【PART 5】 The Last Mystery Voluntary slavish obedience and its historical origin
【15】 What it means to truly “break away from the postwar system”
You probably know by now that I advocate the withdrawal of U.S. Forces. But if I say that publicly, I immediately get nasty responses such as “Then what would we do about Article 9-2? Are you living in a fool’s paradise, or are you nuts?”
What kind of changes, then, should we make to Article 9-2? Of course this requires the utmost care. But know that it’s basically a technical issue, since there is already a national consensus on maintaining only the required minimum self-defense rights and self-defense forces. One idea, therefore, would be to clearly state the government’s conventional view: “Japan maintains the required minimum defense power for self-defense, but abandons any right to collective defense.” It’d mean a lonely, solitary path ahead, but it isn’t impossible.
What I would recommend, however, is to emulate the Constitutions of other countries that also have war renunciation clauses, such as the Philippines and Italy.(*1) We could change Article 9-2 so that it declares our UN-centric position. For example, it could be something like, “In order to achieve the goal written in the previous clause, the Japanese accept the principles of international law as their own law, and firmly maintain peace and friendship with all countries.” The Philippines have achieved the withdrawal of U.S. Forces based on an article similar to this, and has also maintained a security treaty with the U.S. What we should be obeying are international laws, so there is no need to cooperate in any illegal warfare by the U.S. (refer to Figure 4 of the charts at the end of this book).
In this book, and in the Rediscovering Japanese History after World War II series, I have repeatedly illustrated the current situation in which the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty and the Japan-U.S. State of Forces Agreement have precedence over the Constitution of Japan–effectively violating the sovereignty of the Japanese.
Instead, Japan should have agreed to limit its sovereignty as a principle of international law with the UN as its center, as in the Italian Constitution. And Japan should have accepted this principle of international law as part of its own law, as in the Filipino Constitution. But Japan surrendered its sovereignty as a millitary agreement with the U.S. and accepted that as part of its own law. From the start, this was the mistake made by postwar Japan.
The most prominent reason for this is that Article 9-2 lay untouched even after the vision of creating UN Forces was foiled. Since the Japanese had not framed the Constitution themselves, they couldn’t revise it according to the change of the times, even when independence was restored.
However, I don’t mean to insist on my view concerning the detailed text of Article 9-2. We can all discuss it thoroughly. We just need to decide to have minimal defense power with a defense-only policy, and then to make sure that the Constitution reflects such decisions.
The most important thing is to state clearly that we will no longer allow any foreign military bases in the country, thereby making any previous secret agreements with the U.S. invalid and determining the withdrawal of U.S. Forces.
I say this because of a certain secret agreement discovered by Emeritus Professor Shoichi Koseki of Dokkyo University. The agreement is revealed in an official U.S. document and stipulates that the SDF would go under the USFJ’s command if the U.S. decides there is an emergency situation, or in other words, a war, in Japan. Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida promised this verbally to the U.S. twice, in July 1952 and February 1954. (“Secret Agreements Made 30 Years Ago Recalled by Japan-U.S. Talks, Part 1,” in Asahi Journal, May 22, 1981)
A few times in this book I’ve mentioned the Japan-U.S. Joint Committee, the “top decision-making body behind closed doors.” The reason such an entity came about was this secret agreement of unified command by U.S. Forces. In February 1951, when Dulles showed Prime Minister Yoshida the draft of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, Yoshida begged for a part of it to be deleted — namely, the part that clearly stated Japan would be remilitarized, and that its new military would go under U.S. command. He was afraid of what the Japanese public would think, were they ever to become aware of such an agreement.
In return, he proposed that a joint committee be formed to discuss various issues regarding USFJ. Then, in July 1952, he agreed verbally to the unified command. In this way he decided not to have such important agreements stated openly in the clauses, but rather made it seem like things were being discussed fairly in the closed joint committee. In reality, meanwhile, everything would be decided according to U.S. demands. This is the origin of the Japan-U.S. Joint Committee, which is the body that fosters leaders of the Security Treaty Village.
In PART 3, I wrote that the tragedy concerning the Constitution is that there are only forces that want to “change it for the worse” (by deteriorating human rights), or forces that insist “we mustn’t lay a finger on it.” In other words, there have been no forces that advocate changing it for the better, as there should be. The reason for this must be the “secret agreement of unified command” that I have discussed. I feel that the Japanese have been instinctively aware of this reality.
No matter how we change the Constitution on the surface, unless we change its relation to the laws governing the security treaty and secret agreements we will enter a paradox in which Japanese Forces will be used conveniently by U.S. Forces as a subordinate more and more, as Japan gains more “force” and “freedom of action.” On July 1, 2014, the Abe administration’s Cabinet approved the “use of the right to collective defense,” but what lies beyond this is the eventual realizing of such secret agreements.
Therefore, there is no use criticizing Prime Minister Abe, who is an “actor in the superficial, public world.” It is also no longer possible to prevent changes from happening in the way liberals have fought over the years, by saying “you can’t lay a finger on the Constitution.” The only way to change this situation is to have the Constitution clearly state that “Japan will have only minimal defense power,” and also that “we will no longer have foreign military bases in the country.” In other words, I’m talking about the model of the Filipino Constitution.
Then we would make the U.S. Forces leave and revive the Constitution of Japan, which is not functioning now–owing to the continued stationing of the U.S. military. This is the only way to prevent Japan from reverting to a country that engages in aggressional war, and also the way to stop the mad policy of restarting nuclear power plants while facing huge earthquakes. This isn’t some random policy recommendation I fabricated.
