【PART 4】 The Mystery of Security Treaty Village (2): The UN Charter and the Postwar World


【19】 Dialogue between Kissinger and Zhou Enlai on U.S. bases in Japan


Of course, the two-facedness of USFJ, that is, the fact that they play the role not only of defending the military vacuum of Japan, but also preventing the resurgence of aggressive policies in Japan, has been a known fact. We do not even have to look back in history as we just did; U.S. officials have confirmed this, time and again.

For example, Henry Kissinger, former Presidential Assistant, was asked a fundamental question in a secret meeting with China. Former Premier Zhou Enlai asked him, “Why is the U.S. stationing its forces in Japan, despite not allowing the Soviet Union’s deployment of its forces to Czechoslovakia?” “If we withdraw from Japan, they would be able to produce nuclear weapons easily, since they have enough plutonium from the peaceful utilization plan of nuclear power”, Kissinger replied. “Therefore, what would take the place of our withdrawal is an undesired nuclear program by Japan, and we don’t want that.”

Kissinger has argued further, “If Japan should move towards large-scale remilitarization, the U.S. and China would redevelop traditional relations [the alliance during World War II] … In short, we are going to do our best to restrain Japan’s armament to that for the defense of the four main islands. However, if that fails, we will prevent the expansion of Japan’s power with other countries.” (A Colloquy of Zhou-Kissinger Secret Meetings, translated by Kazuko Mori and Hiroshi Masuda, published by Iwanami Shoten)

Evidently, such intentions have remained intact in the continued presence of U.S. forces in Japan.

This is often called the “cap in the bottle” argument, which got its name from a comment made by Henry C. Stackpole, commander of Marine Corps in Japan. On March 27, 1990, Stackpole made the following statement to the Washington Post, warning that Japan would strengthen its already considerable military power if U.S. Forces withdrew.

“No one wants a rearmed, resurgent Japan. So we [USFJ] are the cap in the bottle [to prevent the resurgence of militarism in Japan], if you will.”

Bruce Cummings, professor of the University of Chicago at that time, has made something clear about the basic U.S. strategies in the postwar period. According to Cumings, in reality, the famous “containment policy” proposed by George Kennan targeted not only the opposing communist countries, but also the capitalist countries allied to the U.S. The Kennan Doctrine was like the two-faced god Janus: on the surface it was directed against the Soviet Union and its allies, but surreptitiously it also targeted the defeated nations, Germany and Japan. (Le Monde diplomatique, April 1999)

It goes without saying now that NATO and USFJ are also both Janus-faced.