64th JFBA General Meeting - Resolution Opposing the Approval of Exercising the Right to Collective Self-Defense
In today’s international society where state of war still persists, the importance of the preamble to the Constitution, which calls for building of an international peace trusting in the justice and faith of the peach-loving peoples of the world, as well as of the pioneering concept of Article 9 of the Constitution, which stipulates that the Japanese people forever renounce war and never maintain military forces, has been further increasing.
The Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA) expressed its view at the “Declaration Requesting the Adherence to Constitutionalism and the Respect of Fundamental Principles of the Constitution” issued at the 48th JFBA Convention on the Protection of Human Rights held on November 11, 2005, and the “Declaration Affirming the Current Meaning of the Right to Live Peacefully and Article 9 of the Constitution” issued at the 51st said Convention on October 3, 2008, to the effect that the use of the right of collective self-defense goes against the Constitution and that there may be a risk of setting back the principle of permanent pacifism, one of the fundamental principles of the Constitution, as well as damaging the right to live peacefully, a basic human right on which all fundamental human rights are based.
The right of collective self-defense is, according to the government’s interpretation, “the right of a state to use armed strength to stop an armed attack on another country with which it has close relations, even if the state itself is not under direct attack.” Up until now, the government’s interpretation of “the self-defense capability to be possessed and maintained by Japan under Article 9 of the Constitution” has been “limited to the minimum necessary for self-defense,” thus, “it is not permissible to use the right to stop an armed attack on another country with armed strength when Japan is not under direct attack, since this exceeds the limit of use of armed strength as permitted under Article 9 of the Constitution.”
However, in recent years, the government has been putting forth its proposals for changing the interpretation of the right of collective self-defense in the Constitution and approving the use of such right. Further, there has been a move by the Diet members toward enacting a basic law on national security.
The JFBA believes that the government’s interpretation, which has been established as being that, “the use of the right to collective self-defense is not permissible when Japan is not under direct attack” should not be changed or meddled with so easily by Ministers of State or by members of the Diet, on whom the obligations to respect and uphold the Constitution are imposed as stipulated in Article 99 of the Constitution. Moreover, any change in the interpretation of the Constitution by way of laws which are inferior to the Constitution should simply never be allowed because this would go against the principles of Constitutionalism wherein the Constitution i) takes precedence over any law or other act of government which are contrary to the provisions of the Constitution, and disallows such laws to have legal force or validity (Article 98 of Constitution), and ii) limits the power of the government and the Diet.
In today’s international society where there has been a continuous stream of warfare, armed conflict and violent retaliations, it has been and will continue to be greatly significant and most meaningful for the Japanese people to realize the right to live peacefully based on the Constitutional principle of permanent peace, together with people from all over the world.
Accordingly, the JFBA hereby reaffirms the importance and vital status of the principle of permanent pacifism and the right to live peacefully stipulated in the Constitution, and strongly opposes any changes to the interpretation already established in relation to the use of the right of collective self-defense as well as any legislation of a draft basic law on national security seeking to approve the use of the right of collective self-defense.
May 31, 2013
Japan Federation of Bar Associations