7/30/2015 Iraq War–Japan Will Be War Criminal Too?!
This is Taro Yamamoto representing The People’s Life Party & Taro Yamamoto and Friends. I have questions about the security bills. Prime Minister, I thank you in advance. Prime Minister, did you know that the Japan Air Self-Defense Force has been sent to Iraq?
Prime Minister (Shinzo Abe): Based in Kuwait, the Japan Air Self-Defense Force was transporting supplies and personnel to and from the Iraqi airport between March, 2004 to December, 2008, in accordance with the Iraq Special Measures Law. More specifically, in order to respond to the need for reconstruction efforts in Iraq and United Nations and allied forces’ transportation needs, they were delivering United Nations personnel, the US military personnel, office supplies, medical equipments, vehicles, aircraft parts, tents and so on. In those instances, weapons carried by the personnel, within reason to be considered as their carry-on equipments, are regarded as the part of the delivery. These contents are reported and explained during and after the activities through the Diet deliberations and they are made public appropriately.
Taro Yamamoto: Thank you for your thorough explanation. That makes a perfect sense. When the first dispatcher of JASDF left Kuwait, you were the Chief Cabinet Secretary. I appreciate it, thank you.
So the story is “what was JASDF carrying?” On April 24th, 2007, during the Lower House plenary session, regarding JASDF’s mission in Iraq, the Prime Minister described that they would be delivering personnel and supplies for humanitarian reconstruction missions of United Nations and etc. Is that correct?
Prime Minister (Shinzo Abe): That is absolutely correct, as I have just said. According to the delivery needs of United Nations and allied forces, they are transporting United Nations personnel, the US military personnel, office supplies, medical equipments, vehicles, aircraft parts, tents and etc.
Taro Yamamoto: I see. Please take a look at the pie chart in the provided material (showing the chart). It is the reference no. 1. The originally data was published by the Defense Department in October, 2009, and the chart visualizes all the delivery records of JASDF in Iraq between March 3rd, 2004 through December 12th, 2008. It notes transportation of 46000 personnel. Although Prime Minister’s deliberation in 2007 would give an impression that its main job was to transport the UN personnel, in reality, the UN personnel only consist of 6%, yet, over ten times more of the personnel, over 60%, was the US military personnel. What was the purpose, I wonder. Would you mind asking?
Defense Minister (Gen Nakatani): Regarding the numbers, as you noted, total personnel were 46479, and, 23727, approximately half of them, were the US military personnel. In terms of their activities, based on Iraq Special Measures Law, the emphasis was placed on the humanitarian reconstruction missions, however, our basic plan stipulates that, in terms of the size of the dispatched forces, we implemented a policy to allow necessary forces to proceed with the humanitarian reconstruction missions, within the scale, which do not impede the humanitarian reconstruction missions. The dispatched JASDF in Iraq was operating under such a policy, the US military, on the other hand, was operating under the UN Security Council Resolution engaging in peacekeeping missions as well as the reconstruction support missions, they were working within these two missions.
Taro Yamamoto: We actually look at the number and 60% turns out to be the US military and its subsidiaries. So, why do you portray that the missions involve delivery of personnel and supply for the UN and other humanitarian reconstruction efforts? I don’t understand why the biggest group gets stuck in a tiny section of the pie chart that says others. (someone speaks up) That’s right, we look at the law and we realize that you say “etc.” and everything is thrown in there. You tell us “UN related”, but in reality it was mainly for the US military. Please take a look at the material with you. On the second page, there is an example at the front and back illustrating the weekly transport list of the JASDF. The front shows the censored page, and the back shows the released document. They kept telling us that they were moving the UN officials, but in reality, almost all of them were the US military personnel and the Self-Defense Force personnel. Which leads us to wonder that, in reality, the content of the humanitarian support was delivering the combat troops, so, Prime Minister, can you affirm to us that the US soldiers transported by the JASDF were personnel for the reconstruction support? Could you do that? One word please.
Prime Minister (Shinzo Abe): The activity was based on Iraq Special Measures Law and they were based in Kuwait delivering personnel and supplies to and from the airport in Iraq, strictly within the scope of Iraq Special Measures Law.
Taro Yamamoto: I see, if you say so, I reckon that you do have the record of all the activities of the soldiers delivered by the Self-Defence Force in detail, is that so? That means that you knew where all the soldiers belonged and for what specific purposes they were there for. That is what it means to know their activities. I would like to ask one more time. Did you know the activities? You don’t have to describe. Did you or did you not?
