(Akahata: April 28, 2015 – p. 2)
The Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation that define the role and mission sharing between the U.S. military and Self-Defense Forces (SDF) were revised for the first time in 18 years at the Japan-U.S. Security Consultative Committee between the Japanese and U.S. foreign and defense ministers (two-plus-two). The ruling Liberal Democratic Party and the junior coalition partner Komeito Party are forging ahead to reach a final agreement on “war legislation” that will endorse the effectiveness of the new Guidelines. The Guidelines and “war legislation” will fundamentally shift Japan’s security policy after World War II in accordance with the Abe administration’s ambition to turn Japan into “a country that can engage in war overseas.”
The biggest problem with the revised Guidelines is that they will enable the SDF to support the U.S. military not only in the Asia-Pacific region but worldwide.
The 1997 Guidelines were legislated in 1999 as the Law Concerning Measures to Ensure the Peace and Security of Japan in Situations in Areas Surrounding Japan. Thereafter, the Antiterrorism Special Measures Law was enacted in response to the war of retaliation in Afghanistan waged by the U.S. (in 2001), followed by the Law Concerning the Special Measures on Humanitarian and Reconstruction Assistance in Iraq (in 2003) in response to the invasion of Iraq. As such, the SDF’s support for the U.S. military has incrementally expanded to global level.
The SDF’s support for the U.S. military is newly incorporated into the new Guidelines, which will enable the SDF to provide support to the U.S. military at any time. In fact, with the “war legislation,” the government is trying to enact a new permanent law (the “international peace support law”) on dispatching SDF troops overseas that will allow the SDF to be dispatched anywhere in the world at any time when the U.S. wages a war.
The new Guidelines state that situations having a serious impact on Japan’s peace and security that warrant supporting the U.S. military cannot be geographically defined. As a result, in the “war legislation,” the existing Law Concerning Measures to Ensure the Peace and Security of Japan in Situations in Areas Surrounding Japan will be revised to a “law on serious impact situations.” This means that the limitation imposed by the phrase “situations in areas near Japan” is being removed. Both the “international peace support law” and the “law on serious impact situations” will make it possible for the SDF to be dispatched to “combat zones” and to provide ammunition. This is extremely dangerous and will result in unlimited expansion of support for the U.S. military.
It is also significant that the new Guidelines refer to Japan’s right to exercise collective self-defense for the first time.
The Guidelines specifically state that the SDF “will conduct appropriate operations including the use of force when an armed attack is initiated against other country that threatens Japan’s existence and fundamentally endangers Japanese people’s lives and the public’s right to seek freedom and happiness” ( a situation that threatens Japan’s existence). If the U.S. makes a preemptive attack and incurs a counterattack, Japan can participate in the war to support the U.S. military with the use of force if the Japanese government regards the situation as “threatening Japan’s existence.”
The new Guidelines, which undermine Article 9 of the Constitution, and the “war legislation” are reckless acts without a just cause. We need to further strengthen people’s unified efforts not to tolerate the creation of “a country that can engage in war.” (Abridged)