In the press meeting held on April 15 Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide emphasized a necessity to incorporate an article on national emergency into the new constitution: under this clause Prime Minister would strengthen his authority to cope with situations. The statement is clearly a manipulation, a political maneuver, taking advantage of the Kumamoto Earthquake which shook the southern island in mid-April.
DON’T USE KUMAMOTO EARTHQUAKE POLITICALLY!
Referring to the earthquakes which struck the Kyushu Island, Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga told, reportedly; ‘it is crucial to set forth in the constitution what role the state and people should play in the emergency situation like today, when the serious natural disaster took place, in order to protect safety of people’, when asked whether ‘an article on national emergency’ was necessary.
A Well-arranged Scenario
Some people point out this kind of exchange of question and answer was part of a certain scenario because it was very fluent as if it had gone along a script. Probably Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga and his followers had agreed before the press meeting on how to raise a question and give a reply.
With an intention to rewrite the Constitution, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party incorporated a provision as Article 98 to cope with national contingency in their draft text compiled in 2012: under the article the government would be given ‘power to cope with national emergencies’, the right to take pressing measures by temporarily suspending the constitutional order in times of natural disasters and terrorist acts. If Prime Minister should declare national emergency, he could issue ordinances equivalent to laws and extend term of office of lawmakers.
Prime Minister Abe himself replied in the Budget Committee held in November last year: ‘which article in the text should we begin with? Some people insist emphatically that the clause on national emergencies must be the first to debate.’
Premier Abe boldly takes actions to reach a goal of occupying two thirds of the Diet’s seats by winning in the Upper House election scheduled in July. Reportedly, Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga, too, mentioned that it was reasonable to begin with a clause that can easily be dealt with.
Whether to incorporate an article on national emergencies in the constitution or not ? is a grave question, though some argue that is simply an attempt in the context of amending the Constitution. Stipulation on emergencies means to drill the Constitution. Such an article cannot be accepted.
Under the Disaster Countermeasures Basic Act the government can amply take initiative in managing natural calamity, if Premier issues ‘a declaration on emergency situations’, though it is unnecessary to articulate that again here. At the time of the 2011 Tohoku Earthquakes most of the municipalities replied ‘unnecessary’ to the questionnaire whether it was needed to change laws concerning the government’s actions to counter catastrophe. The ‘state’s emergency right’ is not necessary at all in facing natural hazard. It is even harmful. This is a position of the New Socialist Party.
Objective of Deployment of Aircraft Osprey
Taking advantage of adversity in the Kyushu region, the US military deploys aircraft Osprey in transporting materials in the collaboration efforts. Clearly that is a political exercise to manipulate public opinions. The Abe government tries to gain people’s sympathy by improving images of the US military. Its intention is evident - to win greater support of the right of collective self-defense and the construction plan of a new base at Henoko, Okinawa.
May 3, 2016