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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 August 22 - 28  > DPJ policy on extension of Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law draws attention
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2007 August 22 - 28 [POLITICS]

DPJ policy on extension of Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law draws attention

August 19, 2007
How the Democratic Party of Japan will deal with the issue of extension of the Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law that will expire on November 1 is attracting attention. At a meeting with U.S. Ambassador to Japan Thomas Schieffer on August 8, DPJ President Ozawa Ichiro expressed his opposition to the extension of the law, saying, “Japan cannot take part in U.S.-led wars” However, some DPJ members disagree with Ozawa for they are attaching importance to the Japan-U.S. alliance, and the U.S. government is working to change the DPJ policy.

‘No other choice than rejection’

“President Ozawa showed Ambassador Shieffer a Japan that can say ‘No!’. In the House of Councilors, there is no choice other than a rejection of the extension,” said a DPJ House of Councilors member who appreciated Ozawa’s stance.

Another DPJ House of Councilors member who is close to Ozawa said, “In view of the House of Representatives dissolution for a general election, the DPJ needs to clearly show its differences with the Liberal Democratic Party. Therefore, we must oppose the extension of the special measures law.”

The DPJ that received votes against the ruling parties in the recent House of Councilors election intends to underline its differences with the LDP in not only domestic policies but security and diplomatic policies.

DPJ Secretary General Hatoyama Yukio on August 9 said, “We would say the strategy dealing with Afghan issues has been wrong from the beginning.” The DPJ plans to force the government to release related classified information by exercising the Dietmembers’ right to investigate state affairs in the upcoming extraordinary session of the Diet.


At the same time, some DPJ Dietmembers have voiced their concern over the DPJ policy of opposing the extension of the special measures law. “This time, our opposition will lead to a rejection in the House of Councilors. I feel a bit of uneasiness that the rejection may erode U.S. confidence in the Japan-U.S. alliance,” one of them said. Another DPJ Dietmember also said, “The rejection will cause concern in the U.S. over the alliance with Japan when the DPJ comes to power.”

Schieffer put pressure on the DPJ by stating in an interview with Mainichi Shimbun that the DPJ’s opposition to the extension amounts to an announcement of Japan’s withdrawal from the war on terrorism and that this would send a “terrible message” to not only the U.S. but the entire international community.

Former DPJ President Maehara Seiji and other advocates of strengthening the Japan-U.S. alliance in the DPJ have openly called on the party to support the extension of the special measures law, but support for their stance has not increased.

Participation in U.N. operations

On the other hand, a DPJ Dietmember who is opposed to the exercise of the right of collective self-defense expressed a different concern over DPJ security policies. “Although we agree with President Ozawa’s stance on the rejection of the extension of the Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law, we are concerned about his policy of sending the Self-Defense Forces abroad within the U.N. framework,” he said.

Ozawa at the August 8 meeting with Schieffer stated, “The International Security Assistance Force stationed in Afghanistan differs from a genuine peacekeeping force. Nonetheless, it has the same task and character as the Peace Keeping Forces. The DPJ government will be pleased to actively participate in international peace operations.”

Ozawa has consistently advocated that the SDF’s use of force abroad within the U.N. framework does not go against Article 9. With this peculiar interpretation of the Constitution, he plans to enable the SDF to use force abroad.

The DPJ Dietmember said, “If the SDF is engaged in combat and uses weapons even within the U.N. framework, Japan’s status in the international community will be inevitably regarded differently.” - Akahata, August 19, 2007
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