On July 19, the Sankei Shimbun learned that a group, comprised of the Japanese Communist Party (JCP) members of the Nara Prefectural Assembly and others, wrote in its 2015 October flyers that “the Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) conducts exercises for killing people.” The group made this comment in response to the Nara Prefectural government’s desire to invite a GSDF camp to the prefecture. The group explained that, “Insufficient clarification of the expression has caused misunderstanding.” In June, then JCP Policy Chief Yasufumi Fujino was by de facto removed from the position after stating that “the defense budget [is] used as money to kill people.”
“The Society for Protecting Peaceful Nara Prefecture without Military Bases,” formed by the JCP’s prefectural assembly members, made the flyer that was to be inserted into the JCP newspaper “Akahata” and other publications for JCP affiliated organizations.
The title of the flyer was “Nara Prefecture Needs No GSDF Camps”. The flyer contained such information as the date and location for a rally and demonstration against the invitation of a GSDF camp to the prefecture. A puzzled girl and a dog were printed on the flyer with the following expression in a balloon, “The GSDF conducts exercises for killing people. [And] young people in Nara are being targeted by the SDF as recruits for a new camp.”
In reply to the Sankei Shimbun’s questions, the group explained, “We intended to keep anything connected to military away from Nara Prefecture, but the expression was inappropriate.”
“We do not deny that the SDF will rescue and help residents in the event of disasters,” said the JCP Nara Prefectural chapter. “We meant to explain that the true nature of military is to kill and to be killed but did not clarify sufficiently.” The group added that it will improve its internal oversight function.
Among 47 prefectures across the country, Nara is the only prefecture that does not have GSDF camps. In order to prepare for large-scale natural disasters, such as a possible massive earthquake to be caused by the Nankai Trough, the prefectural government has expressed its desire to the national government by attempting to invite a GSDF camp along with a heliport construction to Gojo City. (Slightly Abridged)