A group of legal experts said Monday it will file lawsuits with district courts across the country, arguing that the newly enacted security laws violate Japan’s war-renouncing Constitution.
Nearly 300 lawyers support the move and the first of the lawsuits could come as early as next spring, the group said. The laws, aimed to expand the role of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces overseas, were enacted in September amid fierce public opposition.
Many scholars as well as a former chief justice of Japan’s Supreme Court have criticized the legislation, a major shift in Japan’s postwar security policy, as violating the country’s pacifist supreme law.
The group of experts said the lawsuits, to be filed after next March when the laws come into force, will seek a court order to forbid the deployment of SDF troops overseas, saying that the laws make them “afraid of becoming a terrorism target or getting involved in a war on a daily basis” and violate their right to live peacefully.
In a separate lawsuit, the group will also seek damages from the government for causing emotional distress due to the enactment of the laws.
The group will criticize the Cabinet’s reinterpretation of the Constitution to lift the country’s ban on collective self-defense and the way the ruling parties pushed through the security bills in the Diet in the face of strong public opposition.
Collective self-defense—or coming to the aid of the United States and other friendly nations under armed attack, even if Japan itself is not attacked—will be allowed by the new laws in a limited way.
Kazuhiro Terai, co-head of the group, said many people have said to him, “What is the judiciary doing against reckless acts that run counter to the Constitution?”
“There are many challenges over the lawsuits but unreasonable acts by the Cabinet and the Diet are not permissible under the Constitution,” Terai told a press conference in Tokyo.