Peace activists from S. Korea, Philippines, U.S., and Japan discuss anti-U.S. base solidarity

In an international symposium held on November 19 and 20 as part of the Japan Peace Conference 2004 in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, participants discussed ways to develop international solidarity in the struggle against U.S. military bases around the world.

Speaking about the U.S. global military base network being expanded based on the 21st century framework of U.S. global domination, Joseph Gerson (American Friends Service Committee, U.S.A.) warned that the U.S. military realignment in Japan and the adverse revision of the Japanese Constitution will accelerate the U.S. global strategy.

Koh Ji-Seon (Green Korea United, ROK) said that the U.S. military realignment in South Korea is replacing outdated U.S. army bases with the increased presence of the U.S. Air Force and Marine Corps. Korean people's opposition to the use of South Korean tax money for U.S. military base relocations and the plan to expand U.S. bases is developing.

Herbert Dosena (Focus on the Global South, Philippines) proposed that the peace movement in Japan and the rest of the world expose the facts of the brutal Iraq war waged by military forces of the U.S. and its allies. He also stressed the importance of efforts to get rid of U.S. bases all over the world.

Chisaka Jun, Japan Peace Committee secretary general, reported on U.S. bases in Japan being used as a stepping stone for U.S. attacks on Iraq. Pointing out the increasing damage caused by U.S. bases and the growing public opposition to the Iraq war, he called for a struggle to demand the withdrawal of the Self-Defense Forces from Iraq and to stop the revision of the adverse revision of the Constitution.

International symposium panelists issue statement

After the International Symposium (Nov. 19-20) the four panelists,
Joseph Gerson (American Friends Service Committee), Koh Jison (Green Korea United), Herbert Docena (Focus on the Global South), and Jun Chisaka (Japan Peace Committee) (*) issued the following statement:

1. Participating as panelists in the International Symposium of the Japan Peace Conference with a theme: “International Solidarity against U.S. Bases in the World – Down with the Dangerous U.S. Strategy, For a Peaceful Asia” (19-20 November, 2004, Sasebo City, Nagasaki, Japan), we express our determination to develop international cooperation in opposition to the outrageous U.S. aggression and occupation of Iraq in pursuit of hegemony and in calling for the establishment of a world order for peace and justice based on the U.N. Charter, as well as in the struggle against U.S. foreign bases that support this strategy.

2. Immediately after the U.S. presidential election, the Bush administration began an all-out attack on Fallujah to increase its military control over Iraq. U.S. forces' attacks on hospitals and other acts of killing many innocent citizens must not condoned in light of international law. We join with the world's people in condemning with one voice these criminal acts.

These U.S. acts to increase its military rule over Iraq will only exacerbate the situation in Iraq as clear from the escalation of armed clashes. We renew our demand that the U.S. forces immediately end their military action and that all foreign troops withdraw from Iraq.

With criticism of the U.S. brutal activities mounting, the Bush administration is being further isolated. However strong the military power is, the public cannot back off. We believe that rejection of unilateralism and calls for international cooperation in the multilateral effort to achieve a peaceful world order based on the U.S. Charter should be the mainstream in the present-day world.

3. The US policy of aggression and war is supported by global deployment of its military forces and bases abroad. U.S. military deployment throughout the world are forcing residents of host countries to endure enormous sufferings, causing many accidents and crimes as well as environmental destruction. They are also hampering the development of local economies and destroying local communities and their cultural heritage. This is why movements and public awareness in opposition to U.S. bases are increasing throughout the world.

In Asia, residents are rising in action in Japan, Okinawa included, in South Korea, the Philippines, and in Australia. In Europe, where the reinforcement of U.S. bases is a major issue particularly in Eastern and Southern Europe, new efforts are being made as shown by the conference on military bases held as part of the European Social Forum 2004 (London) and by the Scandinavian-wide meeting organized by the Swedish Peace Council. In Latin America, too, opposition to joint military exercises with the U.S. as well as the increased U.S. military access to the region is increasing.

4. The U.S. administration is carrying out its global military realignment. While reducing some foreign military deployment, the United States is reinforcing its stepping stones in Britain, Japan's Okinawa, and Guam, and strengthening its “Forward Operating Bases” in South Korea and some others regions. With this, it aims to establish a posture to carry out wars of aggression effectively and swiftly. For the people of host nations of such stronghold bases, such a plan only means shifting the already unbearable burden onto them. Thus this realignment plan will inevitably face strong protests from people fighting against the adverse effects of U.S. military bases. In addition, the ongoing “realignment” intends to incorporate U.S. allies deeper into its strategy as we witness in the plan to integrate the US forces with Japan’s Self-defense Forces. This means that the struggle for dissolution of military alliances is even more important for peace of countries that are bound by military alliances and the rest of the world.

5. Affirming what we stated above, we place importance on developing the following actions in protest against the US policy of aggression and war, and for the defense of peace and security of all peoples as well as people's well-being and rights.

- Oppose U.S. occupation of Iraq and demand the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Iraq. Work to increase public awareness in favor of a world order for peace and justice based on the U.N. Charter.

- Develop campaigns on national, regional, and international levels, in opposition to the expansion, reinforcement, and perpetuation of U.S. bases on foreign soil, and calling for the eradication of damage from U.S. military bases, a halt to base functions, and the closure and ultimate removal of them.

- Strengthen solidarity with peoples and local governments that have serious problems with U.S. bases in Okinawa, Pyoung Tek, Guantanamo, and Diego Garcia, and elsewhere; support the struggle against the construction of a new US base in the sea off the Henoko district of Nago and for the closure of the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station in Okinawa.

- Increase international anti-U.S. base activities to bring the coming World Social Forum (Porto-Alegre, January 26-31, 2005) to success and the NO U.S. BASE network.

- Demand the revision of Status of Forces Agreements which give U.S. forces extraterritorial privilege, and work to increase public awareness for the ultimate dissolution of military alliances with the United States.

- Work to bring success to the 2005 World Conference against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs (August 2005, Hiroshima & Nagasaki) as well as various actions to be held during the NPT Review Conference (May 2005, New York) in order to make the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki a milestone in the struggle to get nuclear weapons abolished in solidarity with the world's anti-nuclear movements.

- Support and extend solidarity with the Japanese movement against the adverse revision of the Japanese Constitution, in particular the war-renouncing Article 9, which is being planned in tandem with the further reinforcement of the U.S.-Japan military alliance.

- Express solidarity with U.S. people struggling for peace, justice, and democracy and in opposition to the war, plutocracy, theocracy, and authoritarianism.

We do hope that these objectives of our movement be shared by many people and that many more people will join us in these actions. (Translated from the Japanese text by Japan Press Service.)

(*The name of the organization is for identification purpose only.) (end)

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