Sunday, December 05, 2004

A Japanese military officer breaking the Constitution?

A senior officer in the Ground Self-Defense Force has
compiled a draft plan for revising the Constitution to
authorize the existence of a "military force" and enable
the nation to engage in collective defense, it was
learned Saturday according to Kyodo quoted by a
newspaper in Japan.

The officer submitted the plan in October to Gen
Nakatani, a former Defense Agency chief who currently
heads a Liberal Democratic Party committee tasked with
drafting the party's proposal for a constitutional
amendment, according to sources familiar with the case.

All of the basic points contained in the officer's draft
were subsequently reflected in the outline of the
party's proposal for changing the Constitution, which
was compiled last month.

The officer was identified as a lieutenant colonel
assigned to the Plans and Operations Department of the
Ground Staff Office.

The LDP plans to finalize its proposal for a
constitutional amendment in November 2005, when the
party marks the 50th anniversary of its founding.

Nakatani, a uniformed SDF officer before he was elected
to the House of Representatives, confirmed that he had
asked the GSDF officer to single out problems of the
current Constitution from the viewpoint of national
security as he was trying to put together the LDP's
policy outline.

"I asked for his help so that I can study the matter as
a politician. I requested that he do so in my private
capacity, and I don't see any problem," said Nakatani,
who headed the Defense Agency between 2001 and 2002.

However, involvement by a uniformed SDF officer in the
ruling party's policymaking process in a highly
sensitive issue such as amending the Constitution could
stir up controversy, especially in light of the postwar
principle of civilian control of the military.

A senior Justice Ministry official well versed in
constitutional issues said that if the officer compiled
the draft in his official capacity as an SDF member, he
may have violated a public servant's duty to comply with
the Constitution.

The draft proposal submitted to Nakatani, a copy of
which has been obtained by Kyodo News, is titled
"Constitution draft" and bears the name of the GSDF
officer and his officer contact number.

While the draft says Japan will "renounce the threat or
use of force as a means of settling international
disputes," it calls on the nation to possess a military
force for the defense of the country.

The war-renouncing Article 9 of the current Constitution
says that "land, sea and air forces and other war
potential will never be maintained."

The draft also says the military force will be able to
engage in collective defense so that it can take part in
collective security frameworks. The government has
interpreted the current Constitution as banning the
nation from exercising its right o collective defense.

The lieutenant colonel also prepared a document titled
"other issues that should be included," which advises
against a draft system for compulsory military service.
This too was reflected in the LDP's revision outline.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Be nice and informative when you post or comment.
Thank you to visit Asian Gazette Blog of Joel Legendre-Koizumi.