Protests Against U.S. Military Bases in Japan

May 10, 2010

On April 24, 100,000 people in Okinawa demonstrated against U.S. bases on the island and against the 50-year old "Japan-U.S. Security Treaty". Demonstrators expressed outrage that Prime Minister Hatoyama, under pressure from the U.S. State Department, backed down on a promise to move the U.S. Marine Corp Air Base Futenma off the island.

Over the last several months the Japanese people have organized hundreds of protests and mass actions, all across the country, to demand the complete withdrawal of U.S. troops from Okinawa and Japan. The main demands of the growing movement in opposition to U.S. military presence in Japan include an end to the 50-year old "security" treaty which permits U.S. bases, and the removal of the nearly 100 U.S. military installations throughout the country.

From 1945 to 1972, the Japanese island of Okinawa was occupied and ruled directly by the U.S. military. Today, the U.S. still maintains over 47,000 troops in Japan, with over half stationed on the island of Okinawa.

Although opposition to the bases is growing amongst the Japanese people, both the Japanese and U.S. governments are committed not only to keeping U.S. troops and bases in Okinawa and Japan but also to strengthening U.S.-Japanese military cooperation. This includes plans to enhance the integration and "interoperability" of U.S. and Japanese forces.

The U.S. military occupation of Japan is not only a constant danger and threat to the Japanese people, but to the peoples throughout Asia. U.S. bases in Okinawa and Japan remain one of the principal means through which U.S. imperialism projects its military power in the region. Today especially, when the dangers of war are growing, both as a result of imperialism's implacable opposition to the demand of the oppressed nations and peoples for sovereignty and independence, as well as from the intensifying rivalries between the various imperialist powers themselves, the struggle of the Japanese people against U.S. military bases is an important part of the world-wide struggle against militarism and war. It deserves the support of people everywhere.