Prime Minister (Shinzo Abe): By this law, both the humanitarian support activities and peacekeeping efforts actually become parts of the activities, moreover, although we are not supposed to deliver weapons during the activities, I do not have the details on that matter now.
Taro Yamamoto: I see, you do not know in details. In short, that is what you were told. Weren’t you told so back in those days as well?
Let’s proceed. Prime Minister, when the JASDF…oh by the way, could I request documents on this? Can I? Prime Minister, this, you used to know, although you do not know now, I assume that according to what you’ve heard before, it was as you’ve described, so can I request the documents on the details about how they flew from Bagdad for the peaceful activities? You’ll be on my side, right? You won’t be hiding it. Please disclose the documents. How is that? (someone speaks) Oh, excuse me, directly to the Chairman. OK?
Prime Minister (Shinzo Abe): Could I speak? My recognition is that the delivered US soldiers were engaging in either reconstruction support missions or peacekeeping missions.
Taro Yamamoto: Well, I see, if that’s so, are you aware of how the casualties of the civilians as well as the US soldiers had shifted after delivery activities of the US soldiers by the JASDF, started in July of 2006?
Government witness (Tsukasa Uemura): I would like to answer. Regarding the number of casualties , there is no published data by the US corresponding to certain periods. The number we have from the US Department of Defense between March 19th of 2003 and August 31st of 2010, during Operation Enduring Freedom, indicates that there were 4424 casualties.
Taro Yamamoto: The image please. It’s this graph, the reference no.3, which is provided to you. The bodies of the victims in Iraq, there is an NGO called Iraq Body Count, which counts those bodies, the graph is published by them. As you can see, during 2007, the numbers of casualties among the civilians have reached 24000. And, the Self-Defense Force had started the delivery to Kuwait in July of 2006. This is the time of Chief Cabinet Secretary Abe, right? One year period from then, except for the very beginning of the war with the heavy air bombardments, had recorded the highest number of civilian casualties as well as the US casualties. I would like to ask Prime Minister, the year of 2007, that one year was the year you became a Prime Minister for the first time leading the first Abe administration, right? In 2007, do you know how many times the US bombed Iraq? We didn’t talk about this before hand. Just if you know or do not, please. Thank you.
Prime Minister (Shintaro Abe): The number of the bombings, I can not answer the number at this moment.
Taro Yamamoto: Forgive me for the unannounced question.
1447 bombings, one year, 2007. The country was bombed 1447 times that year, that is the reality of Iraq. Developed nations started it, calling it war on terror, sacrificing children, women, elderly and numerous civilians, You approved that war, Prime Minister Abe. If you hadn’t, you couldn’t have been a Prime Minister. Same about the transportation of the US soldiers. You approved. If you hadn’t, you are not sitting there, right? The Prime Minister of this country doesn’t seem to know much about the reality of the Iraq war. But he is intending to expand the activities of the Self-Defence Force. I wonder what the people of the Middle East, the people of the world, would think of it.
Regarding the JASDF’s transport activities, Nagoya Supreme Court ruled them as unconstitutional in 2008. Did you know that? Please answer if you do or not? This is for Prime Minister.
Defense Minister (Gen Nakatani): Regarding Nagoya Supreme Court ruling on April 17th, 2008, the ruling on unconstitutionality and its effectiveness has been deemed as inappropriate. Moreover, the damage claim was also rejected as legally groundless, the lawsuit ended as a victory for the government.
Taro Yamamoto: I asked for Prime Minister. I demand his answer. The chief executive, right? This ruling, in short, it stated that the deliveries in Iraq were unconstitutional, the ruling said unconstitutional. In summary, if we look at the content, even if we share the perspective with the government and we assume that it was constitutional, the activities did include unconstitutional elements according to Article 9 of the constitution. The judiciary clearly recognized the fact that the so-called humanitarian missions were, in fact, after all, joining military actions of the US force. It is indicating that it is very likely that Japan was a part of killings of numerous civilians during the Iraq war. Among the US soldiers, some probably went to the war zones, even if it was said that they were there for the humanitarian missions, it’s hard to determine, right?
In a Diet deliberation, Prime Minister has said that if there have been illegal military actions according to the international law, that can not to be tolerated, and our nation would not support such a country.
