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URGENT APPEAL: An open letter to global peacemakers on the recent passing of the new security bill in Japan - July 17, 2015

My fellow peace advocates,

Three years ago on December 2012, I issued a similar statement like this warning all of you around the world that Japan is in the brink of shedding off its pacifist legacy through amending Article 9 of our Pacifist Constitution, spearheaded by the Abe Administration that came into power a day before I wrote that statement.

I was wrong, in the worst way.

Knowing that the Japanese public is not ripe to accept a full amendment of Article 9, the Abe Administration went onto re-interpret the Constitution through a Cabinet Decision which was effected on July 13, 2013.

The 13-July 2013 decision effectively renounced the original contention of all past LDP-led administrations which contended that the Constitution does not allow use of force other than for national self-defense and therefore that the right to collective self-defense is denied.

This contention was first reaffirmed in 1972 by then-LDP government in a parliamentary deliberation, and ever since, Japan has upheld that it can only act on self-defense (individual self-defense) and also since maintained the exclusively defensive-defense policy as the core tenet of national security policy.

That core tenet has been disposed.


A day ago, the Lower House of the Japanese National Diet has passed by sole yay vote of the ruling coalition (the opposition refused to vote or be present at the time of the vote) a new legislation package that would permanently change Japan's security policy based on the 13-July 2013 decision.

The package legislation consists of 10 amendments to the current security-related bills including the peacekeeping cooperation law, and 1 new security bill that will allow Japan to participate in multinational military coalition not necessarily sanctioned by the UN.

The new bill effectively overwrites the restrictive interpretation that Japanese Self-Defense Force (SDF) can only participate in UN actions sanctioned by the Security Council under Chapter VII.

Instead, the new bill explicitly allows SDF to act under not only UN Security Council sanctioned actions but also UN General Assembly Resolution and Regional Security Organizations decisions--this would effectively include NATO. So once these bills are enacted as laws, Japan can effectively join NATO's activities acting in collective-self-defense, such as how they did in Afghanistan.

While the Abe Administration denied as 'unfounded allegations' that Japan will be embroiled in U.S.-led wars, 90% of Japanese constitutional scholars believe that the bills are an affront to the National Constitution which explicitly banned Japan to be engaged in any form of international conflict through the use of force.

The matter of constitutionality became the focus of the parliamentary debate in the Lower House, but the Administration cut it short to force a vote on Wednesday in the Special Committee established to deliberate on the new security bills. As a result, the vote was carried and a final vote was made on the full session of the Lower House yesterday.


The public is upset and have protested en masse in front of the National Diet and Prime Minister's Office. It was said over 100,000 people gathered on Wednesday which I also took part in.

Massive protest rallies are being planned nationwide and the fight will go on for the coming three months until the final vote is made in the Upper House, and then rejected, and is returned to the Lower House under the rules of the Diet.

The Upper House, unlike the Lower House, is guarded by opposition lawmakers who can effectively block the bill from passing by delay tactics and reject it. However, under the so-called '60-day rule' bills that are not deliberated for 60 days are automatically returned to the Lowe House for a determining vote.

So no matter what kind of resistance is put up in the Upper House, legally, the bill will be passed and enacted as law by the end of September this year. Then, Japan's pacifist legacy will only be a value of the past.

Even under the Article 9 of the Constitution, with the new re-interpretation effected into law, the Japanese people can no longer contend that we do not fight overseas or that none of our troops have been killed in combat in the past. The risks will no doubt grow, as our troops will be cooperating with our new allies such as Australia, Vietnam, and the Philippines, to fight against China's threat in the South China Sea and join the insurgency efforts in the new WOT in Syria and Iraq against the ISIL fighters.


The peace-loving people of Japan will continue to resist any attempt by the current Abe Administration and its successors to renounce our proud and precious pacifist legacy. Nevertheless, we will need a TOTAL, UNDAUNTING GLOBAL SUPPORT to fight this battle.

The youths in Japan has gathered a formidable organization called The SEALDs (Students Emergency Action for Liberal Democracy) but with the indifference displayed by the Administration Officials including the Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga and Prime Minister Abe himself, it is likely that the protests would eventually wind down as police crackdown and conspired imprisonment will be enforced along with an effective media blackout by Abe's supporting media giants.

Liberal media such as Mainichi and Asahi have been fighting with us, but they're often overwhelmed by the pro-government media such as Yomiuri and Sankei, and NHK. Other national media associations such as Kyodo and Jiji Press tend to be on the government-side too. New independent media outlets are emerging but are still no match to the mainstream pro-government media.

So we need foreign media support.

We need global outreach, PR, lobbying, public rallies, statements by government officials, etc., all in the arsenal of peace advocates like you to let the world know where Abe's nationalist Japan is heading towards. It is a path the majority of Japanese people would not want to lead. We would like you to express the same in solidarity for world peace.

Please spread the word to your global friends.

The peace-loving people of Japan need all your help.

In the spirit of peace,
On this Day of International Criminal Justice

Takahiro Katsumi

Former Member, Board of Directors, GAMIP
Global Alliance for Ministries and Infrastructures for Peace
Former Member, Executive Committee, WFM
World Federalist Movement

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