|JAPANESE DEBATE ABOUT ARTICLE 9
Historic Court Ruling Declares Japan's SDF Air Mission to Iraq Unconstitutional
a landmark ruling, Nagoya's High Appeal Court declared the dispatch
of Japan's Air Self-Defense
Forces (ASDF) to Iraq unconstitutional.
withdrew its ground forces from Iraq in July 2006, ASDF have kept
airlifting U.S. forces to and from Iraq.
The mission "constitutes a violation of Clause 1, Article 9 of the Constitution
that bans the use of force" and runs counter to the 2003 Law
Concerning the Special Measures on Humanitarian and Reconstruction
Assistance in Iraq, Presiding Judge Kunio Aoyama said as he announced
the court's ruling.
airlifting and playing "a part in the use of force by other
countries" can be considered as if Japan was using force itself, he
comes as a group of over a 1,100 plaintiffs filed an appeal against
the decision by a lower court to dismiss their suit against the
government decision to deploy SDF personnel to Iraq in 2004 under the
special measures law. They claim that such deployment (including the
continued ASDF air mission) contravenes the war-renouncing Article 9
of the Constitution and infringes on their right to live in peace.
Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura reacted at a press conference,
announcing that the government would not accept the ruling and that
SDF's operations in Iraq would not be affected by the decision.
this is the first time that a court declares SDF's activities
unconstitutional - a move considered as "historic" by the many
defenders of Japan pacifist constitution. As former
Japanese Ambassador to Lebanon Naoto Amaki, one of the plaintiffs,
declared: "This is effectively a complete victory for us!"
read more about the Court ruling, see articles in the Japan Times, Asahi Shinbun, and the International Herald Tribune.