Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on May 15 announced his clear intention to step forward for enabling Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense and engage in war-fighting by changing the official interpretation of the Constitution of Japan. This announcement was made based on the report of his private advisory body “Advisory Pan l Reconstruction of the Legal Basis for Security”.
Exercising the right to collective self-defense means to use armed force for the sake of defending other countries even without military attacks on Japan. As Mr. Abe himself admitted in the press conference, it is an extremely dangerous act, trying to respond by use of force to all kinds of cases, including nuclear/missile development in North Korea, heightening tension with China in South China Sea, and further, to the protection of Japanese nationals in as distant as Indian Ocean or Africa.
Such international disputes should be resolved through peaceful means based on law and reason. The Japanese government should make an all-out effort to settle them by diplomacy based on the Constitution. The principle of the UN Charter also calls for peaceful settlement of disputes.
Prime Minister Abe has used North Korea’s nuclear and missile development to justify the interpretational change of the Constitution. But the world is now significantly moving toward a total ban on nuclear weapons by focusing on humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons. Japan should play a role of promoting this global trend by making effort to resume the Six-Party Talks to achieve the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
The Abe Cabinet’s maneuvers for the exercise of the right to collective self-defense and creating the war-fighting system will not only destroy the Constitutional pacifism, which has ensured peace and safety of Japanese citizens, but lead to the escalation of the vicious cycle of tension in East Asia. We must stop this dangerous move in cooperation with all peace-loving people both in Japan and the rest of the world.
YASUI Masakazu, Secretary General
Japan Council against A & H Bombs (GENSUIKYO)