International Meeting

2002 World Conference against A & H Bombs

Ikuro Anzai

Curator, Ritsumeikan University International Peace Museum

Let's make a peaceful and non-aligned Japan, free of nuclear weapons and war, by putting an end to Japan-US warmongering politics

   In the middle of last October, I visited the United States when it was in turmoil following the terrorist attacks and the subsequent war of retaliation, on a speaking engagement at Montana University in the western part of the United States.  The Mizura airport was guarded with armed soldiers.  Hotels, markets, toy shops and even vehicles at parking lots were flying U.S. flags, giving the impression that the United States was in a state of nationalist fervor.  A high school student had to leave her school because she wore a T-shirt which read "I oppose the war".  This incident came to be known in Japan, too.  At the time of the Gulf War in 1991, Ramsey Clarke, an ex-U.S. attorney general, dispatched an independent investigation team to Iraq and published a book entitled "George Bush is Guilty" depicting the inhumane nature of the war.  But this time, even the freedom of a high school girl student to express her will was suppressed.  A scholar on Japan at Montana University sent me a letter commenting that the democracy of the U.S. nowadays is similar to that in Japan during the period between the Manchurian Incident in 1931 and the Marco Polo Bridge Incident in 1937. 

   In my lecture entitled "Facing the Past Faithfully - Reconciliation and Coexistence", I pointed out that for the establishment of peaceful relations with countries of Asia and the Pacific, it is essential for Japan to accept its responsibility for the past war, based on the facts and strictly implement the Constitution as a pledge not to repeat the war of aggression.  Considering the school textbook issue and the reactionary attacks against those exhibitions of the peace museum which showed Japanfs responsibility for the war, I pointed out that Japan has failed to face the past faithfully.  In addition, the Japanese government is aiming at revising the Constitution for the worse, in stead of observing it, and is trying to enact wartime legislation called "contingency laws".   The anti-Constitution stance of the government hampers the possibility of peaceful coexistence with Asia and Pacific countries

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   Then, Prof. Steven Levin at Montana University, the moderator of  the meeting, asked me a question: Over three million people were killed in the last war. Based on sincere remorse for the war, Japan established the Peace Constitution. Meanwhile, American people have been taught that their history was a series of one glory after the others, with the sole exception of the Vietnam War.  How can American people face the past faithfully?"  I thought that it was a matter which American people themselves should consider.

   But I immediately noticed his true intention. Since he is a historian, he knows very well what the United States has actually done in the world. He must have had in mind a "retaliatory war against terrorism," the Bush administration's policy.  But maybe he was unable to say that in the nationalistic atmosphere of the time. Probably he thought that it was all right to leave it to the person who had come from the Orient.

   In order to explain unjustifiable diplomacy by England and America, I commented on the Husayn-McMahon Agreement, the Balfour Declaration and the Sykes-Picot Agreement. Further, I referred to Arab refugees in connection with the founding of Israel, and the eruption of Middle-East War, the reaction to the Soviet Unionfs invasion against Afghanistan, the support of the Saddam Hussein government during the Iran-Iraq War, and the attempt to overthrow the Hussein government. Thus I critically presented the American opportunism, and said, "It may be comfortable for Americans to see the glories, but they should look at the shady side behind those glories, donft you think? "

   The Bush administration is indebted to the military industries. He was formerly Governor of Texas, where NASA, mecca of missile development, is located, and his brother Bush is governor of Florida, another mecca of NASA. The wife of vice-president Cheney was director of Lockheed Inc., a major military industry. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld was once director of Land Corporation, a military company. OfNeil, Treasury Secretary, was Landfs director succeeding Rumsfeld, and Norman Mineta, Transportation Secretary was vice-president of Lockheed.

   Last December, the Bush administration made contracts worth over two trillion yen with these military corporations. As mentioned above, the Bush administration has strong ties with the military industry. In a sense, it might be called an "administration in need of  war" or an "administration pressed to constantly create military markets." The Bush administration, aiming to build absolute military supremacy, has abolished the ABM Treaty and developed the technology of missile defense.  It has headed for a resumption of underground nuclear testing, turning its back on the CTBC (Comprehensive Nuclear Test-ban Treaty).  It seems to be running along the road of unilateral hegemonism, breaking its promise to the international community.

   In 1985, with a view to rectifying its trade deficit caused by the strong dollar through the Plaza Accord the G5 interfered to a make strong yen. As a result, American finance, other than a short period in the "black in 1998,h  was plunged into the "twin red," because it appropriated tremendously for retaliatory actions against Afghanistan.

  In the meantime, the Japanese government, avowing its submission to the United States, has been spending, in the name of "sympathy budget," nearly 50 billion yen a year on the U.S. forces stationed in Japan. The amount is twice as much as the total financial contribution by the other U.S. allies. Moreover, the Japanese government is anxious to get contingency bills enacted in order to enable it to cooperate with U.S. forces in waging wars against those countries the United States labels as "rogue states," or part of an "axis of evil.h Those things lay bare the Anti-Constitution character of the Japanese government.

   On May 31, the chief cabinet secretary, the person responsible for major policies, said, "This is an era in which constitutional changes might be considered, and we might review the eThree Non-nuclear Principlef.h  He has suggested that the national credo "Not to produce, possess or allow nuclear weapons to be brought into Japan" might be altered.  Despite Article 99 of the Constitution, which provides that lawmakers should respect and defend the highest law, the Constitution, the key person in the cabinet voices the opinion that the Three Non-nuclear Principles can be abandoned. His premise is, of course, that the Constitution should be changed.  

   Now is the time when we should voice our opposition to the U.S.fs belligerent policies and the unconstitutional policies of the Japanese government which follows them.

   U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Lee, now visiting Japan, was the only member to vote against the U.S. retaliatory action last September even though she too hates. Her action reminds us of Jeanette Rankin who voted against the declaration of war against Germany in 1917 and a the declaration of war against Japan in 1941.

  I also remember that the linguist Noam Chomsky, who is often referred to as the "most important critic of the United States," in his book "9/11" labeled the terrorists' action of last year as gan action against the world's greatest terrorist country carried out by another terrorist organization." In Japan, in regard to the nuclear tests in 1998 by India and Pakistan, director of Cabinet Legislation Bureau Omori said, "The use of nuclear arms is elogicallyf not unconstitutional unless it exceeds the limit of defense."

Hand in hand with conscientious American people, we, people of the sole atomic-bombed nation, oppose Japanfs slavish following of the US nuclear superpower and buildup towards a wartime setup. We aim to create a new Japan based on the principles of peace and of being nuclear-free, non-aligned and anti-war. In so doing, we gather flesh ideas and take concrete actions together with young people. I, as a researcher and educator, express my resolve to do my utmost for that purpose.

                                            Thank you for your attention