JCP's view on relationship between Constitution's Article 9 and the Self-Defense Forces

Published in the September 30 issue of the Japan Press Weekly

Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Kazuo Shii in the 7th Central Committee Plenum on September 19 explained the JCP's view on the relationship between the struggle to defend Article 9 of Japan's Constitution and the issue of the Self-Defense Forces.
Following are excerpts from the draft Resolution of the JCP 22nd Congress:

The focal point of the struggle concerning the Constitution is its Article 9. Those who want to get the Constitution revised are also bringing up issues of other provisions of the Constitution, but obviously their true aim is to remove Article 9.

They are advocating the removal of Article 9 in order to remove the obstacle to Japan's full-scale participation in U.S. global interference and interventionist wars.

The War Laws were imposed in 1999 to create mechanisms for Japan's participation in U.S. wars. But because of Article 9, the government officially had to state that the SDF are not allowed to go abroad with the aim of using force and that their action is limited to rear-area support. What the government describes as "rear-area support" is actually logistics, which is part of war. What the government is saying is a deception. At the same time, we should note that Article 9 is effective to a certain degree in putting a brake on sending the SDF abroad.

After World War II, Japan has never taken part in wars abroad with its armed forces. This is owing to Article 9 and the people's peace movement. Article 9 has consistently been trampled upon in postwar politics led by the Liberal Democratic Party, but it has been and is playing an important role in preventing the SDF from being sent abroad and Japan from becoming a military power. Can we allow this brake to be released and a system to be established to allow the SDF to be sent abroad unrestricted? This is the focal issue in the struggle around Article 9. Opposition to an adverse change in Article 9 can bring together both those who regard the SDF unconstitutional and those who do not.

The JCP calls on a broad range of the people to cooperate on the single task of opposing the adverse revision of Article 9 of the Constitution and prevent any attempt against its peace principles.

(3) How to view the relationship between the 'Constitution's Article 9 and Japan's Self-Defense Forces, and how to resolve the contradictions is a crucial issue for a Japan in the 21st century.

Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution does not deny the right of a state to self-defense as an inherent right. However, by providing that the Japanese people "renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force," it states that "land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained." This provision prohibits Japan from possessing a regular army. Such a thoroughgoing adherence to lasting peace in a constitution is almost unparalleled in the world. We should take pride in Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution heralding the major 20th century movement towards outlawing war.

The world is now giving renewed attention to the true significance of Article 9, as is clear from the appeal made by the action guideline of the World Citizens Peace Conference held last year in The Hague, the Netherlands. It called on the world's parliaments to adopt a war-renouncing resolution similar to Japan's Article 9. This is a reflection of the emerging international movement of peace and progress toward the 21st century. The 21st century will be an era in which international disputes are not "settled" by military force; it will be an era in which world politics will be driven by diplomatic efforts based on international reason through peaceful talks. In the new century, Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution will be visible globally. It will be highly valued, particularly in Asia in which a strong movement toward peace and progress is now gaining momentum.

It is clear that under Article 9 the Self-Defense Forces are unconstitutional. Stretching interpretation of the Constitution to a virtual revision by describing the SDF as not having war potential but as forces for self-defense is no longer tenable, because the SDF has the world's third biggest military budget and is armed with state-of-the art weapons.

Then, how to resolve the contradictions between the Constitution's Article 9 and the SDF?

The JCP has no intention of "settling" the question by striking out Article 9 to adjust the Constitution into co-existence with the SDF. We maintain that political efforts should be made to reform the unconstitutional reality through the true implementation of Article 9.

These contradictions cannot be solved overnight. The complete implementation of Article 9 of the Constitution must be achieved through a step-by-step approach by respecting the people's consensus on this issue.

In the first stage, a stage prior to the abrogation of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, the burning task is to prevent Article 9 from being further violated by the War Laws being invoked and by the sending of the Self-Defense Forces abroad.

In the present-day world embracing the major current toward disarmament, the urgent task now is to make efforts to end Japan's arms buildup policy and turn to disarmament efforts.

The second stage will correspond to the subsequent situation created after the abrogation of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, which means Japan's secession from the Japan-U.S. military alliance. Naturally, there is discrepancy between the people's consensus on the abrogation of the Security Treaty and the people's consensus on the disbanding of the Self-Defense Forces.

In this stage the JCP must tackle democratic reform of the SDF through ending the SDF subservience to the U.S. forces, firmly establishing the political neutrality of SDF personnel as public servants, with a sizable reduction of the SDF.

The third and last will be the stage for complete implementation of the Constitution's Article 9, which will include disbanding the SDF, based on the people's consensus.

A Japan which declares independence and neutrality, will join the world movement towards non-alignment and neutrality, establish friendly relations with all countries in Asia and the rest of the world based on equality, impartiality, and reciprocity, so that Japan's neutrality can be secured internationally.

Standing for the Constitution's peace principles, such efforts to establish peaceful foreign relations will contribute to Asia and the rest of the world.

Also, the JCP will work toward substantial steps to be taken to get the SDF disbanded, on condition that stable peace in Asia is maintained firmly, and that public consensus has matured on the complete implementation of the Constitution's Article 9.

If Japan, after declaring independence and neutrality, develops true friendly relations with foreign countries and contributes to world peace by means of reasonable diplomatic efforts, it would guarantee Japan's security without depending on a standing military force. This is how the JCP views the 21st century and it's our objective.

The new JCP policy calling for a step-by-step solution of the SDF question can be summarized as follows: in the process towards the complete implementation of the Constitution's Article 9, there is no change in our view that the SDF are unconstitutional, but it is also inevitable that the SDF continues to exist in that period.

It will be natural for us to make use of the existing SDF, if the situation demands it, to assure the people's safety.


The Central Committee of the Japanese Communist Party
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