Japanese Communists respond to a dangerous world
John Manning writes:
In the first section of the Japanese Communist Party's estimate of what they can and must do - their Resolution for their first Congress of the century - the JCP states their opinion that:
“However unrivalled the US military strength is, it cannot create an international order based on military strength alone. A country may be able to be victorious in war, but one country alone can not build peace.. The US attempt to establish its hegemony has no future,”
Certainly there are a lot of countries, comprising the great majority of humankind, not willing to agree to that hegemony.
The second part deals with Japan's “personal” problem, the US military bases and occupation based on the Japan-US Security Treaty, which was negotiated after the San Francisco Japan Peace Treaty, which the US negotiated alone, excluding the other allies after Japan was defeated and while Japan was fully occupied by US troops. The treaty ostensibly is to defend Japan against the U S's wartime ally, the Soviet Union, which has since disappeared.
Under the Treaty, “Guidelines”, proposed by the US, have been pushed through by the Koizumi and previous LDP governments, requiring Japan to support and, at the latest, take part in any US wars in “areas surrounding Japan”, which have most lately been interpreted to include Afghanistan. The US military bases in Japan under the Treaty have been used in the attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq. The actual use of Japanese troops to take part in US wars throughout the world is the barrier not yet crossed, since all this is prohibited by the Peace Constitution, adopted with US consent in the brief “democratic” period at the end of World War II, which prohibits having a standing army and engaging in any war other than actual defence of the country.
Part 2 of the resolution deals with getting rid of this “Security” Treaty, which according to its terms can be ended one year after its being denounced by either party. The JCP wants to replace it with a non-military Friendship Treaty with the United States..
The resolution text describes the situation and the danger of being involved once again in militarism and endless wars. It does not touch, however, the danger to the ordinary people of the US, which is the following:
In our present stage of media hypnotism, the people of the US, by and large, do not object to our army slaughtering the people of other countries - Panama, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq - but they don't like body bags coming home. Our predatory military is well aware of this. They call it “the Vietnam syndrome”. If our government and military, and the military caste of Japan and its monopolies should actually succeed in turning Japan back to kamikaze militarism as an “enforcer” and ground holder for the US planned empire, then Bush and his backers could go ahead. Otherwise they are stopped. Because though persuaded and confused by our media till they think other people don't count, US Americans are not willing to have their sons and themselves die for any empire. The troops in Iraq want to come home!
But if, with those enlisted men willing to drop bombs including nuclear from high altitudes on countries with no air force and the assistance of Japanese indoctrinated to die for the US or the emperor, those in control who dream of empire can get the war to rule the world going, then no matter how many victories, the war will eventually come home. If we of the United States make ourselves the world's enemy, we will surely get what is coming to us.
Despite all the power and the odds, the democratic forces, which means first of all the Japanese communists, will almost certainly win this struggle. But it is long past time that we of the United States should be helping them.
Part One: Struggle to Build Peaceful Order in the World
(1) In analyzing the world situation three years ago, the JCP 22nd Congress Resolution presented a view on the issue of two conflicting international orders as follows: "Two conflicting international orders are clashing over what the world in the 21st century should be. One is an order of war and oppression which accords with the U.S. policy of tyrannical domination, and the other an order of peace under the UN Charter. Humankind is faced with a choice between these two orders."
The world has been in a state of turbulence during the last three years with events shaking the whole world including the 9/11 terrorist attack, the retaliatory war against Afghanistan, and the war of aggression against Iraq. These events have shown clearly that the issue of "two conflicting international orders" is one of the fundamental issues relating to the course of humankind in the 21st century and that the JCP 22nd Congress Resolution had foresight in grasping the core of the world situation. Everyone now knows which one of the two international orders has a future.
(2) The new military strategy which the United States under the Bush administration has formulated and carried out is composed of several elements that are extremely dangerous in that they fundamentally destroy the international principles established in the UN Charter for peace. The elements are as follows:
- A preemptive attack strategy ostensibly to counter terrorism and weapons of mass destruction;
- Unilateralism that denies the role of the UN and asserts the US right to use force arbitrarily;
- A new form of colonialism that involves overthrow of foreign governments by military force, territorial occupation, and imposition of a regime change;
- A strategy of unilaterally using nuclear weapons with the development of new types of usable smaller nuclear weapons; and
- A policy of US attacks on countries that are potential US competitors.
