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Shinshinto leader Ichiro Ozawa said Oct. 15 the revised guidelines for Japan-U.S. defense cooperation could lead Japan into a neighbors’ war and a violation of the Constitution, which bans the right of collective defense.During his first news conference since June, Ozawa criticized the government for deceiving the public into believing that the guidelines will be put into action within the Constitution’s boundaries.”Japan is going to do things that can never be explained by the current interpretations of the Constitution,” Ozawa said. “But the government is deceiving the public and avoiding its responsibility.” Ozawa urged the government to admit reality and open the matter to discussion.Under the guidelines, Japan would provide rear-area support to U.S. forces on the high seas and in international airspace surrounding Japan, in addition to Japanese territory. Thus Japan would help U.S. forces even if Japan is not under attack. The government says the new parameters do not violate the Constitution, because any SDF role would be “distinguished from areas where combat operations are being conducted.”But Ozawa said it is almost impossible to draw a line between combat and noncombat areas. He said contradictions will emerge when the government submits related bills to the Diet in January to implement the new bilateral defense cooperation.Concerning the debate over the privatization of postal services, Ozawa said mail delivery services should remain state-run because privatization would cause inconvenience to rural areas but that postal savings should be run independently.

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