News From Japan

"Collective self-defence" has nothing to do with defence

US citizen John Manning introduces a recent editorial from the daily newspaper of the Japanese Communist Party and draws some interesting comparisons between his country and theirs

Japan is second only to the United States as a world economic power, (and also in armament), and we, the peoples of these two most powerful nations on the planet have right now much in common: We are being persuaded that to attain peace and quiet at home, we must attack and subjugate the rest of the world, though we are but a small fraction of its population - we are less than 5%, and Japan has half as many people.

The general public is being given this message in small doses. Right now it is that we must complete the subjugation, (and slaughter, as necessary for subjugation), of the Iraqi people and appropriate their national wealth - the oil first of all - but the full scope of the planned conquest has been made clear in official declarations of both military and civil U.S. governing bodies.

This is just becoming clear to the peoples of the world from our accelerating invasions of the last fifty years and the process of rallying to resist is under way.

For our home part, we are being given the election privilege of deciding between two candidates both pledged to this plan of world domination, one far less rabid than the incumbent and therefore a "lesser evil".

The people of Japan, on the other hand, have at least an active and legal opposition party, which, though very much a minority at present, is fighting for the objective known and recorded by the polls of 70 percent of Japan's population to renounce all aggressive wars and remain at peace.

Since it is an honest and democratic communist party, pledged to fight for the liberation and progress of all humanity, it can do no other than use reason and state the facts, in the belief that if the people can be reached with the truth, they will act in their own defence..

As the only, consistent, pro-peace party, they have the opposition, like us in the U.S., of all the mass media. In addition they have the opposition of the great U.S. with our fighter aircraft from our Japan bases overhead and our nuclear submarines in their harbours as added pressure for submission.

On their side they have their newspaper, Akahata, of 2 million circulation, which exists and is independent only because they support, circulate and pay for it all themselves with the assistance of its readers. With Akahata and the active participation of their 400,000 members and those who sympathize their vote has reached 8 million.

At the moment it is a very uphill fight. However, regardless of immediate results, the facts of reality will remain. As they tell their fellow citizens, the war policy has no future. Peace and friendship among nations and social justice and economic equity at home is the only future for Japan and humanity.

Here, following, is Akahata on the war trap laid by "collective self-defence".

Right of collective self-defence has nothing to do with Japan's defence -- Akahata editorial, October 2

New Defence Agency director general Ono Yoshinori in an interview said, "Japan's sending the self-defence Forces to Iraq involves extreme restrictions. Can the SDF stand idle when troops of other countries are being attacked in Iraq?" This was in answer to a reporter's question: "What inconveniences will Japan have if it is barred from exercising the right of collective self-defence?" Ono is the first DA director general to state that the constitutional ban on exercising the right of collective self-defence is a restriction in relation to the state of affairs in Iraq. It's also serious in that he calls for constitutional revision to pave the way for exercising the right of collective self-defence.

Constitutional revision at U.S. request

Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'iciro expressed support for the U.S. war of aggression against Iraq at the outset and in late 2003 began to send the SDF to Iraq. The SDF remain in Iraq in support of military rule as a member of the multinational force. In explanations to the Japanese people, however, the government stressed that the SDF were not going there for combat but for humanitarian and reconstruction assistance that includes water supply in non-combat areas like Samawah.

Under the Constitution the government is not allowed to send troops to Iraq which is in a state of war. It is also very clear that Japan cannot militarily assist U.S. forces in the light of the government's stated view that "Exercising the right of collective self-defence ... is unconstitutional" (Government written reply, May 29, 1981). This is why Prime Minister Koizumi had to stress that Japan will extend "humanitarian reconstruction support". But now Ono argues that this ban should be removed because it "restricts" SDF activities.

After the Bush administration succeeded in having the Japanese SDF deployed in Iraq, it is attempting to have the Japanese Constitution revised with the aim of allowing the SDF to constitutionally fight in wars abroad alongside with U.S. forces. This was confirmed by the increasing pressure on Japan from U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage stating that "Article 9 stands in the way of strengthening the Japan-U.S. alliance" and "a nation wishing to sit permanently on the council must be ready to deploy their military force in the interests of the international community", stating that it will be difficult for Japan to be a UN permanent council member without clearing the bar.

Ono made the statement quoted above apparently to accede to the U.S. demand by promising to enable the SDF to take part in combat side by side with U.S. forces in Iraq or elsewhere.

Ono's remarks represent the Koizumi Cabinet's obsession with a revision of the Constitution. In June, Koizumi stated that it is not right for Japan to be barred from exercising the right of collective self-defence when U.S. forces are fighting with us to defend Japan. The "right of collective self-defence"' will not be called into question if the SDF are to "defend Japan". Ignoring this, the prime minister moved to link the defence of Japan with the concept of the right of collective self-defence.

Ono's latest statement has revealed that the aim of what the government calls "the right of collective self-defence" has nothing to do with "the defence of Japan" but is aimed tat enabling the SDF to protect U.S. forces in combat in Iraq or elsewhere.

Boosted by 'two major parties' scheme

Ono's remarks is also related to the view approving the SDI’s use of force outside of Japan, a view shared by not only the LDP and Komai but by the Democratic Party of Japan.

During this recent visit to the United States, DPJ President Okada Katsuya stated, "Japan should make an active contribution to maintaining world peace by changing the Constitution to make it possible for Japan to use force abroad provided that the United Nations Security Council adopts resolutions to this effect. This position is little different from Koizumi's in that Okada calls for the SDF to be allowed to "use force abroad" although he says a UNSC resolution is necessary.

At a time when the "two major parties" are competing with each other for a constitutional revision to drag Japan into dangerous wars, we will work hard to make the people's wishes for peace heard.