Constitutional scholar Setsu Kobayashi: Henoko base construction is flagrant constitutional violation
April 21, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo
On April 20, the All-Okinawa Naha Association to Realize the Aims of the Kempakusho and Pave the Way to the Future held a fiscal 2016 general meeting and a speaking event at the Palette Civic Theater in Naha. Keio University Professor Emeritus Setsu Kobayashi spoke at the event, saying that the construction of a new base in Henoko is a flagrant violation of the Japanese constitution. According to organizer estimates, around 430 people attended the event.
Article 95 of the Japanese constitution stipulates that no special law or act applicable to only one locality may be established unless it is accepted in a local referendum. Referring to this stipulation, Kobayashi stated, “Permission from local residents is needed for the government to place a burden on a specific locality for the sake of national policy. In other words, [local residents] have veto power. The government tries to claim that Article 95 is not relevant to the discussion, but actually, if we consider the spirit of Article 95, this is very much a constitutional issue.”
In his discussion of Japan’s opposition parties joining forces in the upcoming elections, Kobayashi emphasized that the success of the “All-Okinawa” movement has inspired and encouraged people all over Japan.
“The Abe administration has taken away our freedom. Democracy in which debate is suppressed is not democracy at all. We can win. Let’s build a fair and happy future for our children,” Kobayashi stated.
Okinawan Governor Takeshi Onaga also spoke at the event. “I’m very glad that we will continue to be able to engage with strength going forward. If all of us in Okinawa put our strength together, we can break down any wall,” Onaga said.
At the All-Okinawa Naha Association’s first general meeting, held before the event, members reappointed fiscal 2015’s seven co-representatives, including Naha Mayor Mikiko Shiroma.
(English translation by T&CT and Sandi Aritza)
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