Close

Support Global Voices

To stay independent, free, and sustainable, our community needs the help of friends and readers like you.

Donate now »

See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

Japan: Self-Defense Forces to be Deployed to Henoko, Local Blogger Issues a Plea

On the evening of May 9, Japanese broadcaster Nippon TV had an update on events surrounding a scientific survey presently being conducted in the Henoko Bay area of Okinawa, Japan's southernmost prefecture (see a report on the reactions of local bloggers to this survey posted last week at GVO). The May 9 broadcast mentioned that the government has decided to bring in the Self-Defense Forces in order to put down the activity of the local protesters. In response to the news, a blogger who runs a blog called Kichi Kensetsu Soshi (Stop construction of the base) argues that the real purpose of bringing in the Self-Defense Forces is not to suppress the protesters’ activity in the area, but to legitimize the existence of the Self-Defense Forces as a military:

しかし今回の海上自衛隊導入は反対派牽制が一番の目的ではないはずです。今までの物量作戦を考えれば、民間業者を使って作業を強行することも出来るだろうと思うのです。それをわざわざ軍隊を出して来るということは、平和的なカヌー隊を蹴散らすことが目的とは思えません。日本中から抗議の声が上がることを想定した上で、「それでも国はやることはやる」という明らかに間違った主体性を示す道具として海上自衛隊を導入するということでしょう。アメリカにどれだけ発破をかけられたのか分かりませんが、「実力行使」に「自衛隊を使う」という「実績」が欲しいのか、「自衛隊が国民になめられないようにする」ことが目的なのか、「国民に自衛隊の力を認めさせる」ことが目的なのか分かりません。理由ははっきり分かりませんが、野党からわざわざ猛反発を食らうような決断をすることで、「自衛隊」をしっかりと「日本の軍隊」として周りに認めさせる「強行作戦」であることは間違いないと思います。

The main purpose this time in bringing in the Maritime Self-Defense Forces is not to constrain protesters. If you think about the way that protesters have been suppressed, I think that they could force the operations through by employing private contractors. I don't think they are putting all this effort into bringing out the military just to drive off some peaceful protesters on canoes. Maybe, in the expectation that protesting voices may come from all across Japan, they are bringing out the Self-Defense Forces as a tool to assert the government's clearly misguided initiative which says: “Regardless, the government is going to do this”. I don't know how much the Americans pressured [the Japanese government], nor do I know whether the purpose is to set a precedent in “using the Self-Defense Forces” as a form of “recourse to force”, or whether the purpose is to “not let the Self-Defense Forces be made fools of by Japanese citizens”, or to “force the Japanese citizens to recognize the power of the Self-Defense Forces”. I don't really know the reason, but I don't think that it's wrong to say that this is a forceful measure, involving decisions that provoke strong opposition from the opposition parties, taken in order to present to everyone the Self-Defense Forces as “Japan's military”.

例えば軍の特殊部隊は「対外作戦のためのエリート集団」や「対テロ部隊」というような見方がされることが多いと思います。しかしそもそも特殊部隊の目的は国の治安を乱す暴動などを鎮圧することです。つまり自国の反乱分子を規制するのが仕事です。アメリカの軍隊がよく武装ギャング団の制圧に乗り出している映像などが報道されますが、軍隊とはそもそもそういう役割を担う存在です。しかし辺野古の阻止行動は平和を創り出すという目的でなされていて、徹底非暴力な行動です。作業に従事している人たちに人として語りかけ、立ち止まって対話をすることも求めているだけです。この行動のどこが「暴動」や「争乱」にあたるのでしょうか。国民が国民として同じ国民に「平和を壊さないでください」と呼びかけているだけです。国はカヌー隊の対して軍隊を投入することでどんな意志を示したいのでしょうか。

