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2013年9月28日 (土)

集団的自衛権 「積極的平和主義」を追求せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 28, 2013
Realize right to collective defense in pursuit of ‘proactive pacifism’
集団的自衛権 「積極的平和主義」を追求せよ(9月27日付・読売社説)

This country must make a more proactive contribution to peace and stability in Asia and the world.

A review of the government interpretation of the Constitution concerning the right to collective self-defense is a prerequisite to realizing the new ideal of “proactive pacifism” declared by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Delivering a speech Wednesday in New York on the subject of Japan’s right to collective self-defense, Abe expressed his strong desire to change the Japanese government’s interpretation of the Constitution, in which the government has adopted the view that this country has the right to collective self-defense but is banned from exercising it.

Abe cited two cases in which this constitutional constraint could pose problems. In one scenario, the Self-Defense Forces would not be able to help foreign troops working with the SDF in a U.N. peacekeeping operation even if the foreign troops came under attack. In the other, Japan would not be able to help a U.S. warship operating around Japan if the ship were attacked by an airplane in international waters.

The prime minister rightly pointed out in the speech that “threats see no borders” in the world today. Such menaces as ballistic missiles, the spread of weapons of mass destruction and international terrorist activities, as well as cyber-attacks, have undeniably been increasing.

In addition to enhancing its own defense capabilities, it is essential for this country to enhance the Japan-U.S. alliance, while also expanding cooperation with other countries concerned.

To this end, the task of enabling this country to exercise its right to collective self-defense must urgently be addressed.

In the years immediately after World War II, it was somewhat worthwhile to interpret as strictly as possible the security-related stipulations of the Constitution, restricting the role of the SDF. Today, however, the nation must squarely face up to the reality that rigid interpretation of the supreme law is hobbling efforts to ensure the nation’s security.

Requirements of the times

Over the period from the war’s end to this day, the security environment surrounding the country and the public’s evaluation of the SDF have changed dramatically. A review of the interpretation of the Constitution is definitely in line with the requirements of the times.

In a meeting with reporters later Wednesday, Abe said he was not in favor of a “geographical philosophy of [ruling out action on] the other side of the world.” He also said he weighs “what is closely linked with the people’s life, property and national interests.”

His remarks apparently alluded to concerns being expressed by some regarding constitutional interpretation that Abe may want SDF troops to be dispatched to far-flung locales to fight alongside U.S. forces.

The intention not to impose geographical constraints on the SDF, while deciding flexibly on SDF activities in accordance with developments in events, is quite reasonable.

For instance, it is conceivable that SDF troops could be in charge of removing mines in the Persian Gulf to ensure the safety of sea lanes in the Gulf used by Japan. Should an event occur in which Japanese nationals are once again taken hostage in Africa, SDF troops could be sent to their rescue.

Obviously, there should be some curbs on SDF activities, but it should be noted that accurately foreseeing the possibility of a grave emergency is a near impossibility. To enable this country to cope effectively with a diverse range of emergencies, endeavors to secure a wide range of legal alternatives are the core of national security.

As a matter of practical thinking, whether to have SDF troops actually take part in international operations, and what activities they should engage in, should be the subject of a comprehensive judgment by the government in place when a crisis arises, while appropriate limitations on SDF activities should be ensured through such means as requiring approval by the Diet.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 27, 2013)
(2013年9月27日01時03分  読売新聞)


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