3,000 workers stage protest against government decision to turn Japan into a country that can go to war abroad
About 3,000 people gathered in front of the Prime Minister’s Official Residence on July 1 to express with anger opposition to the decision to allow the country to exercise the right of collective self-defense, calling for the defense Constitution’s war-renouncing Article 9.
The Joint Center for the Defense of the Constitution organized this emergency action anticipating an extraordinary Cabinet meeting that was to adopt the decision.
On behalf of the organizers, National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) President DAIKOKU Sakuji gave the following speech:
I express protest with indignation at the Abe administration for being poised to have the Cabinet decide to allow the use of the right of collective self-defense today.
The successive cabinets have denied Japan the right of collective self-defense as unconstitutional because of Article 9 that provides that Japan renounces war as a means of settling international disputes and that Japan is denied the right to belligerency. They at least have respected these provisions. And now Prime Minister Abe is going to take an easy way to approve the use of the right in disregard of a sense of crisis arising from the people who fear that the country might be dragged in wars if Japan exercises the right of collective self-defense.
The prime minister has recently said that the use of the right of collective self-defense will be limited, apparently because he is afraid of public criticism. During a Diet session on May 28, he said clearly that Japan will not participate in combat and use force within the context of collective security. But the government’s Q & A document revealed on June 29 said the use of force is constitutional if it meets new three requirements.
In presenting the new “three cases” in which Japan can invoke the right of self-defense, the LDP said Japan can use the right of self-defense if the government determines that a country which has a close relationship with Japan is attacked militarily and if Japan’s survival is threatened and in clear danger. The secrets protection law allows the government to withhold information as to who judges it, and how. In brief, the use of force abroad will become possible and at the disposal of those in power. Such a wishful thinking must be rejected. It is nothing but a gross violation of the Constitution. Why is the government trying to railroad through the measure by using such complicated ways? It may be because opposition to the government attempt is growing day after day, making the administration feel it difficult to achieve its aim through parliamentary discussions.
The New Komeito party, a partner in the ruling coalition, is lending hand to the government to decide the measure in defiance of opposition from within Soka-Gakkai, the support base of the party, as well as from its local assembly members. What it claims to be a party for peace has proved false.
But the real struggle against the outrageous measure is starting now. Nothing is going to happen following the cabinet decision to give the green light to Japan’s use of the right of collective self-defense. The Diet must consider various bills, including one to revise the Self-Defense Forces Law, to put the decision into practice. The fascist politics and the pursuit of the revival of militarism, which are what Prime Minister Abe’s administration is about, have no future. Common struggle by a broad spectrum of people is developing on various single issues: to put an end to nuclear power generation and oppose putting nuclear reactors back online; to get Japan pull out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade talks; to oppose a consumption tax increase and cutbacks in social security programs; or to demand the removal of the US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma (in Okinawa’s Ginowan City) in opposition to the construction of a new US military base in Okinawa.
The peace of our country is based on remorse for a war of aggression during WWII and the sacrifice that the people were forced to pay. How can we allow a cabinet to arbitrarily decide to take steps that would send children to war to kill or to be killed? Let us join forces to further develop common struggle throughout the country to bring down the Abe Cabinet.