Use of U.S. bases in Japan for striking Iraq must not be tolerated --Akahata editorial, September 25 (excerpts)

The U.S. forces in Japan are intensifying their war preparations in conjunction with the U.S. Bush administration's increasing moves toward a strike against Iraq.

The U.S. aircraft carrier battle group now taking part in the retaliatory war against Afghanistan is on standby to be redeployed for a war against Iraq.

At U.S. Kadena Air Base in Okinawa and U.S. Misawa Air Base in Aomori pilots, are engaging in the so-called "enforcement of the no-fly zone" exercises which was unilaterally set up in Iraqi territory by the United States and Britain.

No one can deny that these moves of the U.S. Forces in Japan are the source of U.S. F-15 fighter jet crashes, emergency landings of U.S. aircraft, and other accidents, as well as a sharp increase in the number of crimes by U.S. personnel.

Danger of Japan assisting U.S. war

The U.S. forces are stepping up preparations for a full-scale war in the Middle East. In this war, U.S. bases in Japan are expected to play a key role because U.S. aircraft and warships will take action from these bases.

Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro has said he 'understands' the U.S. Bush administration's preemptive strike policy, thus failing to say "no" to the U.S. plan to strike Iraq. The unrestricted use of Japan by the United States as a stepping stone for its worldwide interventionism is based on such tacit approval of the Japanese government.

"The U.S. National Security Strategy 2002" report notes Japan's "unprecedented levels of military logistical support" in the fight against terrorism.

The U.S. government is urging Japan to maintain the role in the framework of the Japan-U.S. military alliance which it regards as a cornerstone of U.S. global strategy. The Koizumi Cabinet is responding favorably to U.S. President Bush's request that Japan play its part as its ally in supporting U.S. strikes against Iraq.

Now, Bush's unilateral war policy against Iraq is facing severe international criticism. Notwithstanding this, the Japanese government is willing to give the U.S. forces freedom to use Japan as their logistical base for a war that will kill many thousands of innocent Iraqi people. We cannot assist such a war that will damage Japan's close relations with Middle East and Asian countries.

The war against Iraq, if made, will rather increase hatred toward the U.S. and danger in the United States. But the danger is not for the U.S. alone.

Just after 9/11, the U.S. forces in Japan tightened security at base gates with machine guns against possible terrorist attacks on their bases.

We oppose allowing the U.S. Bush administration to freely use their bases in Japan for their unilateral attempt to destroy the world peace. We will never tolerate Japanese soil to be used for war that will certainly involve the people in a great danger.

We will keep on saying, "No" to strikes against Iraq and to U.S. military bases in Japan. (end)