Opinion Concerning the Bills to Revise National Security Policies
June 18, 2015
Japan Federation of Bar Associations
The Japan Federation of Bar Associations (the “JFBA”) prepared its “Opinion Concerning the Bills to Revise National Security Policies” (the “Opinion”) on June 18, 2015, and submitted the Opinion to the Prime Minister, the Chief Cabinet Secretary, the Minister of Defense, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President of the House of Councilors and the representative of each political party.
Summary of the Opinion
The JFBA strongly opposes the enactment of the bills, i.e., “the bill regarding enhancement of the legislation surrounding peace and safety” and “the bill regarding support for international peace” submitted to the Diet on May 15, 2015, on the grounds that they are unconstitutional in the situations set forth in items 1 to 3 below, as they are in violation of: (i) the fundamental principles of constitutionalism in the Constitution of Japan; (ii) the principle of thorough and lasting peace stated in Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution; (iii) the right to live peacefully; and (iv) the basic principle of the sovereignty of the people.
Various situations such as the following involve a high risk of the use of force by the Japan Self-Defense Forces (SDF) overseas:
1. In cases where, despite Japan not being under armed attack, “Japan’s survival is at stake” (i.e. situations such as where there is an attack on a country that has a close relationship or alliance with Japan, and such attack is deemed to threaten the existence of Japan),” force may be used together with the country under attack, in line with the right to collective self-defense.
2. In cases such as “situations that could have a significant impact” (i.e. situations which may have a significant impact on the peace and safety of Japan) and “situations that need to be dealt with jointly for international peace” (i.e. situations which could give rise to a threat to the peace and safety of the international community), the provision of logistics support by the SDF to foreign military forces engaged in armed combat would be enabled only in non-combat areas.
3. In order to carry out assignments in situations such as (i) ensuring safety in cooperative international peace-keeping missions, and (ii) conducting so-called “rushed guard” operations (i.e. operations wherein the SDF will go into places where military forces of other countries, or civilians and entities such as NGOs, are exposed to danger, in order to help them by using armed force) and further, (iii) rescuing Japanese living/traveling overseas, the use of armed force would be enabled.
(Note that some explanations to the phrases above have been added when the above opinion paper was translated into English.)