Non-Aligned Movement and the Role of Japan

The following is an abridged text of a speech by Ogata Yasuo, Japanese
Communist Party International Bureau director and member of the House of
Councilors, at the "International Symposium on the Non-Aligned Movement for
development of this movement - Respect for National Sovereignty, Peace,
Solution of Hunger and Poverty," held in Tokyo on September 15:

This symposium is being held in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of
the Non-Aligned Movement. The first historic Summit Conference of
Non-Aligned Countries was held in Belgrade in 1961, formally introducing the
Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) to world politics. The forerunner of NAM was the
Asian Relations Conference, held in New Delhi in 1947. I recollect various
subsequent activities and joint efforts by leaders like Nehru, Nasser, Tito
and Sukarno. The idea of NAM was first articulated at the Bandung Conference
in 1955, as is referred to repeatedly in various documents of the Summit
Conferences of Non-Aligned Countries.

The Non-Aligned Movement appeared, immediately after World War II, as a
movement for world peace, national self-determination and a just world
order, both politically and economically. Since the first Summit Conference,
it has continued to uphold the elimination of nuclear weapons and struggle
against military alliances. With its nearly half century history and its
vitality, NAM has developed into an extremely important tide in actual
international politics by overcoming various problems and twists and turns,
including conflicts or even wars between the Non-Aligned countries. Its aims
and principles, established in the past Summit Conferences, have made a
major contribution to world peace and social progress. Moreover, they are
now established rules, as is shown in the various resolutions of the United
Nations, to govern international relations.

The Non-Aligned Movement came into being, grew and matured as national
liberation movements advanced and colonial systems collapsed. Today, of 189
UN member countries with a total population of 6 billion, 115 countries of
diverse political situations with 3.3 billion people are official members of
the Non-Aligned Movement, plus 15 observer countries, including China.

One of my foreign friends expressed his pleasant surprise when he learned
about this symposium, asking why an organization in Japan, the world's
second largest economic power accounting for 15% of the world economy,
should organize a conference on the subject of Non-Alignment. His surprise
was a reflection of the fact that NAM has no developed capitalist country as
an official member. Here I take up the prospect of the participation of
Japan, a highly developed capitalist country, in the Non-Aligned Movement
and its significance, domestically as well as internationally.

This is the 50th year of the conclusion of the Japan-U.S. Security
Treaty. To "abrogate the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty in the early stage of
the 21st century and make Japan a country free from foreign troops and
foreign bases" is an important part of the JCP's plan to remake Japan.
Yokota Air Base is located in the middle of Tokyo, the capital of Japan, and
the U.S. Navy base which is the homeport for the U.S. Seventh Fleet is in
Yokosuka near Tokyo. In Okinawa the U.S. bases are concentrated in densely
populated areas. There are some 130 U.S. bases throughout the country and
the area occupied by those bases has doubled to 100,000 hectares in the last
20 years. The number of U.S. troops remains at the level of 54,000. You can
see a big difference from the situation in Europe where a substantial
reduction has taken place in the number of U.S. military bases as well as
U.S. troops.

In the Gulf War and other cases of U.S. military interference, the U.S.
troops were sent from Japan. The new "Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense
Cooperation," agreed upon in 1997, have made the situation even more serious
because it has built a system for concerted interference by the U.S. and
Japan on a global scale. With this background, low flying exercises and
night landing practices in densely populated areas continue, which are
prohibited on the U.S. mainland and in its allied countries. The damage from
the military alliance is becoming more and more serious.

The JCP stands against the politics of the Liberal Democratic Party
(LDP), which tries to continue this abnormal situation for Japan to be "a
country structured on U.S. military bases." We have also proposed the policy
to get free from the military alliance by abrogating the Japan-U.S. Security
Treaty and join the Non-Aligned Countries Conference as a non-aligned,
neutral country. The JCP is the only political party in Japan with a
prospect to make Japan non-aligned and to participate in the Non-Aligned
Summit Conference. We have always stood fast to this policy since we
proposed it in the "Democratic Coalition Government Program" adopted at the
12th JCP Congress in 1973.

