Why always behind closed doors…Diet questioning reveals Japan’s complicity in the “development and export of lethal weapons” is a serious situation | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Why always behind closed doors…Diet questioning reveals Japan’s complicity in the “development and export of lethal weapons” is a serious situation

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on LINE

I had no idea that our blood money was being used to “develop lethal weapons.

We are not even discussing how the jointly developed lethal weapons will be used in the future. First of all, the ruling parties are now discussing the issue. We would like to make a decision as a government after carefully observing the outcome of the discussions.

This was Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s response to a question by Diet member Taku Yamazoe at the House of Councilors Budget Committee on November 1.

In his questioning that day, the prime minister raised a number of issues, including consumption tax cuts, employment, the wage gap between men and women, non-regular workers, PFAS, and Israel’s invasion of Gaza.

Why are important matters always decided “behind closed doors”… (PHOTO: AFRO)

When this issue was posted on social networking sites, it quickly spread. The following comments were made one after another.

  • ‘How the use of lethal weapons is being discussed at all… ……’
  • I had no idea that our blood money was being used to develop lethal weapons.
  • I never thought such a serious issue could be decided by a cabinet decision.”

What is the current state of the arms export issue? We visited Mr. Taku Yamazoe, a member of the House of Councilors, to ask him about this issue once again.

Supporting Developing Countries with “Weapons”?

I believe that the Cabinet decision on the three security documents last December triggered a major shift in the trend toward expanding arms exports, including the issue of next-generation fighter jets, which are being jointly developed by Japan, the United Kingdom, and Italy.

In addition to next-generation fighter aircraft, we are trying to allow licensed production of weapons, mainly weapons produced in Japan under license from the U.S. arms industry, to be exported to third countries. In addition, Japan has been saying that its ODA is non-military cooperation, but it has created a mechanism called OSA (Official Security Assistance) to provide equipment to developing countries under the guise of assistance to developing countries.

The current situation is that all of these measures are being promoted in order to ‘create a desirable security environment for our country.

Mr. Taku Yamazoe, a member of the Diet, explains.

Since the “Three Principles on Arms Exports” in 1967, Japan, under Article 9 of the Constitution, has taken the position that it will not export arms that could encourage international conflicts. The Three Principles on Arms Exports were completely revised and changed to the “Three Principles on Defense Equipment Transfer,” a 180-degree turnaround from the principles that had been considered national policy.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s answer to a question by Diet member Taku Yamazoe at the House of Councillors Budget Committee on November 1 was quickly spread and talked about when posted on SNS (PHOTO: Kyodo News)

Arms Export Rules Changed in “Secret Talks” without Explanation to the Public

Under the “Three Principles on the Transfer of Defense Equipment,” arms exports are now possible in principle to only very exceptional countries where they are prohibited. However, even so, exporting even lethal weapons such as fighter jets, for example, was not considered at the time, nor was it explained as such by the government.

However, a major shift toward making the military industry a growth industry by promoting arms exports on a large scale is now underway through “behind-closed-doors” talks, without any explanation to the public.

Many people are probably unaware of the development and export plan for the next-generation fighter jet to be jointly developed by Japan, the U.K., and Italy; the fact that an Israeli military company and a Japanese trading company have formed an alliance to sell arms to Japan; and the fact that the rules on arms exports are being reviewed by the autocratic government.

Why is it that important matters are always decided behind closed doors?

Why are important decisions always made behind closed doors?

From early spring through June and July, public opinion polls conducted by various news organizations asking whether people were for or against allowing the export of weapons capable of killing and wounding showed that 60-70% were against the idea. In a questioning of witnesses in the Diet, it was pointed out that exporting arms and trying to make a profit is “devolving into a merchant nation of death.

However, when we asked the Diet about this issue, they refused to answer, saying, “The ruling parties are currently discussing this issue.

If the Cabinet decides on the issue, it is expected that they will say that the decision has already been made and not change it. I believe that this is a disrespectful attitude toward the Diet, which is the seat of democracy.

The usual response is, “I refrain from giving an answer,” “It is not pointed out,” and then, “The Cabinet makes a decision.

So, why is the Diet so neglected? Does the “declining approval rating” not deter them?

When I was first elected to the Diet in 2004, I had only experienced parliamentary debates with three prime ministers: Abe, Kan, and Kishida. Among them, I thought Mr. Abe was terrible even before I became a Diet member, but Mr. Kishida is even worse.

Senior Diet members and others say that in the past, politicians were at least able to engage a little in debate with the questions, rather than just reading papers prepared by the bureaucracy.

As for the questions, we notify them in advance and ask them to prepare their answers. At the same time, especially in the case of questions that will be broadcast live on TV, we are asking about a topic that is in focus from time to time, so originally we should answer with our stance, thinking, and basic position as a politician, but now there are many situations where we just read the paper so as not to make mistakes.

I think this is because they believe that they can ultimately be pushed through by sheer force of numbers, no matter how dishonest their answer stance is and how unpopular it is with the public.

