Japan visit by AABCC Co-ordinator
From October 20 to 28, 2005 I was a guest of the Peace Forum, a section of a larger group called Gensuiken. During this time I was able to participate in and speak at a number of peace and anti-bases actions in Tokyo and Okinawa. The principal event was the International Anti-War and Anti-Base Meeting which had delegates South Korea, Guam, Philippines, Japan and Australia.
The meeting adopted a Declaration which included:
- We note with alarm that the US is advancing its 'realignment of forces' in the Asia-Pacific area by 'transforming and adjusting' its bases and military forces in preparation for aggression in our region.
- We cannot permit the US military to freely organise for the next wars by using bases in our countries.
- We cannot permit the Governments of our countries to participate in present and future murders of innocents as allies of the US.
The US calls the area between the Middle East and East Asia an 'arc of instability' and intends to use this subterfuge as an excuse for military intervention in that region. We note with sorrow that the people of Afghanistan were made a target for US aggression by being blamed for 9/11. As a result many Afghanis became victims of US military slaughter. We further note that the invasion of and occupation of Iraq disregarded international law and has resulted in the many deaths of civilians and soldiers over the last 2 years. There is no excuse for this outrage and there is no alternative but for the US to leave Iraq at once.
We participants of the Anti-War and Anti-Bases Symposium promise to:
- Work for the denuclearisation of the Asia-Pacific Region.
- No US military operations in the Philippines. We will work for the abolition of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).
- We will work for the removal of US bases from Australia and the abrogation of the ANZUS treaty.
- Remove the US bases from Guam. We oppose the home porting of the nuclear powered and armed aircraft carrier as well as the stationing of nuclear submarines and strategic bombers.
- No expansion of the Pyeong-Taek base in South Korea. Let's achieve the peaceful reunification of the Korean peninsula.
- No strengthening and realignment of US bases in Japan and an end to the Japan-US military alliance.
- We oppose the Iraq occupation and call on the United States and its allies to withdraw from Iraq immediately.
- We will continue to work for peace with the cooperation of our friends in the Asia-Pacific area and the rest of the world.
Our hosts detailed their concerns about the 'realignment of US forces in the Pacific'. There is also a move by the US and right wing Japanese elements for Japan to abandon its pacifist constitution. The US plans incorporate the Japanese military into its fighting force.
This is a major concern for the peace movement in the Japan. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi scored a landslide win in the last election and has the numbers in both houses of Parliament to get constitutional changes adopted.
Of equal concern to the Japanese peace movement is the 'realignment of US forces' in Japan. In Okinawa there will be a small transfer of some marines to Guam and one contentious runway will be closed. Its replacement will be built some miles away in a sensitive coastal area essential for dugong. With over 40 per cent of Okinawa stolen for US bases, resistance by the people is angry and strong.
In Tokyo Bay the US will station a new nuclear powered aircraft carrier to replace the Kitty Hawk. The changes are very worrying the US with the compliance of the Japanese Government is building a formidable force to oppose China in our region.
2007 is the 20th anniversary of the Australian Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition. This would be an excellent occasion on which to hold a similar conference in Australia. We would welcome the responses from other peace groups to this suggestion.
Photos of trip in Issue 11, Page 4, AABCC Bulletin