Ishihara metropolitan administration under siege
On March 18, a signature campaign for direct petition was launched in the City of Ichikawa, Chiba Prefecture, aiming to have a pro-peace Non-Defended Locality ordinance enacted. Similar campaigns will start in one city after another around Tokyo, as slated for April 8 in Hino, April 22 in Kunitachi and April 29 in Ota.
As of January this year, 23 prefectural governments have completed resident protection manuals under the "Civilian Protection Law," to which cabinet approval has been given already. The central government is demanding all municipalities to develop such manuals by the end of March 2007. It is from now on that the Non-Defended Localities movement is put to the test.
SHIKATA Toshiyuku, the senior counselor for the metropolitan Tokyo government and an ex-Lieutenant-General for the northern squad of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF), says, "The metropolitan government shall protect the state functions," and "The best contribution of residents is to flee," according to the Tosei Shimpo newspaper. His remarks can be summarized that what must be protected is not the people but the state's brain and nerve, and non-interference with military operations is how residents should contribute to this mission. The Tokyo Board of Education is now poised to insist obedience to the nation, which is a war-oriented one, even upon children, as indicated in its decree of March 13 ordering all the principals to force teachers to drill into students the respect for Hinomaru and Kimigayo, the national flag and anthem of Japan.
The development of the Non-Defended Localities movement in the metropolitan Tokyo area will hold the metropolitan administration led by fascist governor ISHIHARA Shintaro under siege.
Joint system for aggression under development
On March 16, President Bush made it clear in "The National Security Strategy of the United States of America" that "the United States will, if necessary, act preemptively." In the talks among Japan, the US and Australia held on March 18, they fueled the concern of "the threat from China" and declared that they would enhance the joint operation systems under the pretext of "global stability and security." In response to the move toward realignment of the US forces in Japan, warmonger KOIZUMI Junichiro is promoting the efforts to enhance Japan-US joint operation system.
Their plan includes deployment of the headquarters of a GSDF Central Readiness Force Command in Camp Zama to be integrated with the new headquarters of the US Army Combat Command in order to form Japan-US joint system for preemptive attacks. On March 27, the three SDFs, Ground, Maritime and Air, will enter joint operation under an operations coordination center to be established at Yokota Air Base as the headquarters of the US-Japan joint operations command. In the wake of the planned relocation of the US Marine Corps deployed in Okinawa to Guam, they are even considering permanent use of the military functions in Guam by the Air SDF. As most of the relocation expenses as much as US$ 8.5 billion are to be borne by the Japanese government, do not misunderstand that it is because Koizumi is Bush's servant. It is his own desire to enhance SDF troops into invading military that can go anywhere in the world for the sake of vested interests.
The people of Japan have no reason to support this drive to build a war-oriented system. That is the very reason why the government denies any room for residents to have a say on the defense issue, insisting that defense be under exclusive control of the state while rushing to replace the Constitution with a new one prepared by the Liberal Democratic Party that squeezes human rights and democracy in the name of "public interests"(or national interests).
Residents' voices blocking drive toward war-oriented nation
Countering the move described above, the Non-Defended Localities movement and other community-based struggles are disabling the assertion that defense must be under exclusive control of the state.
On March 12, the Iwakuni Referendum asking local residents' opinion on the transformation and realignment of US forces deployed in Japan turned to be an opportunity for a majority of eligible voters to express their will against the planned enhancement of the military functionality of Iwakuni Base. Despite slander from the government and the LDP calling the result "a type of locality-centered egoism" (specifically as remarks by the LDP's secretary-general for the House of Councilors KATAYAMA Toranosuke), the fact remains that residents of the City of Iwakuni, after years of forced "co-existence" with the military base, have made a historic representation of their will. On March 16, the Otsuki town assembly in Kochi Prefecture voted against a proposed ordinance aimed at establishing a local "civilian protection" council. On March 28, residents of Taketomi town, Okinawa, the southernmost locality in Japan, will start a direct petition campaign for a Non-Defended Locality ordinance.
Let us support struggles against planned military base realignment spreading across different localities in conjunction with support for the Non-Defended Locality movement. Mobilize all municipalities in campaigns for Non-Defended Locality ordinances as an alternative for resident protection manuals, a pathway toward system buildup for war. This is an innovative initiative for creating peace in local communities, not limiting our struggles to "Save Article 9 of the Constitution of Japan." (March 19)