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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 April 26 - May 9  > 65th year of Japan-US Security Treaty and San Francisco Peace Treaty
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2017 April 26 - May 9 [POLITICS]
editorial 

65th year of Japan-US Security Treaty and San Francisco Peace Treaty

April 28, 2017
Akahata editorial

April 28 marked the 65th year of the enforcement of the San Francisco Peace Treaty (SFPT) which Japan concluded with the Allied Nations, including the United States. The treaty separated Okinawa from Japan and placed the islands under direct U.S. military occupation. As a result, many military bases were built there, infringing on local people’s human rights and forcibly taking possession of property. Thus, Okinawans were forced to endure heavy base burdens. Even after the U.S.-held islands were returned to Japan in 1972, the local status quo did not change at all because of the existence of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty.

The government led by Prime Minister Abe Shinzo is now pushing ahead with the project to construct another U.S. base, the largest base to be built since the 1972 reversion, in defiance of local opposition. From a global viewpoint, the situation of Okinawa with the huge U.S. presence is already extraordinary. The government attempt to force Okinawa to permanently host these bases must be stopped.

Crimes and accidents involving U.S. military occur in succession

Sixty-five years ago, Japan supposedly became independent. However, the former Japan-U.S. Security Treaty which came into effect on the same day as the SFPT in essence made Japan a country subservient to the United States. This was because the SFPT has a stipulation which makes it possible for the U.S. military to continue being stationed in Japan and the former bilateral pact (the signing and implementation were on the same day as the SFPT) required Japan to continue hosting the U.S. bases built in Okinawa during the U.S. occupation. These clauses were, however, in breach of the 1945 postwar principles of the Potsdam Declaration which specifies the removal of the U.S. occupation troops from Japan.

The two countries’ agreement (revised in 1960) inflicted suffering and exposure to danger on the people all over Japan and also imposed the heavy burden of U.S. bases on them. This bilateral accord, as epitomized in the current national security legislation, not only violates the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution but also provides the grounds for global military cooperation between Japan’s Self-Defense Forces and U.S. troops.

The SFPT disregarded the 1943 Cairo Declaration stipulating the principle of “territorial non-expansion” as well as the 1945 Potsdam Declaration. The San Francisco treaty contained highly problematic stipulations such as separating Okinawa from Japan and renouncing Japan’s claim to the Chishima Archipelago.

Okinawans refer to April 28, the day Okinawa was put under U.S. control by the SFPT, as “the day of humiliation”.

In Okinawa, the occupation army had compulsorily taken residents’ lands by the force of “bayonets and bulldozers” to build huge military facilities. The U.S. military has caused accidents and incidents one after another, trampling on Okinawans’ human rights.

The U.S. military bases remained in Okinawa even after the islands were returned to Japan. The area occupied by the U.S. bases in Okinawa accounts for 70% of the total area of U.S. facilities in the country. Crimes committed by U.S. military personnel show no sign of coming to an end. Okinawa’s harsh reality is exemplified by the ghastly incident a year ago in which a 20-year-old local woman was brutally raped and killed by a former U.S. marine in Uruma City.

The U.S. Marine Corps, consisting of three Marine Expeditionary Forces (MEF), forms the core of the American forces in Okinawa. While the 1st and 2nd MEFs are based in the United States, the 3rd MEF is stationed in Okinawa. As shown by its naming as “expeditionary forces”, the MEFs’ primary task is to stage an attack on other countries. Japan is the only nation in the world that hosts such a forward deployed attack force.

Strengthen solidarity to block Henoko base construction

In April, the Abe government initiated illegal embankment work to construct the state-of-the-art U.S. base in the Henoko coastal district in Okinawa’s Nago City. That is designed to be a major base that deploys crash-prone Osprey aircraft and has a large area for ammunition loading as well as port facilities to enable enormous amphibious assault ships to land. Given its anticipated useful lifespan of 200 years, Okinawans’ tremendous burden of hosting U.S. bases is expected to continue indefinitely.

The need now is to strengthen the solidarity with Okinawans nationwide in order to block the Henoko base construction.

Past related article:
> Shii: I’ll make efforts for Henoko base issue to be common challenge of 4 opposition parties [March 6, 2017]
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