Save the Peace Constitution of Japan
-- From Imitation ¡§Exclusively Defensive Defense¡¨
to Genuine ¡§Northeast
Asia Cooperative Security¡¨
Umebayashi, Peace Depot, Japan
World Peace Forum, Vancouver,
Canada, June 2006
Exclusively Defensive Defense?
Under its Peace Constitution, Japan
has been committed to being a country with exclusively defensive defense (EDD).
In truth, it has never been such a country.
For instance, in 1981, at the request of the United
committed to defend its own sea lines of communication (SLOC) within 1000
nautical miles from Japan.
The implication of this, of course, is that Japan
then relied upon US offensive capabilities to protect the SLOC beyond 1000
nautical miles. Japan
also depends upon US nuclear forces, the most destructive military force in the
world, to protect itself against nuclear threats. Furthermore, Japan
has been allowing the US Navy to homeport ships equipped with Tomahawk land
attack cruise missiles with capability to attack military and political targets
in Asian countries and the Russian Far East.
The reality is that there has been military role-sharing
between the United States
and Japan. The
former plays the role of spear and the latter that of shield. Japan
has asked the United States
to take charge of unrestricted offense while putting constraints on the
activities of the Japan Self-Defense Force (SDF) to act within the exclusively
defensive defense (EDD) policy. Therefore, the Japan¡¦s
EDD concept is not a pacifist idea originating from the spirit of the Peace
Constitution of Japan, but an imitation in appearance in order to hide within
the framework of the Constitution.
Primarily, an EDD policy should be a comprehensive security
policy of a country as a whole. In Japan¡¦s
case, the security policy should be its comprehensive policy for defense and
diplomacy including both for the SDF and for the Japan-US security arrangement.
should make the Japan-US security arrangement consistent with the EDD principle
if it really implements its EDD idea as laid out in the Peace Constitution.
To have this done, Japan
should have exerted much more deliberate and stronger diplomatic efforts. It
should have been much more independent, rather than obedient to the United
States as it still is today. Japan
should have undertaken much more sincere efforts to build confidence and create
dialogue mechanisms with its Asian neighbors.
In fact, none of these were made. As long as the EDD policy
remained but a mere imitation in appearance, such efforts were not needed.
Toward a Northeast Asian Security Framework
My intention is not just to accuse Japan
of having an EDD policy that is a forgery. Beyond admitting this fact, we need
to understand why such a forgery has been allowed to continue to exist and to
find a path to transform it into a genuine EDD policy.
has repeatedly explained to Asian countries that it will not become a military
power, and that its defense force is meant solely for EDD. This position has
been explicitly declared in Japan¡¦s
official ¡§National Defense Program Outline.¡¨ This statement is a kind of
insurance policy that Japan
has been offering in order to maintain and develop good relations with Asian
countries. However, Asian countries, especially Japan¡¦s
closest neighbors, have consistently not trusted this statement because they
believe the EDD policy is not genuine but rather, simply a rhetorical gesture.
However, it is to be noted that Japan
does get some good value from the EDD policy. SDF airplanes and ships lack
certain basic equipment deemed necessary for attacking cities and ground
military targets of other countries, and the SDF commits to not possessing
aircraft carriers and long-range land attack missiles including ICBMs, which
enable expeditionary offense. In order for Japan
to preserve the concept of EDD and accordingly the effectiveness of the Peace
Constitution, it is essential to clarify the concept in the regional context of
Northeast Asia and discuss it publicly in regional forums.
Recently, I had a chance to speak with a four star general
of the People¡¦s Army of the PRC. He was a quiet and thoughtful person. He said,
¡§Now that Japan
has become a great economic power in the world, it is very natural that people
in Japan would
strive for a national identity and with it, nationalistic emotions arise.
However, to my uneasiness, I cannot help being struck by a constant attitude
among Japanese leaders of subservience to the United
States and arrogance towards Asian
countries. The more subservient they are to the United
States, the more Japan¡¦s
nationalism will be distorted and the negative consequences of such distortion
may flow into the rest of Asia.¡¨
Unfortunately, his comment is consistent with many of my
experiences when I speak with Foreign Ministry officials in Japan.
However, while this attitude is dominant among mainstream elites, it is not
common in the general public, especially in the younger generation.
Given this situation, it is crucial for us to propose to the
public in the region visions and practical steps for a possible Northeast
Asia cooperative security system, which may provide both an
opportunity to transform Japan¡¦s
fake EDD policy to a genuine one and encourage Japan
to maintain its Peace Constitution. The Peace Depot has proposed two practical
approaches that the Japanese peace movement can undertake to achieve such
objectives in cooperation with civil society in the region as well as in wider
international community, namely to establish a Northeast Asia Nuclear Weapon
Free Zone (NEA-NWFZ) and to make Japan¡¦s EDD status recognized internationally.
As for the NEA-NWFZ, we have proposed a Model Treaty with
a three plus three arrangement, in which South
Korea and Japan
constitute a NWFZ and China,
Russia and the United
States provide security assurances. This
scheme is realistic and attainable on the basis of the 1992 Inter-Korean Joint
Declaration for Denuclearization of the Korean
Peninsula and the Japan¡¦s
Non-Nuclear Three Principles. By pursuing such a NWFZ, all the non-nuclear
countries are liberated from the nuclear threat. In addition, Japan
and South Korea
can end their double standard of demanding that North
Korea discard its nuclear program, while
simultaneously asking the United States
for the protection of its nuclear umbrella.
As for the EDD status, we propose that Japan
declare itself to be a country with the EDD principle under Article 9 of the
Peace Constitution and ask for the adoption of a UN General Assembly resolution
that confirms such status and calls for its recognition and necessary
cooperation by the international community. This proposal follows the example
whose nuclear-free status was internationally recognized by a UN General
Assembly resolution in 1998. In order to proceed in this way, Japan
has to define the EDD principle and not allow arbitrary interpretations and
double standards as in the current fake EDD. In my personal view, it will be
possible to attain a reasonable definition under the specific geographic
conditions of Japan,
but the efforts will require establishing a mechanism to discuss the subject
among neighboring countries. This process will be a confidence building process
It is worth noting that the two approaches described above
are not inconsistent with the Japan-US Security Treaty. In fact, the Treaty includes
a clause to the effect that the Treaty itself will be discarded when an
effective regional security system is established. Namely, Article10 reads as
follows, ¡§This Treaty shall remain in force until in the opinion of the
Governments of Japan and the United States of America there shall have come
into force such United Nations Arrangements as will satisfactorily provide for
the maintenance of international peace and security in the Japan area.¡¨