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Japan-U.S. Security Treaty keeps hindering peace in Asia and world
Forty-five years have passed since the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty was revised. Pushing aside strong public opposition, the Kishi Cabinet and the Liberal Democratic Party in the House of Representatives on May 20, 1960 single-handedly approved the revision. The treaty came into effect with the exchange of ratifications on June 23.
Under the treaty, the United States is granted the use by its armed forces of bases in Japan (Article 6), the U.S. forces and the Japanese Self-Defense Forces will take joint action in the event of an emergency (Article 5), and Japan and the United States will cooperate with each other in the economic field (Article 2).
How extraordinary it is for Japan 60 years after the end of WWII to continue to allow U.S. forces to keep 88 bases throughout the country. What is more, the Japan-U.S. military alliance has been expanded to include Japan's participation in U.S. preemptive wars. The task now is to seriously examine whether Japan should maintain the Japan-U.S. security Treaty as it is.
Japan joining U.S. wars abroad
Using the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty as the legal framework, the United States used Japan as a foothold for its war of aggression against Vietnam. It has further developed a mechanism to involve the SDF in U.S. wars.
The Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation provide a set of mechanisms for the SDF to take part in U.S. wars in "areas surrounding Japan", extending to all of Asia and the Pacific.
The U.S. Bush administration even plans to have the SDF participate in actions in response to contingencies outside of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty's areas of responsibility. At the U.S. beck and call, the Koizumi government sent the SDF abroad for the U.S. retaliatory war against Afghanistan and the U.S. war against Iraq. The SDF gave logistic support and participated with multinational forces to assist in these U.S. wars in gross violation of the Constitution and even in contravention of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty. Article 5 of the treaty providing for Japan-U.S. joint operations is about the defense of Japan and does not serve as the basis for sending troops to Iraq. Prime Minister Koizumi on January 21, 2004 said that he sent the troops to Iraq because he puts importance on the Japan-U.S. alliance. This clearly shows that the action was outrageous in that it even transgresses the provisions of the Security Treaty and stretches its interpretation to extremes.
The U.S. and Japanese governments' plan to realign the U.S. forces in Japan is aimed at establishing the U.S. Bush administration's global operational setup to promote preemptive wars by mobilizing its allies. Based on the notion that Japan and the United States are allies, Japan will be mobilized for world contingencies after abandoning its war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution. How can we allow this to take place?
U.S. bases in Japan pose increasingly serious problems. Incidents and accidents caused by U.S. forces in Japan, including aircraft crashes, aircraft carrier aircraft's night landing practices (NLPs), and low-altitude flight exercises are increasing. In Okinawa, U.S. soldiers' crimes and environmental pollution are putting residents at risk. In Okinawa and elsewhere in Japan, an increasing number of people are raising their voices in opposition to the reinforcement and perpetuation of U.S. bases in Japan, calling for the bases to be closed and withdrawn.
The Japan-U.S. Security Treaty that actually harms Japan's security must be abolished.
For Japan's peaceful future
Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro's Yasukuni Shrine visits are pouring cold water on Japan's relations with the rest of Asia. It's clear that his Yasukuni Shrine visits are causing aggravation because it's an act of justifying the war of aggression. He nevertheless continues to refuse to give up such visits. Why? Koizumi's policy of remaking the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty into one of covering the whole world by establishing a war mobilization system, is increasing Asian countries' suspicions and anxieties over the issue.
In the recent talks with Koizumi, South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun stated that there is a nation as a South Korean neighbor that glorifies the past war and war heroes, that holds major economic and military power, and that for a nation that has been violated many times by the neighboring country, it is natural for the Korean people to be concerned about future relations with this neighbor.
Japan should not support strengthening the military alliance and building up its military forces. Let's make full use of the constitutional principle of peace and develop friendly relations with other Asian countries. This is the only way to maintain the peace in Japan and Asia.
- Akahata, June 23, 2005
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