politics

Security bill debate masks deeper divide over pacifist constitution

72 Comments
By Linda Sieg

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2015.

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

72 Comments
Login to comment

WAR! What is it good for?

4 ( +7 / -3 )

History to repeat again ?

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Absolutely NOTHING!

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Well I'm Japanese American, a Japanese citizen, and I am anti-war and appreciate Japan being peaceful. I don't feel like I know the whole truth and it seems to me that the right questions aren't being asked. Firstly we are a conquered country. It's a little ridiculous for me to deny that. Does Japan follow America's cues? Would Japan simply elect a badass right winger 20 years ago and decide "Hey let's go back to warring!"? I highly highly doubt that the USA would have allowed that. So if the states is telling Japan to lace up and put some muscle in for its post 2010 world struggle for domination, does Japan or can it afford not to?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Maybe Japan should appoint Eric Holder as its chief legal officer. Problem solved...he would interpret their constitution any way Abe wants.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Firstly we are a conquered country.

How many generations will it take for Japanese to get over this? Yes Japan WAS a conquered country, but it is hardly so today. It's thinking like this that will forever keep the country from truly growing.

Japan has a right to rewrite it's constitution, BUT it MUST and I repeat myself MUST be the will of the people and not a few politicians who want more power.

The people are speaking out against it, and that is to whom Abe SHOULD be listening to, yet he seems deaf to the protests against his actions.

12 ( +17 / -5 )

A constitution as the source of Japan’s peace, prosperity and democracy. The Defeat In WWII won't change but amending article 9

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Yubaru

So your argument is simply mentality? That after you lose a war, have your sovereignty stripped and government system and laws flipped that if I have a positive attitude it will be different? Don't you think it's a little more complex than that? But I am interested in what you have to say because I don't know.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

He might succeed. When Kishi was pushing for Anpo, Demonstrators were near Kishi's official house yelling Anpo Hantai (We oppose Security Treaty) all night. The story Mr. Iwakawa wrote that one after one c family members and his backers left house. Only his brother Mr Sato stayed with him. He used to tell he will fight international communism then. There is no such demo. The demo students and people were yelling Kishi resign now. But he survived. Like hia grand pa, he will not yield. .

0 ( +3 / -3 )

“If we keep the constitution GHQ (U.S. Occupation headquarters) gave to a defeated Japan, Japan will always remain a defeated country,” says a great-grandfather in a cartoon published recently by Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to explain why the charter should be revised.

That's one take on it, I suppose.

I had always thought that, after experiencing the horror of war and the unspeakable horror of mass destruction and death from the two atom bombs, the Japanese people had decided that the way of the Imperial Japanese Army wasn't for them and that they should walk the road of peace.

Don't we ever learn?

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

It is only Abe who is so earnest about it. There is nobody else who is as earnest as Abe about the legisration in Japan. People can not find sufficient reasons and feeling dull.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

“I think he hates the concept of modern constitutionalism, the concept that the powers of the government should be restricted by the constitution,” Yasuo Hasebe, a constitutional scholar at Waseda University, told Reuters.

I fear the Professor is correct. I also think another plausible reason is that Abe is having his pockets lined up the Military Industrial Complex. The only way for MIC to prosper is war (or at least a perpetual sense of threat and danger), and removing Article 9 paves the way for fear and war mongering.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

This biggest problem with the constitution seems to be

enshrined democracy because changing the right to collective self defense despite the nation's disapproval goes against the constitution in more ways than one.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It's simple. Rule of law and constitutional democracy equals humiliation and the feeling of being "conquered" for right wingers. For them Japan's tradition of hundreds of years of military and militaristic government is the only way to arrange things and their "freedom" is the freedom to make arbitrary rules and use naked force to get their way.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@SchopenhauerJUL. 15, 2015 - 08:43AM JST It is only Abe who is so earnest about it. There is nobody else who is as earnest as Abe about the legisration in Japan. People can not find sufficient reasons and feeling dul

'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

Hope Voters will deny this agenda if both upper house and lower house accept Abe's wish but I reallly wish lower house members defeat this agenda to save national election costs.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

So your argument is simply mentality? That after you lose a war, have your sovereignty stripped and government system and laws flipped that if I have a positive attitude it will be different? Don't you think it's a little more complex than that? But I am interested in what you have to say because I don't know.

