Pointing out the contradiction of deploying Ground Self-Defense Forces
February 28, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo
On February 28 at the Diet, a citizens group that opposes the Ground Self-Defense Force being deployed to the Nansei Islands held negotiations with the government requesting that the troops be removed. The citizens group pointed out the government’s contradiction. The government claims that the troops are stationed there in the case that a post is created to establish a legal position and as a deterrent, and yet they work with the U.S. to push forward with exercises to reclaim the island(s). The citizens group stressed the importance of coming up with evacuation plans. The government implied that coming up with evacuation plans is the local government’s responsibility and avoided giving a definite answer. Representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Defense, and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism gave their explanations. Overall, the government avoided giving definite answers to many of the citizens’ questions.
On whether the international legal position of the Ground Self-Defense Force post would be considered a military target, the representative from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, “Ordinarily, it is not a military target.” The representative thereby repeatedly stressed the government’s long-standing opinion and avoided giving a definite answer regarding the dangers of it. City council member Kaori Ishimine and others who had traveled from Miyakojima pointed out, “If that is the case, then does that mean that Japan currently does not have any military targets? (We) would like (you) to be more specific.”
A representative from the citizen’s side pointed out, “If we can establish a deterring force, then there is no need for plans to reclaim the island(s).” People questioned whether the government would utilize the Self-Defense Force Law and has plans to conscript citizens based on the type of work they are engaged in. The representative from the Ministry of Defense said, “We are not in that situation right now, so we cannot answer” and did not give a definite answer.
It was the Miyakojima City Council, Nansei Islands Peace Net, Yaima Ufuji Association, and Create a Peaceful Future for Children of Tidanufa Islands Association that held negotiations with the government.
(English translation by T&CT and Chelsea Ashimine)
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