Prime Minister, our nation wouldn’t violate Geneva Conventions, international humanitarian law or international human rights law, meaning, we would not support war crimes, would we? One word please. Would we or would we not? Please.
Prime Minister (Shinzo Abe): That is, our nation, as our nation we will not support or cooperate with a nation, which violates international law.
Taro Yamamoto: Thank you.
It’s summer break, and I bet there are some junior high schoolers who happened to be sitting in front of TV as we are doing this. In short, what Prime Minister and I are talking about is the fact that there are rules for war. I’m sure you know that. The targets must be combatants and military facilities, and you can’t kill civilians or attack civilian facilities, of course, right? And violations would be war crimes. The Geneva Conventions, which the US has signed on, prohibits attacks against civilians, murders and assaults, obligates protection of the sick, as well as prohibiting attacks against hospitals, they state those. And what Prime Minister has just said means that the violations of the rules are not tolerated, right? I assume that he intended to strongly assert that we can not work with those violators, as he has also stated in the committee meeting.
But, Prime Minister, I hear that the country you want to join, well, it might be odd to say join, the country you want to deepen the emotional tie with the most, the US, the US military, has been known as a serial offender of the international humanitarian law and international human rights law such as the Geneva Conventions. Prime Minister Abe, for you, the US might be a country with an emotional tie since the day of your grand dad, and the tie might be deepened if this legislation becomes a reality, the fact is that the America’s military is a serial offender of war crimes in Iraq as well.
In April of 2004, the US military surrounded the city of Falluja and subjected the area to heavy bombardments. A month later, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health reported that 90% of the casualties were civilians, we have information that states 750 people were murdered, the UN has made a statement saying that there should be an independent investigation on human rights violations as soon as possible.
Could we see the image? For the junior high schoolers, please show us the image.
This is an ambulance after the attack. The US attacked it. The picture was taken by Rei Shiva who was on the ground in June of 2004. An ambulance, burnt to a crisp. As I was saying, according to the UN, it was the US, which got in the way of medical activities, and the ambulance was attacked by the US. That is just beyond words.
So, what sort of battle was it in Falluja? The large scale attack by the US started in November of 2004, and one of the US soldiers who participated in the operation described it in a video “A Call to Conscience. Winter Soldier”.
One day, all the soldiers who were in the battle training were called, they were camping, during the training, they were called by the chief authority of the military law, and they were told: If you see someone with a weapon, kill him, kill the one with binoculars, kill the one with a cellphone, even if he didn’t have anything or wasn’t hostile, the one who’s running, the one who’s getting away should be regarded as conspiring something, kill them, the one with a white flag should be seen as a trap, kill him, he ordered. We followed these combat rules in Falluja. The US soldiers bulldozed houses with tanks and bulldozers one by one and shot all the people, so they shot dogs, cats, chickens and anything that moved. Once all the animals were gone, they shot dead bodies. This was not the work of some deranged American soldiers. It was systematically done by the US army. Not just in Falluja, they did it in Bagdad and in Ramadi. Prime Minister, did you tell America to stop the massacre at that time? And in the future, can you tell them? Could you bring back the soldiers? Please answer.
Prime Minister (Shinzo Abe): As a reason for the US and the allied forces to attack Iraq, the weapon of mass destruction, which were possessed by the Saddam Hussein administration without a doubt, as it was used against its own citizens, Kurdish people, and had killed many of them, and we had presented opportunities for them to prove that they had not possessed such weapons, however, they did not prove it. Therefore, we consider that, according to the United Nations Security Council Resolution 678, 687 as well as 1441, it was justified. (someone speaks)
Taro Yamamoto: Thank you. Someone just volunteered information saying that 878 has nothing to do with it. There were over 700 UN inspections in Iraq, and they could not find the weapons of mass destruction. But the US and the British stormed into the country. Japan was a part of it. Without an official inquiry on it, you send the Self-Defense Force, send it far, and the situation expands. There must be an inquisition. Prime Minister, you, yourself, are obligated to initiate the inquisition. You’ve been in the good position in the system making decisions.
Chairman (Yoshitada Kounoike): I ask Mr. Yamamoto.
Taro Yamamoto: Thank you.
Chairman (Yoshitada Kounoike): Would you like to finish?
Taro Yamamoto: I would like to end the inquiries.