駆けつけ警護 PKOの実効高める法改正を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jul. 24, 2012)
Revise law to improve Japan peacekeeping operations
駆けつけ警護 PKOの実効高める法改正を(7月23日付・読売社説)

The government should step up efforts to deal with issues left unresolved since the enactment of the nation's U.N. Peacekeeping Activities Cooperation Law 20 years ago.

The Foreign and Defense ministries and the Cabinet Office have jointly compiled a bill to revise the PKO law. A major feature of the bill is a provision to allow the Self-Defense Forces to dispatch its members to rescue civilians in remote locations.

Since several members of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan are cautious about the revision, submission of the bill to the current Diet session may be difficult. However, we expect the Cabinet to approve it as soon as possible.

Under the current PKO law, SDF members engaged in a U.N. peacekeeping operation are not allowed to use weapons except in self-defense and to avert imminent danger. Therefore, even if civilians caught in the middle of a riot, for instance, ask the SDF to rescue them, SDF members may not be able to do so.

If SDF members use weapons against "an actor equivalent to a state," such as an armed insurgent, it may constitute "an exercise of force against other nations," which is prohibited by the Constitution, the Cabinet Legislation Bureau says.


Legalize rescue dispatch

However, is it feasible for the SDF to turn down a rescue request made by civilians--Japanese nationals in particular--because it might violate the Constitution? Such a situation could occur at any time.

In such a case, SDF members may rush to a scene to rescue civilians but will not use weapons unless their own lives are threatened. The law, which forces SDF commanders to make a difficult decision, must be revised.

When the SDF began participating in U.N. peacekeeping operations, public opinion was divided. In the beginning, it might have made sense to place tight restrictions on the SDF's use of weapons.

Today, however, an overwhelming majority of Japanese support SDF participation in U.N. peacekeeping operations. Not only has this become a normal role for the SDF, but it has been upgraded to one of its primary missions.

We think it is reasonable to review restrictions on the use of weapons to improve the effectiveness of SDF activities, while taking the experience and needs of members actually involved in the activities into consideration.


New condition nonsensical

The bill stipulates that SDF members would be allowed to use weapons only to support and supplement security efforts by a host state.

However, the Cabinet Legislation Bureau has urged that a condition be added so an SDF rescue mission would be limited to a situation where an attack by a state or an actor equivalent to a state is not expected.

This condition makes coordination of views more difficult. We have doubts about the opinions of the bureau.

Japan is the only country that interprets the use of weapons during peacekeeping operations based on a U.N. resolution as an exercise of military force. This contradicts conventional wisdom of the international community. If the Cabinet Legislation Bureau's condition is added to the envisaged revision, it could restrict SDF activities even more.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda is positive about making SDF rescue missions legally possible. We hope the prime minister will tackle this issue based on the realities of places where peacekeeping operations are needed.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 23, 2012)
(2012年7月23日01時45分 読売新聞)

by kiyoshimat | 2012-07-25 06:53 | 英字新聞

<< 政府事故調報告 原発の安全向上... シリア情勢 アサド政権がほころ... >>