The Abe government relaxes steadily and rapidly banning of arms export. In accordance with Article Nine of Constitution, which renounces a war, such an attempt has been long severely restricted by the administrations. ‘New criteria’ of the today’s government are abstract enough to allow arbitrary interpretations. It has an intention to approve the right of collective self-defense and so the new rules will be a tool to formulate a country that might wage a war against a third country.
JAPAN MAY SWIFTLY BECOME ARMS DEALER
The existing three restrictions on weapons’ export consist of: a ban to ship to (1) a communist camp (2) a country imposed embargo by resolutions of the United Nations and (3) a country which may provoke an international conflict. The definition was set in 1967 when the government was led by Premier Sato, but in certain cases export was allowed if a ministerial permission was given pursuant to the Export Trade Control Order.
But during the Miki Administration, the ban was designed to be a total ban on the ground that ‘arms export should be refrained even though it might be destined beyond the specified areas’. The prohibition covered a facility which may relate to weapons’ manufacture.
Total ban gradually eased
It was the Nakasone government that brought in an exception in the policy. In 1983 it relieved a supply of military technologies to the US troops and decided to develop and manufacture F2 fighters jointly with that nation. Subsequently, the Koizumi government excluded, as an exception, cooperation with the US in developing and producing ballistic missile systems. It supplied patrol boats to Indonesia.
The government led by the Democratic Party of Japan, furthermore, declared to overhaul the three rules on arms export. The Noda government boldly eased them, explaining that: transfer of weaponry might be allowed if it contributes to global peace and cooperation, and that his government would permit arms trade to an ally that has a security treaty with Japan and would help security of Japan’.
These ‘exceptions’ count 21 today, reportedly. In fact military vehicles and communication systems have been provided to third countries through ODA projects.
The Keidanren, Japan Business Federation, whose main participants are Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Toyota, Nissan, Toshiba and Hitachi and the Ministry of Defense, which involves in schemes for arms technologies, infrastructure of production and financing of cost-effective ‘defense expenditure’, have claimed the governments to mitigate the rules for years. That means struggles have been staged by the defense industry in the context of Article Nine of the pacifist Constitution.
Adding fuel to conflicts
The new standard of the Abe government is vague; for instance, it says ‘if a situation clearly hinders global peace and safety’ or ‘if that helps security of Japan’. Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga referred to ‘the members of the United Nations which observe the Charter’. But every member is requested to follow it as an obligation. His norm is impractical.
The Abe government is to abstain a policy to ‘prevent international conflicts from aggravating’. The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) leaves the text stipulated at the moment, looking at New Komeito, a coalition partner. But it will make convenient uses; one is ‘export to warring nations which UN resolutions cover’ and the other is ‘prohibition to UN sanctioned nations’. The government does not pay attention to victims to be killed with weapons made in Japan.
According to the government, the US and European nations are warring parties in Iraq and Afghanistan and Israel, which occupies Palestine, is not sanctioned by the UN due to the US objection. The ban is regarded as an obstacle in supplying weapons to these countries.
The government’s security strategy and defense guidelines emphasize a necessity of joint R&D and production efforts. The military industry demands abandoning the export ban. Thus, Japan may be an undeniable dealer in the same way as the US/ European nations, Russia and China.
These procedures constitute the basis of a nation that can wage a war against a third country. This is what the right of collective self-defense means.
March 18, 2014