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JAPANESE EVANGELICAL ALLIANCE OPPOSES EMERGENCY LEGISLATION

September 23, 2002

We, the Japan Evangelical Association, had sent an official statement to our Japanese government in order to oppose the Emergency Legislation. These are the details. We want you to remember us in your prayer that we, JEA, would act and make an appeal to the government effectively with regards to this issue.

In Christ,

Joshua T. Tsutada, the Board Chairman of JEA

Kiyoshi Tony Gushiken, General Secretary of JEA

Statement of Opposition to Emergency Legislation Bill #3, concerning the government opinion regarding limitation of citizens\' rights in the event of a forceful attack.

We the Japan Evangelical Association, have already expressed on May 24 two reasons why we strongly oppose the Emergency Security Legislation Bill #3 and strongly requested that that bill be discarded. In spite of the difficulties in enacting such a bill, the ruling coalition party intends to continue deliberation of the bill in the next diet session, an action which we see as very regrettable.

Additionally, at the close of the current diet session at the end of July, on Wednesday, July 24, the final inquiry of the House of Representatives Emergency Legislation Special Committee, made a statement which would in the event of a forceful attack limit the rights of citizens, according to the frank opinion of the Minister of Home Affairs. First there is the problem of the "emergency legislation for an expected war," and with it we feel anxiety at the point that it will result in the infringement of basic human rights as an important necessity, while the committee is decisively expressing the very opposite, although the real threat to our human rights has been shown.

In our previous statement we touched on that, but the Japan Evangelical Association and its member denominations experienced, during the Second World War under the "National Mobilization Law" or the revised "Peace Maintenance Law" the state having exercised unreasonable suppression. There are religious groups who suffered excessive hardships through that deprivation of their basic human rights. Because of that experience, pacifism and the upholding of basic human rights are strong tenets of the Japanese Constitution, so we strongly voice our opposition to Bill #3 which would completely supersede individual conscience.

A forceful attack would mean war, and the current Constitution of Japan does not have any laws foreseeing such a situation. Therefore the current Constitution of Japan does not allow such a law. Prime Minister Koizumi speaks of "no fear in the preparation", but it is not the preparation for war (emergency), but because of peace that we should give high regard to the Japanese Constitution. If the present Japan invests all of its energy in preserving peace, where is the country or power which would seek war with Japan? The Japanese Constitution is committed to pacifism, and must not neglect the preparation for peace, which is for the "greatest and best security" of Japan.

The Japanese Constitution declares support for basic human rights, completely rejects war, and through earnestly pursuing peace, is the safe and respected means of security. Under the Emergency Legislation, it follows naturally that citizens\' freedom of thought, conscience, beliefs and speech are limited, although government opinion has not foreseen that consequence. In the past, the Japanese government robbed the citizens\' freedom of thought through the "Peace Maintenance Law," which was imposed on the people as the "National Mobilization Law" which forced the populous to cooperate with the operation of the war. An act of government must not repeat the same mistake in the 21st century. Chief Cabinet Secretary Fukuda recognizes that "there we must maintain the view of the freedom of the heart, which is absolutely guaranteed." However, while saying "it is possible to accommodate a church, a shrine or a Buddhist temple," and "it is possible for there to be an agreement for the public welfare" what he says is contrary to religious belief, freedom of thought and other freedoms which are secured by articles 19 and 20 of the Constitution.

Because this actually recalls the double structure which the Japanese government used in the past, we strongly protest. Therefore the plans for Emergency Legislation bill #3 must be discarded.

Within the government, the ruling coalition parties in cooperation with the opposition parties working together on this issue, we are expressing the opposite statement to the end that in an international dispute, regardless of military might, our government should attempt to solve the problem by peace diplomacy aimed at reconciliation, trust and cooperation.

Joshua T. Tsutada, the Board Chairman of JEA

Yoshiaki Yui, Chairman of JEA Social Actions Commissions