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|A Statement of Opposition to Japan's Security Policy
that Will Lead to IncreasedNumbers of Refugees
|August 12th 2015
RAFIQ (The Network Aiming at Coexistence with Refugees in Japan)
Joint Representatives: Keiko Tanaka, Yoshie Hirokawa
The two pieces of legislation which collectively make up Japan's proposed
"Security Policy" are currently under discussion in the House
of Councillors. The governing party is attempting to use its majority in
order to force these pieces of legislation through the legislative process.
If the new security policy becomes law, it will become possible for the
government to arbitrarily determine when the Japanese military can be used,
even when the country is not under attack. It will also become possible
for Japanese forces to provide combat service support in wars being fought
by American and other forces. Governments will be enabled to take such
action in the case of an extremely vaguely defined "existential threat".
RAFIQ is an NGO that is committed to finding lasting solutions to issues
of asylum. We are also involved in ensuring that refugees whose human rights
cannot be guaranteed in their countries of origin are ensured of these
rights in Japan. We oppose this security policy, for the following reasons.
1. Wars Create Refugees
According to UNHCR's Global Trends Report for 2014, there are currently
around 60 million people who have been forced to leave their homes as a
result of conflict or persecution. This is the highest ever figure, and
it has quadrupled in the last five years. It means that, of the whole world's
population, one in every 122 has been driven from their home. The conflict
in Syria which started in 2011 is a major contributing factor to this figure.
Furthermore, in the past 5 years, 15 separate conflicts have started (or
restarted) worldwide, and almost none have come to an end. This means that
more and more people are displaced all the while.
According to UNHCR's report, over half of these refugees are children.
These children are taken away from their homes and families to live a life
of hear, with little hope for the future. Even when they manage to escape
a conflict, there are no guarantees that they will be able to live an adequate
lifestyle or have access to education. Such children often are vulnerable
to becoming involved in child labour and child militias, and these children
also become a target for enforced early marriages and sexual violence.
War is therefore the main reason that people become refugees. It also claims
creates an especially high number of child refugees.
What is more, for those who are forced to become refugees and leave their
countries, it takes an average of 17 years before they can resume a "non-refugee"
As an NGO which seeks lasting solutions to issues of asylum, we cannot
accept a security policy which will allow Japan to participate in such
2. War is the Biggest Cause of Human Rights Abuses
Wars cause human rights violations: many people lose their lives, suffer
health problems, or have their dignity infringed upon.
For example, hundreds of thousands of civilians were killed in the Iraq
War which started in 2003. Furthermore, as a result of religious conflicts
and the rise of ISIL (Islamic State), around 3 million people have been
internally displaced within the country, forced to live in very harsh conditions.
Inhumane weapons such as cluster bombs and white phosphorous shells were
also used in the Iraq War, along with munitions which used depleted uranium,
spreading radiation throughout the region. Indiscriminate attacks and massacres
took place in Fallujah and Ramadi, as well as numerous other cities.
If the new security policy becomes law, then Japan will be allowed to provide
combat service support to American and other forces which perpetrated these
As supporters of human rights, we are opposed to wars fought in the name
of so-called "just" or "moral" causes, and we cannot
accept a security policy that will allow Japan to become involved in such
wars in the future.
3. Accepting Refugees is a the Responsibility of the Entire International
Community, and a Step Towards Peace
The Japanese government has said that it will use the new security policy
as a deterrent, in order to keep Japan safe. However, creating a "deterrent"
by boosting defence spending and increasing military activity will serve
only to increase international tensions. Furthermore, assisting the USA
in its military activities may well lead to Japan becoming involved in
The most effective method of creating a truly peaceful society, is to focus
on "Human Security" (a concept defined by the UN). This means
transcending national borders. In 2014, the Japanese government received
around 5,000 applications for asylum, and accepted only 11 of them. In
the same year, South Korea accepted 87 refugees, Germany 33,310, the UK
10,725 and the USA 21,760. Comparing these figures makes it apparent that
Japan's efforts are not enough.
What Japan's government should do, in order to ensure Human Security, is
to accept refugees into the country. It should also strengthen human rights
within Japan by ratifying the international protocol on human rights. This
will allow it to show the world that Japan is a country in which human
rights are protected.
For these three reasons, RAFIQ strongly opposes the security policy, and
we implore our national parliament to reject it outright.
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