This course will open up a grand prospect to produce big changes in
Japan's relations with the U.S., Asia and the world, which in turn will
enable Japan to take a foreign policy for peace and social progress, a
foreign policy we need in the 21st century. It is greatly significant for
the following reasons:

First, by freeing Japan from the threat of being involved in and
mobilized for U.S. wars, it will improve Japan's security significantly.
Second, we can be set free from the course of isolation in the world in
subordination to the U.S., and establish equal relations with the U.S. to
promote independent diplomacy in pursuit of world peace. Third, we can
establish new relations based on friendship and cooperation with Asian
countries which are mostly members of the Non-Aligned Summit Conference.
Fourth, the Japanese government, which is now labeled as one of the
pro-nuclear weapons forces because of its full support of the U.S. nuclear
policies in spite of its being the only A-bombed nation in the world, will
be able to stand at the forefront of the struggle for the elimination of
nuclear weapons, as is expected of a country with traditions of struggles
for Non-Alignment and anti-nuclear peace. Fifth, it will reinforce the
conditions to defend the peace principles of the Constitution, namely,
renunciation of war and armed forces.

If Japan, one of the two constituent countries of the Japan-U.S. military
alliance, which is as important as NATO, takes the course of Non-Alignment
and neutrality, its international influences will be beyond our prediction,
both politically and economically. The participation of Japan in the
Non-Aligned Summit Conference as a developed capitalist country, will show
that the Non-Aligned Movement has universal validity and merit for all
countries. It will be an epoch-making event for NAM to achieve a development
of new dimensions.

Recently the Bush administration is strengthening its hegemonic policy to
give the U.S. national interest absolute priority, disregarding the rules
established by the United Nations and other international organizations. It
expects Japan to be the most obedient and reliable supporter of this
strategy. This new situation urges the progressive and democratic forces in
Japan to fight more ardently for a non-nuclear, non-aligned and neutral
Japan, with emphasis on joining in the Non-Aligned Movement.

When we give thought to the roots of the Non-Aligned Movement, we always
keep in mind that the idea originated in South Asia where people fought
against the war of aggression by the Japanese Imperial Army. The JCP had
been outlawed since its foundation in 1922 until the end of World War II in
1945, and had fought against Japanese militarism, Japan's war of aggression
and its colonial system. The same JCP is now working to develop in Japan the
idea and policy of non-alignment which is in line with its own past
struggle, and direct Japan's future course to peace and progress. This whole
process of events is of double significance and, therefore, symbolic.

The JCP is not yet a party to government, but as an opposition party, we
have embarked on various activities to promote cooperation with the
Non-Aligned Movement. In the spring of 1976, shortly before the Fifth Summit
Conference in Colombo (August 1976), the party's delegation visited Algeria
and Yugoslavia to have talks on the subject of the Non-Aligned Movement. I
was in the delegation as an interpreter. We exchanged opinions with Algerian
President Boumediene for a little over one hour, the time the president
needed to finish a cigar. The president highly evaluated the JCP's stance on
the Non-Aligned Movement. He said:

During and after the national liberation movement we had received great
support from the Japanese people. we express our respect to the Japanese
people for their concern about the Non-Aligned Movement and their effort to
seek the proper commitment to it.

I still remember him saying that he would tell other summit members that
a communist party outside the government in a capitalist country had special
interest in the Non-Aligned Movement and that the Non-Aligned Movement had
produced such moves beyond the Movement.

Democratic forces in Japan have a great interest in the Non-Aligned
Movement in the context of a democratic Japan as well as world politics.
AALA ( sent delegations with observer status to the 11th Conference in
Cartagena (Columbia) in 1995 and to the 12th in Durban (South Africa) in
1998 as preliminary activities for official admission. We are proud of these

In the recent diplomatic activity which the JCP has carried out as an
opposition party, we have had many occasions where we realized the
significance of non-alignment and the importance of such a policy. We are
increasingly convinced that the JCP policy with emphasis on non-alignment
and its proposal for remaking Japan from this viewpoint is right in an
international perspective, responding to the expectations of people in the
world who hope for peace and progress.

