Japan Peace Conference 2005
Organizing Committee of the 2005 Japan Peace Conference
1. Great Advance of the Movement in the Past Year
This conference takes place at a crucial moment when the Japanese and U.S. governments, on the basis of the "interim report" on the reorganization of U.S. military forces, are expanding the area of the Japan-U.S. military alliance to cover the entire planet and enhancing its aggressive character. Against this perilous move, the struggle of the Japanese people is making a steady progress.
The Japan Peace Conference last year called on the people of Japan to rise in a nationwide movement to oppose the U.S. military realignment and strengthening of the Japan-U.S. military alliance. Since then, the campaigns for preventing the strengthening and extension of U.S. bases have made significant advances in many places around the country.
In Okinawa, the nine-year persistent struggle carried on by the citizens of Nago City in opposition to the construction of a new U.S. military base in the sea off Henoko district has succeeded in building a majority public opinion in the prefecture against the relocation of the U.S. base within Okinawa and eventually forced the Japanese and U.S. governments to revise their original plan. The Japan Peace Conference has been held in Nago City on several occasions to highlight the struggle of Okinawans and to enlist a wider popular support for it. Various organizations have carried on campaigns in solidarity with or in support for the Nago residentsﾕ actions such as the sit-in at Henoko beach and manifestations on the sea that lasted a year and half to prevent the boring study in preparation for the base construction. The revision of the construction plan is a victory won by the struggle conducted in and outside Okinawa.
The organizations and individuals participating in the Japan Peace Conference played a major role in initiating pioneering actions in many places nationwide, including the Zama City Rally against the strengthening of U.S. Camp Zama participated in by about 2,800 people (December 12, 2004) and the "human chain" action to block the strengthening of the U.S. Marine Corps Iwakuni Base with about 3,500 people (June19, 2005). After these mobilizations, the anti-base movement involving local municipalities and residents has rapidly developed in Zama and Iwakuni. This fall, another big rally was held with about 3,500 people against the strengthening of the U.S. Yokota Air Base. The development of the anti-base struggle during this year has clearly shown that a movement from the grassroots is capable to build public opinion, to mobilize municipalities and to change the politics.
Faced with the mounting public opinion and the spread of the movement involving municipal authorities against the strengthening and perpetuating of U.S. bases in Okinawa and other parts of the country, the Japanese and U.S. governments found themselves in a embarrassing situation to publish an "interim report" on the U.S. forces realignment in Japan without getting any "agreement" from the municipalities concerned. The Japanese government's attitude of imposing the strengthening of U.S. bases on the local authorities and residents has caused their negative reaction even stronger than before. In fact, none of the 55 local municipalities to which the government has tried to sell the "interim report" approved the military realignment plan. Most of them have instead expressed their refusal of the plan. This Conference is being held amid the rise of a nationwide struggle against the strengthening of U.S. military bases.
In the same time, our movement has marked some important advances in other areas. About 80 percent of the citizens demand the withdrawal of Japan's Self-Defense Forces from Iraq. A majority of the Japanese people want that Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution will be preserved, and about 3,000 "Article 9 associations" have been established throughout Japan and the use of the history textbook that praises the war of aggression in public schools is limited to only 0.4 percent of all the municipalities.
The Koizumi Government made an all-out campaign for "reforms" in a tip-and-run election and succeeded, with its partners in the ruling coalition, in occupying two-thirds of the Diet seats. However, its policies of reinforcing the Japan-U.S. military alliance and revising the Constitution are creating fundamental contradictions with the Japanese people who desire peace. If the citizens unite their forces and fight together, they can block the reactionary attempt and create a new current for peace. Let us have confidence in that direction and build our future struggle.
2. U.S. Forces Realignment and Other Characteristics of Current Situation and New Challenges
(1) Danger of aggressive strengthening of Japan-U.S. military alliance under U.S. military realignment and contradiction between the people
To share the "strategic goals in the world" with Bush Administration that is currently bogged down in the Iraq war and increasingly isolated in the international community, and to pursue a military consolidation with U.S. forces are the targets of the ongoing aggressive strengthening of the Japan-U.S. military alliance. The "interim report" on the reorganization of U.S. forces in Japan entitled "Japan-U.S. Alliance: Transformation and Realignment for the Future" agreed upon by the Japanese and U.S. governments explicitly refers to these targets.
