Koizumi Cabinet has taken dangerous first step fully into U.S. Missile Defense System -- Akahata editorial, June 26, 2001

In his talks with U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in Washington, Defense Agency Director General Nakatani Gen said that he has in mind a theater missile defense (TMD) system to be operated on Japan's own for its national defense. Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro endorsed this statement.

This means that the Koizumi Cabinet, which has expressed its "understanding" of the U.S. Bush Administration's "missile defense initiative," is now moving toward participating in it.

U.S. demand on Japan

The U.S. missile defense system is designed to pick up enemy missiles immediately after they are fired or in outer space and shoot them down. Not only Russia and China but also U.S. allies in Europe have expressed their opposition to and concern about the missile shield that would escalate the arms race.

Japan, which has a constitution prohibiting the threat or use of force is constitutionally banned from participating in such a system.

The Japanese government in December 1998, however, decided to proceed with a Japan-U.S. joint technological research project of TMD, saying that a decision on TMD development and deployment should be a matter separate from research. This is a distorted interpretation that anything short of direct participation is constitutional. Prime Minister Koizumi recently said that research is unrelated to development.

Japan's Defense Agency director general said to the U.S. secretary of defense that if the system is to come into Japan's possession, Japan would operate it on its own.

In his talks with Japan's Nakatani, the U.S. secretary of defense reiterated the U.S. policy of proceeding with TMD as part of national missile defense (NMD) to cover the whole of the U.S.A.

In the U.S. missile defense program, the important need is to immediately pick up and counter enemy missiles during their assent after being fired. This means that U.S. missiles will be fired to shoot down foreign missiles even when it is not known where such missiles are targeted.

Nakatani tries to distinguish the TMD from the NMD in order to describe Japan's participation in the TMD as serving Japan's defense. But it is inevitable that Japan will be asked to play a role in the U.S. missile defense network.

Why does Japan have to participate in such a dangerous military plan at a time when many countries are expressing their opposition to and deep concerns about the missile shield ?

The thing is that this forms an important part of the U.S. Bush Administration's demand on Japan for a strengthened Japan-U.S. military alliance.

The special report the bipartisan study group of the U.S. National Defense University led by Richard Armitage, now U.S. Deputy Secretary of State (October 2000), called on Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense.

The report said that Japan should send its Self-Defense Forces abroad to participate in U.S. wars under the Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation Guidelines as well as expand areas of cooperation to include the U.S. missile defense initiative.

Nakatani made these remarks to U.S. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld not just as a casual idea; he faithfully represented the Koizumi Cabinet which is faithful to U.S. strategy.

We must face up to this real danger

Prime Minister Koizumi argues that Japan should exercise the right to collective self-defense and that the Constitution's Article 9 be removed to enable Japan to do so on the grounds that the need is for Japan to act with the U.S. when the latter is attacked.

What the Koizumi Cabinet is doing in the name of "reforms" is to involve Japan in U.S. military strategy which has aroused strong opposition internationally. It is something which even the past Liberal Democratic Party governments could not do.

We must raise the alarm about the dangerous aim of the Koizumi Cabinet's plan and prevent Japan from taking part in the outrageous military program which is clearly unconstitutional. (end)