Under pressure from Washington, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe dispatched the Takanami, a 4,650-ton destroyer, and two P-3C anti-submarine patrol airplanes to the Middle East earlier this year. Perfect timing as President Donald Trump assassinated Qasem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s elite Quds force in violation of International Law.
Problem is, all of this is illegal in pacifist Japan that renounced war after its defeat in World War II. It betrays the peaceful people of Japan and its 58.4 percent of voters opposed to the dispatch of a Maritime Self-Defense Force (SDF) unit to the Middle East. It betrays its veterans, hibakushas, it betrays world peace, but it serves war for profit. Stock prices of Japanese machinery makers that also produce assault rifles, flare bombs and other military equipment surged as much as 25% since the U.S.’s preemptive attack.
Worse of all, it betrays the hope of peace, as Japan was a shining example of peace with its war-renouncing Article 9 clause of The Japanese Constitution, a clause the U.S.A. wrote! What happens to a country that betrays its own soldiers who died for peace? A very sad future for the U.S.A., Japan and the world unless we speak out now in the name of peace and veterans of both countries.
Growing up, my mother took me to Pearl Harbor in Honolulu to see the sunken battleships and remember World War II veterans, like her brother Charlie and my Dutch grandfather who died a POW outside Tokyo in 1943 from starvation and forced labor.
She reminded us that our father was a child refugee and victim of family separation, having survived Japanese concentration camps on Java, Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia). She took us aboard the USS Missouri where Japan surrendered, spoke of Japan’s United States–written 1947 constitution and Article 9 that forever renounced war to settle international disputes and that Japan would never again maintain land, sea, air forces or other war potential.
I believed that war was over and peace prevailed. But now living in Japan, I discovered the U.S. had remilitarized Japan, betraying Americans, veterans and world peace; betraying the many people of Japan who work to reconcile the past and live in peace.
I participated in the World Kamishibai Day for Peace on Dec. 7 in Tokyo, met with atomic bomb survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and also with members of the POW Research Network Japan who brought me to a memorial locals erected at the former Mukaishima POW Camp where U.S. and British soldiers died. The majority of Japanese want Article 9 to remain, which in 2014 was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Japan’s first arms fair, the first in the world held outside of London, was held in Japan last month, and 400 protestors showed up the first day.
Threats from N. Korea and China are blamed for Japan’s remilitarization, but the U.S. needs to take responsibility for its history of prolonging, provoking and profiting from conflict instead of promoting peace. China and Japan were at peace for 250 years before U.S. Commodore Perry showed up in Yokohama Bay with his “gunboat diplomacy.” Japan’s SDF and the U.S. occupation of Okinawa, despite overwhelming opposition expressed in elections, local government policies, and public protests create tension with N. Korea and China, which endured centuries of oppression and colonization by the West and Japan.
In 1945 Mao Tse-tung sent a message to President Roosevelt wishing to cooperate, yet Ambassador Patrick J. Hurley blocked it, aiding and abetting reactionary forces in China, antagonizing the Chinese and plunging the U.S. into endless trouble. In 1951, General Douglas MacArthur unsuccessfully attempted to provoke the Chinese into attacking an unaccompanied U.S. destroyer in the South China Sea to expand the Korean war into a full-scale conflict with China.
SDF have been sent to S. Sudan and Iraq for peacekeeping,
A Japanese mother named Peace Child said, “My son joined the SDF to protect his family and country. I didn’t raise him to exchange shots with child soldiers in regional conflicts overseas under the name of international contributions.” In April, SDF was deployed abroad to join a multinational force not connected to the United Nations. Now Japan is deploying 270 sailors to Middle East to guard ships.
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is the longest serving PM in Japan’s history and wants to amend Article 9. He is the grandson of former PM Nobusuke Kishi, who went unprosecuted for war crimes committed in Manchuria. The C.I.A. poured millions into LDP elections in the 50s and 60s, and in 1976 a U.S. Senate subcommittee discovered that Lockheed Corp., seeking lucrative aircraft contracts, paid $12 million in bribes to Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka and the Liberal Democrats. The purchase of U.S. weapons to lower the trade deficit has been driving Japan to spend trillions on U.S. F-35s, long range missiles, even air craft carriers, the first since WWII. Japan plans to fly its rising sun flag at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
MacArthur’s 1952 words ring true today. “It is part of the general pattern of misguided policy that our country is now geared to an arms economy which was bred in an artificially induced psychosis of war hysteria and nurtured upon an incessant propaganda of fear. While such an economy may produce a sense of seeming prosperity for the moment, it rests on an illusionary foundation of complete unreliability and renders among our political leaders almost a greater fear of peace than is their fear of war.”
That leads to the question, Where are the peacemakers? Japan and China this year have chosen pragmatism to get along because of Trump’s trade war and unpredictability. Japan’s WWII veterans are working for peace, letting everyone never forget the horrors of war. Mr. Kaname Harada, a retired Japanese fighter pilot, in 2005 sounded the dire warning of an old danger on the horizon.
“Nothing is as terrifying as war,” Mr. Harada began, before spending the next 90 minutes recounting his role in battles, from Japan’s early triumph at Pearl Harbor to its disastrous reversals at Midway and Guadalcanal. “I want to tell you my experiences in war so that younger generations don’t have to go through the same horrors that I did.”
It is a warning that Mr. Harada fears his countrymen may soon no longer be able to hear. While on the train, I look at Japan’s young men, thinking how their lives will be destroyed if they have to go to war. Already my daughter’s high school friends because of their lack of wealth have no alternative but to enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces. All those young lives betrayed.
As the U.S. reels under siege with gun violence, educators point to making children a priority to end the violence. Create a caring economy instead of a consumer economy that competes with other countries in domination for a limited supply of resources will bring our values back in line with life and peace, not war and death.
Peace, for the children! When we focus our hearts, minds and resources toward peace for our and all children of the world, naturally peace is possible. Where are the peacemakers? Urgent! Wanted: Peacemakers and storytellers, concerned for the well-being of children, families and the planet! Inquire within! Peace!
Japan’s constitution says all peoples of the world have the right to live in peace. Remilitarizing Japan regresses from this ideal U.S. soldiers fought and died for and denies the peace the world desperately needs today.
Let’s give peace a chance! Call your government reps and work for peace! There is no other option! Peace is the only option.