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Sep 12, 2012

[Sankei Shimbun] “Article 9 of the Constitution” In The News – Talks by Ms. Yoshiko Sakurai and Ms. Mizuho Fukushima

I am amazed to see Ms. Mizuho Fukushima keep participating actively in the political arena since March 11 last year.  Although I am somewhat reluctant to vote for the Social Democratic Party (SDP), I would like to vote for Ms. Mizuho Fukushima.  In the original article Ms. Mizuho Fukushima is introduced next to Ms. Yoshiko Sakurai.  I would like to introduce Ms. Fukushima first, in reverse order because I think that there is no point in listening to Ms. Sakurai’s view.  According to Mr. Kyosuke Yamashina’s blog that Mr. Ichiro Iiyama recommends to read, he sends hearty cheers to “Mizuhotan.”  If they have a mascot doll “Mizuhotan” come out in the election, she will win.

Masatoshi Takeshita

English translation of a Japanese article: BIGLOBE News (Sankei Shimbun) – August 31, 2012 –

“Article 9 of the Constitution” In The News – Talks by Ms. Yoshiko Sakurai and Ms. Mizuho Fukushima

We have faced many issues on the Northern Territories, the Senkaku Islands and the Takeshima Islands.  In the midst of invasion of traditional Japanese territories by neighboring countries, Article 9 of the Constitution has been in the news anew.  I wonder if we can protect our country under the name of “Peace Constitution” which stipulates the non-possession of arms.  We asked Ms. Yoshiko Sakurai, a journalist, and Ms. Mizuho Fukushima, SDP leader, what they think.  (Interviewer: Shinji Naito)

Ms. Mizuho Fukushima (left) & Ms. Yoshiko Sakurai(right)

■Ms. Mizuho Fukushima:  “It is questionable to invoke the right of self-defense in Senkaku.”

Q: What is the significance of Article 9?

“Without Article 9, Japan would be a country which is allowed to fight wars.  Like Korea which had youth join an army in Vietnam, Japan should have sent the young to a battlefield.  Korean troops are hated in Vietnam.  We can boast of the fact that Japan has killed nobody in any war in the postwar period.  When Japan is forced to join in a war as a result of involvement in the interest of the U.S., we can say “No” to the U.S., which is the usefulness Article 9 has.”

●We are not attacked if we observe Article 9.

Q: How should we cope with an attack by another country?

“It is unthinkable that any country will attack the country with Article 9 stipulating “no invasion of the world.”  If any country should attack such pacifist country, the country would be criticized by the world.”

Q: Is it unlikely that the Senkaku islands will be invaded by the Chinese government?

“The Senkaku islands belong to a civilian.  Invasion is equivalent to infringement of ownership and invasion of territory.  As Japan and China have built an economically close relationship now (as of July 27), I wonder if the Chinese government can take a step to wage a war.”

Q: There is a plan to get the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) permanently stationed in the Senkaku islands.

“We should not compound the problem further.  There is no doubt that Senkaku is the territory of Japan.  We have the Japan Coast Guard (JCG).  We don’ need to station the SDF there.

●SDF dispatch to foreign countries is against the constitution.

Q: When the Senkaku islands are attacked, is SDF dispatch equivalent to the use of right in self-defense?

“Like self-defense is justified by criminal law, Japan has the right to individual self-defense.  If Shikoku or Kyushu is attacked, counterattack is acceptable.  However, nobody lives in Senkaku.  Therefore, we should treat it in a calm manner as the issue over territory, not as that over right to individual self-defense or Article 9.”

Q: Specifically?

“We should resolve the problem at international negotiating table.  We also need diplomatic efforts to forestall an invasion.”

Q: When you were a Cabinet minister, you were asked about the constitutionality of the SDF in the Diet and   you responded that SDF was “constitutional.

“The SDP has not responded about constitutionality of SDF.  We consider that the SDF dispatch to foreign countries is “unconstitutional.”  It is necessary to reorganize the SDF and review its scale.  Is it necessary to deploy this many tanks to Hokkaido after the collapse of the Soviet Union?  Their duties should be shifted more to disaster-relief activities.”

Q: In the time of Tomiichi Murayama administration, SDP indicated the party’s view that SDF is “constitutional.”