The crux of ideas that runs through these elements is that the United States must maintain a "military that is strong and ready to meet both present and future challenges", and that the United States has the resolve "to shape a new century favourable to American principles and interests" (Rebuilding America's Defences, a report published in September 2000 by the Project for the New American Century, one of the think-tanks with a strong influence on the Bush administration). Clearly, the United States is now trying to force the world to accept "a world order in which war and oppression are predominant". This represents the blatant ambition of the United States to dominate the world by imposing its hegemony.
However, this strategy to establish hegemony throughout the world is failing. The war of aggression against Iraq was the first real application of this strategy. Although the United States and Britain with their overwhelming military power destroyed the Saddam Hussein regime, the judgement of history has already been passed on their lawless acts of violence. The United States and Britain invaded Iraq alleging that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction were the threat, but they haven't discovered any such weapons in Iraq, thus deepening the suspicion that the allegations about Iraq's WMD were a total fabrication. The illegal occupation by the U.S. and British forces continues to provoke popular resistance and violence, and the state of affairs in Iraq is more difficult and complicated than ever. The stark reality in Afghanistan and Iraq is evidence that war only incubates terrorism and violence instead of serving as the answer.
However unrivalled the U.S. military strength is, it cannot create an international order based on military strength alone. A country may be able to be victorious in war, but one country alone cannot build peace. The U.S. attempt to establish its hegemony has no future.
(3) The first three years of the 21st century have seen a significant growth of movements opposing the dangerous and lawless adverse current and calling for an international order for peace based on the UN Charter, increasingly influencing international politics.
- Concerning the Iraq War, anti-war calls were loud in many countries and a worldwide anti-war movement was present on an unprecedentedly large scale even before the war's outbreak. In no time in the past have millions of people joined forces in such a manner to prevent a war by a superpower from breaking out.
- About 70 percent of the world's governments expressed opposition to the war. An anti-war current took shape even among the Group of Eight Summit members, France, Germany, and Russia. These countries were in solidarity with the non-aligned countries and Islamic Arab countries, and cooperated with China. Thus, a de facto international common front against the lawless war was formed.
- In the UN Security Council, intense diplomatic battles took place and the Council more than ever discharged its role and function in pursuit of a peaceful resolution of the conflict in line with the U.N. Charter. Unable to persuade the United Nations into recognizing that the war was legitimate, the United States had to go to war against Iraq after the serious diplomatic debacle.
These developments represent the great historic progress humanity achieved at the turn of the century.
When the world founded the United Nations and established the UN Charter following the tragic experiences of two world wars, the establishment of an international order of peace, including the illegalization of war was set forth as its aim. However, this was not immediately translated into a realistic power for world peace.
During the U.S. war of aggression against Vietnam in the 1960s and the 1970s, the United Nations was powerless. Initially, the Vietnam war was opposed only by a few governments in the world. The Vietnamese people's undaunted struggle and the popular struggle that developed throughout the world against the war of aggression, which was getting bogged down in a quagmire, drove the U.S. forces into a historic defeat. Nonetheless, the process that led to the U.S. defeat shows what the historical conditions and restrictions peculiar to the 20th century were like.
It is also a fact that in the 20th century, progress was registered toward establishing an international order for peace thanks to the international struggle against the war of aggression against Vietnam and the hard fact of the U.S. defeat in Vietnam, along with the worldwide collapse of the colonial system. The non-aligned movement increased its political strength. The idea that all countries, large and small alike, are equal under the UN Charter came to be openly embraced in international politics, and the ban on the use of force and the defence of the right of nations to self-determination became a trend that grew steadily. In the 1980s, the U.S. invasions of Grenada, Libya, and Panama encountered UN resolutions condemning the aggressor country by name for violating the UN Charter.
