【PART 1】 Mystery of Okinawa: Military Bases and the Constitution

 

【19】 Article 9-2 of the Constitution and the transformation of Okinawa into a military base was a package deal

 

“So,” I asked myself, “there were 1,300 nuclear weapons in Okinawa? And those could have been transported to mainland bases to be used for nuclear attacks against China and the USSR?”

I was astonished. I’d had no idea until then. Then what, I wondered, is the meaning of Article 9 of the Constitution, the “renunciation of belligerency” clause? Naturally, this was the next question that came to mind. From the point of view of the USSR and China, having 1,300 nuclear weapons pointed at their flanks, Article 9 must have sounded like a bad joke.

I looked into the history, and found that Article 9-2 (which abandons war potential) and the transformation of Okinawa into a military base had been a package deal from the start. That is, MacArthur, who wrote Article 9-2, decided that fortifying Okinawa (by deploying a large Air Force and nuclear weapons there) would mean that the Japanese mainland would not have to possess military power (Meeting with George Kennan, Head of the State Department Policy Planning Staff, on March 3, 1984, etc.). Therefore, Japan’s pacifist Constitution, especially the “abandonment of war potential” stipulated in Article 9-2, has nothing to do with all nations taking steps towards disarmament to create a peaceful world. It was a package deal comprising military fortification and nuclear deployment on Okinawa. It is now utterly different from the beautiful tale that supporters of the current Constitution often tell.

In postwar Japan, being an “antiwar, pro-Constitution pacifist” was the most comfortable position to be in. I always held this position too. Of course, there are many honorable people who acted with integrity from this position, and kept rightward trends in Japan at bay. Their achievements must not be forgotten. However, reflecting on the past with repentance, I realized that this “antiwar, pro-Constitution pacifist” position taken by the majority of Japanese people, including myself, was a convenient excuse. Basically, you bear no responsibility while feeling psychologically superior to everyone else. However, since this position is not grounded on the real historical truth of Japan’s ongoing military role in the world, people who hold it cannot become an authentic political force in postwar Japanese society.