U.S. Pushing Japan to Boost Military Role


Active member

Source:Associated Press

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan - In the most sweeping re-examination of the U.S.-Japan security alliance in years, Japan and the United States are negotiating a military realignment that could move some or all of the nearly 20,000 Marines off the crowded island of Okinawa, close underused bases and meld an Army command in Washington state with a camp just south of Tokyo.

But something even more fundamental may be at stake.

With its own military spread thin, Washington appears to be trying to use the talks to nudge Japan out from under the U.S. security blanket and make Tokyo a much more active player in global strategic operations.

"The United States wants Japan to assume a role very much like the one it has vis-a-vis the British," said Tetsuo Maeda, professor of arms reduction and security at Tokyo International University. "The Self-Defense Forces would be regularly deployed overseas for military operations if this kind of realignment were realized."

It would not be an easy transition if the realignment is approved.

America's force of 50,000-plus troops in Japan dates back decades and has long been hailed by both sides as the key to stability in the Asian-Pacific region and a model of cooperation. In exchange for the security the U.S. troops provide, Japan pays a whopping $5 billion, an arrangement unparalleled anywhere else in the world.

But amid increasing calls in Japan for the U.S. to streamline its presence, and Washington's shifting focus from maintaining bases abroad to fine-tuning its deployments to respond quickly to specific flare-ups, topics are on the table that were long seen as virtually taboo.

Officially, there has been little comment.

"We are working very hard right now," Lt. Gen. Bruce A. Wright, said recently in his first news conference since assuming command of the U.S. Forces Japan in February. He said details of the talks will likely emerge this summer, though no deadline has been announced.

Few expect Japan to see the kind of drastic restructuring and downsizing that the U.S. forces in South Korea and Germany are going through. Wright stressed he did not expect a great change — up or down — in the overall number of troops here.

Their footprint may change substantially, however.

Wright acknowledged topics being discussed include relocation of Marine Corps Air Station, Futenma, a major cause of friction on Okinawa; possible joint use of this air base on Tokyo's western outskirts where U.S. Forces are headquartered; and integration of command functions for the Army's 1st Corps at Fort Lewis in Washington state with Camp Zama, just south of Tokyo.

According to reports in the Japanese media, based on anonymous government leaks, the idea has even been floated of moving the biggest contingent of Marines based permanently outside the United States from southern Okinawa to Japan's other extreme, the northern island of Hokkaido.

Reports have also speculated that the fighter wing of the USS Kittyhawk's battle group may be uprooted and sent south.

Ahead of a set of meetings in Hawaii this weekend, Defense Agency chief Yoshinori Ono said the future of unused or underused facilities would be discussed. But officials on both sides refuse to comment on specifics, saying only that a broad range of proposals are being considered and no final decisions have been made.

Wright said whatever changes come out of the talks will not weaken the United States' military readiness in Asia.

He said his objective was to safeguard the credibility and deterrent power of the alliance and bolster "interoperability" with the Japanese.

"Interoperability" — the focus on joint operations — underscores a change in the way Tokyo and Washington are viewing their military relationship.

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has been a staunch backer of President Bush and was the driving force in Japan's decision to send several hundred troops to Iraq. He also advocates a more active role for Japan's Self-Defense Forces and supports a revision of the post-World War II constitution, which bans the use of military force to settle international disputes.

Developments in Asia have strengthened his hand: communist North Korea's nuclear ambitions, China's rapid rise as the region's military and economic power, and the withering of Russia's navy in the Pacific.

At the same time, Koizumi is under pressure to lighten the burden borne by Okinawa, which hosts the bulk of the U.S. troops, and any troop reduction would be a political coup for him and offer a chance for Tokyo to use its own military to fill the void.

Still, Tokyo appears undecided on just how far it should go, and for good reason: Because of their country's disastrous pre-1945 experiment with expansionism, many Japanese remain deeply suspicious of any attempts to rebuild the military. Japan's neighbors, who suffered under Japanese colonialism, are also wary of the direction the talks are taking.

"The U.S. will definitely expect Japan to be actively involved in the political and military affairs in the region. This will probably prompt strong reactions from neighboring countries such as China and Korea," said Toshihiro Nakayama, a political analyst with the Japan Institute of International Affairs, a private think tank.

"They will perceive this as a new attempt by Japan to rise as a military power in the region."

This is gonna piss China off big time. Folks in China are getting extremely anti-Japan lately, I heard some stores are already refusing to shelf Japanese goods.
Well, having talks and having a codified written agreement are of course very different things. It hasn't happened yet, and many things may derail it before it does.


Admin edit: Be careful with the country bashing here!



Something Similar Led to the Second World War After the First World War........ Suspesion and hatered. :(

Times Changes......Things Change ...... People Change ...... and we have to get on with it.

Lets not Forget China is the biggest recepient of Japanese Aid.......... the development Aid and Soft Loans Provided to China By Japan are Huge ............... Japan is the World's Second largest Economy and it's high time they need to have a more Proactive Role in the World's affairs ........ they have delibrately Alinealited themself form the rest of the world for a long time now .............. the More Proactive role they play and interact with the rest of the world ...... more it would help is removing the clouds of suspecions that's been there around them.