In September 1999 the party's delegation, headed by then Presidium
Chairman Tetsuzo Fuwa, visited three ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian
Nations) countries, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam, and had talks with
leaders of these governments and the ruling parties. While we have
long-standing relations with Vietnam, they were the first conversations with
Malaysia and Singapore. Just before the visit, Malaysia had overcome the
currency crisis by rejecting the interference of the IMF and adopting its
own economic and currency policies. So we could have a good discussion on
the future course of Asia and Japan, including such issues as independence
in nation-building, settlement of conflicts with dialogues, elimination of
nuclear weapons, and efforts for realization of a nuclear-free zone in
Southeast Asia. It was at a time when ASEAN had just realized participation
of all 10 countries in the region and set out towards a new phase of its
development. We could feel their high spirits and ambitions very acutely. In
other words, since all the ASEAN countries are also members of the
Non-Aligned Movement, it convinced us that non-alignment was the source of
their ambitious and active policies, such as the peace policies to settle
conflicts by dialogues and the policies for democratic reforms of the
economy in opposition to globalization. Like the organizational rules of the
Non-Aligned Movement, ASEAN adopts the rule of consensus. It certainly
contributes to securing their solidarity.

More recently, I attended as an observer from the Japanese Dietmembers'
delegation to the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Organization General Assembly
held in Singapore in September last year. There again I saw, if not always
referred to explicitly, the non-alignment policy lying behind all the
proceedings and I was very pleased about it.

The Organization of African Unity (OAU) founded in 1963 has adopted, as a
natural course of its development, non-alignment as its basic policy. ASEAN
was founded in 1967. At that time there were vast U.S. military bases in the
Philippines and Thailand and the armed forces of both countries took part in
the Vietnam war waged by the U.S. They overcame such difficult conditions
and ejected the foreign military bases from their territories. In this, I
could see ASEAN's self-confidence and pride based on the growing solidarity
among them.

The Non-Aligned Movement has always placed importance on the issue of
nuclear weapons since its foundation. Here I would like to touch on the
connections between the Non-Aligned Movement and the World Conference
Against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs, a conference with a long history, hosted
every year by the Japan Council Against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs (Japan
Gensuikyo) and other anti-nuclear, democratic forces in Japan. This year I
was involved in the conference as a member of the Committee of Chairpersons.
The conference, held this August, can be characterized by the fact that it
was a success thanks to the cooperation between the governments of the
Non-Aligned Movement member countries and the various Non-Governmental
Organizations (NGOs) from Japan and the rest of the world. The World
Conference Against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs demonstrated the wide and
strong current of world politics: the elimination of nuclear weapons, an
issue of key importance for world politics (you may think of the UN First
Resolution), to which the Non-Aligned Movement has attached much importance
from the beginning.

Last year's conference was participated in by the representatives of the
governments of Thailand and Sweden. But this year, Malaysia's UN ambassador,
who is playing an active role in drafting the resolutions for the
elimination of nuclear weapons and nuclear disarmament, in the bureau
meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement and the UN, attended the conference,
along with the representatives of the governments of Bangladesh, South
Africa and Zimbabwe. The prime ministers of Sweden, Thailand and New
Zealand, and the presidents of Brazil and South Africa sent heartfelt
messages of solidarity.

