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Japan -US Military Alliance
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Where is Japan-U.S. alliance heading? -- Part VI Strategy for ‘Sea of peace’

September 04,2010
Strategy for ‘Sea of peace’

Since its inception in 1951 to date, the Japan-U.S. alliance has operated as a lever for military interventionism, having nothing to do with Japan’s defense.

Japan turned itself into a U.S. military stronghold initially during the Korean War, then during the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, and the wars against Iraq and Afghanistan, in which the U.S. forces took the lives of many innocent civilians.

Japanese people are forced to bear the cost of this alliance. They have suffered from the expropriation of land, the incessant noise of aircraft, the repeated accidents, and the frequent crimes committed by servicemen. Despite this, they pay about 60 billion yen every year to comfortably maintain the U.S. forces stationed in Japan.

Okinawans have regarded this as an injustice and only 7 % support the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty system (Mainichi, Ryukyu Shimpo, opinion poll on May 31, 2010). The time has come for the Japanese people to rethink whether or not it is legitimate to continue to pay such costs to maintain the alliance.

Promote disarmament

Obviously, the Japan-U.S. alliance runs counter to the establishment of peace and true security in Asia. At the same time, true peace has yet to be established in Northeast Asia. Then, how should a current for peace be created?

During the Six-Party Talks in regard to North Korea, agreements have been made to establish a non-nuclear Korean Peninsula, and the creation of a structure of peace on the peninsula with a normalization of Japan-North Korea relations. The only way to create peace and mutual security in the region is to resume the Six-Party Talks.

Consultations with China between both defense officials are underway as an immediate step to prevent contingencies arising over the sovereignty of the Senkaku Islands in the seas off Okinawa.

ASEAN member nations are discussing finding peaceful ways to settle disputes among China, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia over the sovereignty of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. In the same way, it is essential for Northeast Asian nations to plan a strategy to turn the East China Sea and the Sea of Japan into a sea of peace.

What is more, a fundamental step in peace-building efforts should be to promote disarmament. If Japan takes a position to reduce its military budget which now stands at 5 trillion yen, it can contribute to ending the arms race among Japan, the United States, and China.

In a speech which Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo made on August 3, 2010 to commemorate the founding of the JCP, Shii proposed three points, the first of which is the call for an end to causing military tensions and vicious spirals based on the premise that any military provocation should be responded to through military actions. The other two points proposed are the need to develop a framework for dialogue and confidence-building, as well as for peacefully settling disputes, and the need for Japan-China and U.S.-China relations to deepen economic ties as well as ties between peoples.

Creative paths

Today, military alliances are anachronisms. If peace-building initiatives in Northeast Asia are to progress, a call for abrogating the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty will become more persuasive than ever.

A comment (made anonymously) by a former high ranking Foreign Ministry official is worth quoting:

“I happened to be assigned to matters concerned with the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, most of which was maintaining order in Japan. Later, I was put in charge of peace negotiations with a country in conflict and achieved results, which attracted the attention of foreign media. This was the first time that I got the real feeling of being able to contribute to international peace.”

Japan with its pacifist Article 9 of the Constitution will be able to take a creative path of security-building only when it moves away from the obsession of upholding the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty as sacrosanct.
(End of the serial)

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