(Yomiuri: July 28, 2015 – p. 1)
Deliberation on the security bills in the House of Councillors started on July 27 with an explanation of the objectives, followed by interpellation.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe cited concrete examples, such as North Korea’s development of nuclear arms and missiles and China’s reclamation work in the South China Sea to build facilities, to stress the significance of security legislation. He said: “Japan’s security environment is becoming increasingly harsh. This is an era where no one country can safeguard its security singlehandedly.”
During the interpellation, the Democratic Party of Japan’s (DPJ) former Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa and other opposition members questioned the constitutionality of the security bills. Abe retorted by citing the Supreme Court decision on the Sunagawa Case of 1959, which dealt with minimum required self-defense measures. He argued: “The Supreme Court is the only body that has the final say on constitutional interpretation. The peace and security bills are within the bounds of the court decision based on such thinking and are, therefore, constitutional.”
General interpellation on the security bills with the Prime Minister’s presence will take place at the Upper House special committee on the peace and security bills on July 28 and 29. An intensive session with Abe’s participation is also scheduled for July 30. Even if the Upper House fails to pass the bills, the “60-day rule” allowing a two-thirds majority in the House of Representatives to pass them will apply from Sept. 14. Therefore, they are certain to be enacted during the current Diet session.
The DPJ and other opposition parties are making every effort to block the enactment of the bills by criticizing them as “unconstitutional” and arousing public opinion against them.