Symposium INDEX

Japan Peace Conference 2005
Press Release

Statement of the Panelists of the International Symposium
2005 Japan Peace Conference

1. The International Symposium of the Japan Peace Conference was held at Yokohama City, Kanagawa Pref. on Nov. 24-25, 2005 with the theme "Solidarity of struggles against US military bases in Asia and the rest of the world - Defeat of US outrages for a peaceful and just world."

The invited panelists were:
Dr. Zia Mian, Princeton University, United States
Mr. Luis Angel Saavedra, Regional Foundation for Counseling on Human Rights, Ecuador
Ms. Robin Taubenfeld, Brisbane Anti-Bases and Everyone for a Nuclear Free Future, Australia
Mr. Yoo Hong, Solidarity for Peace and Reunification of Korea (SPARK), Republic of Korea
Mr. Shoji Niihara, Japan Peace Committee

Their presentations were followed by reports from the struggle against the planned construction of a new base at Henoko, Okinawa; the resistance of Kanagawa against the relocation of the US army corps to Zama and a new command of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces; and homeporting at Yokosuka of a US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.

2. Reports from Each Panelist

Dr. Zia Mian explained that nuclear weapons, military bases and security alliances are vital tools for the US to dominate the world. The US has 10,000 nuclear weapons and bases in more than 130 countries. He gave the examples of Israel and India of US allies allowed to have nuclear weapons and warned of the dangers posed by the new security relationship with Japan and the nuclear weapons capabilities of the uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing facilities at Rokkasho. The struggle in Japan should aim to close US military bases, end the alliance with the US, and stop Rokkasho as a way to help other countries break free of the empire and the threat of nuclear weapons.

Luis Angel Saavedra described the Manta base in Ecuador and how it could be a foothold for US forces to prevent and rollback the pursuit of independence and democracy in Latin America. He revealed how the base has seriously damaged local communities in many ways, including the seizure and destruction of fishing boats using the "drug war" as an excuse; the taking of farmers' lands; the destruction of water sources for the construction of a US military airfield among others. He described the campaign of his group to record the consequences of US forces' activity, and how he is now trying to prevent the extension of the agreement for use of the military base which will expire in 2009. He called for solidarity by the Japanese anti-bases, anti-nuclear and peace movements with the struggles in Ecuador and across Latin America.

Ms. Robin Taubenfeld drew the attention of participants to the destruction of the culture and livelihood of the indigenous peoples of the Pacific, including Australia, by the long years of colonization and nuclear testing. She explained how Australia's Pinegap base, the big US information and communication base that played a vital role in the war on Iraq, as well as many training facilities and bombing ranges, has made it a central part of the US-led "Coalition of willing" and the missile defense program. This is despite the fact that the anti-Iraqi war campaign involved 1 out of 20 Australians. She called for uniting the movements for peace, social justice, anti-bases, environment and human rights and supporting the struggles against uranium mining and nuclear energy as a necessary part of making real the slogan "Another World is Possible.",

Mr. Yoo Hong spoke about the ongoing realignment of US bases in South Korea and how this was an attempt to change the US-South Korea military alliance from supposedly the "defense of South Korea" into a capability for regional and global operation of US forces. He warned that this transformation of the US forces in South Korea into the "Asia Pacific rapid deployment forces" would drag the South Korean military into US wars around the world. At the same time, he reported a change of public opinion in South Korea, where more than half of the people now support the phased withdrawal of US bases. He reported on the determined struggle by the farmers of Pyontaeck to protect their rice fields from the expansion of the US base there. The slogan of their struggle is "Land is not for war, but for food."

Mr. Shoji Niihara described how US bases were imposed on Japan in spite of the people's strong wish for the reconstruction of a peaceful Japan after the war of aggression. He made clear that the aim of the realignment of US bases in Japan is to make it easier for the US to strengthen its preemptive attack strategy globally. He pointed out that underlying the global US military network and its preemptive attack strategy is the idea that the domination of the world with overwhelmingly superior military power can bring peace. He called for strengthening joint actions involving local governments and concerned people, and developing a national and international movement against the US military realignment policy.

3. The pre-emptive war strategy of the present U.S. administration, as represented by the war on Iraq, is the greatest threat to peace of the world. As the part of this strategy, the US is developing new conventional and nuclear weapons, space weapons and the missile defenses. It was made clear that the global realignment and reinforcement of US military bases and alliances is aimed at making US intervention quicker and more effective, and that this inevitably destroys the livelihood and rights of the people and environment of countries that host US bases.

The presence of US forces abroad is incompatible with the UN Charter that prohibits the threat and use of force and forbids colonialism. These forces also violate international laws on the right to self-determination and sovereignty. The growing peace movements of the world, which were evident in the protest against the US war on Iraq, open up a great possibility for joint actions for international peace based on the UN Charter. The goal must be to close US and other military bases, eliminate nuclear weapons and end military alliances in solidarity with the movements of the peoples everywhere for peaceful and just world.