First, the interim report defines the direction to follow to aggressively reinforce the Japan-U.S. military alliance on a global scale by "closely cooperating together to pursue common strategic goals in regions and the world."
Second, in line with this direction, the both governments intend to further strengthen U.S. bases throughout Japan: deployment of nuclear-powered aircraft carrier at Yokosuka Port; establishment of a new command of the U.S. Army at Camp Zama, deployment of U.S. carrier-borne aircraft unit and establishment of a new base for night landing practice (NLP) of U.S. carrier-borne aircraft at Iwakuni base; construction of a new gigantic base in Okinawa; change of the SDF Kanoya base in Kagoshima Prefecture into a U.S. military base; and expansion of co-use of SDF bases by the U.S. forces, including Tsuiki base in Fukuoka Prefecture, Nyutabaru base in Miyazaki, Hyakuri base in Ibaraki, Komatsu base in Ishikawa and Chitose base in Hokkaido. Instead of "reducing burdens" on local communities, the Japanese and U.S. governments are pushing ahead with the strengthening of the functions of U.S. bases across the country and changing SDF bases and Japanese civilian air and sea ports in Japan into U.S. military bases. These moves appear aberrant and stand out in the world when compared with Germany or South Korea that will see respectively the withdrawal of 40,000 and 12,500 (or one third of the current military strength) U.S. soldiers.
Third, the two governments seek to integrate Japan's SDF into U.S. forces in order to build a system that allows them to jointly launch wars on a global scale. Focusing on the integration of battle command of U.S. forces and Japanese SDF, they plan to establish a "joint operation and coordination station" of Japan-U.S. joint command at the U.S. Yokota Air Base to combine air force command in U.S. Yokota Air Base in Tokyo. They also look to combine the command of Japan's Ground Self-Defense Forces' central rapid response unit and a new command of U.S. Army in Camp Zama in Kanagawa to control all deployments abroad. The two governments promote further integration of U.S. forces and Japan's SDF in every aspect, including Japan-U.S. joint operations, joint military exercises and joint use of military bases. What is more, they are moving ahead on setting up a wartime system that enable them to mobilize local governments, private companies and civilians and to use sea and air ports, roads as well as Japan's territorial skies and seas.
All these plans deeply conflict with the interests of the population and will inevitably provoke a fierce backlash. The "interim report" invokes on many occasions "relief of burdens on local communities, including Okinawa." However, the measures proposed to lighten the burdens are all of very limited scope, not to affect in any way the "maintenance of deterrence" which will be secured by the U.S. military realignment. In reality, the move to strengthen and perpetuate U.S. bases in Japan is in harsh contradiction with the people's interests and therefore has become one of the major political issues. The problem of bases is both the core of acute contradictions and a weak point of the Japan-U.S. military alliance and therefore creates new conditions favorable for developing a strong popular struggle.
First, the plan to strengthen and perpetuate U.S. bases in Japan will spread harmful effects around the country, such frequent accidents and crimes, noise pollution and problems in town planning and thus impose on the local populations further burdens they can hardly bear. Actually, the announcement of the U.S. military realignment plan has provoked the outrage of many municipalities and their residents who have expressed their concerns and anger by saying "enough is enough". In various parts of Japan, local people are organizing themselves to oppose not only the presence of the key U.S. bases but also the SDF bases that are more and more integrated in the U.S. bases, and transformation of Japanese civilian air and sea ports into U.S. military bases through the Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation and effectuation of a wartime regime.
Second, the transformation and strengthening of U.S. bases in Japan, including establishment of a new command of U.S. Army, clearly show that the mission assigned to the U.S. forces in Japan is not the "defense of Japan" but to intervene into or aggress other countries. This gives more merits to our argument to deny the claim of the government that "the U.S. bases are here to protect Japan". It is important to mobilize public opinion by exposing the realities and dangerous nature of U.S. military presence in Japan as well as the fact that U.S. troops stationed in Japan made sorties to Iraq during the Iraq War.
