Koga Says! Statement on Japan-U.S. Agreement on Realignment of U.S. Forces in Japan and the Japanese Government Principle
30 May 2006
Today (May 30th), the Japanese cabinet endorsed the Japan-U.S. Security Consultative Committee’s (2+2 Meeting) final report that was approved by both the Japanese and U.S. governments on May 2nd as well as the Japanese government's basic policy. The joint statement unveiled the "United States-Japan Roadmap for Realignment Implementation" demonstrating concrete plans for the realignment of the U.S. Forces in Japan and emphasizing a "new phase” in alliance cooperation through strengthening Japan-U.S. alliance capabilities.
The current realignment of the U.S. Forces in Japan is being conducted in line with global plans for U.S. troop redeployment and assumes that U.S. Forces in Japan cover the areas from the Far East to the Middle East as far as Northern Africa. Furthermore, Yokota Air Base and Camp Zama will be transformed into a joint operation with the Japanese Self Defense Forces headquarters. This sort of Japan-US agreement on the realignment of the U.S. Forces is in fact a structural and qualitative transformation of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty from the point of "expanding the scope its application" and "military integration" and it is truly regrettable that the Cabinet endorsed it before a national consensus could be reached.
Moreover, the current Diet postponed debate without clarifying either the state of the 700 billion yen price tag for matters pertaining to the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps command personnel and their families from Okinawa to Guam and the estimated 3 trillion yen total realignment cost for the U.S. military in Japan, or the basis for how these costs were calculated. The Japanese government needs to sufficiently explain this huge budget expenditure especially in light of their forcing citizens to shoulder the increased burden for pensions, nursing care, medical care services, tax increases, and so forth.
This Japan-U.S. Agreement does not lead to a downsizing of U.S. military bases in Japan nor does it cast aside questions regarding their influence on the environment and civilian lives where these military units will move to anew. RENGO urges the government to continue to respond effectively to reduce the burden on Okinawa prefecture, especially in those areas where some of the functions of the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station will be moved.
On the other hand, it is very regrettable that the final report makes no mention of the fact that 45 years have passed since the passage of the Japan-U.S. Status-of-Forces Agreement – the foundation upon which the U.S. was granted its military bases in Japan – and still no revisions have been made.
Aimed at the final report of the realignment of the U.S. Forces in Japan, RENGO has demanded through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that the central government fully explain to its citizens about recent Japan-U.S. consultations, the downsizing of U.S. military bases in Japan, and about a drastic reexamination of the Japan-U.S. Status-of-Forces Agreement. At the same time RENGO has continued working on various activities such as supporting local rallies, etc. RENGO continues to tenaciously develop our movement focusing on the June 23rd "Peace Movement in Okinawa" as the lynchpin which will draw participants from across the nation.