The 21st century world builds on struggles carried out over the years by people in defence of peace and the right of nations to self-determination. The popular struggle in each country provides the power to establish UN Charter-based rules for world peace. The enormous upsurge of the peace movement that opposed the Iraq war continues to grow, even after the claimed end of the U.S. lawless war, as a movement calling for an international order of peace in opposition to U.S. hegemony. If this people power is further developed, the 21st century will be a hopeful century in which any attempt at a lawless war by the superpower will be thwarted.
(4) In the 21st century, the current for peace has made "international cooperation among governments, organizations, and individuals" a reality.
The struggle against the Iraq war confirmed that the possibility is increasing globally that a large movement can be built for cooperation by the world's popular struggles and a majority of the world's governments in the common cause of establishing a UN Charter-based international order of peace.
It is also important to note that the World Conference against A & H Bombs, calling for the elimination of nuclear weapons, is developing with government representatives taking part along with representatives of peace organizations and individuals from around the world.
During the last three years of upheaval, in which the major issue was the world's course in the 21st century concerning "war or peace", the Japanese Communist Party has taken part in grassroots peace actions throughout the country, and carried out opposition party diplomacy by reaching out to many foreign governments. It is noteworthy that peace-loving young people have developed many movements in Japan. Without doubt, these activities waged in solidarity with the huge global movement for peace will produce the power to achieve a peaceful future.
The JCP will continue to do all it can in and outside of the country to establish an international peace in accordance with the UN Charter and in opposition to US hegemony.
Part Two: Struggle to Break Away from 'Extraordinary Subordination to the United States'
(5) The draft JCP Program defines the state of Japan as “extraordinary state subordination to the United States”, and regards ending this subservience as a major task facing Japan in the 21st century. The Japan-US Security Treaty setup stands out in the present-day world because of Japan's extraordinary subservience to the United States.
The JCP 22nd Congress Resolution pointed out that the 1999 War Laws provide the legal basis for the “Guidelines for Japan-US Defence Cooperation” and that the “New Strategic Concept” of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) “have together brought the danger of the two US-led military alliances onto a new stage.” It criticized the War Laws and the “New Strategic Concept”: for (i) throwing away the stated cause of “common defence against attacks” to transform themselves into interventionist military alliances that mobilize its allies and (ii) openly declaring that they would launch military attacks against other countries even without UN resolutions.
However, subsequent developments show a stark contrast between NATO and the Japan-US Security Treaty. In the wake of the Iraq war, European countries are increasingly moving towards distancing themselves from the US policy of hegemony and trying to work out a European security strategy calling for a peaceful international order to be established in line with the UN Charter. The European Union (EU), which comprises many NATO member countries, will adopt its first security strategy document entitled, “A Secure Europe in a Better World”. The document states, “The fundamental framework for international relations is the UN Charter. Strengthening the United Nations, equipping it to fulfil its responsibilities and to act effectively, must be a European priority", clearly revealing that its approach is different from NATO's “New Strategic Concept”. This reflects a new development in the international situation after the Iraq war.
By contrast, Prime Minister Koizumi and President Bush in the Japan-US summit meeting in May 2003 reaffirmed that the Japan-US security setup represents close relations between the two countries “not just in the context of a bilateral relationship, but also in the global context.” Strengthened literally as “a global alliance", the Japan-US security setup unconditionally supports any lawless war waged by the Unites States in any region of the world and accelerates the moves toward building a mechanism for Japan to cooperate and participate in US wars. An Asian news agency expressed concerns and criticism saying that the Self-Defence Forces will go anywhere in response to US requests. The Japan-US security setup, as an aggressive military alliance in which Japan is forced to be subordinate to the United States, is extraordinary in the present-day world.
(6) After the Iraq War, public criticism has been increasing regarding the actual state of the Japan-US military alliance. Many people are groping and exploring an alternative course Japan should take, questioning the state of Japan that cannot show any diplomatic independence from the United States. Those forces who believe that the present setup is everlasting, with the military alliance binding Japan, maintaining huge military bases, and mobilizing the nation for US lawless wars, are not qualified to talk about national independence and the country's future.
