The Abe government was set up with an aim to revise the Constitution and reorganize school education policies into a rightist direction. For the time being it is making efforts mainly to recover economy to win support in the Upper House election scheduled in July. After the election the Abe government will implement its policies on the regular basis. Don't be cheated by this type of political 'pretension'. Let's enhance our struggles to cope with the government's attack.
NO! TO SELF-CONVENIENT INTERPRETATION OF CONSTITUTION
The Abe strategy lies in, externally, consolidating the Japan-US alliance, strengthening the Self Defense Forces (SDF), to formulate a diamond-shape security framework to contain China and, finally, preparing to create a military unit of national defense. Internally, it attempts to amend the Constitution for worse, revising Article Nine in particular, and to impose 'a patriotic spirit' on school education to build 'a strong nation'.
What is Right of Collective Defense?
One of the Abe government's major policies is an attempt to exercise the right of collective defense in the context of altering interpretation of the Constitution.
The right of collective defense is defined as a right to use military means against an attack of a third country which may have attacked a close ally of Japan although the latter is not attacked. This right was incorporated into the UN Charter after the WWII as an exceptional rule. The charter proclaims not to use military means to solve any international conflicts.
As for Japan, the Constitution explicitly specifies under Article Nine that 'the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes'.
Even the successive governments led by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) have replied in the Diet: 'the Constitution does not forbid the individual right to defend Japan. What is prohibited is to exercise the right of collective defense (to join a war of a third country) and to use military force abroad'. The international community has rightly accepted this stance of Japan.
Alteration of Constitution Interpretation - For Legalization
The United States regards Japan as a key ally in its world strategy. It has demanded in a forced manner to revise Article Nine and exercise the right of collective defense, and bureaucrats of Japan in charge of foreign and defense affairs have responded positively to the requests.
In phase with the officials, then-Premier Abe had attempted to legalize this controversial right in the previous administration: he had tried to exercise the right within the scope of interpretation of the Constitution and organized a panel of 'experts' on rebuilding of legal basis for national security. The panel had advised to review previous interpretations of the Constitution in the four separate categories.
The first is: if a US ship should be attacked during a joint military maneuver on the high sea, a ship of the Self Defense Forces (SDF) of Japan might take a defensive response. The second is: the SDF should intercept a ballistic missile that might fly to the United States. The third is: in the PKO missions the SDF troops should guard immediately troops of other country(ies). And the fourth is: logistics, like transport and medical duties in the combat zone.
The report was closed after then-Premier Abe had abandoned the administration due to his illness. But now Mr. Abe has returned to the government, mentioning: 'I want to see the experts to listen to their explanations on the report. I want to resume discussions'. Foreign Minister Kishida told that the government would involve in the issue on the basis of the report complied by the former panel.
The proposed new panel may study related issues more specifically: it may admit defense of US ships not only during the military exercise but also in the locations far beyond that. It may investigate a mission to quell out civil resistance in lieu of the recipient government authorities during the PKO duties. If the Japanese government admits 'legitimacy of the right of collective defense', the country can easily be committed in a war, using a variety of excuses.
February 5, 2013