Did you lose the war? Sorry to ask but are you of an age that you were alive during or following the war?

If you are then I can understand and empathize with your feelings and opinions, yet if you were born in let's say the 60's, 70's or afterwards, you would have no personal experience with "having your "sovereignty stripped" nor should you feel apart of the collective belief that "you" lost anything.

I do believe it's mostly an attitude or belief that the Japanese of today, for whatever reason, are still living in generations past, even when they have no experience of nor accurate knowledge or information about said history.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

This is a top-down power grab, pure and simple. By weakening the Pacifist Constitution, not only do PM Abe and his supporters in industry and the shrine business gain business opportunities to produce war armaments, but simultaneously he weakens all political groups who are organised around pacifism and promotion of humaniste rights. I think he even strengthens his wing of the LDP! So as far as a political calculation this one is All Systems Go-go-go! There is no morality here, he is potentially Machiavelli's Dark Prince. It remains to be seen how much criminal activity this group is willing to engage in to achieve their aims. We have only to look back at the end of Taisho Democracy to see how far into lawlessness Japan can stray by activation of the same sentimentality and duty-fed behavior that seems to be guiding Abe and cohorts. May cooler and wiser heads prevail.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

It's all about the money.

Isn't it, Mr Abe?

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Well, as with many of these type of issues that we’ve discussed over the years, the answer is somewhat complex.

Just as in the US, (and frankly most countries) there exists a far-right wing political element in Japan, and in the LDP – these are the Gen (Ret) Tamogami and Shintaro Ishihara admirers who say Japan was “economically attacked” in the late 30s/early 40s fully justifying a military response. The many documented WW II atrocities and brutalities of the IJA were merely “exaggerations”. While they say that they want Japan to be a modern “normal” nation, one has suspect normal for them means a repeat of the Great East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere – a path back to totalitarianism and violent conquest.

Then there are the more responsible conservatives who want Japan to continue to remain a nation opposed to war, but to constitutionally have the flexibility in conducting its foreign policy that all other nations enjoy. On the pro-peace side, you have the far left wing groups, the communists, socialists, and others. They somewhat naively believe that defending your country is never an option – and that other countries possess no ill will or intent to use force.

Then there are those who base their views on empirical history – and see that irrespective of whether Japan’s current constitution was written by the US and imposed on it in the post war period, that constitution has guided Japan from utter defeat in 1945, to the second (until recently) largest economy in the world – and allowed it to experience 70 years of peace and prosperity, a claim few other nations can attest. Their view is “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”.

Fortunately, the second and fourth groups form the majority of the opinion on this issue in Japan. My own view is that the current security legislation does not alter the fundamental nature of Japan’s war-renouncing constitution and broadens Japan’s ability to fully participate in the community of nations. But I would be opposed to any further “re-defining” or “re-interpretation”, and would caution the Japanese public to always be vigilant of the far right, who want to cast off the current constitutional restraints, which they view as demeaning, and a continual reminder of Japan’s defeat in 1945.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Article 9 is just a way for Japan to free-load off US taxpayers rather than paying for its own defense.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

so the argument is that if the gov't passes these security bills, then suddenly japan will begin warring with everyone around? just like every other country that has similar laws in their countries? sounds (il)logical to me.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

says a great-grandfather in a cartoon published recently by Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to explain why the charter should be revised.

Here is the link to the "cartoon". Read by yourself. http://constitution.jimin.jp/pamphlet/

I think most of the Japanese would least impressed by it, for it is not pursuasive at all.

Drafted by U.S. officials during a frantic week in February 1946 and based on principles set out by General Douglas MacArthur, supreme allied commander in Japan, the constitution renounced the right to wage war or maintain armed forces and enshrined democracy and human rights.

It has been stretched to allow Japan a military equal to Britain’s but still constrained compared with other countries’ armed forces.

