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HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 October 22 - 28  > US accelerates moves to strengthen military bases in Japan
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2014 October 22 - 28 [US FORCES]

US accelerates moves to strengthen military bases in Japan

October 25, 2014
Akahata editorial (excerpts)

The U.S. Navy announced last week that by 2017 it will deploy two more Aegis missile warships to its Yokosuka Naval Base in Kanagawa Prefecture. Those warships have the capability to intercept ballistic missiles as well as launch guided missiles into enemy territory. The U.S. Forces in Japan is planning to integrate the operations of the war vessels at the Yokosuka base with the new X-band radar system facility which is under construction in Kyoto Prefecture.

The Yokosuka base is the only U.S. naval port outside America to which the U.S. Navy deploys its nuclear aircraft carrier and Aegis destroyers. If the navy deploys two Aegis ships to Yokosuka, the number of warships at the base will increase from 11 to 13.

The U.S. Forces has upgraded and enhanced the functions of its military bases in Japan since last year, including the additional deployment of the crash-prone transport aircraft Ospreys to the Futenma base in Okinawa; the first-ever overseas deployment of antisubmarine patrol aircraft to the Kadena Air Base in Okinawa; and the stationing of unmanned spy drones to the Misawa Air Base in Aomori Prefecture. The U.S. military also plans to deploy top-of-the-line stealth landing ships to the Sasebo Naval Base in Nagasaki and to replace the nuclear aircraft carrier at the Yokosuka base with another one next year.

In the meantime, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s government is constructing a new U.S. military base in Okinawa’s Nago City. Tokyo and Washington are aiming to make the new base a major stronghold for the U.S. Marine Corps to stage attacks on foreign nations.

Japan is the only country outside the U.S. that hosts the forward deployed U.S. Marines and landing ship troops.

It should not be overlooked that these moves are directly linked to the strengthening of Japan-U.S. military cooperation on a global scale.

In October last year, the Japan-U.S. Security Consultative Committee, the so-called “2+2”, proposed that the two nations revise the present bilateral defense cooperation guidelines in accordance with the Obama administration’s “rebalancing” strategy.

This month, the two governments published an interim report on the guidelines’ revision, which states that new guidelines will “appropriately reflect” the recent Abe Cabinet decision allowing Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense.

Both the enhancement of U.S. military bases in Japan and the moves to turn Japan into a nation joining in U.S. wars abroad will only contribute to increasing international tensions. The need now is to further promote mass movements to block these dangerous moves.

Past related articles:
> Local residents don’t want US military base to be built in Kyoto [October 5, 2014]
> Revision of Japan-US defense guidelines would allow SDF to join in wars abroad [October 9, 2014]
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