Japan's defense report maintains U.S. war mongering mentality -- Akahata editorial, July 8

The first "Defense of Japan" report under the Koizumi Cabinet has been published.

The two months of the Koizumi government have revealed that its basic stance is one of considering foreign policy issues in the context of war, and giving priority to military alliances.

Modeled after U.S. report

The danger of this position was clearly shown by the recent Japan-U.S. summit talks.

No prime minister of past Liberal Democratic Party governments in Japan-U.S. summit talks has ever complained about a lack of public understanding regarding the significance of the U.S. Forces stationed in Japan and their role or pledged to a U.S. president to work to get the people to correctly understand it.

These remarks arise from the government's notion that peace in Asia is maintained by the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty and the U.S. Forces, and reflect its complete confidence in the military alliance and military force system.

This will lead to the logic that it is reasonable for Japan to maintain U.S. military bases and will force Okinawans to endure the continuing pain to accept the bases.

This year's defense report has the dangerous hallmark of the Koizumi government and LDP politics of being exclusively concerned with military responses to U.S. instructions.

Take its view of the situation in Asia, for example.

Recently, significant changes took place in Asia, including the moves toward increasing dialogue and cooperation between North Korea and South Korea since last year's summit talks. Another is for the peaceful and negotiated settlement of disputes with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) at its center.

Completely ignoring the significance of these changes, the defense report is absorbed in describing the world situation as obscure and uncertain.

It states that the end of the Cold War has unexpectedly given rise to factors of instability and to lowered predictability. It says that therefore it is all the more important to make the regional stability functions centered on military force, namely, the bilateral alliance with the U.S. centered on the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, operate effectively.

The defense report puts stress on the discussion of the "right to collective self-defense," which was started by the Koizumi Cabinet, and the position of Japan's government which stated understanding of the U.S. Bush Administration's "missile defense" plan immediately after it was announced.

To start a discussion of allowing Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense, which past governments have regarded as unconstitutional, means that Japan will join forces with the U.S. in wars in Asia or elsewhere.

Why does the Koizumi Cabinet take such a stance, which is against the constitutional principle and has nothing to do with Japan's defense?

What the defense report fails to explain is that it shares the same view with the Institute for National Strategic Studies report, which was published last fall by Richard L. Armitage, now U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, and other experts.

The report states that "the uncertainties of the post-Cold War regional setting require a more dynamic approach to bilateral defense planning," and calls on Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense and extend cooperation with the U.S. on its missile defense project.

What Japan should do as an Asian nation

In Asia, there is a major current for peace, one of rejecting military alliances and nuclear weapons, tolerating no authoritarian rule by the big powers, and calling for negotiated settlements of international disputes. U.S.-trained warmongers seem to be unable to see this major current. How disheartening it is to see Japan, a member of the Asian community of nations, stay far outside the Asian current.

A new possibility for Asian peace can only be developed, not by cutting ties of solidarity with other Asian nations, but by strengthening friendship and cooperation with them.

It is time for Japan to shift from a position subservient to the U.S. and in favor of military solutions to one of developing independent foreign relations with other Asian nations. (end)