Symposium INDEX

3. Focus of struggle and the future direction of movement

3-1. Prevention of a new terrorism prevention act; Achieving withdrawal of Japanese troops from Iraq; Struggle against a permanent act on military deployment and for the defense of the Constitution

With the frustration of the grand coalition-building attempt with the Democrats, the ruling parties are gearing up for forceful measures of steamrolling a new terrorism prevention bill during the present extended Diet session (scheduled to end on Dec. 15.) Prime Minister Fukuda Yasuo on November 16, during his visit to the US, promised to President Bush that he would exert all his efforts for an early enactment of the bill. To live up to his promise, the ruling parties are considering to place the bill once again for a vote in the lower house, even if the bill is rejected in the upper House. And for that they are desperately working to win the minds of the public. Recent polls indicate that the people are evenly divided on the issue with some 40 % of the people are undecided (November 12, NHK). The key is which side should win the public opinion.

We need to inform the public the following facts, as clearly shown in the recent Diet debate: Japan's refueling support to the US forces in the Indian Ocean and other places are helping the US aerial bombings that are killing civilian population of Afghanistan; The refueled oil is diverted to the illegal war in Iraq, so that the new bill would mean the continuation of that; The war of retaliation is no solution to terrorism, or rather it only proliferates it; and Japan is required to make political efforts for an end to war and for peace and to increase its support for the eradication of poverty and social disparity that are the hotbed of terrorism. We must enhance people's opposition and defeat the bill.

The support by the Japanese Self Defense Forces to the unlawful war on Iraq must stop immediately, and the "Special Measures Law on Iraq" must be repealed. We need to link our struggle against Japans support for the Iraq and Afghan wars with our work of building public opinion and movements strong enough to pre-empt the conceived bill for the permanent deployment of Japanese troops abroad, which would be invoked with a stroke of a pen by the government.

Successful defeat of the bill would deal a major blow to the plan for integrating the Japanese military into US global wars and strengthening the bilateral military alliance.

The bottom line of the Constitutional revision sought by the two governments is to eviscerate Article 9, so that the impediment would be removed and the US and Japanese troops could fight wars shoulder to shoulder on a global scale. We need to inform the public of the threatening nature of the constitutional revision, linking it to our work against the military deployment, and build a stronger and broader force for the defense of the Constitution.

3-2. Need of a stronger struggle against the transformation of USFJ at a critical stage

Our struggles to stop the reinforcement of US military bases are entering a crucial stage over the next year. We must redouble our efforts to develop the nation-wide struggles in strong solidarity.

In March last year, the people of Iwakuni demonstrated their clear opposition to the planned stationing of US aircraft carrier-based troops at the Iwakuni base, and the mayor of Iwakuni has acted according to the public will. The government has responded to the city's defiance with the unilateral reduction of 3.5 billion-yen subsidies initially appropriated for the city's new office building project, and is urging the city to accept the stationing if it wants the subsidy back. The city's pro-base assembly members have voted down 4 times the mayor's initiative to revise the citys budget to make up for the lost subsidy, creating a very tense situation. In response to this, Iwakuni citizens are going to organize a 10,000 people's rally on December 1 to condemn the government's punitive measures.

In Kanagawa, cities of Zama and Sagamihara are against the planned deployment of the US First Corp Command in Camp Zama. Mayor Hoshino of Zama city has expressed his will to carry through "even if he might be hit by a missile," until he sees a schedule to end the permanent presence of US troops in the city. The Ministry of Defense has responded to this with a plan to go ahead with the relocation of the Command on December 19. Opposition forces are organizing a major rally of the metropolitan area on December 2.

Also In Kanagawa, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier is scheduled to be deployed at the Yokosuka base on August 29 next year. While the city mayor has deserted his initial opposition to it, its citizens have waged a vigorous campaign against the plan, including the collection of 40,000 petitions calling for a referendum on the aircraft carrier deployment and a lawsuit for the suspension of dredging operation for accommodating the vessel. On October 8, 1,200 people took part from across the greater metropolitan area in a symposium against the deployment. Opinion polls continue to show as many as 70% of Yokosuka citizens oppose the plan. Backed by the strong public opposition, citizens groups are considering a new campaign for people's referendum on the issue.