“The party’s view on SDF and security was included in SDP Declaration, which was compiled in 2006.  The view has been maintained.”

Q: Give us your determination to attain peace.

“My father was a survivor of a Kamikaze squad.  When I was a child, I used to see him cry on the anniversary of the end of World War II.  It is ordinary people like him that get hurt in war.  We should cherish the Peace Constitution and our pledge that we will never wage war, both of which we have got as the price for defeat in war.”

■Ms. Yoshiko Sakurai: “No revision is betrayal to the people of Japan.”

Q:  About Article 9

“The article should be revised promptly.  The main reason is that self-defense right is not stipulated in it.  In my draft proposal it is stipulated that “Japan has Defense Forces to protect the country’s independence and safety as well as the people.”

○Do China, South Korea and Russia have justice?

Q: Can we protect our soil from other countries with the philosophy of Article 9?

“The preamble to the Constitution and Article 9 should be thought of as one.  The preamble says “We have determined to preserve our security and existence, trusting in the justice and faith of the peace-loving peoples of the world.”  I wonder where on the earth we can find the fairness and faith of China, South Korea and Russia.  As long as we watch the movement of the three countries, the preamble and Article 9 should be interpreted as abdication of responsibility and nothing but betrayal to the people of Japan.”

Q:  After the war, there were not a few politicians who claimed “If we observe Article 9, we will not be attacked by foreign countries.”

“If any politician mentions such kind of opinion, he/she will be laughingstock of the international society.  Politicians have the responsibility of protecting the people’s life and Japan’s territorial soil/sea, that is, protect national interests.  If we take no measures under the premise that the other party will not attack us, it is the height of intellectual laziness.”

Q: How should we govern the Senkaku?

“We should have policemen and researchers permanently stationed there to realize visibly effective control, and have the Japan Coast Guard take responsibility of security of surrounding sea.  SDF should be at sea  a little far away from them to promptly cope with any emergency.”

Q: What is the influence of Article 9 on Japanese after the war?

“Not a few people born after the war have had a gruesome impression on SDF and armament immediately after hearing such topics talked about.  I feel that the Japanese “way to live as responsible person” has been denied and we have become Japanese different than what we should be.”

Q: We have a strong impression that national defense depends on the U.S.

“If anything should happen, we ask whether the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty is applied or not before discussing “what we should do to resolve it by our own efforts.”  On the other hand, some claim “We don’t like Ospreys” or “Eliminate bases.”  I am worried that it is an abject and self-centered way of thinking.”

○Don’t evade discussing nuclear armament.

Q: How should we discuss national defense?

“Anti-nuke movements have been active now, but we should not evade discussing even nuclear armament.  We have to recognize that we live in an age when it is likely that nuclear weapons will fall into the hands of terrorists.  The nation should think about every possible means for “ultimate goal of survival.”

Q: Some say that Japanese have weak sense of self-defense.  Should we have a draft system like in South Korea?

““Duty to serve for the public” should be included in the Constitution.  We should have obligation to serve for others, the public, or Japan for several years, wherever it may be; in SDF, fire department, Japan Coast Guard, or welfare workplace.

[Profile] Mizuho Fukushima
She was born in Miyazaki Pref. in 1955, aged 56.  She graduated from the Faculty of Law, Tokyo University.  She is a lawyer and a House of Councilors member (elected three times).  After serving as Secretary General of SDP, she has served as the party’s leader since 2003.  She held a position such as Minister in charge of responding consumer and population issues (in the Hatoyama Cabinet).  She is currently a member of the Constitution Review Board, House of Councilors.  She has written books such as “Let’s stop the gap between the rich and the poor, and wars with the Constitution in your hands” and others.

[Profile Yoshiko Sakurai]
She was born in Vietnam in 1945, aged 66.  She, a journalist, graduated from the Faculty of Historical Science, Hawaii University.  She serves as Chairman of Japan Institute for National Fundamentals, and Representative of “Advisory Panel of Well-Informed Independent Personalities on ‘21st Japan and Constitution’” (a private temporary Constitution investigation committee).  She has written books such as “Be graceful, strong and beautiful – Restoration of Japan Starts with Amending the Constitution – and others.

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