Japan's War System
The Japanese government is all set to pass the new legislation called the Act to Assist Iraq Reconstruction, which would legalize the deployment of Japan's Self-Defense Forces in Iraq. "The war is still going on in Iraq," said ISHIBA Shigeru, Director General of the Defense Agency, and Iraq is under control of US and UK occupation forces. Nevertheless, the government is anxious to send Japanese military troops there.
The controversial national emergency bills have passed the House of Representatives with nearly 90 percent of its members' approval including the opposition Democratic Party of Japan. With one more push, the drafted "Act to Assist Iraq Reconstruction" would be a law to determine the direction of Japan in the use of its military forces.
So far, Japan's Self-Defense Forces had been dispatched to the Indian Ocean as well as the Arabian Sea, providing the US forces with logistic support of oil and intelligence. Thus Japan was actually participating in the attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq. As soon as the government acquires the legal framework for war contingencies and the new Iraq law, it would openly admit the contributions to the war actions. And it might even allow its soldiers to direct their guns to the Iraqi civilians.
We could never stop wars when our attention is focused only on whether war-related bills pass the Diet or not. We have to find out what leads to wars and what mechanism is at work in making wars. We believe that the worldwide movement against the war on Iraq suggests a way to the goal of No War. The "Tokyo Declaration" adopted on May 26 (See: http://www.unityflag.co.jp/international/i791/declaration.html) presents further advance in such approach.
Another "Superpower" of the World
The February 15 demonstrations mobilized huge populations of the world to stop the war against Iraq on an unprecedented scale of 10 millions or more. The anti-war movement had spread all over the world, delayed the outbreak of the war for several months, prevented the UN from adopting a resolution that would justify the attacks on Iraq, and isolated George Bush and Tony Blair. Though it is true that the movement could not stop the war after all, the people of the world gained great confidence in their power. The whole world knows that the war is illegal in violation of international law. As a New York Times columnist called it another world superpower, the global anti-war movement is on the rise confronting the US superpower.
The Tokyo Declaration was prepared and adopted by 12 anti-war organizations of "superpower" from five countries, including International A.N.S.W.E.R. of the US and Stop the War Coalition of the UK. It outlined the way to put an end to the working of the war system.
Firstly, the declaration emphasizes the importance of revealing criminal acts associated with wars and subsequent occupations. For that purpose, an international war criminal tribunal movement should be created thorough investigation of the war crimes. Companies and business interest which are eager to profit from the war and occupation should be condemned globally. These movements would be the core of power to end the occupation and stop another war before it starts.
Secondly, it calls for international coordinated actions opposing the possible pre-emptive strike on North Korea by Japan and the US. It also emphasizes the solidarity between the people of Islamic countries like Syria and Iran, who are most likely to get damaged in the case of pre-emptive attack, and the people of Asia including Japan and South Korea.
Strengthen International Solidarity
The Tokyo Declaration was given birth to by a pile of international joint actions, as it intended "to follow the Cairo Declaration of December 2002." Activists from Europe, Middle East, North America and Latin America met in Cairo and adopted the declaration which called for international solidarity to stop the looming US attack on Iraq. Undoubtedly the Cairo Declaration led to the global anti-war demonstrations which lasted for several months. "Another superpower" did not pop up by accident. Mass demonstrations had come out of countless unknown activists' will and efforts worldwide. The Tokyo Declaration reflects the wish of the people around the world for strengthened international solidarity to stop the war system.
Spreading and putting into action the Tokyo Declaration could revitalize Japan's peace movement, which tends to lose its perspective by straining too much on issues of this and that legislation in the Diet. The world is expecting Japan's movement to be strong and active to play a major part in containing warmongers' alliance of Japan, the US and the UK. (June 1)