In Okinawa, the tenacious struggle by the people of Nago city and of Okinawa have prevented the planned construction of a new US base offshore Henoko district from taking place for 11 years. The opposition of 80% of the prefectural population continues to strangle the hands of the mayor of Nago and the governor of Okinawa, both of whom support the construction, from reaching an agreement with the national government on a construction plan. In spite of that, the government has been unilaterally pursuing the process of conducting an "environmental assessment" for the base building, which is met with a mounting criticism. Furthermore, it has been newly exposed through the US Department of State documents, that the Japanese government had been hiding the real picture of the base reinforcement from the public, including a US plan to build a 214-meter long dock so that a new base could accommodate amphibious assault ships. From this July, people of Takae district of Higashi Village have been organizing sit-ins against the construction of helipads in their community, preventing the construction from taking place.

As the Secretary of Department of Defense, Robert Gates has aptly said to the effect that the entire fabric of the US-Japan agreement would unravel, if just one string of thread was taken out of it, all these plans are integral parts of one structure. That is why we need to redouble our work of solidarity across the nation and exert all our efforts for the cause of our struggle, holding high the banner of peace, local autonomy, democracy and security of people's lives and livelihoods.

Under the so-called "sympathy" budget allocation for the USFJ, not required even by the US-Japan SOFA, as much as 200 billion yen of tax-payers money has been spent every year to pay for the Japanese workers on the bases, utility bills and facility construction of the US bases in Japan. This is the prime example of Japan's subservience to US demands, quite unique and abnormal practice in the world. Let us call for a termination of the special agreement on the "sympathy budget", which is due to expire in March 2008.

In Okinawa and many other communities hosting US bases continue to suffer from crimes committed and accidents caused by US servicemen. In Hiroshima (where the Iwakuni base is located), Yokosuka (Kanagawa) and other places, heinous crimes by US soldiers continue to occur. All these incidents are generating even more anger among the people, since the Japanese police have no jurisdiction to hold or question the American military suspects because of the humiliating SOFA provision. We need to work for a drastic revision of the SOFA in cooperation with the victims of these crimes and citizens groups who are speaking out and taking action against such unfair practice.

3-3. Increase the call for cancellation of the government decision to delete from textbooks the references to the military responsibility for mass suicides' and develop struggle against 'pro-Yasukuni' forces' attempt to distort history

The move to make Japan a war-fighting nation by enabling it to send the SDF abroad has been promoted in deep connection with the attempt to distort history glorifying the war of aggression. It is the national task to develop the Okinawan people's struggle against the government's order to delete references from history textbooks to the military's responsibility in forcing civilians to commit mass suicide in the Battle of Okinawa. Let us unite the people's power in Okinawa and elsewhere in Japan to develop public opinion until we have the government and the Education Ministry cancel their decision.

With the 70th anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre of December 13 approaching, an extraordinary campaign is going on claiming that "there was no such massacre taking place." We need to emphasize the need for strengthening our struggle against the distortion of this historic fact. Let us protest against the reactionary moves in education, as seen in the rewriting of history textbooks, the strengthening of the state control over education based on the adversely revised Fundamental Law on Education, and the pressure on schools to teach students patriotism. The struggle of the Hibakusha (A-bomb survivors) for official recognition of their diseases as caused by the atomic bombings is the movement to correct the government policy to minimize the A-bomb effects and damages as well as its cold Hibakusha policy, all based on its subservience to the US nuclear strategy. The struggle is cornering the government and the Health Ministry. Let us strengthen the public voices and movement to develop solidarity with the Hibakusha in getting the government to revise its standards for recognizing A-bomb related diseases.