Does anyone have any idea what the reporter meant by saying "a military equal to Britain's"? I have no idea.

The biggest irony is that, though the constitution prohibits maintaining of armed forces, as soon as the constitution came into effect, MacArthur ordered Japan to create and maintain armed forces in light of the cold war. This dilemma is cursing Japan even today.

"MacArthur is our best general and our worst politician." --FDR

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Abe and those around and behind him with power and wealth just seek more and will use and change any conditions to achieve this. That is their principle. So their is little consistency in reasonable terms to what they say. If they want to put the WWII defeat behind them, then why do they not mind Japan still being occupied by the US military forces and why do they follow the US lead so closely? Basically, they do this to maintain a global trading and financial system that helps Japanese businesses exploit the world's resources and labour to amass more wealth. With the rise of China, India and Russia, there is now more competition for these resources and the US wants Japan to play a more active global security role. Article 9 limits this, so it's seen more as an impediment to continued wealth accumulation than any issue of national pride.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@TravelingSalesJUL. 15, 2015 - 09:53AM JST Article 9 is just a way for Japan to free-load off US taxpayers rather than paying for its own defense.

'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

please write how much Japan free loaded for 70 years by paying $ 2 billion a year Omoiyari funds. ro USA

@yubaru: You are from USA. I did not know USA lost War I know Japan lost war to USA. Emperor told with his GyokuOn Chokugo

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@Yubaru

No I am not at all from that generation. I'm glad that most people agree with you since that's what I want the reality of things to be. I'm not really sold on your logic though.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

LoL, back in Feb (after the 2 decapitations), tons of JT posters came out saying how japan need to do much more to protect it's citizens. And how the incident illuminated the fact how weak the gov is and exposed their inability to effectively intervene.

If the security bills are passed and the SDF given more leash, maybe they could rescue and evacuate their citizens from hot spots. The Chinese did exactly that when Yemen first started to flare up. They didn't even fire any shots.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@thepersoniamnow.....

Well, I was being very, very short in reply, limits of space and time. However I can say from experience that I know too many Japanese that think or feel that they are somehow or in someway responsible for the actions of the people who lived generations ago. It is a different time, era, society, everything.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Some say that they want to change the constitution because it reminds them of Japan's defeat by the United States. However, they want to change the constitution to allowJapanese troops to protect and assist the military who defeated it...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I live in Japan. I'm not afraid of China or any other "military threat". I'm afraid of Abe dragging this country into a war.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

@toshiko- According to

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/agency/dod/usfj.htm

the annual average cost of having US forces in Japan is more than $7.5 billion. That's using 1995 numbers. So twenty years later, probably more.

So Japan is paying $2 billion out of $7.5 billion. By my math, that means "freeloading" to the tune of about $5.5 billion a year.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Article 9 has worked for decades so if it ain't broken it don't need fixing,

3 ( +9 / -6 )

(shades of the 1960 revision to the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan?)

one wonders what the role of the U.S. mght be in all this… Japan is occupied territory after all so it doesn't seem likely that the U.S. is a disinterested party… and since Mr. Abe is evidently a puppet (emphasis on 'pet'?) along the lines of Tony Blair… in what way will the new 'law' be advantageous to the U.S.'s global position? and having delivered, what tasty post in international affairs will Mr. Abe be rewarded with? wait and see...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

David Varnes - Japan pays USA forces in Japan more than $7 billion a year, larger than all other countries paying to US combined. US service men and women in Japan are living in luxury. It is very impolite of Americans to call Japan a freeloader. It is obvious that US is treating Japan as its colony.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

Japan pays USA forces in Japan more than $7 billion a year, larger than all other countries paying to US combined. US service men and women in Japan are living in luxury.

$3.23 billion and indirect support worth $1.18 billion. In the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma Japan agreed to pay US$3.1 billion of the US$8,6 billion costs. Japan's annual defence budget is nearly US$50 billion or 1% of GDP. Without the presence of the U.S. military the annual budget for Japan would more than double.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

If anyone had done any analysis of pre-war Asian economy and trade and compare it with the present situation. They will find a stark difference as clear as night and day in terms of free trade between regions.

