Japan’s Nobel laureate sues government over security laws

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Tokyo, Aug 2 (IANS) A group of citizens including the 2008 Nobel laureate Toshihide Masukawa sued the Japanese government on Thursday over the controversial security laws that were forcibly enacted in 2015 despite public opposition.

The 143 plaintiffs filed the suit in the Nagoya District Court, saying the controversial legislation that allows Japan to exercise its right to collective self-defence or coming to the aid of an ally under attack violates the country’s pacifist Constitution, Xinhua news agency reported.

They said the controversial laws violated their right to live in peace and caused emotional sufferings as they increased Japan’s risks of being involved in wars or terrorist attacks. They sought 100,000 yen ($895) in damages for each person.

Masukawa, a Nagoya native, shared the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physics with two other physicists for “the discovery of the origin of the broken symmetry which predicts the existence of at least three families of quarks in nature”.

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He was also one of the founders of the Association of Scholars Opposed to the Security-Related Laws which was set up in 2013.

The 78-year-old professor at Kyoto Sangyo University was a witness of the war himself when a firebomb dropped by a US fighter plane landed in front of him in March 1945 and would have killed him. However, the bomb didn’t explode.

Masukawa has told reporters that he didn’t want to be involved in wars again and that he felt obligated to speak out on behalf of the public on this issue.

Thursday’s suit was just one of a series of lawsuits filed at 21 district courts across Japan, involving thousands of plaintiffs.

Japan abandoned its 70-year pacifism since the end of World War II as its Parliament enacted a controversial legislation pushed by the government under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2015.

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The controversial security laws, including amendments to 10 existing laws, took force in 2016 and allow Japan to exercise its right to collective self-defence, or coming to the aid of an ally under attack even if Japan itself is not attacked.

–IANS

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