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2013年7月18日 (木)

13参院選 日米同盟 関係強化の具体論を聞きたい

The Yomiuri Shimbun July 18, 2013
Parties should present concrete steps to strengthen Japan-U.S. alliance
13参院選 日米同盟 関係強化の具体論を聞きたい(7月17日付・読売社説)

The Japan-U.S. alliance is becoming increasingly important at a time when the security environment surrounding Japan is deteriorating due to military provocations by China and North Korea.

In their campaign pledges for the upcoming House of Councillors election, the Liberal Democratic Party, the Democratic Party of Japan, Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party), New Komeito, Your Party and other parties said they consider the Japan-U.S. alliance to be the linchpin of Japan’s diplomacy, and will strengthen and deepen this partnership.

With the exceptions of the Japanese Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party, which advocate the abolition of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, all the major parties are in step when it comes to attaching great importance to the alliance in view of the reality of today’s world.

Details needed

The key point now is not to waffle in general terms about how to strengthen the alliance, but to provide concrete ideas.

The LDP election pledges stipulate that it will review Japan-U.S. defense cooperation guidelines, relocate the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station to the Henoko district of Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, and set up a Japanese version of the U.S. National Security Council. The party’s pledges also incorporated the establishment of a fundamental law on national security and a permanent law concerning overseas dispatches of the Self-Defense Forces.

These steps will be of considerable significance in enhancing the deterrent provided by the SDF and U.S. military, which are the backbone of the Japan-U.S. alliance.

In its campaign pledges, the DPJ at least referred to the establishment of a Japanese NSC and implementation of the agreement between Tokyo and Washington on realigning U.S. forces stationed in Japan, but these ideas alone are not specific enough to strengthen the alliance. The party does not seem to have seriously reflected on the fact that it threw the alliance off course over the Futenma relocation issue while it was in power.

Meanwhile, Ishin no Kai advocates a review of Japan’s three principles of weapons exports, and establishing legislation for national security. We think this is a realistic approach.

Your Party insists it will build a relationship with the United States in which Japan stands on an equal footing, and calls for revising the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement and reviewing the so-called sympathy budget, or host-nation support, for U.S. forces in Japan.

“An equal Japan-U.S. relationship” is an expression that goes down well with the general public. The DPJ touted this slogan in its manifesto for the 2009 House of Representatives election, but failed to translate it into action in the face of diplomatic realities after it came to power. Does Your Party want to repeat the same mistake?

More discussions required

One focus of attention is the right to collective self-defense. The LDP, Ishin no Kai and Your Party support the idea of changing the government’s interpretation of the Constitution, under which Japan possesses the right to collective self-defense but cannot exercise it. By contrast, Komeito opposes altering the government’s interpretation of the supreme law.

We think exercising the right to collective self-defense should be allowed also from the viewpoint of strengthening the Japan-U.S. alliance. It is problematic that the LDP and Komeito, which are coalition partners, differ in their views on an important security policy. They need to coordinate their policies immediately.

DPJ Secretary General Goshi Hosono expressed support for allowing Japan to exercise its right to collective self-defense, saying it is better to end these inconclusive arguments. However, the DPJ’s policy on this issue has yet to be decided. The DPJ’s character remains unchanged; because of diverging opinions over foreign and security policies within the party, it cannot present a unified position.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has indicated that he will work on changing the government’s interpretation of the Constitution based on proposals made by a panel of experts after the upper house election. We urge all parties to have more in-depth discussions on this issue.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 17, 2013)
(2013年7月17日01時19分  読売新聞)


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