Japan finds involvement in Iraq unconstitutional

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The Nagoya District Court in Japan ruled Thursday that Japan's air force mission to Iraq breaches the Japanese constitution, but did not order the government to redeploy the 210 air force personnel in Kuwait aiding the US-led Multi-National Force-Iraq. In a lawsuit brought by more than 1,100 people demanding that the dispatch of air force troops be suspended, the court found that the dispatch violated Article Nine of the constitution renouncing war and forbidding the use of force to settle international disputes. Last fall, a Sapporo District Court dismissed a similar suit brought under Article Nine of the Japanese constitution. Reuters has more.

In November, the Japanese House of Councillors passed a bill to end Japan's air force mission in Iraq, with opposition leaders insisting that Japan should work through the United Nations rather than the United States. The debate over Japan's involvement in military operations abroad has caused a major rift between Japan's two major parties, contributing to the September resignation former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The Democratic Party of Japan, which generally opposes Japan's overseas military deployments, blocked the renewal of the Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law, which allowed Japan to refuel allied ships in the Indian Ocean for operations in Afghanistan until its expiration last November. Compromise legislation was later approved by Japan's parliament

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