Washington International Law Journal


Yasuo Hasebe


On September 19, 2015, the National Diet of Japan enacted a series of statutes which enable the government to exercise the right of collective self-defense. One of the statutes also enables the government to dispatch the Self-defense Forces to take charge of logistics for foreign military forces waging wars. This enactment symbolises Japan’s turn of course regarding its long-held stance on constitutional pacifism. Pacifism maintained under the Constitution of Japan was not pure pacifism rejecting any use of force. The successive governments held that the right of individual self-defense, in other words, the right to use force in order to repel on-going or imminent, unlawful armed attack against Japan itself, could be exercised under the Constitution. However, past governments maintained that the right of collective self-defense, which is to be invoked when foreign states are under military attack and request support from Japan, is clearly prohibited under Article 9 of the Constitution.

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