(TAKAHASHI Yoichi, PPPC Chairman)
Those against lifting Japan’s self-imposing ban on exercising the right to collective self-defense almost always speak of “protection of the 9th Article.” In addition to maintaining the stance on protecting the Constitution, some of them are even involved in a campaign to give the Nobel Prize to the Article 9 of Japan’s Constitution. A Diet member Ms. Mizuho Fukushima, in line with the campaign, sent a letter of recommendation to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee in Oslo, Norway.
This is totally embarrassing from an international commonsense; because the renouncement of warfare is not the exclusive bow peculiar to the Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution.
There are the clauses in the Constitutions of South Korea, the Philippines, Germany, and Italy which correspond to Japan’s Article 9. For example, there is the word of “renouncement of warfare as a means of national policy” in the Philippines’ Constitution. If Article 9 of Japan’s Constitution deserves the Nobel Prize, the Philippines also must be awarded. As there is no reason to award things that have low scarcity-value, it is unlikely that it will actually take place.
I studied the international relations at Princeton University under a famous international political scientist Michael W. Doyle (currently at Columbia University) well known for his Democratic Peace Theory addressed in “Kant, Liberal Legacies, and Foreign Affairs” saying that matured democratic states do not engage in armed conflicts with each other. Indeed, in the post-WWII bilateral or multilateral conflicts, it is true that one side of the Korea War, Vietnam War, Gulf War and Iraq War were either the military or dictator government.
Even in the Falklands Conflict between the U.K. and Argentina, Argentina was then ruled by dictatorship.
As Doyle pointed out, it is hard to imagine in the modern world that armed conflicts occur in the democratic values and procedures. Applying his theory to the current Japan-China relationship, while Japan is a democratic nation, China is not so as the state is reigned unitarily by the Communist Party. Looking at this point alone tells us the fundamental reason that Japan and U.S. have had alliances as both democratic states.
Since 1998 when I was listening to the lecture of Doyle, I have heard such arguments as that Japan’s pacifist Constitution is not so special and there’s something wrong with discussions that hamper Japan’s self-defense. I was persuaded and started to feel the rampant pacifist discussions in Japan have lacked logicality.
For example, a glance at textbooks in the international law would tell us that the U.N. Charter Article 51 provides the collective self-defense: “Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security.”
It means that although it is most desirable that an armed conflict will ultimately be solved by the U.N. Security Council, a country can exercise the right of individual or collective self-defense not to be dominated by force in its process. Of course it is the best that Security Council works effectively to take measures, naturally there are the situations in reality it does not so.
There might be situations in which a Permanent member state like China is directly involved in a conflict and moves the veto. Actually, the U.N. could do nothing when a Permanent member state Russia attacked and annexed Crimea in March 2014.
In case Japan received an armed attack from some other country, the best realistic approach is to make environments for final settlements by the U.N. Security Council by keep reporting the Council while bearing the attacks by self-defense temporarily.
In that case, there is a concern whether Japan alone can bear attacks from such military super powers as China. That is why Japan must have relationships with other countries to use legitimate self-defense.
In May 2014, China openly impeded the Vietnam’s EEZ in a bid to advance excavation of oil, which led to an armed conflict with Vietnam. In South China Sea, along with China, Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei have claimed sovereignty over the sea. The 2002 agreement between ASEAN and China has been easily ignored and Vietnam now is forced to confront China in a full scale. The rise and expansion of China have quickly caused risks of territorial disputes over the Senkaku islets with Japan that is as increasingly-high as in Spratly Islands and Paracel Islands. Perhaps it is time for us to share Prime Minister Abe’s sense of risk and seriousness of the issue.