The Abe government approved March 1 participation of Japanese firms in manufacturing parts and components for F35 fighters, the next generation fighter of the Self Defense Forces (SDF) of Japan, through a comment by Chief Cabinet Secretary, who explained the decision did not violate the three restrictions on arms' export since the measure is an exception. It constitutes another policy to undermine the Preamble and Article Nine of the Constitution in liaison with the controversial right of collective defense.
ABE GOVERNMENT INVOLVES IN ARMS TRADE
The so-called three principles on arms' export is a government determination established by the then-premier Sato Eisaku in 1967 and another premier Miki Takeo in 1976 through their replies in the Diet.
It comprises of prohibition of arms' sales to: (1) communist countries (2) countries to which UN resolutions prohibit export of weaponry and (3) countries in conflict or possible conflict. Ex-Premier Miki made strict definition on 'arms' in addition to these categories in the parliament, which has been maintained to today.
Exceptions Ease Original Rules
However, many 'exceptions' have been made for these years with an intention to undermine the restrictions.
In 1983 an exception was introduced in terms of export and transfer of arms technologies destined to the United States, in 2005 the same step was taken in collaborating in the development of anti-missile defense system with the US and in 2011 the Noda government decided to exclude from the established rules such equipment as it could contribute to peace and international cooperation and guarantee security relations, in particular, favoring Japan. Later developments have shown in fact the rules are jeopardized.
This time the Abe government admitted manufacturing as an exemption on the ground that a fighter F35 with stealth capability, 42 units of which will be procured in the plan, would 'contribute to effective operation of the US-Japan security scheme'. The current government openly commits in marketing lethal merchandise, destroying the arms trade limitations by exceptions.
In connection with a gradual approval of the right of collective defense, which the Constitution prohibits, the government of Japan will join as a player in the quadrangular military alliance of the US, South Korea and Australia, involving in production and export of weapons.
Those who actively ease the restrictions include the Keidanren (=the Japan Business Federation) and two dozens of companies as well as the Japan Association of Defense Industry (JADI) and the Defense Structure Improvement Foundation (BSK). The financial circle also has often raised proposals and demands to the government.
The federation of financial leaders compiled in 2010 the Proposals for New National Defense Program Guidelines: it demands the government to intensify defense industries through alleviation of arms trade restrictions in order to enhance and broaden the basis of related sectors in the context of 'international security environment' illustrated under the chapter of 'new arms export control rules'.
Defense Industry Circle's Dissatisfaction
Incidentally, the production amount of defense industry in 2007 counts 1.9 trillion Yen, occupying 0.6% of the total industry production amount' (Homepage of Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry, METI). The defense circle says that 'the sum is too small to be an independent sector to cope with demands', dissatisfied with the figure.
For instance, in total 2200 companies of the country participate in production of Aegis vessels which belong to the Maritime Self Defense Forces. They expect that related industries will grow as a profitable business to consolidate the basis if the export limit is deregulated.
A successful example is the revision of the Basic Act on Space Development made in June, 2012, which authorizes a military use of the outer space and development of related industries.
With an excuse of 'international contribution and humanitarian assistance' the government has made substantial changes in the diplomacy as a representing body of US interests and voracity of the Japanese financial circle. The ultimate goal of the efforts is to amend Article Nine of the Constitution. We must not forget the real objective.
March 26, 2013