If import/export regulations to and from SEA region in pre-war era were as lax as it is today, Japan would had never gone to war in the first place. Japan is more then happy to trade as long as it's fair,open and based on international market price.

Why because Japan export has been and still is based on value added export. No other nation or region was able to provide industrialized goods and the ones from Europe was not price competative due to distance.

Now fast forward to today Japan has no reason to become a warring nation since business is good as it is now with no tariffs. There maybe some compeition but not really a reason to go to war. The reality of Japan requiring to change is to meet reality so status quo is not challenged or endangered because if it goes back to pre-war conditions then Japan would have no choice then to go to war again.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Suspicion among Abe’s critics that the proposed legislation to ease limits on the military is a step toward gutting not only the charter’s pacifist Article 9, but basic principles such as respect for human rights.

This is a laugh. There is no "suspicion". The fact that the LDP wants to gut the constitution is right on their homepage.

Among the most egregious revisions:

Changing Article 97 (fundamental human rights guaranteed by the Constitution are for all time inviolate) to an imposed set of "duties" (The people must respect the national flag, national anthem, and this Constitution.).

Eliminating a constitutional provision forbidding the appropriation of public funds "for the use, benefit or maintenance of any religious institution or association."

Freedom of speech would be curtailed: "engaging in activities with the purpose of damaging public interest or public order, or associating with others for such purposes, shall not be recognized."

Allow the prime minister's cabinet to inact law without the Diet: "The Cabinet may enact cabinet orders having the same effect as laws," and all persons must comply with the directives of national or other public institutions.")

What many Japanese realize is that the constitution was written for them, the regular people by transforming the country from a militaristic, theocratic autocracy where the average Japanese had little to no say over their lot in life into a (somewhat) democratic system of equality and individual rights. And for those who lost power (ie. the samurai families, royalty and business oligarchs) have been quietly seething ever since, for they truly don't believe in individual rights and liberties. They want to bring back the old days, when the people knew their place and did what they were told. And if the people of Japan aren't more proactive about it, the old boys may just get their wish.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Article 9 has worked for decades so if it ain't broken it don't need fixing,

Nope. It's the decades of 'reinterpretation' via examination of jus naturale, executed treaty, and U.N. Charters that allowed the right of individual self defense, establishment of JSDF, the Mutual Security Agreement, and the establishment and continued support of U.S. bases in Japan, all if which were construed to be "unconstitutional" at point in time. In other words, what these Japanese citizens who are against this security bill take the current status quo for granted failing to realize that if there were no attempts to 'reinterpret' like their forefathers have done, Japan as a nation, more than likely, cease to exist.

Like the previous anti "reinterpretation' events which also used the same exact tactic of " we're sending our kids to war', they will again be proven false and as such, will be ridiculed just like by the younger generation of today who look down on the ANPO activists of the 60's.

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

Allow the prime minister's cabinet to inact law without the Diet: "The Cabinet may enact cabinet orders having the same effect as laws," and all persons must comply with the directives of national or other public institutions.")

The meaning of this in the vernacular should make people very wary, it means in reality that the PM not the cabinet, can enact laws that he or she sees fit for whatever situation arises. (Read that as the birth of a dictator) The cabinet serves at the desire of the PM and the PM can and often does shuffle their cabinet when needed, and if a member isnt in line, they are gone.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

nigelboy

Article 9 has worked for decades so if it ain't broken it don't need fixing.

The majority of Japanese don't want changes to Article 9 and shouldn't be done just by PM Abe and his cabinet clones and then impose it on the people and don't give me the crap about people voting him in. Without the US bases the defence costs of Japan will double.

Japan is a full nation and recognised as such.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Without the US bases the defence costs of Japan will double.

What in the world are you talking about? Did you not comprehend my post? Their presence, by definition, was deemed unconstitutional at the beginning. (Sunagawa incident)

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

The majority of Japanese are not aware of the danger article 9 incompasses to combatants and this nation as a whole when actual conflict occurs.I still hear people stating that negotiation would provail and/or UN intervention would save the day if Japan sits tight and endure a brief moment of combat which the SDF is for in the first place.

