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Opposition groups decry JASDF keeping watch

Date Posted: 2007-06-14

The Japanese Army Self Defense Force is keeping an eye on opposition groups opposed to military construction projects, and the opponents don’t like it at all.

“It’s an invasion of privacy and illegal to stop the opposition groups watching”, says the Okinawa Bar Association. The attorneys’ group is sending a letter to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and to the Ministry of Defense, demanding the practice be stopped immediately.

“From the beginning,” the attorneys claim, “there is no evidence the Self Defense Force has any right to watch those watching the construction work. We don’t think it’s the Self Defense side’s duty to watch them.” The lawyers association is demanding the Prime Minister tell the Self Defense Force to “Stop watching opposition people in action. Don’t watch them at all!” They claim it’s a matter of freedom of speech and expression.

The Self Defense Force has investigated opposition groups as they protested against construction work, and says it’s all documented in paperwork. The Self Defense Force has taken pictures of the opposition group members on the ocean near a proposed new military airfield, and the lawyers charge “They can’t take pictures at all. This is very strongly against the law.”

The Communist Party has issued its own strong protest against the Self Defense Force, charging “It’s like the Second World War time, when Japanese soldiers slaughtered innocent Okinawans because soldiers thought the local citizens were spying.” The Communist Party says “The Self Defense Force’s watching actions remind us about that era.”

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