The Nagoya High Court ruled Thursday that Japan's dispatch of the Air Self-Defense Force (ASDF) to Iraq is unconstitutional, said reports from the central Japanese city of Nagoya.
The ASDF's mission to airlift multinational troops to the Iraqi capital of Baghdad "runs counter to Japan's constitution," said Chief Judge Kunio Aoyama, citing Article 9 of the Constitution, which stipulates "the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes."
The ASDF's mission plays a part in the use of force by other countries, he said, adding that the move can be considered that Japan itself is using force.
But Adm. Takashi Saito, chief of the SDF Joint Staff, said the mission not play an integral part in the use of force, indicating that it is constitutional.
His remarks was echoed by Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura, who told a press conference that the ruling is unacceptable and will not affect the SDF's operations in Iraq.
The ASDF has kept airlifting multinational forces to and from Iraq since July 2006, when the Ground Self-Defense Force ended their mission.