As the ruling parties won victory in the July election, the Abe administration has begun to implement awaiting policies obscured for an election purpose: one is the war legislation, which is to be put into practice and is arranged for concrete steps, and the other is construction work of military facilities in Okinawa, which goes on with force, disregarding opposition and protest actions of local people and their authority. The war legislation was approved September 19, 2015, with force in the Diet. It is a year since then. We face a critical phase; people’s life, peace and the Constitution are in peril.
STOP PREPARATION FOR WAR!
In the July election the pro-government forces, which advocate rewriting the Constitution, obtained over 2/3 of seats in the Upper House. Thus in both of the Houses pro-amendment lawmakers occupy sufficient seats by which they can present a bill to change the Constitution. But they have different aims and ideas in amending the constitution, and therefore the government uses a tactic to manage the Constitution Examination Panel for a while in order to harmonize articles to be changed. The Minshin-to, the Democratic Party, behaves elusively.
Military Training Starts with Laws for War
Prime Minister Abe Shinzo appointed Ms Inada Tomomi, an extreme-right wing politician and his favorite person, as Minister of Defense in the new cabinet. She visited the Japan’s military base abroad in Djibouti instead of visiting the Yasukuni Shrine in order to thwart criticisms from the international community. She was well aware of condemnation to be made on her if she visited the shrine without delay after taking office. Her visit to the base in Africa, however, indicated the government’s readiness to mobilize the war legislation into practice.
The minister instructed August 24 to start all relevant trainings necessary to new missions stipulated in the series of laws. They are manifold, including the right of collective self-defense; protection of US vessels under fire, transport of ammunitions to foreign troops including the US forces, fueling aircraft which launches for an attack mission, rush-to-rescue operations in the PKO, cooperative actions to defend base camps and rescue of Japanese citizens in the conflict zone. Every duty implies the use of force abroad.
The Ministry of Defense, right after the passage of war legislation, compiled rules of engagement (ROE), ? in the Self Defense Forces (SDF) ‘standard of troops’ actions’ - for overseas mission, which constitute the guidance of use of force. The ROE are not open to the public. Even in the US the rules have caused problems in terms of judgment and responsibility of shooting by military personnel.
A bill to revise the Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement, or ACSA, between the SDF and the US military will be submitted to the Diet for debates in the extraordinary session scheduled to start in late September.
Commitment in Armed Conflict in South Sudan
The 11th round of PKO mission of SDF to South Sudan will be the first implementation of the laws which passed the parliament last year.
In South Sudan groups of pro-President and of pro-Vice-president have been in armed conflict and skirmishes take place frequently. The crucial rule of PKO relies on ‘ceasefire agreement’, but it is collapsed at the moment. The United Nations Security Council decided to increase troops by 4,000 to ‘protect local people’ on account of the news that the government forces attack refugees and foreigners, but the South Sudan government opposed it. Reportedly, it has later accepted the decision due to a threat that arms embargo might be imposed. A recipient’s accord is fragile.
Until today the SDF’s engineer unit has been dispatched there to engage in construction of infrastructure such as roads and site preparation for refugees. Combat troops will be deployed now of the 5th Regiment of the Aomori region from November this year. The SDF may be committed in combat with either the pro-government forces or anti-government forces. A ‘neutrality rule’ may be lost. The personnel may kill or injure local people during the rush-to-rescue and maintenance of security missions.
The mission of PKO has altered its original disposition. The SDF to be deployed to Sough Sudan may be construed as foreign troops involved in warfare and bloodshed.
Let’s Enhance Solidarity with People in Okinawa and Aomori
Riot police are sent to Okinawa from the Honshu Island at the construction sites of Henoko and Takae. The works go on with force. Urgently needed is solidarity with local people who carry on strenuous actions.
A citizens’ rally is scheduled on October 30 in the City of Aomori and participants will march to the base of the 5th Regiment. Calls of ‘don’t kill and don’t be killed’ will be campaigned to SDF personnel. Struggles continue.
September 13, 2016