Prime Minister Abe Shinzo has taken elaborate policies to act violently in order to transform the nation into one that could wage a war abroad. He has chosen favorite people for the posts of Governor of the Bank of Japan, which plays a financial role to implement the so-called Abenomics policy, chairman of the NHK, the major broadcasting company, and, ultimately, Director-General of the Cabinet Legislation Bureau with an objective to submit to the Diet a series of unconstitutional bills to prepare for a war.
A GUARD OF CONSTITUTION HAS BECOME A GUARD OF CABINET
Once the Liberal Democratic Party gained an overwhelming victory in the general election held in the end of December 2012, a tricky victory thanks to the small constituency system, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo removed Governor of the Bank of Japan, Mr. Shirakawa Masaaki, before termination of his tenure and replaced in March 2013 with Governor Kuroda Haruhiko, who helps finance for the government’s economic policy.
Mr. Kuroda committed in financial deregulation in a rapid and surprising way, which led to cheap Yen appreciation and good performance in the stock market. He fascinated people with an illusory economic boom, helping the Abe government to maintain a high support rate. It was firmly determined to pass the controversial bills in the Diet.
The financial and economic polices of the Abe administration which favor Big Business have generated gaps between the rich who become richer and the poor who become poorer. His trickle-down theory has fallen in the dead end.
One More Adventurous Challenge
Premier Abe’s another challenge was to replace Director-General of the Cabinet Legislation Bureau, which had maintained a stance that the right of collective self-defense violates the Constitution. He did it in August 2013 in order to approve the belligerent right. Usually the post of Director-General is succeeded by Vice-Director of the bureau, but Premier Abe neglected the practice to place Mr. Komatsu Ichiro, an official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who advocated this right. Premier attempted to change interpretation of the Constitution.
Later Mr. Komatsu had some health problem and the premier promoted Mr. Yokobatake Yusuke inside the bureau to fill the post. The successor has the longest experience in the bureau’s First Section which is in charge of interpretation of the Constitution.
Judging from his career in the Bureau, people had expected that he was prudent enough in changing interpretation of the Constitution. After accepting the Premier’s order, however, the new director-general told that ‘it is not completely impossible to change interpretation’. He converted the bureau’s historic stance to a favor of the Abe government.
Thus, the Bureau, which used to be a guard of the Constitution, has been transformed into a bureaucratic tool reflecting decisions of the government. Until that time the Cabinet Legislation Bureau had been independent in which even Premier had not been able to interfere. It had been responsible for the Constitution to advise the post-war administrations.
In the first round of Abe government the then-Director General of the Bureau Miyazaku Reiichi had told: ‘a government cannot change interpretation of the Constitution freely’. Premier Abe had experienced resistance of Director-General and in his second premiership he directly involved in personnel affairs.
Proceedings Not Documented
On July 1, 2014, the Cabinet made a decision to approve the right of collective self-defense after changing the traditional interpretation of the Constitution, winning consent from the Cabinet Legislation Bureau. Until that moment the government had defined that: ‘execution of the right of self-defense is approved only when it is necessary to defend the rights of people and it should be the ultimate, unavoidable measure limited to the minimal level’. That was officially set in 1972. In those days the government maintained consequently that execution of the right of collective self-defense ‘cannot be allowed by the Constitution’ because it defends a third country.
However, under the Abe government the ministers claimed changes in the security environment and re-interpreted the 1972 statement, saying that it approved execution not only of the right of individual self-defense but also of the right of collective self-defense. Furthermore, the ministers showed, as a proof, the Supreme Court’s decision on the Sunagawa Incident, which was in fact irrelevant to the right of collective self-defense.
Later the Legislation Bureau led by Yokobatake has been proven that it had not left written records on their examination of changes of interpretation of the Constitution. What did the Bureau do?
October 13, 2015