• Kyodo

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A record of a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Japan’s special antiterrorism law has been published by its former plaintiffs, hoping to stir public awareness over the importance of the war-renouncing Constitution.

The two-volume booklet includes the complaint initially filed with the Saitama District Court in July 2002 to seek nullification of the antiterrorism law enacted in 2001 in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.

The booklet also provides written answers from the defendant — the central government — statements of the plaintiffs and verdicts by the district court, the Tokyo High Court and the Supreme Court, all of which dismissed the suit.

While the law allowed the Self-Defense Forces to provide logistic support to the U.S.-led military campaign in and around Afghanistan, the plaintiffs argued during the court proceedings that the law violates the Constitution’s recognition of the right of people around the world to live in peace and its renunciation of war as a means of settling international disputes.

“We lost the suit, but we expect the publication of the trial records to encourage particularly those who have filed suits nationwide, claiming the SDF dispatch to Iraq is unconstitutional and violates the people’s right to live in peace,” said Kiyomi Saito, one of the plaintiffs.

On the SDF dispatch to the war-torn country for noncombat activities, former telecommunications minister Noboru Minowa filed the initial suit with the Sapporo District Court in January 2004 to seek its suspension.

Saito, a resident of the city of Saitama, said, “We need to be aware that Japan is a country involved in wars as well as an offending nation, as it helped U.S.-led forces bring suffering on and killing Afghan people by refueling foreign naval ships participating in the military operations there.”

A statement by a plaintiff at the Saitama District Court, included in the booklet, described her visit to Afghanistan in April 2002 following the launch of the U.S.-led military campaign.

“Children were panhandling under a heat wave. Who put them in such situation that they cannot live without begging? Japan provides (fuel) to U.S. fighter jets, which have destroyed the daily lives of Afghan people,” she said.

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