Give me a break ! !

2 ( +3 / -1 )

David: I asked anout ompiyari fund tina and zichi straighten out your belief. Now, China Japan UK etc help US fjnnce problems by purvhasing US bonds. China stopped to buy one year but US begged so it ix latgest invester again. Meanwhile somw pwoplw (not majority) ignorant people tell US is protecting Japan from China. .

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

nigelboy

so you will be happy for the defence budget to double to something like US$100 billion, double or treble the numbers of the SDF.

The Sunagawa incident and the attempt by PM Abe to resort to twisted logic to push on the people his idea of collective self-defense, and PM Abe don't see the U.S. Bases as unconstitutional nor does he want them to leave. The argument pushed forward by PM Abe wasn't that the U.S. bases are not constitutional but it does not prevent the right to collective self-defense.

The Supreme Court decision has not been interpreted to have any such implications for the issue.

In 1957, in what was Sunagawa and now part of Tachikawa several demonstrators and students were arrested for entering the U.S. base. The Tokyo District Court acquitted the protesters of all charges on grounds that the presence of U.S. military forces in Japan violated Article 9 of the Constitution.

The Supreme Court overturned the district court’s ruling, arguing that the foreign forces did not represent the military capabilities Article 9 prohibits Japan from maintaining.

Supreme Court ruling went on to say: “It is indisputable that, as an act of exercising its proper powers as a nation, Japan is allowed to take self-defense measures that are necessary for maintaining its own peace and security and ensuring its existence.”

Supreme Court’s ruling only acknowledged Japan’s right to individual self-defense and the LPD's self serving argument is incorrect on the issue.

Like the LDP you fail with your Sunagawa incident or didn't you bother to read the Supreme Court ruling?

1 ( +5 / -4 )

so you will be happy for the defence budget to double to something like US$100 billion, double or treble the numbers of the SDF. Read my initial post carefully. It's the "reinterpretation" of this Article that paved way for the U.S forces to remain here, as with other establishments I mentioned above.

Hence, this reinterpretation by Abe would again be proven right in the same manner. You asking me whether or not I read the ruling is classic. Of course I did.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

nigelboy

Of course I did

But you didn't mention the Supreme Court ruling and yes I didn't know about the Sunagawa incident why would I even know everything that has happened even though i've lived here fore 25 years so yes I made the effort to read up on it but that don't change the content of my previous comment that on that point you are incorrect. I'm never embarrassed to read up something I don't know so I don't need to try and twist the truth like some others do.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Readers, please focus your comments on what is in the story and not at each other.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

But you didn't mention the Supreme Court ruling and yes I didn't know about the Sunagawa incident why would I even know everything that has happened even though i've lived here fore 25 years so yes I made the effort to read up on it but that don't change the content of my previous comment that on that point you are incorrect. I'm never embarrassed to read up something I don't know so I don't need to try and twist the truth like some others do.

Read my post carefully.

I clearly stated,

" Their presence, by definition, was deemed unconstitutional at the beginning. (Sunagawa incident)"

Their (U.S. Bases) presence were deemed not violating the constitution based on the Supreme Court ruling. Hence, this is another case of government going through the 'reinterpretation' with opposition, screamed with the cry of unconstitutionality, and eventually turning out to be not only the right decision, but a status quo that these current opponents take for granted.

So to put it simply, the Article 9, is in essence, has been a road block fir these current status quo(individual self defense, JSDF, SOFA, U.S. Bases) that the current Japanese currenrly benefit from.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Toshiko: I asked anout ompiyari fund tina and zichi straighten out your belief.

Yes, Tina posted nonsense, such as "US servicemen live a life of luxury," a bunch of bollocks if you know even the most basic of facts about enlisted life for the US military, while zichi pointed out that still, despite the numbers being off, Japan pays only about half of the cost of the forces stationed here.

