Expectation toward the Imperial Era Reiwa (Summary)


General(R) , Former Chief of Staff, Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Iwata Kiyofumi

  The constitution defines a form of a country, and it is a manifestation of the way Japan should exist as a country toward not only domestic but international community.

  Constitutional restrains caused series of challenging response from the aspect of Japan’s national security. The Legislation for Peace and Security established by the Abe administration maximally improved the issues in order to strengthen national defense within the reach of the current constitution to solve what the front line had struggled with in the past. The legislation allowed limited exercise of collective self-defense which enables Japan to respond to what it was not allowed to.

  For example, when U.S. Aegis ships and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) vessels are bilaterally conducting warning and surveillance activities for ballistic missile defense in the international waters of the Sea of Japan, escorting JMSDF vessels are currently able to exercise use of force to intercept enemy’s anti-ship missiles against the U.S. vessels for the purpose of protection.

  Furthermore, when U.S. naval vessels sealifting Japanese nationals from South Korea upon the request of the government of Japan due to an emergency situation on the Korean Peninsula are about to be attacked by North Korea, the JMSDF vessels or Japan Air-Self Defense Force (JASDF) fighter aircrafts are currently able to exercise use of force to protect those U.S. vessels, within the range based on the “Three New Condition”.

  With regards to Peacekeeping Operations (PKO), up until the establishment of the Legislation for Peace and Security, Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF) was not able to protect Japanese nationals because it was limited by the former legislation; Act on Cooperation for United Nations Peacekeeping Operations and Other Operations. Such condition could have caused JSDF to lose the trust of other countries’ military forces which put JSDF personnel in a tight spot. However, under the Legislation for Peace and Security, Japan is currently able to provide stronger defense and protect Japanese citizens.

  I hope that my junior fellows in JSDF will be able to proudly focus on the defense of Japan, without struggling the difficulties what my generation experienced.

  In the beginning of new era of Reiwa, I hope and expect that Japan will no longer pursue unilateral pacifism but find a way to proactively contribute more internationally as a stakeholder of the international community based on the principle of international cooperation in order to realize our desire to occupy an honored place in international society striving for the preservation of peace as articulated in the Preamble of the Constitution.