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Ryukyushimpo, Japan

Diplomacy and the US-Japan
Security Treaty: Are We to
Become a Major Military Power?

Translated By Ethan Ferraro

11 December 2012

Edited by Heather Martin

Japan - Ryukyushimpo - Original Article (Japanese)

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs often says, “It is the duty of the government to preserve the safety and prosperity of our country and the safety of our citizens and their property,” when explaining their security policies. However, I cannot possibly see how they are fulfilling this duty towards Okinawa.

This fact is all too clear when you look at how the will of the Okinawan people is being ignored with regard to the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma and the deployment of the Osprey. When you clear away the distortions to see the entire picture, it is obvious that there is a need for the various parties to show they can get things done.

When looking at the election pledges made by the various parties with regard to the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty arrangements, the Democratic Party of Japan, the Liberal Democratic Party, the New Komeito, the Japan Restoration Party, the Your Party, the New Party Daichi, the People’s New Party and the New Renaissance Party all use different expressions, such as “maintaining,” “strengthening,” “deepening” or “a key to Japanese security,” but the overall emphasis on the importance of the Japan-U.S. alliance is clear.

The Tomorrow Party of Japan states that “We must construct a relationship with the U.S. grounded in the responsibility of an independent nation,” and “We must concentrate on East Asia diplomacy.” The Japanese Communist Party states that “We must cancel the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty,” while the Social Democratic Party asserts that “We must take a UN-focused stance on diplomacy.” The New Party Nippon has made no reference to the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty.

The fact that Japanese diplomacy after the end of World War II deserted the people of Japan to follow the U.S. is needless to say. The various parties must seriously face their inconsistencies toward the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty.

There are few political parties that make public commitments with regard to the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement. The Japanese Communist Party calls for drastic revisions, the Your Party calls for Japan to consider revisions, the Social Democratic Party calls for a revision of the entire agreement and the People’s New Party calls for less drastic revisions. The other parties do not even mention the Status of Forces Agreement within their main policies. There is a large gap between the parties and the citizens, who view with a sense of foreboding this Status of Forces Agreement, which assures special privileges to the U.S. military, and who believe it to be the “root of the U.S. military’s crimes.”

With regard to the Senkaku Islands problem, the Liberal Democratic Party takes an unbending stance, seeking legislation to give it stronger practical control over the islands. The Japan Restoration Party states that it wants to fortify coastal defenses to strengthen Japan’s control of these islands.

The Democratic Party of Japan wants to expand the defense system of the Japanese Coast Guard; the New Komeito states their desire for firm strategic diplomacy, while the Japanese Communist Party, the Your Party, the Social Democratic Party and the People’s New Party stress the importance of a diplomatic solution.

I want to stress the following to each party. Territorial disputes must be solved with diplomacy, not military force. The “defeat of diplomacy” that would be signaled by military conflict must not occur in East Asia. We must learn from the many of examples of sorrow and misfortune that war has brought us.

Japanese diplomacy and the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty that came after the war was focused on the following three diplomatic principles: Diplomacy focused on the UN, cooperation with other free countries and maintaining our position as a member of Asia. It was also focused on our nonaggressive defense policy, our commitment to not becoming a country affiliated with major military affairs, the maintenance of our three antinuclear principles against producing, possessing or allowing the entry of nuclear weapons into our territory and the guarantee of civilian control of national defense.

Will we protect or destroy these national policies? Will we promote disarmament and peaceful diplomacy? Each party must explicitly state what they intend to do.



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