Shii: No U.S. base strengthening on the pretext of realignment

Following is the gist of Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo's remarks at the JCP symposium held on May 7 in Zama City to discuss U.S. bases in Japan:

The presence of the U.S. military bases as they are in Japan is extraordinary. Huge U.S. bases are located in Yokota, Atsugi, and other densely populated metropolitan areas. Japan is the only country that permanently hosts U.S. strike forces made up of aircraft carries and the Marines.

What the U.S. is doing in the name of military "transformation" is to strengthen the "strike force" capability of the four forces, the army, the air force, the navy. and the marines, along with the strengthening of the command function that controls the four forces.

The U.S. Navy has a plan for forward deployment of two aircraft-carriers in the Pacific. In fact, the two aircraft-carrier setup started when the Carl Vinson frequently called at Yokosuka via the Sea of Japan after the Kitty Hawk left Yokosuka to take part in the Iraq war.

The Marines and the Navy form an expeditionary strike team. The assault landing ship Essex, virtually home-ported at Sasebo, carried the Okinawa-based Marines' 31st expeditionary unit to fight in Iraq.

The U.S. Air Force has an air and space expeditionary team consisting of air wings at the U.S. Misawa and Kadena air bases. They participated in air strikes against Baghdad and other Iraqi cities.

In this context, relocating the U.S. Army 1st Corps to Camp Zama from Washington State will have serious consequences.

First, it means that the command of the strike forces called "Stryker Brigade Combat Team," which is being organized, will move to Zama.

Secondly, the command to be relocated to Zama will not only command the U.S. Army in Japan but is supposed to command the entire U.S. Forces in Japan. There is the danger that the command will cover the strike force made up of the four forces including the Marines.

How can we stop these moves and create a U.S. military base-free Japan?

First, it is necessary to develop the movement in opposition to any new base construction that will perpetuate bases in Japan. Putting a focus on this point can overcome differences. The struggle is advancing in Okinawa and Kanagawa, with local governments taking part in it. The JCP will join in this struggle.

The fundamental solution is to abolish the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty. In the world today, military alliances are about to be either dissolved, made dysfunctional, or weakened. Movements of peace and rejection of the idea of creating an hypothetical enemy have become widespread. Only the Japanese government is enthusiastic about maintaining the U.S. military alliance and strengthening the U.S. military bases. Our struggle is in accordance with the world's mainstream for the future. -Akahata May 9, 2005

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