Peace in Asia and the Pacific: Alternatives to Asia-Pacific Militarization
Northeast Asia Security Panel (Oct. 22, 19:30-)
Hiroshi TAKA – Japan Council against A and H Bombs
Thank you for the opportunity to speak about “Japanese realities”.
My organization, Genuikyo, concentrate on nuclear disarmament, and the problem of military alliance and bases is very much connected to our goal.
Japan-US Military Alliance, Bases and Secret Nuclear Agreements
The first thing that comes in mind from the given topic of “Japanese realities” is the Japan-US Security Treaty and the 135 US military bases and facilities situated all over Japan. Yes, Japan is politically, economically and militarily subordinated to the United States. The security treaty was signed in 1951, when Japan was accorded independence, to make sure that all US bases would keep staying in Japan. Revised in 1960, it became more reciprocal and more aggressive, despite the opposition of some 80% of the Japanese people.
Under this treaty, the US bases in Japan have served as forward bases from where US forces went to Korea in the 1950s, to Vietnam in the 1960s and the first half of the 70s, and to Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere in the Indian Ocean and the Middle East, as they do now.
The US warships carrying nuclear weapons have entered their naval bases and other ports in Japan, under many agreements, which were signed secretly in fear of the strong anti-nuclear sentiment of the people.
Globalization of the Alliance
Since the end of the “Cold War”, the Japanese and US leaders agreed, that the Japan-US alliance should cover, not only “defense of Japan” or “peace and security of the Far East” as is said by the treaty, but also “global peace and security”, just like NATO’s new strategic doctrine says. The US forces in Japan have been sent everywhere accordingly.
With two Richard Armitage-Joseph Nye reports in 2000 and 2007, the US urged Japan to play a role like one that the UK does in the Atlantic, as adjutant in the US global strategy. Japan willingly responded to it. Making the best use of North Korea’s abduction of Japanese citizens, of development of nuclear weapons and missiles, the Liberal Democrats leaders set about to revise the Japanese Constitution.
The DPJ seeks to “Deepen the Alliance”
The historic defeat of the Liberal Democrats-Komeito coalition in the elections in 2009 was an answer to Japanese people to that attempt. The Democrats in government were supposed to bring about a “change". Yet, under the pressure from the US leaders and the Japanese corporate leaders, it quickly receded to the same position as the LDP. Knowing what the US leaders want, now the Noda government has made it a top priority to “deepen the Japan-US alliance”. Its first actions include transferring a marine base from Futenma to Nago in Okinawa despite strong protest by almost all Okinawa residents. Modifying the “three principles prohibiting the export of weapons and military technology" is another. The aim is to promote joint development and build-up of “Missile Defense”. The new “National Defense Program Outline”, released in December 2009, made clear with no ambiguity that Japan relies on US nuclear weapons. It says, “the extended deterrence by the US, centering on the nuclear deterrence, is indispensable" and that “Japan keeps closely cooperating with the US in maintaining and strengthening its credibility”.
Another Reality, and the Role that Japan should play
Yet, the Japanese Government is still in deep trouble and contradiction, because of deep and strong public sentiment in favor of the peace Constitution,
“Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes. In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.”
Some years ago, then prime minister Shinzo Abe pledged that he would change Constitution, saying that North Korea provided an golden opportunity. He did very best to destroy Article 9. Other major political parties followed. Yet it was not Article 9 but Abe’s government that was scrapped as the result of the judgment of the people by votes.
The reality of Okinawa also presents the same lesson. Despite the heavy pressures, few believe that the US bases in Okinawa are for their interest. Okinawa people are more firmly determined and united than ever before in demanding for an unconditional dismantling of the Futenma marine base.
If Asia is increasing its weight globally, it is all the more important for Japan to develop dialogue and cooperation with Asian countries, including resumption of the 6 party talks on the denuclearization of Korean Peninsula. To take this direction it is essential that Japan should honestly admit the past error, aggression, annexation and crimes against the people in Asia. It should honor and make the best of Article 9 and “Three Non-Nuclear Principles in diplomacy. By so doing and getting out of “nuclear umbrella, Japan’s advocacy for the elimination of nuclear weapons will be really be trusted.
We believe that this is the way for Japan to make true contribution to the peace and security of Northeast Asia. Thank you.