Japan-U.S. Joint Committee that controls Japanese government in the capital of Japan
Y: This made me feel sorry for Okinawans, but as Mr. Hatoyama mentioned, we now know it’s actually the same nationwide.
This is a book entitled Introduction to the Japan-US Status of Forces Agreement, written mainly by Mr. Maedomari, a former chief editorial writer of the Ryukyu Shimpo paper and currently a professor at Okinawa International University, where the helicopter crashed. The book examined this issue so thoroughly that even major media companies like the Weekly Post and Tokyo Shimbun have covered it.
Y: It pointed out that there are huge chunks of airspace above metropolitan areas like Tokyo which are under U.S. control. Japanese planes can’t fly there. If someone like you, Mr. Hatoyama, could make this reality known to the world, it would raise awareness.
T: This diagram from Mr. Maedomari’s book would make the situation even clearer. Basically, such airspace extends 7,000 meters.
Y: As high as Mt. Everest.
T: Up to Everest height, the airspace above the metropolitan area is under U.S. control. Therefore, Haneda airport can’t set plane routes freely. Planes have to take a detour.
Y: It’s very dangerous. For example, many pilots have attested to occasions when entering such airspace would have enabled them to stay clear of bad weather, such as hail—but they were prevented from doing so.
Next up is an article from the Tokyo Shimbun of Nov 14, 2014. See.
Cubic diagram of the airspace above the Yokota base controlled by US Forces
T: There’s a stereoscopic diagram on the upper left.
Y: The headline is “Occupation by U.S. Forces: No Precedent in Developed Countries.” A general newspaper finally went into depth about this.
T: After 70 years.
Y: However, both this and the Weekly Post only focus on the obstruction of transportation, saying it’d cause 30-minute delays from Tokyo to Osaka.
Y: The real issue is not this, but the fact that there’s a huge mass of airspace facing the Pacific Ocean outside of Japanese control. This means U.S. aircraft can fly in freely. In that area there are four huge bases as big as those in Okinawa, which are U.S. territory: Yokosuka, Atsugi, Zama, and Yokota. What this indicates is that Japan has no borders. U.S. aircraft fly in arbitrarily.
T: There’s a hole open for the U.S.
Y: Yes. It’s comparable to the concept of “backdoors” discussed in the Snowden incident. Data seemed to be controlled securely, but there turned out to be a “backdoor” through which the U.S. government had access to data. Similarly, Japan seemingly has borders and passport control, but there’s a backdoor called U.S. military bases, and they come and go freely.
T: A back door for the U.S.
H: From the top of a building I recently spotted a U.S. military heliport in Roppongi. I was astonished to find one in the heart of Tokyo.
Y: The heliport is outside the airspace, so you’d think they’d come by car or something, but they actually come by helicopter.
The Stars and Stripes newspaper headquarters from Roppongi Hills (a CIA unit to gather Japanese high-tech information inside)
Y: Behind it is a skyscraper called Roppongi Hills. A reliable law firm has been campaigning against U.S. military bases for some 40 years in Roppongi. You’d think of Okinawa when you hear about campaigns against U.S. military facilities, but they are actually fierce in Roppongi too, which is natural. This is the view from Roppongi Hills. Now, this is the whole picture. At the top right is the heliport, and the square building at the bottom left is the Stars and Stripes newspaper.
T: Stars and Stripes.
Y: And at the upper left is a hotel. So, it is small but fully equipped with fences, accommodations, offices, and a military flight strip. According to documents provided by the protesters, there is a CIA unit at the Stars and Stripes whose purpose is to gather Japanese high-tech information.
Y: The U.S. embassy is five minutes away, and the Gaien-Nishi Street leads to another very important facility, the New Sanno Hotel.
H: I’ve been there many times for parties by celebrities connected to the U.S. military.
Y: That’s very valuable.
T：It was newly built around 1983, right?
Y: It is generally called a “hotel” in Japan, but it is a military base officially named the New Sanno U.S. Forces Center. It’s a base. The Japan-U.S. Joint Committee has met here.
Feb, 2012 refer to the Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (the home page)
Feb, 2012 refer to the Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (the home page)
Y: It meets twice a month, once here and another time wherever the Ministry of Foreign Affairs [MOFA] convenes.
H：We’re reaching the main point.
Y: We’ve mentioned that bureaucrats were loyal not to Prime Minister Hatoyama but to something else.I wrote in my book that this something may be this committee composed of U.S. Forces and Japanese bureaucrats, a committee that has existed for 60 years.
H：Its members are not U.S. and Japanese government officials but USFJ and high-level Japanese bureaucrats. They hold secret meetings twice every month.
Y: It’s an organization to discuss U.S. Forces-related issues. There are about 30 sections discussing various problems that arise from all the bases across Japan.
T：It makes me realize that the Japanese government runs its nation by consulting U.S. Forces about everything.
Y: This is the most important. (It says the Japan-U.S. Joint Committee is composed of Japanese representatives and U.S. representatives.) The Japanese representative is Director-General, North American Affairs Bureau at MOFA; but the important thing is that the deputy representative is the chief secretary of the Ministry of Justice’s Secretariat.
So every chief secretary of the Justice Ministry becomes a member of the committee, but 12 out of 17 of the past administrative vice ministers of Justice, which is the highest level of the Justice Ministry, experienced being a chief secretary. Nine among them became Public Prosecutor General later, which means this committee produces the Public Prosecutor General.
T： In other words, it is difficult to attain these high positions unless you’re on good terms with U.S. Forces.
Y: Right. The Public Prosecutor General, which is the top of the legal hierarchy, is a member of the committee. （I will explain this later, but the Supreme Court has not been working, in practical terms, since the Sunagawa Case.）That means it is the committee that has legal power in Japan. It is not a problem having occurred once in the past. Since the members are all the bosses, no one can oppose them. And they have negotiated and decided in their own interest for 60 years.
T：It means the USFJ have kept their privileges from the days of the occupation through until this present committee. This is incredible.
H：I didn’t know about this when I was the Prime Minister. No one told me.
Y: What do you think now?
H：I’m struck. I always felt Japanese-American relations should be reconsidered. The system consisted of Japan accepting U.S. demands. A good example is postal privatization. I thought its root was the Japan-U.S. Regulatory Reform and Competition Policy Initiative, which I abolished.
However, I hadn’t thought of a significantly larger system controlling Japan.