Third, the Japanese government intends to pay all expenses for the reorganization and strengthening of U.S. bases in Japan, such as the costs of relocating a part of U.S. Marine Corps from Japan to Guam that is said to exceed 410 billion yen (they include the construction of housing units and other facilities for U.S. military personnel). The way in which the government goes along with substantial cuts in social and welfare budgets as well as successive tax increases targeted on the popular masses while generously allocate massive amounts of taxpayersﾕ money for the U.S. forces has aroused outrage of the population.
Fourth, the government is forcibly pushing ahead with such a plan in complete disregard of the will of the municipalities and local residents concerned. In addition, it has already prepared a bill on special measures for depriving the local governments of their right to accept or refuse the construction of a military base in their territory in the event that the government fails to obtain their agreement. The government has no hesitation in trampling upon local autonomy and democracy. This is nothing but the worst political submission to the United States and will inevitably provoke the anger of the Japanese nation as a whole.
Fifth, Yokosuka has been made into the homeport of U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and nuclear weapons are being brought into Japan. It is not only a serious threat to the security of Japanese people, but also an act of provocation that can never be tolerated by the people of a country that suffered the atomic bombing. It only fuels the outrage of the population.
Under these new circumstances offering new opportunities, we must work to educate people and raise awareness about what is at stake and mobilize the people nationwide to defeat our enemy.
The U.S. military "realignment" is not merely a problem of restructuring military bases but a plan to remake Japan a "war-fighting nation". It is a serious challenge to the Japanese people who wish to maintain peace and preserve Article 9 of the Constitution. In fact, the two governments aim to build a system that goes beyond the framework of Japan-U.S. Security Treaty and that will enable U.S. forces and Japanese SDF to go abroad and wage wars anywhere in the world. This will indubitably provoke a strong reaction of a wide range of people wishing to defend Article 9 and to prevent Japan from fighting U.S. wars abroad. If our struggle against the strengthening of U.S. bases in Japan and the consolidation of Japan-U.S. military forces grows much more powerful to succeed in foiling the advocates of the Japan-U.S. alliance in their attempt, it will deal a heavy blow to the aggressive strengthening of the Japan-U.S. military alliance and will open the way for the abrogation of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty and dismantling of Japan-U.S. military alliance.
(2) Constitutional revision coupled with the "realignment plan"
The core of the constitutional revision is to scrap Article 9 for the purpose of aggressively strengthening Japan-U.S. military alliance through the U.S. military "realignment" and making Japan a "war-fighting nation." That the Liberal Democratic Party issued a "draft constitution" almost simultaneously with the "interim report" on the "realignment" plan is not merely incidental.
The LDP "draft constitution" removes the second paragraph of Article 9 on the renunciation to war and replaces it with a sentence stipulating the "maintenance of self-defense armed forces", defined as full-fledged armed forces that are assigned the task of taking part" in internationally coordinated activities to maintain peace and security in the world". It thus opens the way for Japan to legally use force abroad. What is also serious is that the draft allows further changes in the Constitution that would totally depart from the constitutionalism including restriction of the basic human rights, and ease the requirements for the motion for constitutional revision. The "proposal for constitutional revision" published by the Democratic Party of Japan also enables Japan to use its military forces outside its territory through exercise the right of collective self-defense or participation in U.N. multinational forces.
The LDP government made various laws in the past to give the green light to overseas dispatches of the SDF. Even under these laws, "the use of military threat or the use of force" is prohibited, because Article 9, especially Paragraph 2 that sets out the renunciation to the "possession of forces" and the "right of belligerency", has worked as a brake.
Following the United States claim that Article 9 is "an obstacle to the Japan-U.S. alliance (Former U.S. Deputy State Secretary Richard L. Armitage)", both the LDP and the DPJ intend to remove the constraint of Article 9 to allow SDF to take part in U.S. wars abroad.
However, recent opinion polls show that the majority of people think that "Article 9 should not be revised" and 90 percent believe "Peace has been maintained because of Article 9". An overwhelming majority is opposed to either the use of force or the participation in U.N. multinational forces, which is in sharp contrast with the government policy. The open move to expand the Japan-U.S. military alliance to cover the entire globe makes it easier for the people to understand the true aim of constitutional revision. While informing the public of dangerous contents of the strengthening of the Japan-U.S. military alliance, it is necessary to further strengthen the movement and public opinion in favor of the protection of the Constitution and Article 9 to be the largest and broadest ever since the war.
