KOGA Says! RENGO's Statement by General Secretary
The Re-passage of a New Special Antiterrorism Bill through the Lower House and Its Enactment
11 January 2008
RENGO’s Statement by General Secretary Koga
- In the afternoon of January 11, 2008, a new special antiterrorism bill was passed into law in a second vote in the plenary session of the Lower House by a two-thirds majority of lawmakers present as required under Article 59 of the Constitution. In the Upper House plenary session held in the morning of the same day, the bill was rejected with the majority of objections from the opposition parties including the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) and “a counterproposal” submitted by DPJ was passed. With the enactment of the new special antiterrorism law, the Japanese Government, at its Cabinet meeting on January 16, will decide an enforcement plan to dispatch a flotilla of the Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) in order to resume the MSDF refueling activities in the Indian Ocean which has been suspended since the previous antiterrorism law expired on November 1, 2007. The flotilla for refueling is expected to leave Japan within this month.
- The new antiterrorism law replacing the previous special antiterrorism law which expired last November 1 limits the MSDF activities to providing fuel and water for one year, but the particular on the Diet approval was deleted. The Government claims that it is not necessary to stipulate the Diet approval because the activities are limited, but this claim is extremely controversial from the point of civilian control.
Moreover, as to the refueling support activities conducted by the MSDF over the last six years under the previous special antiterrorism law, the information opening by the Government and the Ministry of Defense is not sufficient enough and it cannot be said that the discussion has been made from every point. It is a regret that the new antiterrorism law was enacted in a situation where the accountability has not been achieved to the allegations that some of the fuel provided might in fact have been diverted for use in the Iraq War nor to the scandals concerning the Ministry of Defense, and where it cannot necessarily be said that the understanding of the people on the law has been gained.
- The new special antiterrorism bill was indeed a focal issue in “a divided Diet,” in which the ruling parties control the Lower House while the opposition controls the Upper House. However, although there are innumerable problems to solve which directly relate to the life of the people such as pension issue, medical issue, employment issue and so forth, the Government and the ruling coalition parties had decided to extend the extraordinary session of the Diet in order to pass the special law by all means, the decision of which never gets the understanding of the people. Such a management of the Diet fails to live up to the expectations of the people who earnestly long for secure and stable life.
- JTUC-RENGO demands that the discussion on the real guarantee for security and stability of the people’s life is given top priority in the Diet, and that the discussion is deepened beyond ruling and opposition parties on such basic issues of our country as our roles and contributions as one of the important members of the international community lest they should be made tactics of the politics.