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HOME  > Past issues  > 2013 April 24 - May 7  > Shii speaks on how Japan becomes a base-covered state
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2013 April 24 - May 7 [POLITICS]

Shii speaks on how Japan becomes a base-covered state

April 29, 2013
A rally demanding the return of genuine sovereignty to Japan took place on April 28 in Tokyo.

The government concurrently held a ceremony to celebrate the San Francisco Peace Treaty coming into effect on this day as the day of “Japan’s restoration of sovereignty”.

Iha Yoichi, former Okinawa’s Ginowan City mayor, said to people participating in the rally, “I want you to know about Okinawans’ suffering. Sovereignty is yet to be given to us. How dare the government celebrate this day!”

Iha, who is fighting for a base-free Okinawa, illustrated in detail the reality of pre-war Okinawa under the U.S. occupation and the reality of Okinawa after returning to Japan. Iha explained that many U.S. bases still exist in Okinawa making Okinawans’ base burdens worse than ever.

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo at the rally talked about how Japan came to host so many U.S. military bases by citing excerpts from Japan-U.S. documents and declassified materials.

Shii asked the participants to seriously think about pros and cons of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, which still allows the United States to have its bases anywhere, anytime in Japan, and called on them to turn this day into a day to fight for creating a national consensus towards the abrogation of the bilateral military treaty.

* * *

A “formula making all of Japan a U.S. base” originated from an idea mapped out by John Foster Dulles and Douglas MacArthur.

On June 23 in 1950, U.S. special envoy Dulles, representing the U.S. side in Japan-U.S. security treaty negotiations, presented a memorandum dealing with the U.S. right to possess bases in Japan to Supreme Commander for Allied Powers Douglas MacArthur. Responding to this note, General MacArthur indicated that “[t]he entire area of Japan must be regarded as a potential base for defensive maneuver with unrestricted freedom reserved to the United States” and to take “such strategic dispositions as may be necessary” adding that it is imperative to take “such tactic dispositions as the military situation may from time to time require.”

Dulles wrote in a memorandum dated January 26 in 1951, “Do we get the right to station as many troops in Japan as we want where we want and for as long as we want or do we not? That is the principal question.” This shows that Dulles himself agreed with the concept of “making all of Japan a U.S. base” by this time.

The former Japan-U.S. Security Treaty signed on September 8 in 1951 as well as the Japan-U.S. Administrative Agreement signed on February 28 in 1952 states, “Japan agrees to grant to the United States the use of facilities and areas necessary to carry out the purposes” stated in the treaty.

The U.S. ambassador to Japan in a report to the State Department dated February 14 in 1957 said, “Under the Administrative Agreement, the right to decide upon new base requirements and retain existing bases has been left to U.S. military judgment.”

The security treaty was revised in January 1960 and Article 6 of the revised treaty which is the current one stipulates, “[T]he United States of America is granted the use by its land, air and naval forces of facilities and areas in Japan.”

In this way, the “formula making all of Japan a U.S. base” was articulated in the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty.
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