【PART 2】 The Mystery of Fukushima: Why Japan Cannot Stop Nuclear Power Plants?


11】 Mystery of the Osprey


Reading the two texts on the right can solve several of Japan’s current mysteries.

First, let’s consider the mystery of the Osprey.

The MV-22 Osprey — the special military aircraft developed by U.S. Forces — has caused accidents repeatedly. In September 2012, when the Osprey was about to be deployed in Okinawa, all 41 municipalities declared opposition to it, and 100,000 Okinawan people gathered to protest against it.

Moreover, in January 2013, all the mayors and chairpersons of the municipalities in Okinawa went to Tokyo to deliver to Prime Minister Abe a “written petition” requesting “the withdrawal of the deployment of Osprey aircraft” and “abandonment of the base relocation plan to Henoko.”

Despite these opposition campaigns, the Osprey was deployed and military drills began in Okinawa as if there hadn’t been such a campaign. Meanwhile, in the U.S., training sessions were canceled in consideration of “influence on an archaeological site and on the ecosystem of bats.”

There is a famous story in Japan, that right before the deployment of Osprey aircraft in July 2012, Noda, the former prime minister, made this statement on public television: “In spite of being in an alliance, Japan cannot put in a word over U.S. deployment of the Osprey. It is the U.S. government’s incontestable policy.”

How dare he say such a thing, considering the circumstances of Japanese safety and lives being threatened? All Japanese people were surprised at his irresponsibility. Nevertheless, the secret report just cited makes it clear why he said so.

It clearly states that “Under the Security Treaty, our forces may be used (to contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security in the Far East), without consultation of any kind with the Japanese Government (2).”

“American military units, equipment, dependents, etc., also are authorized to move freely to and from Japan without any local agreement and without even advance notification of the local authorities (6).”

Articles 3 and 26 of the Administrative Agreement, concluded in 1952, are the grounds for these rights.

As I explained in detail in Introduction to the “Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement,” Which Is Actually More Important than the Constitution, such rights of the U.S. Forces have been maintained up to now because of many secret agreements like the one I have just cited. It is a secret agreement, but it has the same legal power as a treaty since it was officially signed (only with their initials) by a minister of MOFA and an ambassador.

Furthermore, as I explained in PART 1, the Constitution of Japan has been dysfunctional since the Sunagawa Case in 1959 — the very Constitution that ought to protect Japanese people when secret agreements are used to justify the right of U.S. Forces to violate their human rights.

Constitutional dysfunction means there is no way for the Japanese prime minister to put up a resistance to secret agreements. That is probably why Noda, the former prime minister, had to tell “the truth about this nation” as directed by MOFA. However, it should be pointed out strictly that his words conveyed no sympathy for the plight of the nation or intellectual concern about it.