Japanese Protests Against U.S. Bases

Reprinted from The Worker, newspaper of the Workers Party, USA, June 6, 2015

On May 17th, 35,000 people demonstrated in Naha against U.S. military bases on Okinawa and against the U.S.-Japanese “security” treaty. Demonstrators also denounced the U.S. military’s planned deployment of CV-22 Osprey aircraft at U.S. Yokota Airbase in Tokyo. People from all over Japan traveled to Okinawa to join in the protests. Several similar protests also took place in recent months elsewhere throughout the islands of Okinawa and on the Japanese mainland. On May 24, 15,000 demonstrators gathered, forming a human chain around the parliament building in Tokyo.

U.S. troops have occupied Japan for over half a century. From 1945 to 1972, the Japanese islands of Okinawa were occupied and ruled directly by the U.S. military. Today, the U.S. still maintains nearly 50,000 troops in Japan, with over half stationed on the islands of Okinawa.  The U.S. has also been pushing forward, in coordination with Japan and South Korea, the deployment of a regional ballistic missile system, the “Theater Missile Defense (TMD) system.”

As part of Obama’s efforts to strengthen the U.S.-Japan military alliance, U.S. diplomats have called repeatedly for the lifting of constitutional restrictions blocking Japanese troops from “defending” the U.S. military in the event of a war. Ignoring the Japanese constitution itself, the recently enhanced Japan-U.S. “security” treaty called for by the Obama administration aims at stimulating the revival of Japanese militarism under the auspices of U.S. imperialism. It calls for increased U.S.-Japanese cooperation in “international peace-keeping” and “regional security matters.”

The treaty and U.S. bases are a danger to the people of Japan. U.S. imperialism is an aggressive military superpower that has proven again and again that it prefers war to peaceful resolution of differences between States.

According to U.S. imperialism’s “first-strike” military doctrine, the U.S. will start wars whenever and wherever it wants to “preempt terrorist countries” and “countries seeking weapons of mass destruction.” This doctrine expresses the continuing strategy of U.S. imperialism in its struggle to establish a unipolar world with itself as the sole superpower. The extremely aggressive character of the U.S. program arises from the fact that the inherent laws of capitalism-imperialism impel U.S. monopoly capital to stretch its hands everywhere, to strive to grab up economic territory and spheres of influence.

Since codifying the first-strike military doctrine in 2001, two consecutive U.S. presidents have relied on it to declare war against the world. Both presidents have maintained a nuclear hit-list and the Pentagon is developing a new generation of nuclear weapons including its National Missile Defense system. The Pentagon has drawn up plans that include nuclear first-strikes against non-nuclear countries including North Korea, Syria, and Iran.

Today U.S. imperialism is at war in Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Colombia, the Philippines and elsewhere. The Obama administration has also extended its “counter-terrorism” operations to include remote control drone strikes against Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia launched from nearby countries where U.S. troops are stationed and manned from the U.S. mainland. The U.S. government has already named dozens of other countries as potential targets of “counter-terrorism” operations or full scale war.

U.S. military forces were the principle source of conflict and tension in the Asia region long before U.S. imperialism officially adopted its first-strike military doctrine. Just since the end of World War II, U.S. imperialism has been responsible for the partitioning of China, launching direct, open aggression against Korea, waging the brutal war against the peoples of Vietnam and Indo-China as well as carrying out, in cooperation with local reactionary and fascist regimes, many counter-insurgency wars in the Philippines, in Indonesia and elsewhere.

Like people the world over, the Japanese people ardently desire a world of peace and friendship. The struggle of the Japanese people against U.S. military bases and the U.S.-Japan “security” treaty is an important part of the world-wide struggle against militarism and war. And like people the world over, the American people ardently desire a world of peace and friendship. As the U.S. government continues to defy the will of the people and remain on the warpath, the people have no choice but to further organize in opposition to and struggle against the parties of war and imperialism.

Only the Peoples Can Stop the Wars!