Overview and Fundamental Concepts of National Defense
Overview of Japan's Defense Policy
Fundamental Concepts of National Defense
Ⅰ. Constitution and the Basis of Defense Policy ▼OPEN
THE CONSTITUTION OF JAPAN
We, the Japanese people, acting through our duly elected representatives in the National Diet, determined that we shall secure for ourselves and our posterity the fruits of peaceful cooperation with all nations and the blessings of liberty throughout this land, and resolved that never again shall we be visited with the horrors of war through the action of government, do proclaim that sovereign power resides with the people and do firmly establish this Constitution. Government is a sacred trust of the people, the authority for which is derived from the people, the powers of which are exercised by the representatives of the people, and the benefits of which are enjoyed by the people. This is a universal principle of mankind upon which this Constitution is founded. We reject and revoke all constitutions, laws, ordinances and rescripts in conflict herewith.
We, the Japanese people, desire peace for all time and are deeply conscious of the high ideals controlling human relationship, and we have determined to preserve our security, and existence, trusting in the justice and faith of the peace-loving peoples of the world. We desire to occupy an honored place in an international society striving for the preservation of peace, and the banishment of tyranny and slavery, oppression and intolerance for all time from the earth. We recognize that all peoples of the world have the right to live in peace, free from fear and want.
We believe that no nation is responsible to itself alone, but that laws of political morality are universal; and that obedience to such laws is incumbent upon all nations who would sustain their own sovereignty and justify their sovereign relationship with other nations.
We, the Japanese people, pledge our national honor to accomplish these high ideals and purposes with all our resources.
CHAPTER Ⅱ. RENUNCIATION OF WAR
Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.
In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.
1 Constitution and the Right of Self-Defense
Since the end of World War Ⅱ, Japan made a decision not to repeat the ravages of war and has worked hard, aiming to build a peace-loving nation. The Japanese people desire lasting peace, and the principle of pacifism is enshrined in the Constitution, of which Article 9 prescribes the renunciation of war, the possession of war potential, and the right of belligerency by the state. Of course, since Japan is an independent nation, these provisions do not deny Japan’s inherent right of self-defense as a sovereign state. Since the right of self-defense is not denied, the Japanese Government interprets this to mean that the Constitution allows Japan to possess the minimum level of armed force needed to exercise that right. Therefore, Japan, under the Constitution, maintains the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) as an armed organization, holding its exclusively national defense-oriented policy as its basic strategy of defense, and continues to keep it equipped and ready for operations.
2 The Government’s View on Article 9 of the Constitution
1 Permitted Self-Defense Capability
Under the Constitution, Japan is permitted to possess the minimum necessary level of self-defense capability. The specific limit is subject to change relative to the prevailing international situation, the level of military technologies, and various other factors, and it is discussed and decided through annual budget deliberations and other factors by the Diet on behalf of the people. Whether such capability constitutes a "war potential" that is prohibited by Article 9, Paragraph 2 of the Constitution must be considered within the context of Japan’s overall military strength. Therefore, whether the SDF should be allowed to possess certain armaments depends on whether such possession would cause its total military strength to exceed the constitutional limit.
The possession of armaments deemed to be offensive weapons designed to be used only for the mass destruction of another country, which would, by definition, exceed the minimum necessary level, is not permissible under any circumstances. For example, the SDF is not allowed to possess intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), long-range strategic bombers, or attack aircraft carriers.
2 Measures for Self-Defense Permitted under Article 9 of the Constitution
In the cabinet decision (which will be described in the next section) made on July 1st 2014, measures for self-defense permitted under Article 9 of the Constitution were defined as follows.
