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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Yoshida Kensei: We Should Transform ANPO(Japan-U.S. Military Alliance) to a Japan-U.S. Peace Treaty 吉田健正:「安保を有効条約に変えるべし」

This is Yoshida Kensei's essay that appeared in May 15 edition of Shukan Kin'yobi, a progressive weekly magazine in Japan. We will post an English summary soon. Yoshida has written numerous books including "Okinawa: Military Colony" (Kobunken, 2007) and "Democracy Betrayed: Okinawa under U.S. Occupation" (Center for East Asian Studies, Western Washington University). See also his article in Japan Focus "US Bases, Japan and the Reality of Okinawa as a Military Colony."


吉田健正さんは元桜美林大学教授で、『軍事植民地 沖縄』『沖縄の海兵隊はグアムへ行く』『カナダはなぜイラク戦争に参戦しなかったのか』(以上すべて高文研)等の著書で知られています。


Japan-U.S. Security Treaty should be changed to a Peace Treaty

Yoshida Kensei (former professor of Obirin University)

Prime Minister Hatoyama has declared that he would find a solution for the "Futenma Relocation" issue by the end of May. LDP(Liberal Democratic Party) and the Japanese mass media are pressing Hatoyama for resignation in case he failed to meet the deadline.

While the U.S. Government proceeds with their plan to transfer most of the Marines in Okinawa to Guam, they deem the 2006 "Roadmap" agreement "the best way forward" and has refused to renegotiate it with Japan's new coalition government. This 2006 agreement would relocate the Futenma base within Okinawa, move Marines to Guam, and return the bases south of Kadena Base.

There is no solution in sight. There lies the revised Japan-U.S. Security Treaty as the backdrop of this problem. The Article 6 of the Treaty says, "For the purpose of contributing to the security of Japan and the maintenance of international peace and security in the Far East, the United States of America is granted the use by its land, air and naval forces of facilities and areas in Japan."

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, this article means, "in order to effectively maintain the function of Japan-U.S. Security Treaty as a deterrence mechanism, our nation needs to allow the presence of U.S. military forces and to secure the system in which we provide necessary facilities and areas for the use of U.S. military forces. The Article 6 stipulates such provisions."

This so-called "obligation of base provision" enables U.S. to station its forces anywhere in Japan and to dispatch its troops far beyond Japan and the Far East, to ares of conflict in the Middle East, regardless of Japan's intention. The Status of Forces Agreement between U.S. and Japan, which grants special privileges to the U.S. military bases and forces, just like in the period of U.S. occupation of Japan, is also based on this Article 6.

The fact that Hatoyama Administration has been unable to demand for revision of the "Roadmap" (United States-Japan Roadmap for Realignment Implementation) and that the U.S. Government is rejecting such move in a high-handed manner can be attributed to this Article 6, which was signed half a century ago. The majority of the Japanese people oppose the idea of hosting a replacement base for Futenma in their own backyard, but at the same time, they support the "Japan-U.S. Alliance," in which Japan continues to play a subservient role and bears the cost of "host nation support," including the "sympathy budget," created by LDP. No Japanese media attempts to examine the gap between the general reluctance to host bases and willingness to support the unfair treaty.

The spell around the Futenma relocation issue is not impossible to break. The fifty-year old Treaty also provides that "after the Treaty has been in force for ten years, either Party may give notice to the other Party of its intention to terminate the Treaty, in which case the Treaty shall terminate one year after such notice has been given"(Article 10). Now that we know the vast majority of the Japanese people do not want U.S. military bases near them, the Japanese Government should call for termination of the Treaty. Japan-U.S. relationship is rich in many fields such as trade, investment, culture, science and technology, and tourism. The outdated military alliance, which negatively affects Japan's relationship with neighboring countries, can be transformed into a Japan-U.S. Peace Treaty. This will finally put an end to the long post-war struggle of Okinawa.

Preceding the abolishment of the Security Treaty, it is only natural that Futenma Air Station, which dangerously sits right in the middle of a crowded city, is immediately closed and removed.


Yoshida Kensei
Born in Okinawa in 1941. Yoshida specialized in journalism at University of Missouri.
After working for Okinawa Times, AP Tokyo, Newsweek Tokyo Branch, and the Canadian Embassy of Japan, he became a professor of International Relations at Obirin University. He retired in 2006, and now lives back in Okinawa.

See also a Japan Focus Article by Yoshida Kensei:

US Bases, Japan and the Reality of Okinawa as a Military Colony

1 comment:

  1. Yoshida Kensei11:54 p.m.

    日本の戦後は終らない("The postwar era will not end until the return of Okinawa to the homeland is realized.")という言葉にかけたものです。つまり、実際には日本本土の「戦後」は憲法制定や経済復興によりすでに終っていたが、沖縄は米軍統治が続いていたので「戦後」のままだった(佐藤のレトリックによれば、したがって日本の「戦後」
    も終っていなかった。) 沖縄の感覚からすれば、72年の返還後も、基地(と日米地位協定)はそのまま残り、実際上、「戦後」はまだ終っていない。「戦後」に大きな政治的な意味を込めているわけです。英訳するのは難しいですね。基地があろうがなかろうが、”戦後」は「戦後」ですから。「米国(米軍)占領はまだ続いている」と言い換えても、かつての占領と現在の基地存続とは異なる・・・。