Statement Opposing the Bills to Revise National Security Policies
Today, on May 14th, 2015, the government decided at a cabinet meeting to endorse a number of bills as follows (hereinafter, collectively, the “Bills”): (i) a bill regarding enhancement of the legislation surrounding peace and safety which is intended to revise a number of laws, namely, (a) the Self-Defense Forces Act, (b) the Act on the Peace and Independence of Japan and Maintenance of the Nation and the People's Security in Armed Attack Situations etc., (c) the Act on Measures to Ensure the Peace and Security of Japan in Perilous Situations in Areas Surrounding Japan, and (d) the Act on Cooperation with United Nations Peacekeeping Operations and Other Operations; as well as (ii) a bill regarding support for international peace, which is newly drafted legislation.
The Bills stipulate that they allow the Self-Defense Forces, both in peacetime and in an emergency, and anywhere around the world without geographic constraint, to engage in a wide range of activities, such as exercising the use of force, providing rear-guard support to other countries at war, and conducting activities relating to the cessation of war, etc.
However, the Bills are in clear violation of the preamble and Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution that stipulates the principle of thorough and lasting peace, and guarantees the right to live peacefully. Thus, the Bills have the effect of fundamentally overturning Japan’s status as a nation of peace. Additionally, changing these principles of the Japanese Constitution by way of laws which are inferior to the Constitution goes directly against the principles of Constitutionalism. Furthermore, from the point of view that the government is attempting to conduct a de facto revision of the Constitution without going through the proper procedures for amending such fundamental legislation, the Bills fly directly in the face of the basic principle of the sovereignty of the people.
Therefore, the JFBA strongly opposes the revision of the national security policies stipulated in the Bills and stridently asserts the unconstitutionality of the Bills in its role as an organization of lawyers whose mission is to protect fundamental human rights. The JFBA will use its best endeavors to ensure the Bills are not enacted.
May 14, 2015
Japan Federation of Bar Associations
cf. Article 9 of the Constitution of Japan
“Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.
In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.”