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DPJ, JIP to seek repeal of security laws; DPJ remains divided on security policy

  • 2016-01-19 15:00:00
  • , Mainichi
  • Translation

(Mainichi: January 16, 2016 – p. 5)


 By Yusuke Kaite


 The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) is planning to submit bills to the Diet to repeal the security laws jointly with the Japan Innovation Party (JIP) within this month. This move is meant to clarify the party’s stance on the security laws in order to challenge the government and ruling parties as the debate on the draft FY16 budget heats up.


 However, the party is still divided on security policy. It remains to be seen how it will appeal to public opinion opposed to the security laws in the run-up to the House of Councillors election this summer.


 The DPJ and the JIP are preparing bills calling for the repeal of the international peace support law, which authorizes logistical support for foreign forces, and the peace and security-related law amending 10 existing laws. At first, the DPJ was thinking of calling only for the scrapping of the “unconstitutional provisions,” but it has decided to demand the revocation of all the security laws in order to step up its confrontation with the Abe administration. Party leader Katsuya Okada declared during an interview with Mainichi Shimbun on Jan. 15: “We cannot allow the existence of unconstitutional laws.”


 The DPJ’s real concern is that citizens’ groups, such as the student organization SEALDs, may shift to supporting the Japanese Communist Party, which is taking a clear stand on this issue. However, the JIP, which forms a joint floor group with the DPJ in the House of Representatives, and many DPJ members, such as former State Minister of Defense Akihisa Nagashima, are actually closer to the Abe administration in terms of security policy. Okada is well aware that the party will not approve of opposing all the security laws.


 Therefore, along with submitting two bills calling for revoking the security laws, the DPJ and the JIP are also preparing a bill to amend the former law on contingencies in Japan’s periphery, which will limit the countries to which Japan can provide logistical support; a bill to amend the UN peacekeeping operations (PKO) cooperation law; and a new territorial policing bill as their counterproposals in the debate with the government.


 In other words, these five bills represent the limit of what the two parties can reach a compromise on. As a matter of fact, the JIP is also demanding that the DPJ come up with counterproposals on the right to collective self-defense. However, consensus building in the DPJ is expected to be very difficult. In a position paper issued last April, the party merely stated that it “will not approve of the exercise of the collective defense right under the Abe administration.” (Slightly abridged)

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