Japan-US military integration
On October 29, the Japan-US Security Consultative Committee (the "2 plus 2" meeting), attended by US and Japanese cabinet members in charge of foreign and defense affairs, released an "interim report" entitled "US-Japan Alliance: Transformation and Realignment for the Future." Despite the prior media coverage, the report went far beyond the issues of Futenma Air Station relocation and the realignment of the Japan-based US forces. Through this document, the Japanese and US governments issued a preposterous declaration to the effect that the two nations would look to integrate their forces so that they could launch preemptive attacks anytime anywhere in the world, with the focus on the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.
In a press conference after the 2 plus 2 meeting, Minister of State for Defense ONO Yoshinori gave self-crediting remarks, praising the accord as "a historic process toward a change of the US-Japan alliance." So how will the alliance change?
Joint operations and wider roles for the Japan Self-Defense Forces (SDF) will be introduced at all levels: information sharing, use of base facilities, drilling, maneuvers and operations. A representative scheme is a collocation of Japan's Air Defense Command and relevant units with the headquarters of the US Air Force units in Japan at Yokota Air Base. Joint use of US bases will start around Japan as measures for "improving interoperability" and "expanding training opportunities," allowing US Air units to undertake training at SDF's bases. The agreement also supports enhanced use of civil airports and ports by US forces.
The agreement reveals their move towards the total reshaping of the US and Japanese militaries to cater to war-promoting policies of global capitalism.
Special measure law for going ahead with new base construction
The two governments reached agreement on the key issue of Futenma relocation, or new base construction, with a plan to locate the Futenma replacement facility into the shoreline areas of Camp Schwab. The local struggle to dismantle the plan waged for nearly 550 days, opinion among Okinawans seeking ex-prefectural relocation, and the Save Dugon campaign widely supported at home and abroad are the factors behind the complete failure of the current plan to place the facility in Henoko offshore. Nonetheless, the US-Japan accord simply brushes away all these opposing factors and finalizes a new plan to construct a giant military base with a total length of 1,800 meters. That is far from anything Okinawa Prefecture could swallow. Knowingly, the government has already prepared a special measures bill that would deprive the prefecture of the authority to give permission for reclamation of publicly-owned waters.
Not only that, but the agreement aims to consolidate the functions of the US forces by integrating the Marine Corps unit located in mid-southern Okinawa into the unit in northern Okinawa while returning to Japan part of the current military facilities including Naha Naval Port. Other additions to the deal include shared use of Kadena Base by US and Japanese forces and Japan-US joint training at Camp Hansen. With vertical takeoff Osprey fighters to be deployed, the planned base will also surely become a shared facility for both US and Japan.
While promoting US-Japan military integration, Prime Minister KOIZUMI Junichiro is imposing policies upon Okinawans that will convert military bases into fortresses, contrary to their demands to reduce the existing burden.
Protesting Bush's visit to Japan
"This is nothing but discrimination against Okinawa." On October 30, the Okinawa Prefectural Rally became the site of aggregated indignation by Okinawa residents with resolutions that included demands for the withdrawal of the US-Japan accord, the immediate closure and removal of Futenma Base and giving up of any base relocation plan within Okinawa and Japan. Even Governor INAMINE Keiichi and Nago Mayor KISHIMOTO Tateo are opposing the over-the-head conclusion. Heads of respective local entities with military bases have also started raising their voices against the Government's negligence of the local decision and its ironhanded pressure to force localities to accept its plan, with Zama Mayor saying "Absolutely No!" and Iwakuni Mayor, "Impossible to tolerate."
With the drive toward enhancing the US-Japan alliance and the development of a system that can support war established in the name of the "resident protection planning" along with the Liberal Democratic Party's move toward comprehensive rewriting of the Constitution, the sense of crisis among the public has reached an unprecedented level. In turn, we have a broader perspective now to counterattack from local communities through movements represented by the Non-Defended Localities movement.
On November 15, Bush is coming to Japan to advocate US-Japan military integration. Counter the Bush-Koizumi meeting with protests against the construction of a new base as well as demands for removal of Futenma Base and the withdrawal of occupation forces from Iraq. Break down the line of policies for building a war-capable and war-driven nation. (October 30).