Japan remains the only country defined as an “enemy country” by the UN
H: Could you talk about the issue of “enemy clauses” still remaining in the UN Charter, which you cover in the book?
Y: There are two enemy clauses in the UN Charter.
Y: Article 53 Section 1 states that although individual states have no right to engage in war, and that disputes should be settled by other means, this doesn’t apply to enemy countries.
I’ll skip the details, but the hypothetical enemies in the UN Charter are Germany and Japan. Therefore, if Germany or Japan implement invasion policies again, and become militaristic or Nazi-like, they can be attacked regardless of the UN or the Security Council. It’s a daunting situation.
La Charte des Nations Unies: Commentaire article par article
Y: But when you read a proper [non-AngloAmerican] publication like this one (Note: La Charte des Nations Unies: Commentaire article par article), you find that Germany got rid of its enemy designation in the 1970s through Ostpolitik, Chancellor Brandt’s foreign policy of apologizing to neighboring nations and achieving rapprochement. After the establishing of the EU, Germany has become central in the European community. It is no longer an enemy.
On the other hand, there’s nothing on Japan.
From an international law perspective, therefore, enemy clauses can potentially still be applied to Japan. Since I stated this bluntly in my book, many readers expressed their despair. However, since international law has no enforcement mechanism or penal system, it’s only a legal fact—and reality is another matter.
That said, even if human rights [of Japanese] are violated in postwar Japan-U.S. agreements like the Security Treaty, they can be condoned because of Article 107, the other enemy clause.
H：“Nothing in the Charter shall invalidate or preclude action, in relation to any state which during World War II has been an enemy of any signatory to the present Charter, taken or authorized as a result of that war by the Governments having responsibility for such action.”
Y: In other words, the UN Charter is idealistic and cares about the protection of human rights and sovereign equality, but this protection doesn’t apply to postwar measures against enemy countries. This is arguably the origin of exclusion clauses.
When we appeal to the UN Human Rights Council about the issue of U.S. bases in Okinawa, the Council avoids taking it up. They treat it as a racism problem. That’s because it’s hard to correct any violation of human rights that occurs within the framework of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, which the two governments concluded after the war.
I’m sometimes criticized as being a rightist disguised as a centrist liberal, because I argue that we “touch” the Constitution.
Y: I’m not saying that we should blindly change it, but that we discuss it seriously in preparation for the future, when some historically bad regime like the current one advances the violation of human rights and we have no choice but to rewrite the Constitution to protect ourselves.
In discussing the Japanese Constitution, it is helpful to consider a report by the GHQ 2 months before the Constitution was written.
See. This interesting document discusses why militarists seized power in prewar Japan.
Y: It points out the “lack of effective rights of individual citizens” and the existence of “extra-constitutional bodies having access to the Emperor which are not responsible to the will of the people.” If you change “Emperor” to “U.S. Forces and bureaucrats,” it’s basically the Japan-U.S. Joint Committee. It’s an extra-constitutional body that still exists. The next causative factor, “control of the courts by the procurator rather than the judge” is true to this day.
So are “lack of control of all functions of government by a Constitution” and “exercise of legislative functions by the executive branch.”
So in discussing the essence of the Japanese Constitution, ironically, the GHQ study is helpful.
Y: The overall structure in the prewar period was that of an Emperor who reigned as an extra-constitutional power, supported by Japanese forces and bureaucrats. U.S. Forces joined the central authority in the postwar period. But they couldn’t do whatever they pleased under the Showa Emperor’s scrutiny. So bureaucrats took an active role as well, and the economy flourished. But in the Heisei era, the Emperor vanishes from the stage. The present Emperor is venerable, but he doesn’t engage in any political activities. So now, it’s only U.S. Forces and bureaucrats of the Foreign and Justice Ministries that make decisions.
Let’s take the example of Germany again, which recovered from its position as an enemy state, I believe in 1994.
