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2014年3月23日 (日)

集団的自衛権 解釈変更へ共通認識広げたい

The Yomiuri Shimbun March 22, 2014
Build consensus on interpretation of right to collective self-defense
集団的自衛権 解釈変更へ共通認識広げたい(3月22日付・読売社説)

It is essential to deepen discussion in the Liberal Democratic Party by taking into account the reality Japan faces when considering how the nation should strengthen its cooperative ties with the United States and other nations to maintain Japan’s peace and security.

The LDP has launched an intraparty debate on revising the government’s interpretation of the Constitution to enable this nation to exercise its right to collective self-defense. The LDP held an informal session of its General Council on Monday for the first time in nine years and plans to establish a new body directly under the LDP president, which will, among other tasks entrusted to it, host study sessions for all LDP lawmakers.

At Monday’s informal session, General Council members were divided: While some supported allowing Japan to exercise the right, a considerable number urged caution, making such remarks as, “It’s necessary to conduct discussion in a way that is easy for the people to understand” and “We should pay due consideration to the opinions of the legislature.”

Behind such comments is simmering dissatisfaction within the LDP with the decision-making process of the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in which the Prime Minister’s Office takes the leading role, leaving the party to take a back seat. It is important to make painstaking efforts to build a consensus within the party, but discussion must be conducted calmly—not emotionally.

First of all, it is not problematic to change the government’s constitutional interpretation in line with the changing times, while keeping a certain degree of consistency with past government views. Also, the Cabinet Legislation Bureau, which is called “the guardian of the Constitution,” has said it is possible to change the interpretation.

Japan must protect territory

Japan must protect all of its territory and territorial waters by being capable of responding to various contingencies at a time when its security environment is deteriorating. To that end, it is indispensable to allow Japan’s exercise of the right to collective self-defense, thus boosting cooperation between the Self-Defense Forces and the U.S. military and enhancing the deterrence and credibility of the Japan-U.S. alliance.

For Japan to deal with the security challenges entirely on its own would require a manifold increase in the defense budget.

Of course, once the new interpretation that will allow the exercise of the right to collective self-defense is established, an easy revision away from it should never be allowed in the future.

If the LDP wants to stably keep the new interpretation, it should secure a certain degree of common ground among its members, including more than 180 freshmen serving their first terms in both Diet chambers, about the significance and logic of the new interpretation. To do that, it should not spare any efforts to have discussion within the party.

Furthermore, the LDP must try to build a broad consensus through discussion with its junior coalition partner, New Komeito, as well as with opposition parties so as to win wider acceptance among the people about the interpretation change. We urge LDP lawmakers to conduct intraparty discussion with the awareness that such a consensus-building process is important.

But unnecessarily repeating discussion will come to no good. The LDP has already accumulated results from extensive discussion over the right to collective self-defense. In its election pledge for the 2012 House of Representatives election, it clearly stated that it would approve the exercise of the right.

The government has its own schedule for this process. Under the schedule, the panel of experts considering the issue would submit its report in April; and then talks among the ruling coalition would be conducted. The Cabinet would endorse the new interpretation in summer, and it would be reflected in revisions to the Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation at year-end. If discussion within the LDP is prolonged, this schedule will fall behind.

It is the duty of a ruling party to have an active discussion, reach a conclusion at an appropriate time and push politics forward.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 22, 2014)
(2014年3月22日01時27分  読売新聞)


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« 父から息子に引き継がれたウルトラマンの因子(チカラ)とは | トップページ | 日本の温暖化 被害軽減へ効率的対応が要る »