(3) Failure of war and occupation of Iraq and isolation of Bush Administration ―Withdraw SDF from Iraq!
The current reorganization and strengthening of U.S. forces in Japan as well as the consolidation of the Japan-U.S. military alliance are important elements of the attempt of the Bush Administration to establish a global posture that will facilitate an effective and swift implementation of its unlawful preemptive attack strategy as seen in the Iraq War. This war-fighting posture aims at ensuring the U.S. hegemony and dominance over the world and thus runs counter to the peaceful world order based on the U.N. Charter. It is also threatening that the "Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations" now being revised by the Bosh Administration make it clear that the U.S. will further promote its preemptive nuclear strike strategy to include the option of unilateral use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear countries.
What is important to note is that the hegemonic policy of Bush Administration shows increasing contradictions and failures. The year that has passed has made it clear that the Iraq War was launched without any cause. Nevertheless, the United States continues to carry out indiscriminate military cleanup operations against the resistance forces in Iraq causing enormous sacrifices to the people. This creates a vicious circle of violence and terrorism and is drawing Iraq into a quagmire. According to opinion surveys, a majority of Iraqi people wants the occupation forces to be withdrawn from their country. Reflecting this opinion, the number of countries in the "coalition of the will" has dramatically decreased. Witnessing a steady increase in death counts of U.S. soldiers of more than 2000, even the people in the United States have began calling for a shift in U.S. policy towards Iraq and the removal of U.S. troops from that country and the public support rate for the Bush Administration has dropped to a 30-percent level.
In the "achievement document" of the U.N. Summit held to mark the 60th anniversary of the U.N. founding, the U.S. Bush Administration tried to insert a paragraph that justifies the U.S. preemptive attack strategy. Many countries opposed the U.S. proposal and reaffirmed instead that the U.N. Charter and multilateralism are the basic principles that should govern the international relations.
In order to cooperate for the U.S. occupation of Iraq for which the U.S. has failed to provide neither justification and enlist support, the Koizumi Cabinet is trying to maintain the SDF soldiers in Iraq beyond December 14, the deadline for their dispatch to Iraq. The SDF should immediately be withdrawn from Iraq.
(4) With no remorse over war of aggression, Koizumi Cabinet exacerbates diplomatic isolation
While promoting further strengthening of the Japan-U.S. military alliance, Prime Minister Koizumi Junﾕichiro repeats visiting Yasukuni Shrine, a Shinto shrine that glorifies war of aggression. His lack of repentance over the past war of aggression has met sharp criticisms from Asia and the rest of the world. It is known to all that Yasukuni Shrine upholds the view that Japan's past war of aggression "was a just war for Japanﾕs survival and self-defense and for the liberation of Asia". It is extremely unreasonable for Koizumi to keep visiting the shrine even though he argues that "the government does not share the Yasukuni's view about the war."
What is more, by appointing to key posts in his cabinet those Yasukuni-supporters who show no remorse for Japan's past war of aggression, Koizumi seems determined to make the annual visit to the shrine as a fixed event for future governments. Linked with this governmental attitude, those forces that glorify the war of aggression are now resurging in the political arena.
The critical reflection on the war of aggression was the starting point of the postwar world order. By denying its past fault, Japan would isolate itself not only in Asia but also from the rest of the world. In order to establish true friendship with the peoples of Asia and other countries, the need now is to make nationwide effort to reject any attempts of glorification of war of aggression.
3. Let Us Develop a People's Nationwide Movement to Stop the Reinforcement of U.S. Military Bases and the Japan-U.S. Military Alliance!
(1) Let Us Develop Joint Actions of Local Governments and Residents to Defeat the U.S. Military Bases Buildup Plan!
To defeat the U.S. "military realignment" plan, it is crucial to develop a joint struggle of local governments and residents on the basis of agreed objective of preventing the reinforcement and perpetuation of U.S. military bases.
