Statement on the Cabinet decision on the use of the right of collective self-defense
We must stop the government making wishful reinterpretation of the Constitution to allow the country to wage war
By ODAGAWA Yoshikazu
The National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren)
The government today (July 1, 2014) decided to change its interpretation of the Constitution regarding Article 9, making it possible for the country to send Self-Defense Forces abroad to use force in war. The use of force against other countries, for whatever reason, amounts to making war in violation of paragraph two of the Constitution’s Article 9, which says, “The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.” If the SDF are authorized to use force abroad even though the country has not been attacked, it will be a deviation from self-defense; it goes against paragraph one of the Constitution’s Article 9, which declares the renunciation of the threat or use of force.
No sophistry can justify today’s Cabinet decision, which gives an interpretation that contravenes the Constitution. In no way can we accept it.
We demand that the Cabinet decision be retracted immediately. We will join forces with the broadest possible sectors of the people to further strengthen the effort to thwart all those reckless plots which the government might make, including revision of related laws, the reinforcement of the Self-Defense Forces, and the strengthening of the Japan-US Security Treaty setup. We defend the Constitution and let the Constitution guide.
Today’s decision by the Cabinet concerns the interpretation of the Constitution. But it completely disregards the academic theories and the interpretation the government has so far maintained. It even has distorted provisions to assert as if the Constitution makes it a principle to maintain the peace by force. It argues as if the protection of the people by force is the way to defend the people’s right to live in peace. How can we accept the government’s sophistry?
The decision deliberately covers up the historical fact that Japan joined the United Nations with the existence of the Constitution’s Article 9 as the prerequisite. And it argues as if the international community is asking Japan to make international contribution in the military domain appropriately in accordance with the country’s strength. This totally upsets Japan’s position as a nation of peace.
We must point out that the government had already decided to allow the country to invoke the right of collective self-defense before discussing it.
The Cabinet decision failed to respond to public criticism of the cases in which the right of collective self-defense would be invoked, since the government had presented them for the discussion within the ruling coalition based on a report submitted on May 15 by the prime minister’s advisory panel. Public criticism is directed to the unrealistic cases shown by the government to justify the use of force and to the abandoning of the principle of exclusively defensive defense, which the government has maintained to prohibit the use of the right of collective self-defense.
The government defies people’s growing opposition that clearly expressed by recent various opinion surveys and demonstrations taking place near the Diet. The government’s assertion that the use of the right of collective self-defense is constitutional on the grounds that it is within the basic logic expressed by the successive governments is absolutely unacceptable.
Zenroren strongly demands that Article 9 and other constitutional provisions for lasting peace be strictly honored and implemented so that the Japanese people will never point a gun at other peoples or that Japan will never become a country that sheds blood for war. Zenroren opposes all kinds of attempt to adversely revise the Constitution through interpretation, legislation, or textual changes to turn Japan into a country that wages war. Zenroren will be in the forefront of the struggle to foil those attempts. We will increase the effort throughout the country to broaden cooperation in the struggle to strongly assert that the Constitution is an order issued by the people and that the government has the obligation to observe the Constitution. We will make utmost efforts to stop the Abe administration’s reckless attempt that denies the principle of constitutional democracy.
We are facing the deepest crisis of the Constitution since the end of World War II. We strongly call on all workers to reaffirm the historical fact that workers’ rights can be defended only in a peaceful society and participate in the struggle by raising the voices for Article 9 to be made use of.