Half. Cost. The other half cost is what?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I clearly stated, " Their presence, by definition, was deemed unconstitutional at the beginning. (Sunagawa incident)"

Personally, I think all the countries of the world should follow Japan on having only self defence and not the means to go to war. The world would have been a better place had that happened.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Article 9 has worked for decades so if it ain't broken it don't need fixing.

then for some unknown reason, you offer this.

so you will be happy for the defence budget to double to something like US$100 billion, double or treble the numbers of the SDF.

??? Puzzling.

I reiterate.

It's the decades of "reinterpretation" of this Article 9 by the predecessors that paved way for not only the right of self defense and the establishment JSDF, but the execution of the Security treaty and the presence of U.S forces here as a result of it.

Hence, this reinterpretation by Abe would again be proven right in the same manner.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

nigelboy JUL. 15, 2015 - 01:16PM JST "Article 9 has worked for decades so if it ain't broken it don't need fixing," Nope. It's the decades of 'reinterpretation' via examination of jus naturale, executed treaty, and U.N. Charters that allowed the right of individual self defense, establishment of JSDF, the Mutual Security Agreement, and the establishment and continued support of U.S. bases in Japan, all if which were construed to be "unconstitutional" at point in time. I

It's a failure by your Abe government. Majority of Japanese public understands that the Abe administration had not provided a sufficient explanation for its decision to reinterpret the constitution. In short, what PM Abe has here is failure to communicate effectively. It's a total rejection in a democratic process.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

David

nonsense, such as "US servicemen live a life of luxury,"

I said in Japan, I don't know in other countries.

Half. Cost. The other half cost is what?

I don't think US has shown any break down. Why does your country demand such a big money only on Japan? You are reducing the money from Germany. I think US is taking advantage of Japan's weakness. If you are not happy I think Japan and USA should start talking about the exit of treaty. Then Japan makes a nuke.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Back on topic please.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ministry of Defense cartoon, about 18 minutes,

"Bo-Emon's Defense Lecture-ABC of Self-Defense Forces"

https://youtu.be/YP6mMCyXFsk

0 ( +1 / -1 )

nigelboyJul. 15, 2015 - 02:42PM JST

Their (U.S. Bases) presence were deemed not violating the constitution based on the Supreme Court ruling.

Here is the link to the Supreme Court ruling of Sunagawa case. http://www.courts.go.jp/app/hanrei_jp/detail2?id=55816

It says that, since US forces in Japan are not Japanese forces, they are not against the Constitution that prohibits maintaining of military forces of Japan. It also says that the Supreme Court cannot judge the constitutionality of US Japan Security Treaty because of political question doctorine, since the treaty is of political nature best handled by the Parliament and the Cabinet, rather than of Judicial nature.

The Supreme Court case has nothing about constitutionality of collective self defense.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

While not the thread to address this issue, the consistent false information posted by some folks here regarding Japan's host nation support to the US-Japan Alliance has to be corrected;

What's incorrect: Japan pays the US "X" billion dollars a year to station US forces in-country.

What's correct: Japan, or the Japanese government, pays nothing to the US - what they transfer is yen to a variety of Japanese companies and entities that either work on or support US facilities - to understand this one has to be familiar with what host nation support encompasses.

Japan's HNS or "omoiyari yosan" consists of two categories; the first are those contained in the Special Measures Agreement, which consists of labor support (some, not all) for Japanese employees under the Master Labor Contract, and Utilities Cost Sharing which covers some (not all) utility costs at US facilities - this money goes to Japanese employees and Japanese utility companies.

The other category under HNS is the Facilities Improvement Program and construction required under the 2006 Alliance Transformation and Realignment Agreement - also called DPRI. This money, in both programs, goes to Japanese construction companies to build facilities (some, not all) on US bases.

That's where the money goes that Japan provides as part of the US - Japan Security Alliance - note none of it goes to purchase equipment (plans. ships, tanks), none of it pays for the operations and maintenance costs of the 100K US forces and their families in Japan, and none if it pays any US military or civilian salaries.

