National / Crime & Legal

Lawyers to challenge constitutionality of security laws

Kyodo

A group of legal experts said it will file lawsuits with district courts across the country, arguing that the newly enacted security laws violate the Constitution.

Nearly 300 lawyers support the move and the first of the lawsuits could come as early as this spring, the group said Monday. The laws, which expand the overseas role of the Self-Defense Forces, were enacted in September amid fierce public opposition.

Many scholars as well as a former chief justice of the Supreme Court have criticized the legislation, a major shift in postwar security policy, as violating the war-renouncing Constitution.

The group of experts said the lawsuits, to be filed after March, when the laws come into force, will seek a court order to forbid the deployment of SDF troops overseas, saying the laws make them “afraid of becoming a terrorism target or getting involved in a war on a daily basis” and violate their right to live peacefully.

In a separate lawsuit, the group will also seek damages from the government for causing emotional distress due to the enactment of the laws.

The group will criticize the Cabinet’s reinterpretation of the Constitution to lift the ban on exercising the right to collective self-defense and the way the ruling parties pushed the security bills through the Diet in the face of strong public opposition.

Collective self-defense — coming to the aid of the United States and other friendly nations under armed attack, even if Japan itself is not attacked — will be allowed by the new laws under limited conditions.

Kazuhiro Terai, co-head of the group, said many people have asked him, “What is the judiciary doing against reckless acts that run counter to the Constitution?”

“There are many challenges over the lawsuits, but unreasonable acts by the Cabinet and the Diet are not permissible under the Constitution,” Terai told a news conference in Tokyo.

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