The language of Article 9 of the Constitution appears to prohibit "use of force" in international relations in all forms. However, when considered in light of "the right (of the people) to live in peace" as recognized in the Preamble of the Constitution and the purpose of Article 13 of the Constitution which stipulates, "their (all the people’s) right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" shall be the supreme consideration in governmental affairs, Article 9 of the Constitution cannot possibly be interpreted to prohibit Japan from taking measures of self-defense necessary to maintain its peace and security and to ensure its survival. Such measures for self-defense are permitted only when they are inevitable for dealing with imminent unlawful situations where the people’s right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is fundamentally overturned due to an armed attack by a foreign country, and for safeguarding these rights of the people. Hence, "use of force" to the minimum extent necessary to that end is permitted. This is the basis, or so-called the basic logic, of the view consistently expressed by the Government to date with regard to "use of force" exceptionally permitted under Article 9 of the Constitution, and clearly shown in the document "Relationship between the Right of Collective Self-Defense and the Constitution" submitted by the Government to the Committee on Audit of the House of Councillors on October 14, 1972.
This basic logic must be maintained under Article 9 of the Constitution.
To date, the Government has considered that "use of force" under this basic logic is permitted only when an "armed attack" against Japan occurs. However, in light of the situation in which the security environment surrounding Japan has been fundamentally transformed and continuously evolving by shifts in the global power balance, the rapid progress of technological innovation, and threats such as weapons of mass destruction, etc., in the future, even an armed attack occurring against a foreign country could actually threaten Japan’s survival, depending on its purpose, scale and manner, etc.
Japan, as a matter of course, will make the utmost diplomatic efforts, should a dispute occur, for its peaceful settlement and take all necessary responses in accordance with the existing domestic laws and regulations developed based upon the constitutional interpretation to date. It is still required, however, to make all necessary preparations in order to ensure Japan’s survival and protect its people.
Under such recognition and as a result of careful examination in light of the current security environment, the Government has reached a conclusion that not only when an armed attack against Japan occurs but also when an armed attack against a foreign country that is in a close relationship with Japan occurs and as a result threatens Japan’s survival and poses a clear danger to fundamentally overturn people’s right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, and when there is no other appropriate means available to repel the attack and ensure Japan’s survival and protect its people, use of force to the minimum extent necessary should be interpreted to be permitted under the Constitution as measures for self-defense in accordance with the basic logic of the Government’s view to date.
As a matter of course, Japan’s "use of force" must be carried out while observing international law. At the same time, a legal basis in international law and constitutional interpretation need to be understood separately. In certain situations, the aforementioned "use of force" permitted under the Constitution is, under international law, based on the right of collective self-defense. Although this "use of force" includes those which are triggered by an armed attack occurring against a foreign country, they are permitted under the Constitution only when they are taken as measures for self-defense which are inevitable for ensuring Japan’s survival and protecting its people, in other words, for defending Japan.
■Newly determined three conditions for the "use of force" as measures for self-defense permitted under Article 9 of the Constitution
◯When an armed attack against Japan has occurred, or when an armed attack against a foreign country that is in a close relationship with Japan occurs and as a result threatens Japan’s survival and poses a clear danger to fundamentally overturn people’s right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.
◯When there is no appropriate means available to repel the attack and ensure Japan’s survival and protect its people.
◯Use of force to the minimum extent necessary.
3 Geographic Boundaries within which the Right of Self-Defense may be Exercised
The use of the minimum necessary force to defend Japan under the right of self-defense is not necessarily confined to the geographic boundaries of Japanese territory, territorial waters, and airspace. However, it is difficult to give a general definition of the actual extent to which it may be used, as this would vary with the situation.
Nevertheless, the Government interprets that the Constitution does not permit armed troops to be dispatched to the land, sea, or airspace of other countries with the aim of using force; such overseas deployment of troops would exceed the definition of the minimum necessary level of self-defense.
4 Right of Belligerency
Article 9, Paragraph 2 of the Constitution prescribes that "the right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized." However, the "right of belligerency" does not mean the right to engage in battle; rather, it is a general term for various rights that a belligerent nation has under international law, including the authority to inflict casualties and damage upon the enemy’s military force and to occupy enemy territory. On the other hand, Japan may of course use the minimum level of force necessary to defend itself. For example, if Japan inflicts casualties and damage upon the enemy’s military force in exercising its right of self-defense, this is conceptually distinguished from the exercise of the right of belligerency, even though those actions do not appear to be different. Occupation of enemy territory, however, would exceed the minimum necessary level of self-defense and is not permissible.