In many cases, I think that a military's special forces tend to be seen as “an elite unit for military operations outside of the home country” or as “anti-terrorist forces”. However, the original purpose of special forces is to bring under control civil commotion disrupting law and order. In other words, their job is to keep under control dissidents within the home country itself. Scenes of the American military putting down armed gangs are often broadcast, however the reason for the existence of a military is to take on this role. And yet, the purpose of the blockades at Henoko is to bring about peace; these are thoroughly non-violent actions. The people pursuing these operations are only demanding that they be spoken to kindly as people, that things be halted and that a dialogue take place. Where is the “insurrection” or “disturbance” in these actions? Citizens, as citizens, are just calling out to other citizens of the same country and saying: “Don't destroy the peace”. What kind of intention does the national government want to signal by sending the military against protesters in canoes?

憲法によって守られている基本的人権を国が率先して無視するということは、あの「沖縄戦」を、歴史の大きな過ちを繰り返すことになるのです。決して暴力を用いること無くただ平和を求めているだけの民衆を、軍隊によって制圧するという姿がもし現実のものとなるならば、民主主義は崩壊の時を迎えていると言わなければなりません。

By taking the lead and ignoring basic human rights protected by the Constitution, the government will repeat the huge mistake it made in the historical “Battle of Okinawa”. If this image becomes a reality, this image in which the military is used to put down common people who have never used violence, who have only demanded peace, then we will have to say that we are moving into an era of the collapse of democracy.

「今日の憲法」
・・第3章 国民の権利及び義務 PART 3」・・

「第14条」すべて国民は、法の下に平等であつて、人種、信条、性別、社会的身分又は門地により、政治的、経済的又は社会的関係において、差別されない。(2)華族その他の貴族の制度は、これを認めない。(3)栄誉、勲章その他の栄典の授与は、いかなる特権も伴はない。栄典の授与は、現にこれを有し、又は将来これを受ける者の一代に限り、その効力を有する。

Today's Constitution

“Article 14″: All of the people are equal under the law and there shall be no discrimination in political, economic or social relations because of race, creed, sex, social status or family origin. 2) Peers and peerage shall not be recognized. 3) No privilege shall accompany any award of honour, decoration or any distinction, nor shall any such award be valid beyond the lifetime of the individual who now holds or hereafter may receive it.

今日の驚きの報道のもとではこの14条も虚しく響きます。「国による沖縄差別」が最も顕著な形で現れようとしているのです。憲法は「人間が差別されることはどんな理由があろうと許されない」ということをしっかりと記しています。憲法を率先して破る政府を選んでいるのは私たちであることを忘れてはなりません。この大失態を人のせいにすべきではないと自戒したいと思います。その上で、国の歴史的大失態を阻止し、平和の心を訴えるために1人でも多くの人が辺野古に集まることが重要だと思います。

Today's shocking news report renders Article 14 meaningless. This is starting to appear most prominently in the form of “discrimination by the national government against Okinawa”. It is clearly written in the constitution that “discrimination against a human being for whatever reason is not permitted”. We should not forget the fact that we chose the government that has taken this step and violated the constitution. I think we should be careful about placing blame on other people for this huge blunder. Based on this, we need to prevent a national historical blunder from being made, and I believe that even just one more person joining us at Henoko to appeal for peace is very important.

1 comment

  • […] Early last week on May 3rd, amid widespread debate and discussion on the topic, Japan celebrated the 60th anniversary of its constitution. The anniversary comes at a time when Japanese citizens and their government are re-evaluating the role of their current constitution and debating its uniquely pacifist nature. With Japan increasingly engaged in combat operations overseas, notably in supporting American operations in Iraq, the existence of the country’s (ostensibly purely defensive) Self-Defense Forces (SDF, in Japanese Jieitai) has come into question time and time again. The problem, for those unaware of the situation, is that the existence of the SDF, and the assertive role it is playing internationally as well as domestically, run contrary to the war-renouncing spirit of the current constitution as enshrined in its preamble and ninth article. […]

Join the conversation

Authors, please log in »

Guidelines

  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.