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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 November 21 - 27  > Let’s scrap new anti-terrorism special measures bill: Japan Peace Conference in Okinawa
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2007 November 21 - 27 TOP3 [PEACE]

Let’s scrap new anti-terrorism special measures bill: Japan Peace Conference in Okinawa

November 23-26, 2007
“Let’s bring back the SDF from Iraq, largely increase the movement in opposition to adverse revision of the Constitution, and form a majority of the public that favors the abrogation of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty,” said JCP Ichida in his speech.

The 2007 Japan Peace Conference was held for four days from November 22 in Naha City in Okinawa. More than 1,000 peace activists from across the country took part in the annual conference.

As part of the conference, about 1,300 people on November 25 formed a human chain encircling U.S. Marine Corps Camp Schwab in Nago City where the government is planning to construct a new U.S. base. Not only the conference participants but local residents that have been waging a struggle for more than ten years against U.S. base construction participated.

Japan Peace Committee Secretary General Chisaka Jun made the keynote speech in which he called on the participants to drive the Japanese and U.S. governments into a corner with further achievements of the movement and the new political situation. He called for further actions in opposition to the new anti-terrorism special measures bill and adverse revision of the Constitution. He also stressed the need to block the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan, to undo the government textbook screening policy on “mass suicide” during the Battle of Okinawa, and to thoroughly uncover the defense scandal.

Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Ichida Tadayoshi in his speech stressed that it is the Japanese public that has ordered the Maritime Self-Defense Force ships to return from the Indian Ocean.

Ichida pointed out that the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan is clearly aimed at turning Japan into a stronghold of the U.S. in its preemptive attack strategy.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates in a recent interview with the Asahi Shimbun expressed his strong concern over the implementation of the realignment plan by saying, “If you start pulling at one thread, then I worry that the whole thing will come unraveled.”

Referring to Gates’s remark, Ichida called on participants to pull threads in Nago, Iwakuni (Yamaguchi Pref.), and Zama (Kanagawa Pref.) and defeat the realignment plan with nationwide solidarity.

Ichida stressed that the Japan-U.S. military alliance is being faced with enormous difficulties as evidenced by the fact that the anti-terrorism special measures law was abolished, that the ruling parties do not have a solid prospect for the enactment of the new anti-terrorism special measures bill, and that the government has failed to implement the realignment as scheduled.

“Let us scrap the special measures bill without fail, bring back the SDF from Iraq, largely increase the movement in opposition to adverse revision of the Constitution, and form a majority of the public that favors the abrogation of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty,” Ichida said.

The conference focused efforts on exchanges between struggles in Okinawa and the mainland. Yoshikawa Yoshikatsu testified from his own experience that “mass suicides” occurred when he was six years old. He revealed that his mother shouted at his elder brother, “Throw away the grenade!” and his family narrowly escaped death, he said.

In a symposium on “mass suicides,” Okubo Yasuhiro of the Okinawa Peace Committee stressed that behind the distortion of history of Okinawa is the scheme of the Japanese and U.S. governments to discourage Okinawans’ wishes for peace and to strengthen the military alliance.

In a separate symposium on “municipalities, residents and U.S. bases,” representatives of movements in opposition to the realignment plan in Iwakuni and Zama cities as well as the JCP made reports. The movement in Yokosuka City in opposition to the deployment of a U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier also joined in the discussion.

In an international symposium held on November 22 and 23 as part of the conference, four foreign guests took part: the Committee of Inhabitants and Workers of East Vicenza – Against the Construction of a New Base in Vicenza – For the Conversion of Camp Ederle to Civil Uses from Italy, the Washington Peace Action from the U.S., the Campaign for Eradication of Crimes by U.S. Troops in Korea from South Korea and the International Network for the Abolition of Foreign Military Bases from Ecuador.
- Akahata, November 23-26, 2007
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