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Gist of Lower House Budget Committee debate on security bills, June 18

  • 2015-06-19 15:00:00
  • , Yomiuri
  • Translation

(Yomiuri: June 19, 2015 – p. 12)


 Following is the gist of interpellations at the intensive session of the House of Representatives Budget Committee on June 18. The following members asked questions: Itsunori Onodera, Hideki Makihara (Liberal Democratic Party); Naoya Higuchi (Komeito); Yuichiro Tamaki, Kensuke Onishi, Mitsunori Okamoto, Junya Ogawa (Democratic Party of Japan); Mito Kakizawa, Masato Imai, Hidetoshi Muraoka (Japan Innovation Party); and Chizuko Takahashi (Japanese Communist Party).


 Collective defense right


 Onodera: We must be prepared for changes in the security (environment). Please share with us your thoughts on the limited exercise of the right to collective self-defense to protect the people’s life.


 Prime Minister Shinzo Abe: In the past, there was a debate on whether Japan has the right to self-defense. The Supreme Court decision on the Sunagawa case of 1959 determined that Japan possesses this right. It is a matter of course that the cabinet in power should think very seriously about “necessary self-defense measures.” Although Japan has missile interception capability, it will need the U.S.’s cooperation to use this capability. The situation has changed substantially. We have a responsibility to think about “necessary self-defense measures.” Turning a blind eye to the international situation and being fixated with the previous constitutional interpretation amounts to abandoning the responsibility of politicians.


 Survival-threatening situation


 Tamaki: While the Constitution prohibits the use of force in a situation of imminent armed attack, force can be used in a survival-threatening situation. Aren’t the conditions for using force too lenient?


 Abe: In the sense that Japan will not be able to protect the people’s life if it does not assist U.S. ships attacked in a situation where a certain country is threatening to attack Japan, this is a survival-threatening situation. It is possible that collective defense right may be exercised in a crisis, but only the right to individual self-defense will be used subsequently.


 Overseas deployment


 Tamaki: Mr. Prime Minister, you said that the deployment of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) in foreign territory, territorial sea, and airspace is basically prohibited. Is that right?


 Abe: Overseas deployment exceeds the bounds of minimum required force. Generally speaking, overseas deployment is not allowed. I am saying that the removal of mines in a naval blockade is an exception.


 Rushing to the rescue


 Onodera: Under current laws, will the SDF be able to use weapons to protect UN officials in a situation where a UN office near the SDF camp is attacked by armed groups and the SDF’s assistance is sought?


 Abe: Due to the absence of such legal provisions, SDF members have been unable to protect Japanese citizens without exposing themselves to danger. We must not put excessive burden on SDF members or require them to make the decisions. This is an issue that the legislature and the administration need to think about.


 Opposition’s counterproposals


 Muraoka: I believe the JIP must submit its own proposals and explain how they are different from the government’s bills and how they will benefit the people.


 Abe: I pay respect to your efforts to consider the JIP’s own proposals. It is fully possible to conduct in-depth deliberations by showing the people different options. I look forward to your constructive proposals. (Abridged)

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