Japan Lawyers International Solidarity Association Statement on Marine Corps Air Station Futenma
According to newspaper reports, the government maintains that Japan must provide a replacement facility for Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Okinawa, which is used by the US Marines, that it has given up on finding a candidate site outside of Okinawa, and that the base will very likely be relocated within Okinawa.
From our stance of seeking to implement the spirit of the United Nations Charter and the ideals of Japan’s Constitution, we of the Japan Lawyers International Solidarity Association believe that the government’s judgment invites criticism on two points, and we strongly urge the government to reconsider.
1) Japan is not obligated to provide the US Marines with bases.
In the first place, US military bases in Okinawa were illegally expanded and built. Even before acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration on August 14, 1945 land was expropriated while Okinawans were detained in prison camps, and by means of “bayonets and bulldozers” with the start of the Cold War. Such acts are not justifiable even by the law of war, and therefore violate international law. And the Japan-US Security Treaty, which is invoked to paper over these illegalities, establishes that bases are provided to US forces under the conditions that provision is based on the will of the Japanese government, and that it contributes to the security of Japan and the Far East, but the US Marines, owing to the nature of the force, does not help to achieve such purposes, and as such their stationing in Japan lacks justification under the treaty.
Further, 75% of US military bases and facilities are concentrated in this one prefecture of Okinawa, and all Okinawans want US bases to be downsized and removed. The principles of democracy, which are recognized universally the world over, do not tolerate troop stationing which goes against the will of the people.
2) In Japan the Constitution’s Preamble and Articles 9 and 98 provide the right to seek removal of US military bases.
The Japanese Constitution provides that “never again shall we be visited with the horrors of war through the action of government” and recognizes that “all peoples of the world have the right to live in peace, free from fear and want.”
It says that the Japanese renounce war, do not maintain “land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential,” and it pledges to faithfully observe “established laws of nations,” which include the law of war and international humanitarian law. From the perspective of this extensive peace design, when at least part of the US forces stationed in Japan are highly problematic to bringing about peace and eliminating “fear and want,” it is possible to exercise one’s legitimate rights, including appeals to the international community, to resolve the matter which is the cause. In view of the situation with US military bases, which is a never-ending stream of aircraft crashes, traffic accidents, crimes, and pollution, it stands to reason that the people of Okinawa Prefecture seek the return of Futenma Air Station, and, with respect for their will, the Japanese government indeed has the right to take the initiative and ask the US government to immediately remove Futenma Air Station.
March 24, 2010
Japan Lawyers International Solidarity Association, Executive Committee
Osamu Niikura, President. Jun Sasamoto, Secretary-General