Japan-U.S. Joint Committee, which is preventing the Constitution from functioning, and its origin

Japan-U.S. Joint Committee, which is preventing the Constitution from functioning, and its origin


H: Good evening, welcome to Fraternity Channel. We welcome Mr. Koji Yabe again for this 81st episode.
He published an astounding book titled Why Cannot Japan Stop U.S. Military Bases or Nuclear Power Plants? As I said last time, when this book sells ten million copies, Japan will be quite changed. (laughs)

Why Cannot Japan Stop U.S. Military Bases or Nuclear Power Plants?


Y: Since it’s sold 50,000 (as of December 15, 2014.), it still has a long way to go. (laughs)

H: A short way to go!
To review the last episode, there is research going on to find out why, after I lost office, Henoko is again designated as the relocation site of the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma despite my strong opposition when I was the Prime Minister. Also, why the government is going to resume the use of nuclear power plants (NPP) even though the people are against it after the unprecedented NPP accident on March 11, 2011.

Mr. Yabe discovered that the Japan-U.S. Joint Committee is behind these U.S. bases and NPP issues. Its meetings are held secretly twice a month between USFJ and Japanese high-level bureaucrats. Even I, then Prime Minister, was not aware of it.

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H: Their meetings are all completely secret, and yet their decisions take precedence over our laws.

Y: Over the Constitution.


H: It goes beyond the Constitution. The Sunagawa Case and its final judgment—that matters of a highly political nature such as “the Security Treaty” cannot be judged by the Supreme Court—make the Supreme Court utterly ineffective.

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Clash between residents against the expansion of the Hachikawa base and riot police in Sunagawa town


H: Therefore, some agreements made by the Japan-U.S. Joint Committee have more power than Japan’s laws. This structure explains why we still have U.S. bases and NPPs.
Today we’re going to talk about this massive structural problem.

T: Postwar Japan was seemingly ruled by the constitutional structure, and we have discussed whether we should change the constitution under it. The reality, however, is that the constitutional structure and the other legal structure under the Security Treaty have been competing with each other.
And the Abe government changed the constitutional structure to fit the judicial structure under—subordinate to—the Security Treaty. The current administration makes it acceptable by using “the right to collective defense.” (Note: the Abe government conditionally accepted a right to collective defense upon [approval?] by the Cabinet)
Another reason is that those advocating protection of the Constitution have been decreasing.

H: So let’s continue.

Y: I mentioned the Japan-U.S. Committee last time, but this time I will talk about its origin.
According to Prof. Shoichi Koseki of Dokkyo University, as John Foster Dulles negotiated with former Prime Minister Yoshida over the Peace Treaty (the San Francisco Peace Treaty signed in 1951), the U.S. wanted to include the rearmament of Japan and the U.S. right to direct it. But because of Article 9-2 of the Constitution, which mandates “the renunciation of war potential,” Japan could not officially accept rearmament.
So they decided to discuss it at the meeting of the Japan-U.S. Joint Committee.

T: That is the origin of the Japan-U.S. Joint Committee?

Y: Right. Then they came to a secret verbal agreement and determined that U.S. Forces have unified [exclusive?] command over the Self-Defense Force (SDF) in an emergency situation. It is still valid. The Japan-U.S. Joint Committee is an organization that concludes secret agreements and carries out policies behind the scenes.
It was very reasonable that liberals have been insisting we “never lay a finger on the Constitution” under such circumstances. If we had let them lay a finger on it, Japan would have been rearmed and it would have come under U.S. command. I respect the liberals for having prevented the revision of the Constitution.
But 60 years have passed, and what happened at first is now vague. Actually the Abe government has already destroyed that early accomplishment. It has accepted the right to collective defense, while keeping the secret agreement of the unified command of U.S. Forces.
With only the right to self-defense, Japan only goes under U.S. command in cases of domestic emergencies. But with collective defense, SDF will be forced to join any war around the world, when the U.S. decides it is an emergency. I assume that’s the point of the Abe administration’s decision.
There are two groups: one emphasizes the essence of the Constitution, while the other focuses on the tactics. We have put much value on tactics, so that we’ve disregarded the essence and historical facts that should have created the basis of discussions.

T: True. It’s like we are praying to God.

Y: Relying on tactical political fiction temporarily is acceptable, but that’s valid for around 30 years at most. We have been doing so for way too long.

H: One of the reasons why the people don’t try to know the truth could be the emperor system of Japan.

Y: The problem of the emperor system is huge.

H: I believe that the emperor system should be kept, but this way of thinking may have caused the problem of Constitutional ineffectiveness.
I’d like to ask you to analyze it structurally.