集団的自衛権 憲法改正前に解釈を変更せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun May 3, 2013
Govt should change interpretation of right to collective self-defense
集団的自衛権 憲法改正前に解釈を変更せよ(5月2日付・読売社説)

In light of the deteriorating national security environment, changing the government’s interpretation of the Constitution to allow Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense is becoming increasingly vital.

The government has reinstated the Advisory Panel on Reconstruction of the Legal Basis for Security, which was established under the first cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The panel is tasked with compiling a new proposal on legislation concerning national security.

In June 2008, it proposed the government’s interpretation of the Constitution be altered to enable Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense. The proposal assumed four categories of contingencies, including an attack on U.S. military vessels on the high seas and the launch of a ballistic missile aimed at the United States.

If this country cannot stage a counterattack or intercept a missile in such circumstances, the Japan-U.S. alliance will be futile and it will be impossible to assure the safety of Japan.

Last month Abe revealed his goal to make a decision on the right to collective self-defense before the government compiles the new National Defense Program Guidelines at year-end. It is the duty of politicians to allow the nation to exercise this right.

A recent spell of events have threatened Japan’s peace, including North Korea’s nuclear test and launch of a ballistic missile, and China’s strengthening of its navy and air force and escalating provocative actions around the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture. The Japan-U.S. alliance must be urgently reinforced to steel its deterrence capability.

Ripe political environment

The Liberal Democratic Party argues that Japan should be allowed to exercise the right to collective self-defense, and Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) and Your Party are also receptive to the idea. Even Democratic Party of Japan Secretary General Goshi Hosono made some comments Tuesday that indicate the party would back allowing Japan to exercise the right.

Thus the political environment is becoming ripe for reviewing the awkward official interpretation of the Constitution on the right to collective self-defense. The official view now is that Japan has the right but cannot exercise it.

Abe has said he wants to make constitutional revision a major issue in the House of Councillors election in July. Specifically, he wants to relax the rules on amending the Constitution by revising Article 96 of the top law.

If constitutional revision is promptly realized, it would make sense to recognize the nation’s ability to exercise the right to collective self-defense at the same time.

National security can’t wait

Still, waiting to amend Article 9, which concerns the right, until after conditions are relaxed by amending Article 96 could take too long. Does Japan really have time to wait for two separate revisions of the Constitution?

It would of course be more practical to review the interpretation of the Constitution on the right before revising the top law.

However, any revision to the current interpretation could be reversed if Abe is replaced as prime minister. To stabilize the legal basis for national security, legislation must be improved to secure the interpretational change, such as the establishment of a basic law on national security.

Further study is also required on the occasions that would justify exercising the right to collective self-defense and the permissible forms of this type of defense. Opinions may be split over whether Japan would have to join in an assault on an enemy country if the U.S. mainland was attacked, as in the case of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on U.S. soil.

Both the ruling and opposition parties should move the debate on the right to collective self-defense into high gear.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 2, 2013)
(2013年5月2日01時04分 読売新聞)


srachai について

early retired civil engineer migrated from Tokyo to Thailand
カテゴリー: 英字新聞 パーマリンク



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