Ⅱ. Basis of Defense Policy ▼OPEN
Defense Policy of Japan
The defense policy Japan has pursued under the Constitution is based on the "Basic Policy on National Defense" adopted by the National Defense Council and the Cabinet in May 1957.
The "Basic Policy on National Defense" first states the promotion of efforts for peace such as international collaboration and the establishment of a basis for national security through the stabilization of livelihood of the people etc. ,and then the buildup of efficient defense capability and the Japan-U.S. security arrangements as the basis of Japan's defense.
Basic Policy on National Defense
(Adopted by the National Defense Council and the Cabinet on May 20, 1957）
The objective of national defense is to prevent direct and indirect aggression, but once invaded, to repel such aggression, and thereby, to safeguard the independence and peace of Japan based on democracy.
To achieve this objective, the following basic policies are defined:
(1) Supporting the activities of the United Nations, promoting international collaboration, and thereby, making a commitment to the realization of world peace.
(2) Stabilizing the livelihood of the people, fostering patriotism, and thereby, establishing the necessary basis for national security.
(3) Building up rational defense capabilities by steps within the limit necessary for self-defense in accordance with national strength and situation.
(4) Dealing with external aggression based on the security arrangements with the U.S. until the United Nations will be able to fulfill its function in stopping such aggression effectively in the future.
Other Basic Policies
Based on the "Basic Policy on National Defense," Japan has been ever since building up a moderate defense capability on its own initiative in accordance with the fundamental principles of maintaining an exclusively defense-oriented policy throughout and of not becoming a military power that might pose a threat to other countries under the Constitution, while securing civilian control and observing the Three Non-Nuclear Principles, as well as maintaining firmly the Japan-U.S. security arrangements.
A. Exclusively Defense-Oriented Policy.
The exclusively defense-oriented policy means that defensive force is used only in the event of an attack, that the extent of use of defensive force is kept to the minimum necessary for self-defense, and that the defense capabilities to be possessed and maintained by Japan are limited to the minimum necessary for self-defense. The policy including these matters refers to the posture of a passive defense strategy in accordance with the spirit of the Constitution.
B. Not Becoming a Military Power.
There is no clear definition of the concept of a military power. On the other hand, the concept that Japan will not become a military power that might pose a threat to other countries means that Japan will not possess and maintain a military capability strong enough to pose a threat to other countries, beyond the minimum necessary for self-defense.
C. Three Non-Nuclear Principles.
The Three Non-Nuclear Principles are those of not possessing nuclear weapons, not producing them and not allowing them to be brought into Japan. Japan firmly maintains the principles as the fixed line of national policy.
In addition, provisions in the Atomic Energy Law also prohibit Japan from manufacturing and possessing nuclear weapons. Furthermore, under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), Japan has an obligation, as a non-nuclear weapons state, not to manufacture and acquire nuclear weapons.
D. Securing Civilian Control.
Civilian control refers to the priority of politics to the military or democratically political control of military strength in a democratic state.
Japan has, by giving serious reflection to the regrettable state of affairs that happened until the end of World War II, adopted the system of strict civilian control entirely different from one conducted under the former Constitution, in order to ensure that the SDF should be built up and operated at the will of the people.
Specifically, the Diet, which represents the people, makes legislative and budgetary decisions on such matters as the authorized number of the SDF personnel and main organization. The defense operations of the SDF require approval of the Diet.
