In an historic decision, a Japanese court declared on Friday (7th September) that Japan's Self-Defence Forces (JSDF) - the name for military - were an unconstitutional and illegal organisation.
In an historic decision, a Japanese court declared on Friday (7th September) that Japan's Self-Defence Forces (JSDF) - the name for military - were an unconstitutional and illegal organisation. The verdict climaxed a four-year legal battle between the residents of the village of Naganuma in Northern Japan and the Japanese Government.
The case began in 1969 when the Naganuma farmers objected to a government order to destroy 50 acres of forest to build a JSDF missile base. Judge Shimeo Fukushima of the Sapporo District Court ruled in favour of the farmers and ordered construction of the base to halt. But, his judgment was subsequently reversed by the High Court and the base was finished in February this year.
However, the Naganuma residents continued their fight, basing their argument on a cla??? that the JSDF was not in the public's interest because the Japanese constitution forbids the creation of armed forces.
Judge Fukushima again heard the villagers' case. In his verdict, he said that the present "size, scale, equipment and capability" of the JSDF made it more than just a force maintained for defence. He claimed the JSDF had full "war potential" and summing up, found it therefore unconstitutional and illegal. He has ordered the Naganuma base to be dismantled.
Soon after the verdict was handed down, the Director-General of the JSDF, Mr. Sadanori Yamanaka made an address to the troops at Tokyo's Roppongi SDF Base. He told them the verdict was regrettable but would in all likelihood be "corrected" by a later Supreme Court decision. The address was relayed to other SDF bases.
At the same time, nationalists concerned about the implications of the Court decision gathered to demonstrate in Tokyo's Ginza area. Mr. Bin Akao - an ardent advocate of increased JSDF power addressed the small crowd. He leads the ultra-nationalist Greater Japan Patriotic Party.