This year's conference reconfirmed as a great achievement the agreement
reached in May last year by the NPT Review Conference: "an unequivocal
undertaking by the nuclear-weapon States to accomplish the total elimination
of their nuclear arsenals" committed to by all the states concerned
including the U.S. Then it unanimously criticized the Bush administration,
inaugurated this past January, for attempting to destroy the agreement by
proposing its "Missile Defense Initiative." It adopted a resolution to step
up the movements for the elimination of nuclear weapons at the level of
international politics as well as NGOs. I spent one week in Hiroshima and
Nagasaki to attend the conference. When the representatives of the
governments and NGOs declared with one voice that today's task for the
movement for the elimination of nuclear weapons is to demand fulfillment of
the promise to abolish nuclear weapons agreed to by all the countries, and
corner those countries who resist it by concentrating criticism on them, I
was, quite naturally, deeply touched.

One government representative remarked:

In this unique and the world's largest conference where the NGOs and
government representatives work together, all the participants uttered the
same words. The report of the Japanese representatives not only spoke for
the Japanese people. We, who represented the governments of foreign
countries, could also agree on the arguments in the report.

This comment encouraged the Movement Against A and H Bombs, which has
achieved today's position after going through hard times.

As the government-based movements, the Non-Aligned Movement and New
Agenda Coalition made a major contribution to the success of the conference.
Of the seven New Agenda Coalition countries, Egypt and South Africa are
official members, Brazil and Mexico are observers and Sweden, Ireland and
New Zealand are guest countries of the Non-Aligned Movement. When you add
Malaysia, Thailand and Bangladesh which are all very active in the
Non-Aligned Movement, the cooperation between NGOs and the Non-Aligned
governments stands out as an important factor of the success of the

Here I express the hope and prospect that when the JCP and Japanese NGOs
act and speak for the Japanese government in the future, it will act the way
a government of a victim country of atomic bombs should act: it will take
initiatives in eliminating nuclear weapons, encourage anti-nuclear peace
movements throughout the world, and accomplish great progress on this issue
in international politics.

The JCP has carried out its own diplomacy with the Non-Aligned Movement
in view. At the 22nd Congress, held last November, the JCP formulated four
policies Japan should take in its diplomacy as follows:

(1) when working on conflicts, we give priority to peaceful settlement by
means of dialogues over a military approach. We stand firm for the
international order for peace stipulated in the UN Charter. (2) Japan being
an Asian country, we will change the U.S.- and Summit-oriented foreign
policy to one with Asian relations at the core. (3) Instead of being
subservient to the U.S. or any other major power, we will conduct
independent diplomacy that represents the Japanese people and appeal to the
world by means of reason. (4) We clearly announce our reflection on Japan's
wars of aggression and colonial rule in the past and will make it a basis of
foreign policy with Asian countries.

This summer, Prime Minister Koizumi from the LDP visited Yasukuni Shrine
which is dedicated to the war dead, including Class-A war criminals, and the
government gave official approval to a textbook which justifies the wars of
aggression, which created serious problems with Korea, China and other Asian
countries. There is no prospect of these problems being solved in the
foreseeable future. Fifty-six years have passed since the end of World War
II, but neither the Japanese government nor the LDP has ever reflected
properly on the wars of aggression or clarified their war responsibilities.
That is why we placed the issue as the fourth of the four policies in
Japan's diplomacy towards Asia. At the summit talks between the JCP and the
Communist Party of China in 1998, then JCP Presidium Chairman Tetsuzo Fuwa
proposed "Five Principles for Japan-China Relations," including "Japan
reflects severely on its war of aggression." That they are effective and
important for relations with other Asian countries has been demonstrated in

We pay special attention to the Non-Aligned Summit Conference, scheduled
to be held in Bangladesh next spring, and pray for its success. The
principles and aims of the Non-Aligned Movement have proven right and
dynamic in international politics. Upholding the major agendas of today's
world, such as no involvement in military blocs, no foreign military bases,
and realization of the elimination of nuclear weapons, it has exerted
influential force to change the course of history. I have no doubt about
this political course increasing its significance in the 21st century. In
order to perform our responsibilities to strengthen the political influence
of the Non-Aligned Movement further, we will move forward to political
changes in Japan so that it can join the Non-Aligned Movement. (end)