The recently issued 2016 Defense White Paper devotes pages to explaining the security laws enacted by Abe administration last year. While the aims is to gain national understanding for the laws, the paper only articulates the government’s view, and complicates the promotion of true understanding by Japanese citizens.
Descriptions of China’s increasingly vigorous military activities in the East and South China Seas and North Korea’s efforts in nuclear and missile development are largely appropriate and easy to agree with.
Because it is the first white paper issued after the enactment of the security laws, it dedicated 20 pages to outlining the laws and how they were passed in the Diet. It mainly stated government’s arguments.
For example, it states: “In addition to the ruling parties, the Assembly to Energize Japan, the Party for Future Generations (at the time), and the New Renaissance Party came together to make possible the broad range of support.” There was no support from major opposition parties including Democratic Party of Japan or Japan Innovation Party (both at the time), making it inaccurate to describe the support as broad.
If the government was describing objective facts, as it claims, it should describe the fact that many constitutional scholars concluded the right for collective defense is unconstitutional, as well as the fact that four opposition parties including the Democratic Party submitted a bill to abolish the security laws.
The same is true in the description regarding the U.S. base issues in Okinawa. The paper stresses that transfer to Henoko in Nago City is the only solution to the issue of Futenma Airbase (Ginowan City). The paper does not provide detailed analysis of the situation, and is devoid of understanding and empathy for Okinawa’s objection to transfer within the prefecture.
Only stating the government’s position without touching upon inconvenient facts is definitely not the right way to promote understanding and support for the security laws. (Abridged)