The Japan-US security setup is the source of all evils arising from Japan's subordination to the United States in the military, diplomatic, and economic affairs. Supporting the US preemptive attack strategy, it promotes a revival of militarism in Japan, which is the source of dangerous military tension in Asia and the rest of the world. The JCP will work even harder to expose the harmful effects of the Japan-US security setup and take active part in discussions to show the public that an independent, non-aligned, neutral Japan free from the military alliance can pave the way toward a peaceful and friendly future for Asia and the world. To this end, it will make every effort to win a majority of the Japanese people over to our call for the abrogation of the Japan-US Security Treaty. This is an essential task we must fulfil in building a majority force with the goal of establishing a democratic coalition government.
(7) Opposing the strengthening of the structure of the Japan-US military alliance for aggressive purposes, the JCP will develop struggles for the following tasks:
Oppose moves to build a nation that dispatches military forces abroad -- The enactment of the Anti-terrorism Special Measures Law, the Contingency Wartime Legislation, and the Law to dispatch the SDF to Iraq, shows that the moves to build a SDF-dispatching nation have entered a new stage. Preparations for permanent legislation are under way to enable Japan at anytime to send the Self-Defence Forces abroad. These are attempts to enable Japan to exercise the right of collective self-defence by joining with the US forces in using military force abroad in violation of the Constitution. The 2003 “Defence of Japan” white paper stated, “International missions are now one of the major areas of SDF activities." This shows that the Japanese Self-Defence Forces are throwing away their traditional “exclusively defensive defence” policy in terms of its role, function, and equipment to become armed forces that perform their roles mainly abroad. At this juncture, the task now is to continue to strengthen the struggle to prevent the unconstitutional SDF dispatch law from being invoked or expanded.
Struggle to break away from being a nation structured on US military bases -- Under the new global strategy of the Bush administration, US bases in Japan, which served as stepping stones for attacking Afghanistan and Iraq, are being further strengthened as key bases for projecting forces to fight wars throughout the world. The JCP opposes plans to reorganize the US expeditionary forces that include: a new state-of-the-art base to be constructed in Nago City in Okinawa Prefecture, a nuclear aircraft carrier to be deployed to the US Yokosuka Naval Base in Kanagawa Prefecture, an amphibious assault ship to be deployed to US Sasebo Naval Base in Nagasaki Prefecture, and the US plan to reinforce strike forces. As crimes are frequently committed by US military personnel creating danger for local residents, the national demand is that the Japan-US Status of Forces Agreement be revised to end extraterritorial rights for US forces in Japan. Japan's expenditure for supporting the stationing of the US forces is 1.6 times the total amount paid by the other 24 US allies combined for similar purposes. The JCP demands an immediate abolition of the so-called “sympathy budget” for funding the stationing of the US forces in Japan. The “sympathy budget” has been increased to 1.3 times the funding for small- and medium-sized businesses.
Block Japan's participation in missile defence strategy -- The US Bush administration's missile defence project is aimed at neutralizing enemy missiles and securing US nuclear supremacy. It is a dangerous plan to establish US dominion of space in that it would enable the United States to preemptively attack other countries without having to worry about retaliation. The Japanese government has promised to participate in the development and deployment of the missile defence system. Participation in the project is not only costly but amounts to exercising of the right of collective self-defence in violation of the Constitution and will also incorporate Japan into the US global nuclear strategy. China and Russia have expressed strong concerns about and criticism of the missile defence project, indicating that Japan's participation in the project could increase tension between Japan and Asia-Pacific countries. The JCP opposes the US missile defence plan and strongly demands that the government cancel its participation in it.
The struggle to end Japan's extraordinary subordination to the US has international significance in that it will contribute to establishing an international order of peace in line with the UN Charter. We will join hands with many peace-loving people in the effort to make Japan a stronghold for world peace instead of one for US lawless wars.
John Manning is a retired American worker and former employee of the World Federation of Trade Unions. He lives in the Czech Republic and reports regularly for Spectre on Japanese affairs - especially as regards the JCP – and left and labour movements in Latin America.