In recent years United States has been Asserting Pressure on Japan to shoulder the burden of its foreign policy .......... US need their Allies to Share the Defence Burden ........... and Japan is a close US allie in the East Asia......... the Location of Japan is also Quite Stratigic also ( N.K and China ;) :D )

If we Look topwards it Form a Stratigic point of View i would say it's a good Move actually.........The world's scenerio is changing very fast ............. they are not the only name in the game now ......... increasingly US would have to look towards it's allies in the future.............. and Strong regional allies Would help US .

Right now the US provides Japan the security cover and Japan pays a Wooping 7 Billian Dollars Every year in return...

Times Changes......Things Change ...... People Change ...... and we have to get on with it.

Well, Time Changed...Things Changed...Peopel didn't Change (due to politicians). I can tell you Japan never changed much after WWII except economies. It tried to change history recordings in the text book, look at recent text book event in Japan. It is not victims' unwilling ness to forgive, instead, it is the aggressor's intention of avoiding apologize and make things go forward.

There are these people intruded into your house. They raped your women, killed your men, publicly calling you "Sick Man/Women of Asia", prohibit you entering any of your rooms with a sign reads "you (include all your families members) and dogs are not allowed to enter", to further humiliate you by iforcing you learn their language instead of your own.

After the matter, the same intruder offer you a low-interest loan as a token regrets: Geez, low-interest LOAN, my friend. Would you sell the truth or your soul for money, or/and kiss the murderers' arses to get more loans and investments, or/and forget what need to be done to make things right, again?

While another group was getting punished harshly for causing war and world destruction in Numberg, Germany, the described group is excaping from justice and became economic giant. With bloated purse, these set of thugs are looking better and better, no matter hard this group try to rewrite the history in their text books. They are still percieved as angels whom got victimized by rest of the wold.

That is how Asian countries feel. In most cases, Asians do get screwed when it comes to push and the shove in the end (when global strategy involved).
While another group was getting punished harshly for causing war and world destruction in Numberg, Germany, the described group is excaping from justice and became economic giant.

Oh they didn't escape justice completely. We hanged more than a few Japanese war criminals. My beef with them though is that there has never been any compensation for war profiteering at the expense of slave labor from Allied POWs (my mother's brother among them). Mitsui, Matsushita, and other Japanese corporations gained considerable wealth through war crimes and never paid the price.

You are right with hanging those freaks. However, some went back to goven post-war Japan and became rich along the way. Like Charge said, victims never got formal apology (Apology from the nation, not individuals) and proper compensation.

The past a few years, many comfort women (Korean, Chinese, Philipino, etc) tried to suit for proper compensation, nevertheless got rejected because of statue of limitation in modern Japanese law.

Another troublesome issue is racism in Japan: plenty of foreign workers (include western countries) can testify racist attitdue in Japan, and Asians get the worst part of it.

I think Japan should learn from the US. Although not much in turns of dollar value, the US government issued apologies and compensation to the Japanese-Americans for the WWII mistreatment during the 1990s. Now, we just learn about the history event but no longer calling for boycotts, or need of justice, or compensation for that particular event. Evreyone moved on but knows the need to prevent such injustice from happening again.
Japan is a wealthy player is the Asian sphere.
They are showing a willingness to get involved in UN deployments.
I wouldn't mind seeing where this will lead to myself. Just keeping an open mind.
As for their WWII history, well a lot of countries wanted them to pay severly for what they did. USA knocked a lot back due to the deestation and poverty in Japan at the end of the war ( I simpified it a bit).
The re build was extrodinary.
Australians still are divided on feelings towards Japan, but, we are trading more and more with them.
Comfort women is a shocking event in history.
BUT, I remeber when the movie Paradise Road came out and hollywood and the US media slammed it as rascist and untrue!!!
Caused an uproar in Australia at the time as we had acknowledged the contribution and suffering of the Australian nursing sisters in the pacific.
Especially the banka( ?) massacre of Aussie nurses touched on a little in paradise road.
well the japanese were famous for their military brutalty, not just in china but everywhere they roam

their methods of torture are really effective, considering how the subject dies anyways for apparently wasting the time and resource of the imperial army
the movie Paradise road was about women POWs taken prisone by the Japanese. And about the choir they formed in the POW camp.
All based on true events.
If you are interested in the Massacre of Australian nurses do a search for the " Bangka Island massacre on the net.
Pretty nasty stuff.
I believe what was in the movie was too politically incorrect for hollywood at the time.
Especially women volunteering to become comfort women so they got better treatment (?).
The machine gunning of the Women and children as well as the aussie nurses really happened.
Japan treats a lot of countries badly. I still don't see why the U.S trust Japan so much. Do they not remember Pearl Harbor and all the trouble Japan caused before.
According to their reasons of why they occupy other nations is because of resource concerns and the quest for Imperial Dominance over the entire Continent of Asia. Imperial Japan is no different from Nazis Germany, whose goals are exactly the same:

1. The inner idea of Racial Superiority
2. The will to expand their borders and to create a mighty Empire
3. To create a solution to the lack of natural resources
4. To relieve the tensions of the Great Depression
lol, except the japanese government are just dam lazy to build some real concentration camps, i mean cmon, some shack with a barb wire around it is not a good accomdonation

lol, however the japanese method is pretty efficient, kill everyone they see