[JURIST] The Sapporo District Court in Japan dismissed a lawsuit Monday filed by 33 people who claimed that the deployment of Japanese troops in Iraq was unconstitutional. According to the Kyodo news agency, the group, which included the late former Deputy Minister of Defense Noboru Minowa, requested that Japan [JURIST news archive] end its mission in Iraq and compensate each person 10,000 yen for causing anguish. The lawsuit was based on Article 9 of the Japanese constitution [text], under which "the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign nation and the threat of force as means of settling international disputes." Similar lawsuits have been filed in district courts in 10 other regions, with most courts ruling in favor of the government. While Japan withdrew its troops from Iraq last July, the a Japanese unit based in Kuwait continues to provide airlift support for the Multi-National Force-Iraq.
The debate over Japan's involvement military operations abroad recently caused a major rift [JURIST report] between Japan's two major parties, contributing to the September resignation [BBC English translation; JURIST report] of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The opposition Democratic Party of Japan [party websites], which opposes Japan's involvement in operations abroad, blocked the renewal of the Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law [text], which expired on November 1 and allowed Japan to refuel allied ships in the Indian Ocean for operations in Afghanistan. A bill re-authorizing the mission was passed [JURIST reports] by the Japanese House of Representatives last week. Bernama has more.