Abe government made a decision in the cabinet December 27 to dispatch the
Maritime Self Defense Forces of Japan (MSDF) to the Middle
East region. Two P3C patrol aircraft left Japan on
January 20 and a destroyer, the Takanami, on February 2. The attempt violates a
rule of civilian control and it should be abandoned.
of deployment – negligence of parliament
decision was made hastily in the cabinet during prorogation of the Diet
session. The Abe government, taking advantage of Article 4 of the Act for Establishment
of the Ministry of Defense, set purposes, which are ‘investigation and research’.
The overseas mission, excluding parliamentary debates, left people behind the
Japanese government has sent troops abroad mainly on the basis of the UN PKO duties.
Other missions beyond the UN category have been achieved by a special law which
limits areas and periods of operations after parliamentary debates. The
December decision has depended solely on the Act, omitting conventional norms.
special law was approved in the past by the parliament when troops of the Air
Self Defense Forces were sent to Iraq. Unfortunately enough, the
units transported US soldiers and weapons, violating the law, while the
government concealed the fact. Similar incidents will again happen.
addition, the decision responds to a US request. The US government had proposed Coalition of Willing
last June, inviting seven countries, including Japan, to survey over the four
ocean areas around the Straits of Hormuz. The government explains the Japanese
troops work in the Gulf
of Oman, which it says is
not a dangerous zone directly. The US-Japan alliance, however, shares intelligence
duties. Practically, the Japanese military gets united with the US partner.
government simply replies during Diet debates that the SDF might not fall into
an armed conflict, rejecting an assumption of unprecedented events. The Ministry
of Defense has authority to issue an order, called Maritime Patrol Action, which
allows troops to counterattack pirates and armed groups under a certain
circumstance in the conflict seas in the Middle East.
In fact, however, troops on-site have made judgment to cope with the situation.
Risks to use weapons cannot be excluded.
we must pay attention to in the recent government decision is a fact that the
Abe administration has daringly turned to a strategy by which the controversial
collective self-defense right may be executed, throwing away the principle of
exclusively defensive posture.
SDF has already been sent to the areas off the coast of Somalia and the Gulf of
Aden to cope with pirates. The military has had a base in Djibouti since
July, 2011, where approximately 400 troops are stationed. The MSDF, relying on Djibouti, will intensify
the overseas base to remain permanently with an objective to contain the Chinese
on Middle East in its oil import up to 90%. Annually
in total 3,900 ships sail in the region. It is impossible to evade pirates’
attacks in an immense sphere of oceans.
Japan should do is to consistently
pursue peace diplomacy; to convince the US
government to return to the Iran Nuclear Deal of five nations and to pull out
the MSDF troops from the Middle East.