“[W]e want peace, not war. Peace can only be achieved through peaceful diplomacy.”
The Nippon Sei Ko Kai — the Anglican Church in Japan — has denounced last Wednesday’s vote by the lower house of the Japanese parliament to rearm the country. On 15 July 2015 Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling Liberal Democrat Party and its coalition allies mustered a two thirds majority vote, passing two bills that would allow Japanese troops to fight overseas.
Under its current constitution, Japan’s military is permitted to engage only in self-defense actions. Mr. Abe’s government has argued that in the face of rising political uncertainty in the region, and worries about the reliability of the United State’s commitment to its treaty allies, Japan must take steps towards military self-reliance.
The bill would allow Japanese troops to deploy overseas with its US and Western allies when Japan is attacked, or when a close ally is attacked, and the result threatens Japan’s survival and poses a clear danger to people.
The security bills have provoked mass political protests in Tokyo, however Mr. Abe has promised that the use of force would be restricted to a necessary minimum.
Speaking on behalf of the NSKK, the church’s peace commission issued an emergency statement on 22 July 2015 urging the upper house of parliament to reject the bills. The statement endorsed by the chairman of the commission, the Rt. Rev. Peter Shibusawa, Bishop of Chubu, (pictured) contested Mr. Abe’s contention that Japan faced military threats from its neighbors.
And even if it did, the appropriate way to respond to aggression from China or North Korea was through diplomacy, not arms. “On the assumption that Japan is threatened by enemies, which are not even there, it is stressed that we need to be prepared in order to have no regrets. But we want peace, not war. Peace can only be achieved through peaceful diplomacy.”
The bills proceed to the upper house of parliament and must be adopted within 60 days, or it will be sent back to the lower house for revision. Mr. Abe’s government holds a majority in the upper house and the bill is expected to be adopted.