Japan's contribution ($2,4 billion last year) to the Alliance is considerable, but let's make no mistake, that money stays in Japan and benefits Japanese employees and companies - while it does help the Alliance it is also a significant domestic "jobs creator" - which is why so many politicians support it.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

lincolnmanJUL. 15, 2015 - 04:21PM JST While not the thread to address this issue, the consistent false information posted by some folks here regarding Japan's host nation support to the US-Japan Alliance has to be corrected; What's incorrect: Japan pays the US "X" billion dollars a year to station US forces in-country.

What is that mean? Let's see, Japan's expenditure in defense is a meager 1 percent of total GDP for how many decades? Why don't you compare that to U.S. that is close to 4 percent, and UK at 2.3, France 2.2, Germany 1.4. In reality, Japan should contribute more to defense that is in line with other nations. If U.S. left Japan, the Japanese defense expenditure will increase by 10 percent a year for many decades to catch up. Maybe it's time for Japan to defend themselves and pay their own way.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

lincolnman

So utility bills paid by Omiyari yosan benefits Japanese companies and personnel only and is a job creator? How about the rent of land occupied by the US military. Not one piece of real estate is ownd by the US and rent is paind 100% by the Japanese government.

One point, British Navy oversees coast gaurd duties as well so in reality the Japan's spending would go up if you use the same accounting as the British.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So utility bills paid by Omiyari yosan benefits Japanese companies and personnel only and is a job creator?

No, Japanese employees working on US bases, Japanese utility companies, Japanese construction companies and Japanese transportation companies all benefit, and receive funds from, the Omiyari Yosan budget. Certainly the US benefits also, and the Alliance in general. And yes, the Japanese government views it as a "jobs program".

How about the rent of land occupied by the US military. Not one piece of real estate is ownd by the US and rent is paind 100% by the Japanese government.

Compensation for landowners is addressed in the SOFA which was concluded in 1960. The Omiyari Yosan budget began in 1978.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Back on topic please.

zichi

The current Constitution is the creation of a foreign power.

There is no other country in the world where a Constitution was written by outsiders.

No other country would put up with this indignity for over 70 years. Why should Japan???

Japan MUST do away with this piece of foreign legislation.

-5 ( +2 / -6 )

Peeping Tom,

There is no other country in the world where a Constitution was written by outsiders.

Wasn't the American Constitution written by Englishmen?

It certainly wasn't written by Native Americans.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

BertieWooster

I guess with just a little digging you'll find out these "Englishmen" were Americans.

Was Thomas Jefferson English by any chance????

You certainly would not have Constitution imposed by the Mexicans. Would you?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

“If we keep the constitution GHQ (U.S. Occupation headquarters) gave to a defeated Japan, Japan will always remain a defeated country,”

This is LITERALLY the thinking of those in power in the LDP, people, who, by the way, had to try and explain it to you in a comic form because they think you are literally too stupid to understand it otherwise. And who's saying it in their "changes for dummies" explanation? a great-grandfather -- one of the people who would have been responsible for Japan's war in the first place, and the 'humiliating defeat'. These are the kind of men who see a 'beautiful Japan' as one in which rules over and abuses and looks down on others, at ANY cost, including war (so long as THEY can send someone else, like your kids); they are the war criminals, or children or grandchildren of them; they are the deniers of history (so that they can repeat it and hopefully 'win this time'). They are the one who have flat out admitted that their only regret is that they haven't had a war with China yet (Ishihara).

They cannot honor the greatest Constitution in the world (at least article 9) because they see it as a reminder that they are weak and lost the war instead of seeing it as the strength it is, and the unique and peaceful status is have given Japan. If you support Abe, please prepare your kids to go die for nothing as Abe's granddad did, and be humiliated again.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Nearly 10,000 academics have thrown their support behind a movement to oppose national security bills...

The group was formed after three professors of constitutional law unanimously agreed at a Lower House Commission on the Constitution session that the security legislation was unconstitutional.

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/politics/AJ201507150047

1 ( +3 / -2 )

SumoBob's post raises such important points that I have taken the liberty of reposting it:

Suspicion among Abe’s critics that the proposed legislation to ease limits on the military is a step toward gutting not only the charter’s pacifist Article 9, but basic principles such as respect for human rights.

