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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 January 25 - 31  > Shii pushes Abe to withdraw SDF from South Sudan and give up on introducing ‘conspiracy bill’
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2017 January 25 - 31 [POLITICS]

Shii pushes Abe to withdraw SDF from South Sudan and give up on introducing ‘conspiracy bill’

January 25, 2017
Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo on January 24 at a House of Representatives plenary session used his interpellation time to challenge Prime Minister Abe’s policies on various issues, such as Japan’s participation in the South Sudan PKO, constitutional revision, and legislation against conspiracy.

The Abe government has imposed new duties involving the use of arms on Self-Defense Forces units in the UN PKO in South Sudan based on the national security laws (the so-called war laws), while trying to draw public attention away from the current serious situation in that country.

Prime Minister Abe in his policy speech referred to a national sports festival in South Sudan and boasted that SDF activities have contributed to bringing independence and peace to the nation. However, it was January 2016 when the sports event was held. The South Sudan’s situation at that time was relatively stable compared to that in recent days.

During the interpellation time alloted, Shii cited an UN report which points out that the South Sudanese government-backed forces committed hostile acts against the UN peacekeeping mission continuously and systematically. Shii said that under these circumstances, if SDF units perform the duty of rushing to rescue foreign peacekeepers under attack, such conduct will be tantamount to the use of force abroad which is prohibited under the Constitution. Abe weakly countered that South Sudan’s consent for the UN PKO is still in place.

Shii moved on to the issue of the SDF’s refusal to make public a report describing a major armed conflict that occurred in July 2016 in the South Sudanese capital of Juba. Shii said that the hiding of the report underlines the government stance of preventing the general public from becoming aware of what exactly is happening there. PM Abe replied that document control by the SDF is not a problem.

Citing a UN Security Council resolution on an arms embargo against South Sudan, Shii pointed out that Japan abstained from voting on the resolution because of its reluctance to acknowledge the current dangerous situation there. Shii said, “Placing priority on the SDF’s continuous participation in the UN PKO, the Abe government sabotaged the international community’s efforts to prevent a possible genocide.” Abe said that it is unproductive to apply sanctions to the major parties involved in South Sudan’s civil war.

Shii demanded that the government stop sending SDF units there and instead provide non-military humanitarian aid to South Sudan.

*****

Gov’t disregarding Constitution must go

Referring to the prime minister’s policy speech in which Abe stressed the need to revise the Constitution in the name of building a new nation, Shii urged Abe to show how and which parts of the current Constitution need to be revised.

PM Abe refused to express his view on the issue, just saying that it would take shape after national discussions.

Shii went on to demand the withdrawal of the LDP’s draft constitution. He condemned the draft for “completely denying constitutionalism”, pointing out that it deletes the second clause of Article 9 of the current Constitution and instead stipulates the possession of “national defense forces” and that it enables the state to severely restrict fundamental human rights under the pretext of protecting “public interests and public order”. “What should be changed is not the Constitution but the government which is disregarding the supreme law,” Shii said. Abe did not respond to his criticism.

Concerning the fact that the Abe administration is set to submit in the current Diet session a “conspiracy bill” under the guise of penalizing “preparatory acts for terrorism”, Shii noted that the bill’s essence is to charge people for “talking about” or “planning” a crime.

The government claims that it is necessary to enact a “conspiracy bill” so that Japan can sign the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC). Shii denounced this claim by pointing out that the UNTOC is intended to address economic crimes and that Japan already concluded international treaties to prevent terrorism and established domestic laws to that effect. The JCP chair pushed the prime minister to give up his attempt to put the bill forward, saying, “This is a modern version of the prewar Peace Preservation Law which will turn Japan into a surveillance society.”

In response, PM Abe again insisted that it is essential for Japan to conclude the UNTOC in order to prevent terrorism in collaboration with the global community.

Past related articles:
> ‘Conspiracy bill’ will punish citizens for their thoughts and beliefs [January 13, 2017]
> Shii points out that PM Abe is neglecting volatile situation in South Sudan [December 8, 2016]
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