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The Japan that Can’t Say No to War

SNA (Tokyo) — At the 93rd anniversary event of the Japan Communist Party, Chairman Kazuo Shii offered his view on how the so-called “Legislation for Peace and Security” will make future Japanese governments even less able to resist US government demands that they participate in foreign wars.

Kazuo Shii: In the debate, I then corrected Prime Minister Abe, “Even when the United States wages war in a preemptive attack, would you still activate collective self-defense if you decide that it meets the requirements for using force?” Actually, when I had asked him this question in February during a Diet debate between party leaders, the prime minister simply replied, “We will make a decision at such a time.” But he didn’t deny the possibility.

Yet, even he might have thought that this was not good. When questioned on the War Bill, the prime minister changed his answer: “Japan will never support a country using illegal force!” And so he seemingly answered as a prime minister should.

Yet, the problem is whether or not Japan can actually judge an instance of US use of force as illegal. The United States repeatedly engages in preemptive attacks. After the Pacific War, the United States has trampled on the UN Charter and international law, and it has launched numerous wars, such as the Vietnam War and the Iraq War. There have been many such “preemptive” attacks. There was the invasion of Grenada in 1983. And there was the bombing of Libya in 1986. And in 1989 there was the aggression against Panama.

In response to each of these attacks, the UN General Assembly voted by huge margins resolutions criticizing the United States.

Now think about this one point: Have there been any similar attacks against the United States? The last was the Pearl Harbor attack of December 1941 in which Japan launched the Pacific War. But since then there have been none. So in the past 74 years there has not been even one.

Of course there were the 9.11 attacks, and these attacks created a large number of victims, but this was not an attack by another state. It was a criminal act by a terrorist group.

The overwhelming majority of US wars have been those that the United States itself launched with “preemptive” attacks.

And what about the Japanese government? How has Japan behaved in the face of these US wars? I asked Prime Minister Abe this very question: “Since Japan joined the United Nations until today, when faced with the US use of force against other nations, when force was used in violation of international law, has Japan ever opposed it?” The prime minister said: “Not even once.” He stated it clearly

Not even once — ever — has Japan been able to criticize an American war as a violation of international law. For each and every US war Japan declared its support. When the UN General Assembly passed resolutions, Japan never voted in opposition to US military action. This kind of strange, unconditional support for the United States cannot be found in any other major nation of the world.

For an odd government like ours that says we will “never support a country using illegal force”… well… who can really believe that?

At the time of the Iraq War, Secretary of State Powell’s chief of staff was a man named Mr. Lawrence Wilkerson. He was interviewed on TV Asahi last May and asked: “If during the time of the Iraq War Japan had a collective self-defense policy in place, would the United States have asked Japan to join the war?”

This he was asked, and here was his response: “Yes, we would have asked. In fact, we had a strategy of asking for both political and military support from allies. Had Japan been able to send its military anywhere I would have expected two military units from Japan.”

So if Japan had a collective self-defense policy then, the US would have asked for two Japan military units to support the American war in Iraq. This was clearly stated.

So Prime Minister Abe now tells us, “a war like the Iraq War in which military force is used is something to which the Self-Defense Forces will never be sent.” He said this repeatedly in answer to my questions.

However, if you look at the contents of the War Bill and search for the provision that bars such a policy, you’ll find nothing clearly written there. Wherever you look in this legislation there is nothing to bar our participation in such a war.

Although the government simply keeps repeating that collective self-defense will be exercised in a limited manner, it is in fact something that can be expanded indefinitely.

If the United States talks about weapons of mass destruction, and says these weapons are threatening Japan, could Japan really refuse to send the Self-Defense Forces? Until now, we said we can’t have collective self-defense and this allowed us to refuse such US requests.

But if the War Bill passes into law, it is clear that we will lose our ability to say “no.”

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