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GSDF soldiers in landing exercises trained by U.S. Marines on U.S. West Coast

The Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force for the first time took part in joint assault landing exercises that took place during January 9-27 at a U.S. West Coast beach with U.S. Marine Corps instructors.

The GSDF explains that this training is aimed at enabling the GSDF to carry out amphibious landings. This means that the Japanese army wants to drastically improve its preparedness to take part in U.S. wars abroad.

On a beach at the Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, San Diego, California, 125 JGSDF soldiers joined the landing training exercise called "Iron Fist."

The local newspaper San Diego-Union Tribune on January 9 wrote that the training "is meant to warn China that Japan can retake a small island should one be captured." Okinawa's local paper Ryukyu-Shimpo of December 21, 2005 said that the practice assumed China's invasion of Japan's Southwest islands off Okinawa.

The December 2004 National Defense Program Outline emphasized that Japan must deal with a possible invasion of Japan's small islands, while regarding that the possibility of a major invasion of Japan has been decreased. The defense program called for Japan to continue to pay attention to China's moves, and actually treated China as the hypothetical enemy.

Also, Defense Agency Director General Nukaga Fukushiro stated in November 2005 that the SDF will be committed if the U.S. intervenes in a China-Taiwan dispute. Foreign Minister Aso Taro said in December 2005 that China is becoming a military threat to Japan.

If Japan continues to regard China as the hypothetical enemy, it will strain the Japan-China relations which have already been undermined by Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro's Yasukuni Shrine visits.

The Koizumi Cabinet must stop attempts to increase military tensions between Japan and China that add fuel to bilateral antagonism.

This exercise is serious in that it is designed to implement the Bush administration's plan to globally realign U.S. forces. Under the U.S. preemptive strike strategy, Japan and the United States are putting greater emphasis on joint exercises with the aim of increasing their joint expeditionary operational capabilities.

The first GSDF participation in the landing exercises led by strike forces of U.S. Marines will enable the SDF to carry out assault landings anywhere in the world under U.S. military leadership.

The military realignment of both countries through these exercises is essentially changing the Japan-U.S. military alliance, contrary to the role Japan should play using its peace Constitution.
-Akahata, February 5, 2006

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