The function of national defense is, as a general administrative one, perfectly vested in the executive power of the Cabinet. The Constitution requires that the Prime Minister and other Ministers of State who makes up the Cabinet be civilians. The Prime Minister representing the Cabinet holds the authority of supreme command and supervision of the SDF. A civilian is appointed as the Defense Minister who exercises general management and supervision of the SDF duties. The Security Council is placed under the Cabinet as an organ of deliberation about important matters of national defense. Furthermore, the Defense Minister who manages and uses the SDF is assisted by Senior Vice-minister of Defense and two Parliamentary Secretaries for Defense in policy-making and planning.
For being a successfully workable system, it is necessary to continue to make efforts to operate it in both political and administrative aspects with a deep interest in defense taken by the people.
III. Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements ▼OPEN
TREATY OF MUTUAL COOPERATION AND SECURITY BETWEEN JAPAN AND THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Japan and the United States of America, Desiring to strengthen the bonds of peace and friendship traditionally existing between them, and to uphold the principles of democracy, individual liberty, and the rule of law, Desiring further to encourage closer economic cooperation between them and to promote conditions of economic stability and well-being in their countries, Reaffirming their faith in the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and their desire to live in peace with all peoples and all governments, Recognizing that they have the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense as affirmed in the Charter of the United Nations, Considering that they have a common concern in the maintenance of international peace and security in the Far East, Having resolved to conclude a treaty of mutual cooperation and security, Therefore agree as follows:
The Parties undertake, as set forth in the Charter of the United Nations, to settle any international disputes in which they may be involved by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security and justice are not endangered and to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.
The Parties will endeavor in concert with other peace-loving countries to strengthen the United Nations so that its mission of maintaining international peace and security may be discharged more effectively.
The Parties will contribute toward the further development of peaceful and friendly international relations by strengthening their free institutions, by bringing about a better understanding of the principles upon which these institutions are founded, and by promoting conditions of stability and well-being. They will seek to eliminate conflict in their international economic policies and will encourage economic collaboration between them.
The Parties, individually and in cooperation with each other, by means of continuous and effective self-help and mutual aid will maintain and develop, subject to their constitutional provisions, their capacities to resist armed attack.
The Parties will consult together from time to time regarding the implementation of this Treaty, and, at the request of either Party, whenever the security of Japan or international peace and security in the Far East is threatened.
Each Party recognizes that an armed attack against either Party in the territories under the administration of Japan would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and declares that it would act to meet the common danger in accordance with its constitutional provisions and processes.
Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall be immediately reported to the Security Council of the United Nations in accordance with the provisions of Article 51 of the Charter. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security.
For the purpose of contributing to the security of Japan and the maintenance of international peace and security in the Far East, the United States of America is granted the use by its land, air and naval forces of facilities and areas in Japan.
The use of these facilities and areas as well as the status of United States armed forces in Japan shall be governed by a separate agreement, replacing the Administrative Agreement under Article III of the Security Treaty between Japan and the United States of America, signed at Tokyo on February 28, 1952, as amended, and by such other arrangements as may be agreed upon.
This Treaty does not affect and shall not be interpreted as affecting in any way the rights and obligations of the Parties under the Charter of the United Nations or the responsibility of the United Nations for the maintenance of international peace and security.
This Treaty shall be ratified by Japan and the United States of America in accordance with their respective constitutional processes and will enter into force on the date on which the instruments of ratification thereof have been exchanged by them in Tokyo.
The Security Treaty between Japan and the United States of America signed at the city of San Francisco on September 8, 1951 shall expire upon the entering into force of this Treaty.
This Treaty shall remain in force until in the opinion of the Governments of Japan and the United States of America there shall have come into force such United Nations arrangements as will satisfactorily provide for the maintenance of international peace and security in the Japan area. However, after the Treaty has been in force for ten years, either Party may give notice to the other Party of its intention to terminate the Treaty, in which case the Treaty shall terminate one year after such notice has been given.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF the undersigned Plenipotentiaries have signed this Treaty.
DONE in duplicate at Washington in the Japanese and English languages, both equally authentic, this 19th day of January, 1960
FOR THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:
Christian A. Herter
Douglas MacArthur 2nd
J. Graham Parsons