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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 July 3 - 9  > Reason for Trump’s ‘Japan-US security treaty unfair’ remark overlaps what Abe has long claimed
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2019 July 3 - 9 [POLITICS]
editorial 

Reason for Trump’s ‘Japan-US security treaty unfair’ remark overlaps what Abe has long claimed

July 3, 2019

Akahata editorial (excerpts)

U.S. President Donald Trump recently stated that the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty should be changed because it is unfair to the U.S., a remark that has provoked controversy in Japan. Concerning a possible change in the treaty, the Japanese government strongly denied this with Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide stating that there is no plan to talk about reviewing the treaty. On the other hand, the reason why Trump calls the treaty unfair is also what Prime Minister Abe Shinzo is unhappy about: Under the treaty, if the U.S is attacked, Japan will not fight together with the U.S.

Abe published a book on Japan’s security policies in 2004 when he was the secretary-general of the Liberal Democratic Party. In the book, Abe mentioned a new responsibility to turn the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty into a more mutual one. He insisted, “A security alliance is an ‘alliance of blood’. If Japan is attacked by an enemy, young people from the U.S. will shed their blood for us. But, under the current interpretation of the Japanese Constitution, Japan’s Self-Defense Force personnel will not risk their lives in the event of a military attack on its ally” Abe stressed, “To make the Japan-U.S. alliance more mutual is to lift Japan’s self-imposed ban on the use of the collective self-defense right.”

What Trump and Abe talk about is not a military attack on the U.S. mainland but an attack on the U.S. military on overseas missions in conflict areas across the globe. The two leaders intend to have the SDF join in wars the U.S. engages in anywhere in the world.

The Abe government in 2015 forced through the enactment of the war laws under which Japan can exercise the collective self-defense right on condition that Japan faces a serious threat to its survival. What Abe seeks to do with a revision of Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution is to enable the SDF to take part in U.S.-led wars without being hindered by requirements set under the war laws.

The real issue is the degree to which the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty is unfair to Japan.

Japan pays a huge amount of money to cover the stationing costs of the U.S. military in Japan. No other U.S. ally provides such a large amount of financial support to the U.S. The U.S. military in Japan enjoys an exceptionally wide range of special privileges under the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement. Japan is the only U.S. ally which provides bases and facilities for rapid deployment components of the U.S. forces such as the Marine Expeditionary Forces and Carrier Strike Groups.

The need now for Japan is to pursue a peaceful diplomacy based on Article 9, restrict special privileges of the U.S. military in Japan, and build an equal Japan-U.S. relationship based on mutual friendship. This will be an important topic of debate in the House of Councilors election.

Past related article:
> Trump’s remark about withdrawal from US-Japan Security Treaty confuses Abe gov’t [June 27, 2019]
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