3-4. Linking the movements to defend living conditions and peace, we must enhance public opinion for the cancellation of tax increase and burden on the people by reducing military expenditure

The destruction of citizens' living conditions by the government's neo-liberalistic "structural reform" policies in response to the US government's demand have created serious situations throughout Japan and heightened people's struggles at new degree. On the other hand, while never touching the reduced corporate tax and the military expenditure of 5 trillion yen annually, the government is trying to accelerate its move to increase the consumption tax, further increasing the burden on the people. It is important to note that the "grand coalition plan" of the LDP and the DPJ attempted to establish a law for permanent dispatch of the SDFs abroad and the increase of the consumption tax, which demonstrated clearly what kind of a country these forces are aiming to achieve.

The cozy relation between former Vice Defense Minister Moriya Takemasa and defense traders has become the tool to reveal the corrupt relations between the military industry, politicians, and bureaucrats. What it is illustrating is that the US military realignment, including the military buildup for overseas dispatch of the SDFs and the US military base construction in Guam, was used for the military traders, Dietmembers, and Defense Ministry officials to pursue their own special interests. We should not allow such structure to go on. It must be thoroughly investigated, and any attempts to reinforce US military bases, promote the "Missile Defense" and Japan's armament with increased dispatch of military forces abroad must immediately be stopped. We must enhance public voices for the reduction of military expenditure, the worst form of waste, cancellation of tax increase, and diverting the funds to meet the needs of the people.

4. Viewpoint to develop public opinion against the Japan-US military alliance

It has become much clearer that the Japan-US military alliance, intended to involve Japan in the US war strategy, lies at the basis of various issues, including the SDF overseas dispatch, attempted revision of the Constitution, as well as the military buildup and the people's living conditions. In such a situation, concerns and criticism are increasing among the people regarding why Japan's subordination to the US is that serious. We must develop this sentiment into a public opinion in order to correct Japan's abnormal subordination to the US and make known to the public and develop voices against the issues of the Japan-US military alliance.

The Japanese government's subordination to the military alliance between the US and its recognition of the contribution to the US military strategy as the essential principle have been seen as abnormal in the world current. As we have seen already, the international current has been developing calling for an independence from the US and creation of a peaceful regional community free from military alliances. About 80 percent of the countries in the world have broken away from military alliance and are now non-aligned nations. In Asia, Japan and South Korea are the only nations hosting US bases. On the Korean Peninsula, efforts have been strengthened to reduce the military tension and to create peaceful relations instead of conflicts. Amid such situation, it is anachronistic for the Japanese government to strengthen the Japan-US military alliance and adversely revise the peaceful Constitution, which Japan should be proud of internationally, in order to create a war-fighting nation.

The current political situation is shaking the Japan-US military alliance, when the Japanese government has failed to extend the anti-terrorism special measures law, facing the resistance and deadlock in pursuing the US military realignment, and has contradictions regarding the sympathy budgets for the US forces in Japan. These are all related to the basis of the strengthening of the Japan-US military strategy. The framework of Japan-US relations is nationally called into question. In the general election expected to take place anytime soon, a new peaceful and political framework will be inevitably discussed. Under the rapidly changing political situation, the role of the forces calling for the removal of bases and abrogation of the Japan-US military alliance gathering at the Japan Peace Conference is very significant. Let us now strengthen our activities to enhance our policy and movement, change Japan's subordination to the US, and increase public opinion in opposition to the Japan-US military alliance.

5. Immediate action plans

The movement against the anti-terrorism special measures law and SDF overseas dispatch = Toward the last day of the current Diet session on December 15, we set November 26- December 2 as the period to strengthen actions involving local and national organizations across the country. Let us carry out simultaneous actions in 10,000 places throughout the country on November 29. We must plan our actions on March 20, which will mark the fifth anniversary of the start of the Iraq war.

The movement against the strengthening of US bases = Following the human chain action in US Camp Schwab on November 25, let us bring into success the Iwakuni Rally on December 1 with 10,000 participants and the Zama Rally on December 2. Toward August 19, when a US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier is planned to be deployed at Yokosuka, let us develop national voices as the only A-bombed nation in order to lead it to a major movement.

The movement for withdrawal of textbook screening policy on "mass suicide" history = Let us carry out campaigns nationwide to send protest postcard to the government against its policy and to urge local municipalities to adopt a resolution in this regard. Let us make December 8 a day for nationwide actions to teach the truth of the war and to defend peace.