From WEEKLY MDS No.880, Mar. 25, 2005 issue logo

Pressure of "People Protection Plan" Gathering Momentum / Counteract with Non-Defended Locality Ordinance

Local entities get mobilized

On March 4, the Japanese Government released the "Basic Guidelines for People Protection (Draft)" claimed as responses to assumed attacks. After the Cabinet gives approve at the end of March, prefectural governments' effort will start in April to set up "people protection" councils whose members include representatives of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF: Japanese troops), police departments and the national Government. Also, prefectures are required to draw up "resident protection manuals" during fiscal year 2005. Similarly, designated public institutions such as the Red Cross and commercial broadcasters will develop "operation plans for resident protection."

Already, the Tokyo metropolitan government and Tokyo's 23 ward offices have issued ordinances that institutionalize "military attack/disaster-related dispatch allowances" to be paid for "national emergency" services. The Wakayama prefectural government has employed ex-members of the Ground SDF while the Tottori prefectural government has listed 32 organizations as designated local public institutions, including a gas company, carriers, cable television broadcasters and construction companies. Planning has started for evacuation drills and propaganda drives. Among local public entities, moves to build up a "people protection system" are steadily going on.

The Government is now developing a system for ensuring emergency sirens to be carried to remote locations, high-rise buildings, large-sized commercial and public facilities and other places of poor siren reception, and is planning to dry run the system during fiscal year 2005.

A scene is looming in which an emergency siren is sounding and the SDF, police and local government authorities are driving residents into evacuation drills.

Cooperation for war and eyes on the people

By design, these "people protection plans" will never protect lives or properties of the people. In an emergency, "the SDF would be using every resource it has for counterattacking, leaving nothing for evacuation guidance," as an SDF high-ranking official admits. The plans are supposed to be measures against missile and terrorist attacks. However, a missile hits the target area in 7 to 10 minutes, and a terrorist attack is not foreseeable. In either case, evacuation drills could not protect us. For Okinawa Prefecture in particular, the Guidelines draft stipulates "coordinated cooperation for evacuation into other prefectures" while the very presence of US military bases in Okinawa is exposing local residents to danger. The SDF-US military cooperation is the factor that is inviting greater danger. Militaries are not for people protection in nature.

The true objective of "people protection plans" is the following: To make the presence of the SDF infiltrate into people's lives in order to complete the system for war cooperation.

Japan is now regularly dispatching troops overseas and openly plays a role as an occupying nation. However, opinion polls show that far more than 50% of the public is against SDF dispatch to Iraq and the ruling parties have been losing votes in every election. Evacuation drills and propaganda drives will be repeated regularly in order to fill this gap and create a nationwide war-cooperative system on the home front for supporting the SDF as they are stepping into actual warfare. Exploiting local public entities and community organizations, those in power are building up a system for screening, monitoring and reporting on the disobedient, that is, antiwar elements.

Destruction of democracy is already under way as observed in the fact that the Tokyo metropolitan government encouraged school principals to report to the police even on leaflet distribution against use of Japan's national flag and anthem - both the symbols of war of aggression and colonial rule over the neighboring countries - in school ceremonies.

Create non-defended localities around the nation

The Constitution of Japan stipulates pacifism, democracy and local residents' autonomy, providing a source of oppositions in every aspect of "people protection plans." Their path will never be smooth.

There is no legal basis for compulsive emergency drills among residents or for participation of SDF members in a "people protection council." Through negotiations with local authorities, lead them into information disclosure that uncovers how warfare system buildup is being promoted, and residents' opposition will surely spread. As workers' sentiment of disapproval is filling up the designated public institutions - media, public transportation and health care facilities, it is possible to bring those plans to a halt through counteracting movements.

The only way to protect residents is to create non-military areas, which is achieved when a locality declares itself as non-defended under the Geneva Conventions (international humanitarian law). Spread the movement for enactment of Non-Defended Locality ordinances all over Japan. (March 14)

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