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HOME  > Past issues  > 2015 August 19 - 25  > Thorough investigation into MOD documents is essential
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2015 August 19 - 25 [POLITICS]

Thorough investigation into MOD documents is essential

August 19, 2015

Akahata editorial

The Defense Ministry has admitted that the Self-Defense Forces’ Joint Staff Office produced a set of internal documents which even include a plan to reorganize units of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces on the assumption that the government-sponsored war bills will be enacted. Furthermore, the ministry made public that the documents were drawn up in accordance with instructions from Defense Minister Nakatani Gen when discussions on the bills had not yet begun in the Diet. This move disregards public opposition and Diet deliberations and is outrageous as it regards the enactment of the bills as inevitable. The Abe administration’s responsibility for this issue is particularly significant.

PM and DefMin should bear heavy responsibility

The documents in question, “Regarding the Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation and the Legislation for Peace and Security”, were obtained by Japanese Communist Party Vice Chair Koike Akira (Upper House). He presented those documents at a House of Councilors Special Committee meeting on the security-related legislation on August 11.

Among the set of documents, there also exist documents, entitled “Future Direction following the Guidelines and the Legislation for Peace and Security”, which are designated as requiring special handling. These papers assume that the war bills will become law in August and come into effect in February 2016 and provide a detailed schedule in which the Ground SDF will dispatch its troops to the UN PKO in South Sudan in December. According to the schedule, “operations based on the new legislation”, such as rescue operations allowing the use of arms, will commence in March 2016.

What cannot be overlooked is that these documents were used as explanatory materials in a video conference held on May 26 with commanders of major units of the Ground, Maritime, and Air SDF participating. May 26 was the day when the first debate on the war bills was conducted at a House of Representatives plenary session. On the very day that Diet deliberations began, a plan based on the assumption that the Diet will pass the war bills in August distributed to the SDF. This is a total disregard of the need to discuss these bills in the Diet.

The ministry explained that it drew up the documents in question based on the Defense Minister’s order on May 15, a day after the Cabinet approval of the security-related bills. Minister Nakatani, however, responded to Koike’s questions in the Diet, “When the bills are still under Diet debate, any preparation for the implementation of the contents of the bills should be deterred.” Nakatani also said, “Considerations over how to put into practice the contents will be given, as a matter of course, after the bills’ enactment.” He should be held responsible as the defense minister. Prime Minister Abe as the supreme commander of the SDF cannot avoid his responsibility.

The documents, as shown by their titles, talk about the pending security bills and the new Defense Cooperation Guidelines agreed upon between the Japanese and the U.S. governments in April. They indicate that some contents of the Guidelines are actionable under the existing laws but some must wait for the passage of the security bills, regarding the bills as a step in bringing the Guidelines into action.

The enactment of those bills, despite being unconstitutional, is obviously for the purpose of expanding and reinforcing Japan-U.S. military cooperation. As the bills would subordinate the Constitution to the Japan-U.S. alliance, they must be scrapped.

Thorough Diet discussion necessary

The documents call for the creation of a standing “alliance coordination mechanism” which conducts policies related to the U.S. military and the SDF and which makes operational adjustments. The documents state the need to establish a “military-to-military coordination center” under this mechanism in order to map out “Japan-U.S. joint programs”. The documents refer to the SDF as “troops”, suggesting that a Japan-U.S. joint command be set up. However, the published bilateral Guidelines do not touch on any of these issues.

The documents even include a suggestion on how to proceed after the enactment of the bills. Yet, the Ministry of Defense still claims that the documents were made to explain the contents of the bills to SDF commanders. It is essential for the Diet to find out the whole truth about these documents and summon Kawano Katsutoshi, Chief of Staff of the Joint Staff Council, to testify as a sworn witness.

Past related articles:
> MOD admits it prepared for enactment of war bills which are still under Diet discussion[August 18, 2015]
> MOD already plans to reorganize SDF units in line with war bills[August 12, 2015]
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