Japan-U.S. Security Treaty is excluded from Koizumi's "reforms"

June 23 marks the 41st anniversary of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty. The present treaty came into effect in 1960 after a revision of the treaty concluded 50 years ago.

The Koizumi Cabinet has promised reforms, but it makes the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty setup absolutely unchangeable in the 21st century. What's more, the government intends to strengthen this security setup as a military alliance which includes exercising the right of collective self-defense and the study of wartime legislation.

Government accepts Japan structured on U.S. military bases as a foregone conclusion

Under the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, more than 130 U.S. military bases and installations exist in Japan which are outside Japan's sovereignty. Huge military bases occupy the Tokyo metropolitan area and neighboring Kanagawa Prefecture. U.S. bases occupy 20 percent of the main island of Okinawa.

The U.S. Forces stationed in Japan include the Marines, U.S. aircraft-carrier task force units and the Air and Space Expeditionary Force. Their mission has nothing to do with the defense of Japan; they are prepared for aggression against other countries as interventionary forces.

The U.S. Forces are carrying out in Japan low-altitude flights, touch-and-go exercises (night-landing practices--NLP) and live-fire drills. These outrageous training drills cause hardships affecting many residents.

These extraordinary examples of Japan structured on U.S. military bases have no parallel in the world.

Asked by Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo at the House of Representatives plenary session on May 10 if the prime minister takes the situation for granted and expects it to be continued in the 21st century, Prime Minister Koizumi stated that he will make efforts to maintain the treaty in the 21st century so that it will operate with increased effectiveness.

The Koizumi Cabinet upholding such a policy cannot even call on the U.S. forces for a halt to the dangerous low-altitudes flights and touch-and-go training.

Local assemblies including the Liberal Democratic Party unanimously called for a halt to training flights by U.S. military aircraft over residential areas.

Foreign Minister Tanaka Makiko, in answer to JCP Akamine Seiken at the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee meeting on June 20, dismissed the request saying, "The JCP calls for no more U.S. military exercises. Our position is that the U.S. forces can continue their training by taking precautions about safety and noise. This can only be changed when the JCP takes power."

This is tantamount to saying that the people have no choice but to endure the hardships resulting from the U.S. bases as long as the LDP government continues.

Right of collective self-defense -- SDF to cooperate with U.S. Forces in combat areas

The Japan-U.S. Security Treaty system has undergone a major change to become a military alliance for interventionist wars abroad, following the 1997 Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation which allow Japan to participate fully in U.S. wars abroad.

Since he took office in late April, Prime Minister Koizumi has many times referred to the possibility of Japan exercising the right of collective self-defense, which past governments regarded as unconstitutional. His statements show his intention to make the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty more dangerous.

The right of collective self-defense in Koizumi's context means allowing Japan's Self-Defense Forces to use force abroad when Japan is not under armed attack.

Prime Minister Koizumi in his one-on-one debate with JCP Chair Shii on June 6 said that there is room for a study of the definition of "rear areas" stipulated in the Guidelines Law enacted in 1999.

The Guidelines-related Laws are virtually war laws because they stipulate how the SDF should cooperate with and participate in U.S. interventionist wars abroad, with the SDF being responsible for logistic support including transport and supply.

However, the law apparently allows the SDF to cooperate and participate in "rear areas" only. This is because the government in the past published a view that Article 9 of Japan's Constitution does not allow the use of the right of collective self-defense.

The "study" of the definition of "rear areas," which Prime Minister Koizumi referred to, means lifting these restrictions to virtually increase areas of cooperation with the U.S. Forces to include the areas where combat is taking place. Such a review is intended to allow Japan to cooperate with and participate in U.S. wars of intervention without restrictions.

Such a change will involve a high risk of the SDF being attacked by a U.S. adversary. Nishimoto Tetsuya, former SDF Joint Chiefs of Staff chair, is quoted by Asahi Shimbun of June 19 as saying that it is necessary to consider whether to allow the SDF to participate in combat missions in self-defense.

Wartime legislation for national mobilization to U.S. wars

Prime Minister Koizumi in his policy speech in the May 7 Diet session stated that he will consider wartime legislation in order to guarantee the SDF's and the U.S. Forces' priority in the event of war and to mobilize the people in support of U.S. wars.

Later, the government set up study-panels in the Cabinet Secretariat and the Defense Agency. The panels will complete an interim report in autumn. The LDP National Defense Division requested that the panels submit a bill on wartime legislation to next year's ordinary Diet session.

A LDP Dietmember representing national defense-related interests said that the panels' purpose is to examine wartime legislation to be used in an emergency in relation to Japan and to make sure that local governments will not reject the central government's request for war cooperation based on the Guidelines-related laws. The government is also considering mobilizing municipalities and their residents to cooperate in U.S wars.

Break away from military alliance, move toward independent and peaceful foreign relations: the JCP

The JCP calls for Japan to break away from the military alliance with the U.S. in the early part of the 21st century and turn to a nonaligned, peaceful, and neutral course in order to contribute to peace and friendship in Asia and throughout the world.

The JCP is the only political party that calls for the abrogation of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty. The JCP argues that a Japan free from the Japan-U.S. military alliance will open a new era for Japan-U.S. relations and establish better relations with other nations. Even before the abrogation of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, Japan can solve problems arising from the extraordinary existence of U.S. military bases on its soil and put an end to their outrageous activities. Japan should take a step forward toward carrying out an independent and peaceful diplomacy, protecting people's interests, and standing up for the world's democracy. (end)