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Komeito agrees to permanent law on dispatch of SDF Mar 18, 2015

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/03/18/national/politics-diplomacy/komeito-agrees-to-permanent-law-on-dispatch-of-sdf/#.VYVwEpWCjIU
Mar 18, 2015 Japan times

The Liberal Democratic Party and its junior coalition partner, Komeito, agreed in principle Wednesday on a framework for security legislation to expand the scope of the Self-Defense Forces’ activities, including a permanent law for overseas dispatches to provide logistic support to foreign militaries.

Compiled by LDP Vice President Masahiko Komura and Komeito deputy chief Kazuo Kitagawa, the framework will be formally approved at a meeting scheduled for Friday after internal discussions by each party, officials said.
The framework is in line with a move by the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last summer to allow the nation to exercise the right to collective self-defense, and it would see the scope of SDF activities expand in several areas.

Calling for further contributions to peace and security in the international community, the framework proposes creating permanent legislation to render logistic support to foreign militaries.

The envisioned law would enable dispatching SDF elements without having to enact special legislation each time. Until now, the government has passed individual temporary laws in order for troops to be sent abroad. The laws have a time limit, so they must be extended with a Diet vote to keep the missions going.

The framework would maintain some limits. For instance, it says that dispatching SDF personnel abroad would still require advance Diet approval each time, and that their activities must be based on a U.N. Security Council resolution.

It also calls for revising relevant laws to enable Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense, building in three conditions for the use of force that were introduced when the Constitution was reinterpreted last summer.

One of the items in the framework calls for responses to so-called “gray zone” national security incidents and proposes legislation that would enable the SDF to defend warships and other assets of the U.S. military contributing to the defense of Japan.

It also calls for revising the current law on contingencies in areas adjacent to Japan, so that the SDF can provide support to the U.S. and other militaries in situations that greatly influence the nation’s peace and stability, removing the geographical constraint.

The framework calls for revisions of relevant laws to enable a number of activities, such as expanding the scope of ship inspections by the SDF, which is currently restricted to “Japanese waters or on the surrounding high seas.”

It proposes enabling the SDF to rescue Japanese nationals caught up in overseas emergencies, in which the use of weapons would be authorized under certain conditions.

The framework also calls for the creation of three principles to expand SDF activities abroad, which Komeito insists must be included in the legislation.

Those principles are: the dispatch is consistent with international law; maintaining civilian control and public support; and implementing necessary measures to ensure the safety of SDF personnel deployed overseas.

Komura and Kitagawa said the ruling parties hope to start discussions by mid-April on the necessary legislation, which the administration will prepare based on their suggestions.

The administration plans to submit more than 10 security-related bills to the Diet during the current session, which runs through June 24.

Lower house panel discusses experts' constitutional views of security bills
http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20150611p2a00m0na013000c.html
June 11, 2015(Mainichi Japan)

The House of Representatives Commission on the Constitution held a free discussion among legislators from both the ruling and opposition parties on June 11 on the assertions expressed in the panel last week by three constitutional scholars that government-sponsored security bills violate the country's pacifist supreme law.

On the fact that the three constitutional experts said at a meeting of the lower house Commission on the Constitution on June 4 that the security-related bills violate the Constitution, Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Vice President Masahiko Komura said, "The watchdog for the Constitution is the Supreme Court, not constitutional scholars." Komura emphasized that the security-related bills are consistent with the government's past views of the Constitution.

In response to Komura's arguments, Yukio Edano, secretary-general of the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), made a rebuttal statement, "The stance to ignore the suggestions from the experts and conveniently change the interpretation of the Constitution clearly runs counter to the rule of law."

Citing the Supreme Court's 1959 ruling on the so-called "Sunagawa Incident," the ruling LDP's Komura said, "It says that it is natural that the state can take necessary self-defense measures as part of using its intrinsic functions." On the argument that the top court's ruling did not presuppose the exercising of the right to collective self-defense, Komura said, "That's definitely wrong." With respect to the government's decision last year to reinterpret the Constitution, Komura said, "It does not go beyond the bounds of reasonable interpretations, and the criticism that it is unconstitutional does not hit the mark."

Kazuo Kitagawa, deputy chief of the LDP's junior coalition partner Komeito, said, "To what extent Japan is allowed to take self-defense measures under Article 9 (of the Constitution) was the biggest issue for talks among the ruling parties in the run-up to the Cabinet decision in July last year." He tried to argue against the three constitutional scholars over the issue. He went on to say, "Although there have been discussions in academic circles on whether the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) and the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty are unconstitutional, I am not aware that any in-depth discussions have been made on Article 9 and the limitations on self-defense measures in light of our country's security environment."

In responding to Kitagawa's remarks, the DPJ's Edano said, "It is significant that the country's leading constitutional scholars said the security bills violate the Constitution. Downplaying such voices will lead to downplaying of the system of inviting unsworn witnesses to testify in the Diet." On the Supreme Court's ruling on the Sunagawa Incident, Edano said, "It pointed to the right to individual self-defense, and cherry-picking logics runs counter to the basics of interpreting the Constitution."

Hidetaka Inoue, legislator from the opposition Japan Innovation Party (JIP), said there are cases in which Japan is allowed to exercise the right to collective self-defense in a limited way. But he said, "We can't say that there is no constitutional doubt in the security-related bills." Seiken Akamine, legislator from the Japanese Communist Party (JCP), said, "Bills that clearly violate the Constitution must be scrapped."

Meanwhile, Hiroyuki Sonoda, lawmaker from the tiny opposition Party for Future Generations, expressed his understanding of the government-sponsored legislation, saying, "Constitutionalism has been secured through Diet deliberations."

In the meeting of the lower house Commission on the Constitution on June 4, Waseda University professor Yasuo Hasebe said, "The security-related bills cannot be explained within the basic framework of the government's conventional views." Keio University professor emeritus Setsu Kobayashi and Waseda University professor Eiji Sasada also said in the same meeting that the security bills are unconstitutional.
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