U.S. Military Base Construction at Henoko, Japan, Gathers Opposition

May 22, 2018

More than 60 years after the Japanese people were shackled with “temporary” Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements permitting U.S. bases to be stationed there, construction of a new U.S. military base at Henoko, Japan, is gathering renewed opposition.

In 1996, after an earlier upsurge in mass opposition to U.S. bases on the island of Okinawa, the Washington government and Japanese Prime Minister concurred about a long-term plan to create a new U.S. base at Henoko instead of giving in to the movement's demand for the total closure of U.S. bases. The plan was revived by President Obama and Prime Minister Abe in 2013, and preliminary work on the construction project began in the fall of 2015. Construction of the new base has been stalled multiple times due to struggles of the Japanese people against U.S. militarization of the region.

Organized actions directed against the new base project took place on May 11 – May 13, when several thousand people participated in rallies linked to the construction project, holding up signs and chanting slogans in defense of the country's constitutional renunciation of war and in opposition to U.S. militarization. A Peace March was also part of the events. Participants adopted a declaration, “We oppose the move being pushed by the Japanese and U.S. governments to reinforce and expand U.S. military bases in Japan.” In reply to the dictatorial power U.S. imperialism still retains over the islands, the actions were organized to coincide with the 46th anniversary commemoration of Okinawa’s return to Japan following its postwar occupation by the U.S. military.

Protests at Henoko, directed against the new base construction, have been ongoing since before the current construction phase began on April 25, 2017.

Postwar treaties requiring Japan to host U.S. military bases inaugurated the strategy of forward deployment of U.S. troops in the Far East which, to this day, serves as the primary bridge for U.S. influence in Asia.

The continuing militarization of Japan by the United States Pacific Command tramples on the sovereign rights of the Japanese people and puts the entire population of the islands at risk. This militarization is part of the aggressive program of U.S. imperialism which extends to every corner of the globe.

U.S. imperialism has grabbed, by force of arms, the territory of other countries and forcibly depopulated whole regions in order to establish a network of military bases – in Puerto Rico, Cuba, Hawaii, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, etc. The peoples of these countries remain constantly under the gun of the U.S. military which tramples on their sovereignty and national dignity. With this worldwide web of military colonies, U.S. imperialism aims to project its power everywhere and dominate the world.