On August 15, DPJ President Banri Kaieda issued the following statement.
Today marks the 69th anniversary of the end of World War II. Along with the Japanese people, I would like to express our sincere condolences in remembering all those who lost their lives in this conflict, both within Japan and overseas.
During the post-war period, Japan upheld the spirit of pacifism based on the Constitution, and never once exercised the use of force outside Japan. However, the Abe administration is set to pave the way for the Self-Defense Forces to exercise the use of force, even in situations that do not amount to an armed attack directly against Japan. To this end, the government adopted a Cabinet decision to revise the existing constitutional interpretation and to allow the exercise of the right to collective self-defense. Drawing a conclusion independently on such a crucial matter that fundamentally transforms the nature of the role of Japan, and without holding sufficient discussions that are open to the public, is outrageous and lacks public accountability. Above all, such an approach violates the principle of constitutionalism. The government’s “three new requirements” for permitting the exercise of the right to collective self-defense have added new concepts to the existing requirements for exercising the right to self-defense, such as: “a foreign country that is in a close relationship with Japan”; and the “right to pursuit of happiness.” The decision of whether or not to exercise the use of force is being entrusted to the comprehensive judgment of the government of the day. Such requirements are a far cry from serving as a break on exercising the use of force outside Japan. The DPJ stands firm against any attempts to undermine the principle of exclusive self-defense maintained by Japan since the end of WWII.
A century after the start of World War I, which flared into a catastrophic all-out war, there are still places in the world today where bloodshed is caused by fighting and people are suffering from the horrors of war. It cannot be denied that seeds of tension are also scattered in East Asia. This is precisely why it is incumbent on us to make an array of diplomatic efforts for the peace and stability of the region. Nevertheless, the Abe administration has not been able to realize summit meetings with Japan’s neighboring countries. Furthermore, the Prime Minister himself is turning his back away from proactive efforts to establish a foundation for peace and security in East Asia. This all can be summed up in one word: regrettable.
On this anniversary of the end of WWII, the DPJ pledges to maintain an “exclusively defense-orientated policy,” under the auspices of Japan’s peace constitution, and continue to hold fast to the basic principle that Japan will not become a military power that poses a threat to other nations. At the same time, the DPJ pledges to continue to work towards international peace. The DPJ will pursue genuinely realistic foreign and security policies by playing a responsible role in securing peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, with the Japan-U.S. alliance serving as the cornerstone; and committing to diplomacy aimed at creating world peace, including building trust between Japan and its neighboring countries.