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Opposition questions minesweeping in Strait of Hormuz under security bills

  • 2015-08-27 15:00:00
  • , Asahi
  • Translation

(Asahi: August 27, 2015 – p. 3)

 

 With his examples of cases of exercising the right to collective self-defense — such as the protection of U.S. ships with Japanese nationals onboard or engaged in missile defense — becoming shaky, doubts have also emerged with regard to the necessity of another case cited by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which is minesweeping in the Strait of Hormuz in the Middle East.

 

 Abe has asked: “What will happen to gasoline for ambulances (if crude oil passing through the Strait of Hormuz) is cut off? This may become a critical issue for the lives of people in the cold areas in winter,” thus arguing for the need for minesweeping there.

 

 A survival-threatening situation that authorizes the exercise of the collective defense right is defined as a situation where “Japan’s survival is threatened and there is clear danger that the people’s right to life, freedom, and pursuit of happiness will be fundamentally overturned.” Abe has asserted that “some 80% of Japan’s crude oil and 20% of natural gas pass through the Strait of Hormuz” and the blockade of this sea area may become a survival-threatening situation.

 

 In reaction to this, the opposition is voicing doubts about Abe’s explanation, reckoning that pipelines near the Strait could be an alternative option.

 

 Certain opposition members also point out that the Middle East situation has changed. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who took office in August 2013, is a moderate who has shifted to a policy of engaging the international community through dialogue. They argue that in light of this situation, the blockading of the Strait of Hormuz is “very unlikely.” (Slightly abridged)

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