Reinterpretation is no suicide pact

As a scholar specializing in international law and with 10 years of experience in teaching the law, I read the July 3 editorial, titled “Abe guts Article 9,” with great disappointment and dismay.

The editorial claims that the Cabinet decision on July 1, which reinterprets Article 9 of the Constitution to partially permit collective self-defense, “undermines the Constitution’s war-renouncing Article 9″ and “violates the principles of rule of law,” with very little appreciation for the clause itself and the concept of rule of law.

Article 9 only proscribes the maintenance of any “war potential,” and that is further qualified by its aim, which is to “renounce war.” The article was never intended to deny Japan its right of self-defense, whether it is exercised alone or collectively with other states.

Article 9 is not a suicide pact for Japanese people, but allows sufficient scope for making policy decisions as to how they can best defend the nation under the prevailing security environment.

The Japanese Cabinet is entitled to initiate a motion in the Diet to re-interpret the Constitution in light of a changing environment — a procedure that the concept of rule of law indeed demands.

hitoshi nasu
canberra

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.