This is a laugh. There is no "suspicion". The fact that the LDP wants to gut the constitution is right on their homepage.

Among the most egregious revisions:

Changing Article 97 (fundamental human rights guaranteed by the Constitution are for all time inviolate) to an imposed set of "duties" (The people must respect the national flag, national anthem, and this Constitution.).

Eliminating a constitutional provision forbidding the appropriation of public funds "for the use, benefit or maintenance of any religious institution or association."

Freedom of speech would be curtailed: "engaging in activities with the purpose of damaging public interest or public order, or associating with others for such purposes, shall not be recognized."

Allow the prime minister's cabinet to inact law without the Diet: "The Cabinet may enact cabinet orders having the same effect as laws," and all persons must comply with the directives of national or other public institutions.")

What many Japanese realize is that the constitution was written for them, the regular people by transforming the country from a militaristic, theocratic autocracy where the average Japanese had little to no say over their lot in life into a (somewhat) democratic system of equality and individual rights. And for those who lost power (ie. the samurai families, royalty and business oligarchs) have been quietly seething ever since, for they truly don't believe in individual rights and liberties. They want to bring back the old days, when the people knew their place and did what they were told. And if the people of Japan aren't more proactive about it, the old boys may just get their wish.

Thank you. SumoBob.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Japan's expenditure in defense is a meager 1 percent of total GDP

US's GDP is 4 times larger than Japan's, which is about the same as Germany's.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

It says that, since US forces in Japan are not Japanese forces, they are not against the Constitution that prohibits maintaining of military forces of Japan. It also says that the Supreme Court cannot judge the constitutionality of US Japan Security Treaty because of political question doctorine, since the treaty is of political nature best handled by the Parliament and the Cabinet, rather than of Judicial nature.

Correct. It's the District court that ruled unconstitutional and the Supreme court overturned the ruling based mainly on your first setence. I call it reinterpreting (whether it's clarifying, expanding the scope, or dismissing the nature of applicability by higher courts) for one could very well argue that if Japan followed the Constitution word for word, they could well simply just have a police force and nothing else.

Therefore, my point is that without such reinterpreting through the years by the Japanese government, Japan will not be benefitting from the current status quo which these opponents take for granted.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

And for those who lost power (ie. the samurai families, royalty and business oligarchs) have been quietly seething ever since, for they truly don't believe in individual rights and liberties. They want to bring back the old days, when the people knew their place and did what they were told. And if the people of Japan aren't more proactive about it, the old boys may just get their wish.

@Bertie. I usually don't agree with you. But, here, you make some excellent points.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They cannot honor the greatest Constitution in the world (at least article 9) because they see it as a reminder that they are weak and lost the war instead of seeing it as the strength it is, and the unique and peaceful status is have given Japan. If you support Abe, please prepare your kids to go die for nothing as Abe's granddad did, and be humiliated again.

If it were such great "article", many states and her citizens would be advocating to incorporate it but that's not the reality, is it? It's nothing but a 'wish' that can be only be applicable in a global utopia state and is completely devoid of the real world.

Japan had maintained peace because of decades of reinterpreting this article by the government thereby establishing a necessary deterrent (right of individual self defense, establishment of JSDF, and U.S. Japan Mutual treaty and the amendment thereafter).

Same ol' "we're sending our young ones to war' rhetoric used by the ANPO activists when Kishi (Abe's grandpa) in 1960 which of course, proved to be wrong.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

There are many different groups in LDP. Habatsu. Boss man, then right hand man Ryoshu. Each boss want to be PM very soon. Abe has Abe habatsu and Suga as ryoishu. So very ambicious groups might double cross Abe. How about Aso habatsu? Abe migh lose cibtril of LDP if he loses this agenda

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@TravelingSales

Sure ... Japan is "freeloading" at the cost of $2 billion to $3 billion a year, plus extras.

@smithinjapan

The changes in the constitution are being demanded by the US so Japanese troups can be used in American led campaigns.

Plain and simple.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites