(Yomiuri: June 3, 2015 – p. 4)
The Diet is currently engaged in a heated debate on the security bills. Following is a simulation of how the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) will act in a particular “situation” under these bills:
The U.S. slaps sanctions on country X in the Middle East that continues to develop nuclear weapons. In retaliation, country X lays mines to blockade an international channel through which ships of many countries pass. The U.S. sends its aircraft carriers and an armed conflict begins. The U.S. asks its ally Japan to clear the channel of mines.
Minesweeping in wartime constitutes use of force under international law. The deployment of Maritime SDF minesweepers will require meeting the three new conditions for exercising the right to self-defense set by the Japanese government in order to invoke the collective defense right.
In light of the U.S.’s request, the Prime Minister’s Official Residence initiates consultations with the relevant ministries. The blockade of the strait in the Middle East has stopped all crude oil imports and Japan has begun to use its six-month oil reserves. The electric companies are forced to implement scheduled power outages, while the citizens’ daily lives are disrupted by hoarding of kerosene and other panic reactions. Winter arrives, increasing the risk of people freezing to death. The prime minister thinks that “there is a clear danger of the people’s rights being overturned fundamentally.”
While certain ruling party members come up with cautious suggestions to import alternative energy sources from other regions to deal with this crisis, a prolonged conflict becomes inevitable with the expansion of hostilities. The prime minister decides that “there are no other options.” Although SDF operations in the territorial sea of country X may constitute overseas deployment banned under the Constitution, it is judged that this case is an exception because it meets the three new conditions.
The Japanese government designates this situation as a “survival-threatening situation” – which authorizes the exercise of the collective defense right — after convening the National Security Council and passing a cabinet decision. After obtaining Diet approval, a mobilization order for defense operations is issued to the SDF, which begins minesweeping in sea areas where the U.S. has control of the sea and air.