Our urgent task of challenging an emerging US - Japan military-industrial complex - through opposition to the MD system

By Koji Sugihara

'No! to Nukes and Missile Defense Campaign', Japan

April 17, 2009

Hello, everyone.  Today, I would like you to know about how Japan is being changed because of the US Star Wars Plan and its proponents both in the US and in Japan, and then I’d like to give my opinions about it.

1.  Militarization of space made possible by newly-introduced the  ‘Basic Law on Space’

We used to have the world-most progressive principle on the use of space. It was phrased ‘peaceful use of space’ in a Diet resolution and the following debate accompanying the enactment of the first law on use of space in 1969. It really embodied the pacifist ideal of the Article 9 of Constitution of Japan.

However, that principle had been eroded step by step by the introduction, of a reconnaissance satellite, and then, of the MD system, and eventually it was scrapped by an emerging power group of economic and political interests, the Japanese version of military-industrial complex.  In December 2005, a private ‘Study Group On the Use of Space for National Security’ was set up, gathering prominent figures such as politicians with the former title of the Defense Agency Director, executives from big corporations in the military industry, like Mitsubishi Heavy Industry (MHI), Mitsubishi Electric, NEC, senior officials including the undersecretary of the Defense Agency, and space law academics.  This study group drew up a program titled ‘Japan’s space defense vision’ with the aggressive intent even to obtain an anti-satellite weapon (ASAT) under the pretext of ‘defending Japan’s infrastructure in space.’  The group was active in gaining supporters in the Diet, and then finally, in May 2008, the majority of both the ruling coalition and the biggest opposition parties voted for the’ Basic Law on Space’ after the mere 4-hour deliberation in the House, dropping off the peaceful-use-of space principle. Naturally, missile launches by the North Korea served as favorable winds to Japan’s industrial-military complex.

   I think there are four key words to the ‘Basic Law on Space.’  They are: ‘national politicization,’  ‘industrialization,’ ‘militarization,’ and ‘secrecy.’   In August 2008, the Cabinet set up an internal committee called ‘Strategic Headquarter for Space Development.’  This committee is now at design work of the ‘ Basic Plan on Space,’ a five-year program of space exploitation to be enacted in May 2009 (national politicization).  Under the Basic Law on Space, the aerospace industry will have financial supports including tax reductions by the central government with the justification of global-competitiveness empowerment (industrialization).  On the part of the aerospace industry, it aims at the militarization of space as a breakthrough in their near future production (militarization).  In due course, secrecy-safeguard will be tightened, making a precedent of the current situation where the reconnaissance satellite is the real ‘ black box’ (secrecy).  They are to include in this plan the development of an early warning satellite. 

2.  Integration of the US-Japan military industries underway through the Star Shield Plan

The introduction of the MD, decided only by the then prime minister Koizumi on his official trip to the US in 2003, was soon approved by the cabinet, which announced that the MD system would be suitable for Japan’s exclusively defensive security policy based on the constitution.  Since then, Japanese military industry has been increasingly close to their US counterpart.  This close relationships was symbolized by the ‘ US-Japan Security Strategy Conference (USJSSC), held from 2003 to 2007. The so-called ‘Missile Defense Conference’ gathered participants from the military industry, defense-related politicians, conservative think-tank both in the US and in Japan.  At one of these conferences, Takashi Nishioka, President of MHI, the biggest beneficiary from the MD system thanks to the licensed production of PAC3 at his corporation, cited several candidate weapons after the MD system items for his corporation to jointly produce with its US counterparts: new fighter planes models (later named F-35 Lightning), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), robots, counter-equipments against biological and chemical weapons, and so on (USJSSC 2005). 

There had been strong, constant pressure from the US behind the scene all this while.  One typical example of that is the second report by Richard Armitage and Joseph Nye, issued in February, 2007*.  This report was full of blatant demands on Japan, including lifting the remaining bans in the ‘Three Principles on Arms Exports.’  Armitage even asserted that Japan should consider opportunities for joint development of the CGX, the next US Navy aegis destroyer model. 

On the other hand, the subordinated integration of the SDF into the US forces is under way, keeping pace with the world-wide transformation of the US forces.  At the US bases in Okinawa, ammunition and troops have been increased.  Now in the metropolitan area of this peaceful country, there are command centers of the three kinds of forces, Army, Navy and Air, of the US and of Japan, respectively or integrated.

"The U.S.-Japan Alliance: Getting Asia Right through 2020" Center for Strategic and International Studies, CSIS

3.       As peaceful citizens, what can we do to challenge the US-Japan military complex?

 I think we can challenge this powerful entity in several ways.

Firstly, we should cross-examine the questions over missile launch tests or operations of the MD system by pointing out the technical difficulties they tend to hide from us, such as the reason for the failure in SM3 intercepting test.  Above all, we should demand that the data or the information important to our health and peaceful life be open to public.

Secondly, we should raise the question of democracy. In Czech Republic, many concerned citizens are demanding a national referendum on this matter. Likewise, we should demand a truly democratic policy-making process as tax-payers.

Thirdly, we should raise a counterargument with the present space policy by the government, the ‘general use of space technology.’  By this policy, industrial space technology will be easily turned into military use.  This excuse of the ‘dual use of space’ for both the civilian and military purposes should be overridden by the former principle of ‘peaceful use of space.’

In the fourth place, we have the most important task of maintaining the Article 9 of Constitution, as the Article is the Peace Shield in the northeast Asia.

In the fifth place, the social responsibility on the part of scientists and engineers should be emphasized. The state-of-the-art equipments named ‘Nosecone’ for the new model of SM3 under the US-Japan joint development are now being produced in a small company in a countryside town. We should voice our opposition to this kind of technological conversion for making weapons, demand the reduction in military spending and figure out how to convert arms companies, large and small, into such one as will produce natural energies, for example.

Lastly our most difficult task is how to cope with the warlike approach of North Korea. In my opinion, one effective way may be for the US Navy to call off the launch preparedness or Tomahawk cruise missiles aboard the destroyers home-ported in Yokosuka, Kanagawa.

Before ending this presentation, I would like to ask everyone here and beyond to support our struggle and challenge.  Japan’s participation in the US Star Wars Plan is surely a big global issue.  We should make a Peace Shield worldwide to prevent it from happening.

Thank you very much for listening.

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