Be extra-vigilant to fight war system buildup
Behind the scenes, while the mass media are focusing on the final-phase "tug of war" in the Diet over the bills for postal service privatization, war system development is accelerating. Though scarcely reported in the newspapers, the situation is critical for all the more.
On May 28, the Japanese government made a decision to pursue two-year extension of the Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law, which provides for on-the-sea fuel supply by Japan Self-Defense Forces (SDF: Japanese troops) warships to multinational troops among other measures. Prior to this cabinet decision, the SDF officially joined the US-Thai joint exercises for the first time in its history. In June, the Japan Coast Guard dispatched the armed patrol vessel Yashima to the Straits of Malacca. Track the SDF's activities after the troop dispatch to Sumatra, and we see that they are now openly and regularly stationed overseas.
On June 14, in the name of "legislative preparation for protection against missile attacks," a proposal for revising the SDF Law for the worse passed the House of Representatives that could legitimate preemptive attacks. In the Japan-US Security Consultative Committee (the "2 plus 2" meeting) in July, a Japan-US joint operation plan is going to be approved under a scenario of "military emergencies in Japan." Their talks will extend as far as arrangements for joint use of airports, harbors and exercise grounds.
To support this war-oriented setup inside the country, they are promoting the civilian "protection" law system. The focus is already on the development of "resident protection" manuals in the respective prefectures (to be completed within fiscal 2005). From May 9 to May 31, the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications worked hard to prop up local efforts by dividing the nation into nine districts and holding a block conference for accelerating the civilian "protection" system buildup in each district. Volunteer fire brigades, including ex-firemen, are now being deployed in all municipalities, just as the City of Osaka has recruited retired Fire Bureau officials, reported the Mainichi Newspaper on May 31, which are in fact aimed at mobile deployments for "national emergencies." Meanwhile, the Japanese government announced that it would conduct war game drills in Fukui Prefecture at the end of November, assuming a "situation of armed attacks," in which participation of local public entities and residents will be coerced. At last, we will witness wartime drills being unreeled in front of us.
Non-Defended Localities movement catches fire
These moves described above inevitably drive all citizens to stand at critical crossroads. That is, we must choose between the following two paths: to be lookers-on as the local communities are incorporated into a wartime system or to place an alternative, a counterproposal, for peace.
Among others, the most powerful counterproposal is the Non-Defended Localities movement based on denial of "defense with military, " effectively leveraging international law. In all local areas, supported by grass-root citizens' power, the significance of this movement is increasing even more than before.
The Non-Defended Localities movement is quickly spreading nationwide. During the brief period of these two months or so, a citizens' group of the City of Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, was formed to wage a campaign on April 24, its Kyoto counterpart was formed on May 29, and in the City of Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, peace-making citizens submitted to the city's board of elections signatures exceeding 20,000 calling for enactment of a Non-Defended Locality Ordinance.
Among all positive moves, the most notable fact is that this movement also reached Okinawa Prefecture, the only prefecture that has experienced ground battles, where a "civilian protection" council has not founded yet. Last month, a preparatory committee for the Okinawa Non-Defended Localities Network (a tentative name) was launched and started preparation for a symposium planned on July 3. In Taketomi-cho located in the southernmost area in the prefecture, a town on the national border, launched a "Preparatory Committee for Non-Defended Locality Ordinance," followed by the City of Ishigaki heading into the same direction.
Furthermore, the movement is causing ripples of support in Europe as well. The National Assembly for Peace and Democracy (ZENKO) scheduled at the end of July will have the representative of a Swiss NGO working for demilitarization and non-militarization among its participants, attending an international symposium for promoting the Non-Defended Localities movement around the world.
Win one thousand signatories to the "Spread the Non-Defended Localities Movement" Appeal
It is now obvious that the movement is taking the lead. What we need now is to siege and isolate the bellicose elements rushing to build up a civilian "protection" law system. The Non-Defended Localities Movement Network is calling for cooperation for the "One-thousand Signatory Appeal for Non-Defended Localities Movement." Spread the Non-Defended Localities movement around the country and to the world. Contain moves and schemes toward war and corruption of the Constitution of Japan. (June 19)