalists disputed the phrase as being "inappropriate". However, "news reports" remained in the revised materials.

The national security-related legislation offers a framework under which Japan can provide rear-area support for U.S. military operations or can exercise the right to collective self-defense in order to participate in U.S. wars abroad in the event of a contingency even if Japan is not under attack. The security legislation enumerates examples of a contingency, one of which is a "gray zone contingency". According to the Ground Staff Office materials, a gray zone situation is to "force parties concerned to accept one's claims by various means that fall short of an armed attack".

Journalist Handa Shigeru, who had long worked with a media outlet belonging to the Defense Ministry press club, pointed out, "The Defense Ministry and the Self-Defense Forces see 'the press' reporting news inconvenient to the defense authorities as a problem. The media coverage is an important medium for the general public to know the facts without being deceived by war propaganda. The media should be concerned with the authorities seeing the news reports as a problem and should raise their voices against this."
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