Another difference from the past is that since 1994, the House of Representatives has had a single-seat constituency system, which allows an overwhelming majority of seats in the House with only 30% of the votes cast. I think the perception is that it doesn’t matter what you say as long as you win the election, even if your policies are out of step with the will of the people.

Senior Diet members and others say that politicians used to be able to engage in debate that at least matched the questions they were asked, rather than just reading papers prepared by bureaucrats,” Yamazoe said (PHOTO: Ayumi Kakutani).

Unfortunately, the normal practice in the Diet now is to say, “I refrain from giving an answer,” or “The point does not apply,” and then “The Cabinet makes a decision. When did the trend of “Cabinet decision” after secret talks on everything start?

The worst Cabinet decision to date was the Abe administration’s decision in 2002 to allow the use of the right of collective self-defense (to justify the use of force to stop an armed attack on a foreign country that has a close relationship with Japan, even though Japan has not been directly attacked). (The logic justifies using force to stop an armed attack on a foreign country with which one has a close relationship, even though one’s own country is not directly attacked).

It is a 180-degree turnaround in Japan’s role as a peaceful nation. At the same time, then Prime Minister Abe extended the Diet for 95 days, the longest session in the postwar era, and created a forum for discussion of the Security Treaty, regardless of its substance.

In Mr. Kishida’s case, however, he simply made a cabinet decision and went ahead with it. He does not even say that he has changed it.

He says that he will not change his policy of “exclusive defense” and “we will not become a military power that threatens other countries,” but he insists that he has the capability to attack enemy territory and that there is no change in his interpretation of the Constitution, which makes him even worse.

The Abe administration also used to make major changes through cabinet decisions, but I think the Kishida administration is even more vicious in that it literally makes cabinet decisions without explanation, without discussion, and without regard to public opposition.

Prime Minister Kishida’s “ability to listen” is only demonstrated where he has “great power.

A number of people have commented on social networking sites that “Prime Minister Kishida, whom we thought was good, is actually the worst prime minister in history. Why is this?

Why? “I don’t think Mr. Kishida himself has anything that he is trying to do with enthusiasm. In a sense, he has the “power to listen,” and so he is increasing military spending when asked to do so by the U.S., deciding to extend or build new nuclear power plants when asked to do so by the business community, and pushing for the Myanmar insurance card.

Instead of having an ideal national image or philosophy within themselves and pushing forward to achieve it, they demonstrate their ability to listen to the demands of the U.S., big business, and the business world, and do as they are told.

They say it is for their own protection and to prolong their lives. It is not that they do not have the “power to listen,” but that they only demonstrate this power when they are in a position of great power.

Where is the “Kishida Cabinet that listens to big power” headed in the future?

One is the joint development of next-generation fighter jets by Japan, the U.K., and Italy, which I asked about in the Diet.

The other is in relation to the U.S. support for Ukraine. Since the U.S. alone cannot cope with the situation, it will demand that Japan also provide the ammunition it lacks and produce weapons under license.

If weapons made in Japan are exported to the U.S., at least indirectly, Japan will also provide arms support to Ukraine.

For these purposes, if the three principles of defense equipment transfer itself are to be reviewed, it will be a Cabinet decision, and if the operational guidelines are to be reviewed, it will be a decision by the National Security Council. In any case, I am concerned that this will proceed regardless of the debate in the Diet.

It is not right that those who focus on expanding military spending should not make efforts for diplomacy. I think we should change the focus of our efforts,” Yamazoe said.

It is important to speak out, to take action, and to influence public opinion.

So what can we do now? What can we do now?

Some people have given up on the idea that we will be outnumbered and that no matter what we do, it will be futile, but the ruling party must be concerned about the decline in support and the growing opposition.

That is why it is important to speak out, to take action, and to move public opinion.

The argument that the military is necessary is certainly gaining ground, but that is why we must continue to insist on the dangers of the military.

Otherwise, Japan will become an ordinary country. Article 9 of the Constitution and the peaceful nation will be in name only, and we will become a nation of liars.

We do not know what weapons will be used for where they are exported. The ruling party talks seem to be discussing a ‘halt,’ but there is no guarantee of that. In fact, there are examples of weapons being used in wars in the Middle East.

In the first place, strengthening military power does not lead to peace. If you threaten the other side, the threatened side will feel the need to threaten you more, which will only escalate the situation.

Is it a good idea to expand military power, increase tensions, and take the risk of being drawn into a U.S. war, as in the case of the Taiwan Strait contingency? The government says that the Japan-U.S. alliance is the cornerstone of diplomacy, and I think many people recognize that, but if you look at Asia as a whole, military alliances are rather in the minority. It is an illusion to think that without a military alliance with the U.S., Japan will be attacked.

To return to politics, it is strange that those who focus on increasing military spending do not make efforts for diplomacy. I think they should change where they are putting their efforts.”

  • Interview and text by Wakako Takou PHOTO (Interview) Ayumi Kagami

Photo Gallery4 total

Photo Selection

Check out the best photos for you.

Related Articles