The reason I can be so assertive about this is simple: For a nation that lost sovereignty while being occupied by a huge empire after the war, this is the one and only solution to gain back that sovereignty. We write the Constitution ourselves, and make the occupying forces leave. That’s the only way.
Like the Japanese, the Filipino people were also concerned about their relationship with the U.S. after the U.S. Forces left. Some even thought it would be the end of the world. However, as I’ve already mentioned, the U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty, which is like the twin of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, is still in effect. Japan simply needs to brace itself and insist on the very reasonable policy of abolishing all foreign military bases.
As you can see in the “vision to return Okinawa after getting rid of military bases” mentioned earlier, those with common sense in the U.S. State Department are on our side, and so are the American public.
Even the military (Department of Defense) concluded from analysis in 1972 that it was more logical, in a financial sense, to move all the Marine forces in Okinawa to the West Coast of the U.S. (From an official document by the Foreign Ministry of Australia, discovered by Lecturer Fumiaki Nozoe of Okinawa International University. Okinawa Times, November 8, 2013) However, it was the Japanese government that asked them to stay in Okinawa even if it meant paying them. This was from fear of their own defense inadequacies. What’s more, after the rape incident of a young girl by U.S. marines in 1995, Walter Mondale, then U.S. Ambassador to Japan, considered withdrawing all U.S. Forces not only from Okinawa but from the whole country. However, it’s been found that the Japanese wished for the U.S. Forces to stay.(Ryukyu Shimpo, September 14, 2014)
So the situation would change rapidly if we just made ourselves clear. We only need to legislate this statement:
Following this Constitutional amendment, no military bases, forces, or facilities are allowed in any part of the country.
That’s all.(*2) This long story of postwar slavish obedience to the U.S., and the history of the Security Treaty Village, which is a coalition of U.S. Forces and Japanese ruling classes, would come to an end. At the same time, the transformation of the U.S. into a military base empire, of which the U.S. citizens themselves are also victims, would somewhat be reversed as well. So we know what our goal is. We just need to consider how we can get there.
If we don’t know the correct way to write a Constitution, we simply need to research what the Filipinos did from 1986 to 1992, and emulate their model. And if the enemy state clauses really turn out to be a barrier, so that it’s impossible to emulate their model, then we can learn from the Germans. Germany signed a peace treaty with the victorious countries from World War II in 1990, made their forces leave four years later, and waved goodbye to the occupied status forever.
We will also continue to do our research. I promise you, I’ll look into the amendment of the Constitution in the Philippines, Germany’s Two-Plus-Four Treaty and their history of gaining independence, the UN Charter’s enemy state clauses, and the issue of radiation-exposed children. I will publish books about them in the near future in the Rediscovering Japanese History after World War II series.
What we can learn from reading La Charte des Nations Unies: Commentaire article par article on PART 4 is that the only way to eliminate the enemy state clauses is not any U.S. resolutions or behind-the-scenes work, but the reconciliation and improvement of relations with surrounding countries. “Breaking away from the postwar system” in the true sense means to make genuine efforts as a nation and wipe out the deeply rooted mistrust held by surrounding countries, like Germany did. Next, we need to create a no-war community like ASEAN or the EU (or the way the UN was supposed to be) in East Asia.
For Germany, the most important task in the 1970s was to gain the trust of the Soviet Union. For Japan in the 2010s, the most crucial tasks are to gain the trust of China and South Korea, and the trust of the U.S. State Department, instead of the military. That is the only way for us to become independent, in a true sense, as a sovereign nation. Meanwhile, those in the Security Treaty Village have lost all memory of the past deliberately and are attempting to do just the opposite.
It’s crucial for us to learn the history and structure of the “Security Treaty Village,” and redo the improvement of our relationship with surrounding countries as if this were 1945. Also, we need to regard the issues of U.S. bases, Article 9-2 of the Constitution, and enemy state clauses of the UN Charter as one issue, and create a situation where we can solve them at once. It should be a far easier journey than the one Germany took seventy years ago.
*1 ・・・ The article renouncing war in the Constitution of the Philippines, which is the equivalent of Article 9-1 in the Constitution of Japan, is below.
“The Philippines renounces war as an instrument of national policy, adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land and adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation, and amity with all nations.” (Article 2-2, 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines)
Meanwhile, the same kind of article in Italy, a former enemy state like Japan, is as follows.
“Italy rejects war as an instrument of aggression against the freedom of other peoples and as a means for the settlement of international disputes. Italy agrees, on conditions of equality with other States, to the limitations of sovereignty that may be necessary to a world order ensuring peace and justice among the Nations. Italy promotes and encourages international organizations furthering such ends.” (Article 11, 1984 Constitution of the Italian Republic)
The passage in italics are hints as to how to create the new Article 9-2. When a defeated nation in World War II affirms the “limitation of sovereignty (renunciation of war potential and the right to belligerency),” it should not be in order to have some military empire rule you and make your forces attack other countries… It should be in order to establish a no-war community with other countries, like I mentioned, with the same conditions as other countries. I believe that is how Article 9-2, which the Japanese have been proud of, should be.
*2 ・・・ The article that renounces all foreign military bases in the Philippines, which was what made the U.S. Forces leave in 1992, is as follows.
“After the expiration in 1991 of the Agreement between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America concerning Military Bases, foreign military bases, troops, or facilities shall not be allowed in the Philippines except under a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate and, when the Congress so requires, ratified by a majority of the votes cast by the people in a national referendum held for that purpose, and recognized as a treaty by the other contracting State.” (Article 18-25, 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines)