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POLITICS

Gist of interpellations on security bills at Lower House special committee, July 10

  • 2015-07-13 15:00:00
  • , Mainichi
  • Translation

(Mainichi: July 11, 2015 – p. 5)

 

 Itsunori Onodera (Liberal Democratic Party): Use of force in an “armed attack crisis situation” under the Japan Innovation Party’s counterproposals is definitely the exercise of the right to collective self-defense under international law. If force is used by invoking the right to individual self-defense, this will constitute a preemptive attack. These proposals are self-righteous and most dangerous.

 

 Mito Kakizawa (JIP, a co-sponsor of the counterproposals): Rather than the advancement of missile technology, [the problem is] the rights to individual and collective self-defense may overlap. It is highly possible that an armed attack on U.S. forces may eventually lead to an armed attack on Japan. Japan cannot possibly just do nothing, so the exercise of the right of self-defense should be authorized.

 

 Isamu Ueda (Komeito): Protection of U.S. ships under the JIP counterproposals may be regarded as the exercise of the collective defense right under international law in some cases.

 

 Sakihito Ozawa (JIP, a co-sponsor of the counterproposals): We do not deny that this may be regarded as the exercise of the collective defense right under international law.

 

 Ueda: Tensions are high in waters around the remote islands. I believe we should deal with this through operational improvement rather than legal amendment.

 

 Prime Minister Shinzo Abe: I don’t think we need a new law at this point.

 

 Katsuya Okada (Democratic Party of Japan [DPJ]): In a case where a U.S. ship with a Japanese mother and child on board is attacked, at what point would you designate this as a “survival-threatening situation,” which is a condition for invoking the collective defense right?

 

 Abe: It is possible that recognition will be made at the point there is a clear risk of an attack against U.S. ships on alert against missiles or transporting Japanese nationals.

 

 Okada: Why would an attack on U.S. ships threaten Japan’s survival and overturn the people’s rights fundamentally?

 

 Abe: This is based on the assumption that an armed attack on the U.S. indicates an attack on Japan is imminent or can be expected. If a U.S. ship is attacked despite the high probability of Japanese nationals on board, this signifies the intent to attack Japan.

 

 Okada: How would you deal with a case which qualifies both as a situation with a major impact and a situation where the international peace support law applies?

 

 Abe: First, we will consider the application of the law on situations with a major impact. If this does not apply, we will determine whether the provisions of the international peace support law apply. We will not invoke two laws in one situation.

 

 Hiroshi Ogushi (DPJ): [The security bills] need to be discussed further. It is impossible to vote on them in the middle of next week.

 

 Abe: We ask the committee to discuss them thoroughly and we will make a decision when the time comes.

 

 Akihisa Nagashima (DPJ): China is building a new facility for the development of gas fields near the Japan-China median line in the East China Sea. Are there security concerns?

 

 Defense Minister Gen Nakatani: It is possible that China may install a radar system. If it proceeds to use this for security purposes, it will enhance China’s surveillance capability and facilitate its monitoring the Self-Defense Forces’ activities.

 

 Kenta Matsunami (JIP): The JIP’s counterproposals are constitutional.

 

 Masato Imai (JIP, a co-sponsor of the counterproposals): We focused on the issue of whether provisions are within the bounds of Article 9 of the Constitution. Unfortunately, many constitution scholars have judged that the government’s proposals are unconstitutional. We sought the opinion of several scholars on the JIP’s proposals and they all determined that the provisions are constitutional.

 

 Toshihide Muraoka (JIP): We need your commitment to devote adequate time to deliberating the JIP’s counterproposals.

 

 Abe: I respect your efforts to submit counterproposals. The people now have a deeper understanding of the difference between the JIP’s and the government’s proposals. We would like to make a decision when the time comes.

 

 Muraoka: Other than operations in the Strait of Hormuz or the other side of the globe, the proposals are similar.

 

 Abe: While the location may be the other side of the globe, where tankers (bound for Japan) pass through, it is the same thing whether operations take place near or far from Japan.

 

 Hidetaka Inoue (JIP): The JIP’s counterproposals were only submitted on July 8. A vote must not be rushed. There needs to be thorough discussions.

 

 Abe: The difference between the government’s and the JIP’s proposals is now clear. It is precisely because of thorough deliberations totaling way over 80 hours that the JIP came up with its proposals. When it is judged that the committee has held adequate deliberations, a decision will be made when the time comes.

 

 Shinji Oguma (JIP): Will the JIP’s counterproposals allow provision of ammunition to foreign forces or the refueling and maintenance of aircraft preparing to take off for combat duties?

 

 Ozawa: No, they will not be allowed because these acts will be regarded as use of force under international law.

 

 Oguma: The government should come up with an objective view on not becoming part of other countries’ use of force.

 

 Abe: Japan’s operations will not become part of the use of force. The government has never stated that they will become part of the use of force.

 

 Keiji Kokuta (Japanese Communist Party): When will Japan, a third party, judge that actual fighting has ended before a formal ceasefire agreement is signed and start minesweeping?

 

 Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida: It is very difficult to draw a line between the end of actual fighting and an official ceasefire. In order to deal with situations like that, it is necessary to consider ways to respond even to a situation where operations will be viewed as use of force.

 

 Kokuta: Minesweeping in wartime will only incur unnecessary antagonism.

 

 Abe: It will not be possible to engage in minesweeping in a combat situation, and minesweeping in such a situation may possibly be considered a belligerent act and invite an armed attack. (Slightly abridged)

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