In Okinawa, voices against the relocation of bases within the prefecture and calling for overseas transfer of the U.S. Marines have grown to form a prevailing opinion in the prefecture. The new proposal to construct a base on the seacoast of Henoko is far worse than the original one, because it would cause a serious damage to the residents and the natural environment since the new plan also includes the concentration of the base functions in the northern part of the prefecture. Realizing what the relocation plan will bring about, the prefecture and municipalities concerned as well as the neighboring cities and local communities that had once accepted the base construction, have decided to join together to oppose the new plan. 90 percent of Okinawans are against the agreement of the Japan-U.S. governments on the base relocation. Against this background, a city council member, Wakiya Munehiro, will run as a joint candidate of citizens in the mayoral election to be held in Nago City in January 2006. He is supported both by conservatives and progressives because he clearly rejects the base construction plan decided by the Japanese and U.S governments ignoring Okinawa peopleﾕs will, saying that "there is no room for Nago to accommodate the plan". His victory in the election will have a tremendous significance for the anti-base struggle.
In Zama City and Sagamihara City, mayors, city councils, residents' associations, and Parent-Teacher Associations have joined together to form an organization to oppose the base reinforcement. In Zama City, they have collected some 60,000 signatures representing the majority of the local population in opposition to the base buildup, while in Sagamihara 210,000 signatures accounting for one third of the population have been gathered within a month. United initiatives are growing in other municipalities concerned by the strengthening of U.S. bases. In Iwakuni City, the union of residents' associations took initiative in collecting signatures from the majority of the population, and Iwakuni City government, Yamaguchi Prefecture, and even the neighboring municipalities have expressed opposition to the base reinforcement plan. Seven cities and towns in the western part of Hiroshima Prefecture set up an organization and started a coordinated campaign with Iwakuni. In Miyajima town, designated by UNESCO as world heritage, the municipal authorities and residents jointly collected signatures from 90 percent of the population in opposition to the reinforcement. These actions, jointly conducted by local municipalities and residents together, are developing in different parts of Japan to resist to the Japanese and U.S. governments.
The problem of bases concerns the whole population, because it puts peace and independence of our country at stake. Therefore, it is important to develop the struggle against the military bases by promoting the solidarity among the Japanese people. Let us strengthen efforts in every organization and every community to extend solidarity with residents and municipalities of Okinawa and other parts of Japan fighting against the outrageous reinforcement of U.S. bases. The Japanese government is trying to carry out the relocation plan making propaganda for "sharing burden with Okinawa". Let us develop public opinion of solidarity to encircle the Japanese government, rejecting its "burden-sharing" propaganda and saying that Japanese people do not want U.S. bases on their soil.
(2) Our role in the struggle for removal of US bases and abrogation of the Security Treaty
It is important that we, participants in the 2005 Japan Peace Conference, devote our efforts to the success of the movement against the strengthening and perpetuating of U.S. military bases and for meeting common urgent demands of the people and in the same time, play an active role for a sound development of the movement.
Let us defeat the protagonists of the maintenance of bases and the Security Treaty!
In order to implement the reinforcement of bases, Prime Minister Koizumi is trying to buy the "understanding" of the local governments concerned, claiming that "Japan's security cannot be ensured by Japan alone" and "it is a crucial issue bearing on the security of Japan". Using a carrot-and-stick policy, the government and the Defense Agency, while providing economic development programs to local governments, try to convince them to accept the plan arguing that "the Security Treaty and U.S. bases are necessary" and that "it is the price they have to pay to get benefits from peace, stability and economic development". We must therefore challenge and refute these deceptive arguments by informing the people about the aggressive nature of the Japan-US military alliance and U.S. bases, by showing concrete evidences of the actual role assigned to the U.S. bases in Okinawa and other parts of Japan. We must insist that the U.S. bases in Japan do not defend Japan but are there to serve the "U.S. interests". We need to make people understand that opposition to the reinforcement of bases is the only way to ensure peace and security of Japan and the rest of the world.
Our movement must not be limited to the opposition to the reinforcement of bases. We need to spread people's voices for the removal of bases from Japan. We must point out that the abrogation of the Security Treaty is indispensable for the drastic solution of all the base-related problems and build an opinion in favor of the abrogation of the Treaty.
