National / Crime & Legal

Nobel laureate Toshihide Maskawa and others sue government over 'unconstitutional' security laws


Nobel Prize-winning physicist Toshihide Maskawa and over 100 other people sued the government Thursday, saying that security laws the country enacted in 2015 to expand the role of its Self-Defense Forces overseas were unconstitutional and have violated their right to live in peace.

The 143 plaintiffs filed the suit at the Nagoya District Court, each seeking ¥100,000 in damages and claiming they have suffered psychologically because the laws have increased the risk of them being caught up in war or terrorist attacks.

The laws, brought in by the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, allows Japan to use force to defend the United States and other allies if they come under attack, even if Japan itself is not attacked.

The legislation followed the Abe Cabinet’s reinterpretation of the Constitution in July 2014 as allowing the country to exercise the right to collective defense.

Maskawa, a 78-year-old Nagoya native who shared the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physics with Yoichiro Nambu and Makoto Kobayashi, was one of the founding members of the Association of Scholars Opposed to the Security-Related Laws, established in 2013.

The latest action is one of a series of lawsuits filed at 21 courts nationwide, including some that have already been rejected.

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