Comment on war contingency bills passed

15 May 2003

Tadayoshi KUSANO
General Secretary

  1. The Houses of Representatives today approved a set of government-sponsored war contingency bills by an overwhelming majority supported by ruling parities, as well as the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) and the Liberal Party. The bills will be sent to the House of Councillors. The bills are the first legislation concerning the security of the nation supported by opposition parties since the end of World War II.

  2. The bills that were presented to the Diet April last year contained various problems and defects. Therefore, Rengo had critical views on and was opposed to the bills, while recognising that legislation governing a contingency was needed.

    Counterproposals presented to the House of Representatives by the DPJ late April this year were more agreeable than government-sponsored ones in the following aspects:
      a) They propose the enactment of a basic law providing a comprehensive system and rules to respond to an emergency;
      b) They call for the creation of a new crisis and disaster management body;
      c) They protect basic human rights;
      d) They guarantee a democratic control by the Diet;
      e) They clarify the definition and conditions of a contingency;
      f) They require the Government to disclosure information;
      g) They limit the scope of 'designated public organisations'.

  3. The House of Representatives discussed and endorsed the bills, respecting the DPJ's demands in amending them to include provisions aimed at protecting human rights in emergency situations. However, there are still questions remaining to be clarified so that further deliberations are needed on individual laws. As representing workers working for local governments and the designated organisations in aviation, transport, communications and news media sectors, Rengo must work harder, in particular to protect their lives and rights from orders of the central government.

  4. Rengo would demand that such concerns be well discussed throughout deliberation of the House of Councillors in order for necessary measures to be taken to have understanding and agreement of people.

    Furthermore, as foreign security policy on the basis of the international cooperation must be given the highest priority in order to avoid a situation to which this legislation needs to be applied, Rengo will make its own effort within the framework of the international trade union movement.