Let us mobilize public opinion against reinforcement of SDF and its dispatch abroad in connection with the Article 9 campaign
Another important role we have to play is to develop a specific campaign to prevent the integration of the Japanese SDF into the U.S. forces and the establishment of mechanisms aimed at enabling Japan to send SDF abroad. This campaign must be linked with the campaign for preserving Article 9 of the Constitution. We must inform a wider range of public that the reinforcement of SDF is aimed at enabling them to join a U.S. global war and build a public opinion against it. For the immediate future, we will work on the campaign to oppose the extension of SDF stationing in Iraq beyond December 14, 2005 and to demand their withdrawal from Iraq. The government, in a cabinet meeting held on October 28, approved the "Plan for the Protection of the Population" proposed by 19 agencies including the Defense Agency, a plan to be applied to the prefectures. A similar plan for the municipalities will be prepared and put to approval next year. It is therefore important to raise public awareness about the fact that the "Plan" in question that is a part of the attempt to make Japan a war-fighting country.
Let us spread public opinion in favor of the abrogation of the Security Treaty
In the area of people's livelihoods, people now question the governmental economic policy gives priority to meeting the US demands rather than protecting the people's lives and livelihoods: while cutting budgets for the people's livelihoods and increasing taxes on the population, it spends a huge amount of money for reinforcement of US bases and military buildup; deregulation and opening of the Japanese markets following the US "Annual Reform Requests" as seen in the privatization of postal service and early resumption of importation of U.S. beef neglecting the food safety as a result of strong U.S. pressure.
What is important to note is that even those who have been supportive of the Japan-US military alliance for the sake of "Japan's security" are growing uneasy and suspicious about the Security Treaty as they witness the military alliance being dangerously expanded to cover the globe.
Today, the pernicious effects of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, the root-cause of perpetuating U.S. military presence in Japan and integration of Japan in the U.S. world strategy, are getting more obvious than ever before. Let us develop a public opinion calling for the abrogation of the security treaty, combining the problem of bases with other issues including peace, the constitutional amendment and people's livelihood.
(3) Let us expand the current for peace together with peoples of Asia and the World!
Today, there is a growing current in the world that is flowing in the opposite direction of that taken by the Japanese government. It is the current for an international order of peace based on the United Nation's Charter and opposing the U.S. hegemony.
In different parts of the world, efforts are being made to establish an autonomous and independent regional partnership for peace, upholding the peace principles of the U.N. Charter. In Asia, countries whose populations altogether make up 53 percent of the world population have joined the "Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia" that provides that conflicts should be resolved through peaceful means and the use of force be banned. In Northeast Asia, the six party talks to deal with the problem of North Korea's nuclear development were held last September and issued a "joint statement" affirming the will of the six countries to continue the talks as a place to seek for common effort for lasting peace and stability in Northeast Asia. Against this backdrop, opinions that highly value Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution as a guideline for building an order of peace in the international community are gaining ground in the world.
Meanwhile, many of the U.S.-centered military alliances in Asia and other parts of the world have collapsed, fallen into dysfunction or weakened. Movements against U.S. military bases are developing worldwide in opposition to their reinforcement and demanding their withdrawal. At the World Social Forum, an international network against foreign military bases was formed and, relying on that network, a world conference against U.S. military bases is planning to be held in Ecuador in South America in 2007. As public opinion and the movement against the Iraq War spread throughout the world, people regard more and more critically the U.S. military bases deployed in different parts of the world as footholds for the U.S. aggression and intervention.
When looking at these developments in Asia and the world, it becomes obvious how abnormal it is for the Japanese government to blindly follow the Bush Administration in its unlawful strategy and attempt to expand the Japan-U.S. military alliance on a global scale and to revise the Constitution. The way to realize a Japan without U.S. military bases and military alliance, a nuclear-free and peaceful Japan where Article 9 fully plays its role, the direction pursued by the Japan Peace Conference is the way to join the world current that opposes to the U.S. outrage and calls for a order of peace based on the U.N. Charter. It is also the way to contribute to peace in Asia and the world. Having confidence in this, let us work together so that peace will prevail in Japan, Asia and the world.