Y: In reunifying Germany after the Cold War, the Two-Plus-Four Treaty (Treaty on the Final Settlement With Respect to Germany) was signed. “Two” stands for East and West Germany, and “Four” stands for the victors, the U.S., UK, the USSR, and France. It means a peace treaty had been signed and post-war matters had been settled after four decades.
This led to the amendment of the Status of Forces Agreement in 1993, so that German domestic laws came to be applied to U.S. Forces. In 1994, Soviet forces retreated from the former East German areas, and Germany regained full independence.
We Japanese all need to study Germany’s case vigorously.
What I want to say is that regaining national sovereignty requires great effort, but is actually not distressing. It’s an exciting, joyful process. The only way for Japan to do so is to establish truly courteous relationships with surrounding countries and gain trust. But there are rapid movements in the other direction.
The Abe administration, hate speeches, Zaitokukai (Association of Citizens against the Special Privileges of the Zainichi). We need to recognize such problems and not be influenced by them, and study cases like Germany and the Philippines.
T: Especially Germany. Their Ostpolitik policies in the 1970s, as you mentioned, began in the midst of the Cold War. Then Chancellor Brandt took initiative to hold the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, to gather in one place all European countries, including the USSR. This was highly significant because it became the foundation for ending the Cold War. Then they achieved a rapprochement with the European countries, which lead to a legal peace treaty. That’s why they could deal with the rapid fall of the Berlin Wall.
We have a lot to learn from them.
Y: Finally, let me mention this. The first postwar chancellor of Germany, Konrad Adenauer, was in a terrible situation, much like Japanese former Prime Minister Yoshida. He said that new Germans should be resolutely Europeans, because that’s the only way Germany can be assured peace in the world.
I believe that this statement is rich in wisdom, and that the Japanese should be resolutely Asians too, for world peace. It’s like the vision your East Asian Community Institute has.
H: I guess we have our conclusion.
Mr. Koji Yabe has kindly joined us for two episodes to discuss the causes of confusion regarding the relocation of the Futenma base and the reasons we can’t resolve the U.S. base issue. We also covered NPPs and why we can’t stop them despite disasters, and what underlying structural problems exist in Japan. In this episode we focused on the Japanese Constitution, and Mr. Yabe explained how the liberals have become divided. There was also the issue of enemy clauses in the UN Charter, which results in U.S. Forces having the upper hand over Japan regarding U.S. bases in Okinawa even today. In conclusion, we need to learn from Germany’s example. Germany became the core of the EU by contributing to its establishment and being repentant about its history. Today, Europe is a non-war community. East Asia has a long way to go. Japan must be proud to be a part of Asia and act resolutely as Asians. That’s the only way to peace. Mr. Yabe has explained logically and in great detail why that’s the only solution to the U.S. bases and NPP issues as well.
How was it, Mr. Takano?
T: We’ve been studying U.S. bases and the Security Treaty for a while, so I knew a lot of the individual details already. But the framework of this book was what I found interesting. It shows a path for organizing your thoughts.
If we teach children what kind of country Japan is from this kind of perspective, some may say it’s biased education. But if we don’t, the UN Charter is ignored, and so is the whole postwar history, and the Security Treaty and Okinawa. So I’d also like to think about how to send a message to children in order to consider Japan’s future.
Y: The analysis of the status quo I have here is only a rough structure, but I think it’s fairly accurate.
We need to study cases like Germany, find a solution, and teach them to children.
T: I hope it leads to Japan being the core of Asia in the 21st century,
Y: Mr. Hatoyama, you’re internationally known, and you can meet key figures from around the world. I look to you for that.
H: I understand my mission, and it’s quite a big one.
We’ve held discussions for two episodes, but some parts were probably rushed due to time constraints. I highly recommend this book, because it’s in much more detail.
Y: Thank you.
H: Today, Mr. Yabe and Mr. Takano gave us great insight on how Japan should be, and how it must be, from a fresh perspective. Thank you very much.
Y: Thank you.