Realignment of U.S. forces in Japan will help in U.S. preemptive attacks abroad -- Akahata editorial, July 18

Senior defense and foreign affairs officials from the Japanese and U.S. governments discussed the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan.

The United States reportedly has tabled plans to integrate the Guam-based U.S. Air Force Command at the U.S. Yokota Air Base in Tokyo, to relocate the U.S. 1st Army Corps command to Zama Base in Kanagawa, and relocate the Atsugi-based carrier-borne aircraft forces to Iwakuni in Yamaguchi.

These are plans for the U.S. Forces in Japan to use Japan not only as a logistic base but also as a stronghold for command and action in the Asia-Pacific region.

The plans are also designed to further bind Japan and the United States together through a relocation of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces' combat operation center to Yokota and to relocate the U.S. Marines in Okinawa to the mainland in order to facilitate joint U.S. Forces in Japan and Japan's Self-Defense Forces exercises.

Arrangements to fight wars

U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in his recent Congressional testimony referred to the role of allies as one of the key policy themes concerning realignment of U.S. forces abroad, stressing the need for the ability to deploy troops and materials anywhere in the world they are needed.

Even today, fighter-bombers from the U.S. Misawa Air base in Japan are killing Afghan people, and the Yokosuka-based aircraft carrier and its aircraft are bombing Iraqis. Recently, the Okinawa-based U.S. Marines deployed in Iraq were responsible for a massacre in Fallujah.

What is the United States expecting from the U.S. Forces in Japan and U.S. bases in Japan?

The so-called transformation of U.S. forces is ostensibly aimed at realigning and reducing U.S. forces in line with post-Cold War needs.

However, Japan seems to be an exception. Neither withdrawal nor reduction is planned for the U.S. Yokota Base in metropolitan Tokyo and the U.S. Yokosuka Naval Base at the gateway to Tokyo Bay. What is worse, the United States wants to use U.S. bases in Japan to function as command posts to control the Asia-Pacific region.

Is Japan such an easy tool for the U.S. forces to handle?

After referring to relations between countries and the deployment of forces as preconditions for reorganization, the U.S. secretary of defense stressed the need to update the legal arrangement set up about 50 years ago to be adjusted to the present reality.

While under U.S. occupation after its defeat in the Second World War, Japan was forced to conclude a Security Treaty with the United States. Under the present revised Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, Japan has been forced to take part in joint military operations with U.S. forces. Japan has adopted with the United States the "New Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation" with the aim of taking part in U.S. wars outside of Japan. Japan has gone so far as to enact a set of contingency laws in order to implement what the "Guidelines" dictate. The United States is asking Japan to be faithful in carrying out these "Guidelines" and serve as a core stronghold for U.S. preemptive attacks.

All this clearly shows how harmful it is for Japan to be governed by the Liberal Democratic Party or to be oriented by two major party politics, both of which are deeply bound by the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty setup.

Today, many countries are withdrawing or planning to withdraw their troops from the Iraq quagmire. This shows that an overwhelming majority of the world's countries reject U.S. hegemonism.

Specifically, Asian countries are very critical of Japan for its moves to become a major military power in conjunction with U.S. preemptive strike wars.

The Iraq War is a war waged by the United States for continued global domination. How can Japan be allowed to renege on the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution and mobilize the public and national resources for such a war? As much as 60 percent of Japanese are in opposition to the revision of Article 9.

We don't need either the treaty or bases

Okinawans and residents near U.S. bases are angrily demanding that these bases be reduced or withdrawn. The reported plan of realignment of U.S. military bases in Japan could face strong public protest.

The wish that Japan must be a peaceful nation in accordance with the pacifist Constitution is shared by the great majority of the Japanese people as well as the peoples of the world.

We must say 'No' to U.S. war plans that will use Japan as a forward base for attack. In order to eliminate such war plans, we must make efforts to get the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty abrogated and U.S. military bases removed from Japan. Let's join hands with the Japanese Communist Party toward making a peaceful Japan and world. (end)

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