Following are responses to “Hooked on U.S., Japan risks going down with it” by Brian Victoria (Hotline to Nagatacho, Jan. 4):

Article 9 offers hope

Brian Victoria’s letter to Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara brilliantly illustrates the reliance of Japanese society on American militarism in Japan and Okinawa.

Mr. Victoria’s letter outlines a potential tragedy facing not only Japan, but any society dependent on the military security promised by a dominant regime.

The deeper tragedy is that an overwhelming majority of citizens worldwide willingly give up their sovereignty for the false sense of security that the occupying force offers. There can be no prisons without prisoners, no slave keepers without slaves, no American occupation of Japan without Japanese compliance. It is a dim forecast of the future for both Japan and America.

But there is hope. One of the most powerful legal documents ever written has not been explored to its full potential. Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution is, in my opinion, the one arm of the oppressed citizenry that offers the most hope.

It is ironic that American Occupation forces wrote Article 9 for the new Japanese Constitution 65 years ago, but since the Korean War has been after the Japanese government to drop Article 9.

Now there is a movement to bring Article 9 to the American Constitution. Article Nine Vancouver and ANNINA (Article Nine Network in North America) are collaborating to initiate an Article 9 political reality that may spearhead the universal abolition of war-making as a political tool.

We have seen that this philosophy, put into practice by Japan, has been enormously successful. No Japanese war, no loss of life due to war for the past 65 years. It is a legacy to be proud of that offers a true beacon of light for Japanese and Okinawan independence from the U.S. military.

Brookline, Massachusetts

U.S. adapting, not declining

Okinawa has certainly demonstrated its opposition to U.S. forces there, often violently, and until fairly recent times the economic benefits outweighed the movement to have them removed. This is no longer true due to tourism, foreign investments and prospering local industries. So yes, the bases should be relocated for many strategic and political reasons.

Having said that, I feel the writer of this article overstates the case for “Japan going down with America.” The flexibility of our system of government, the natural problem-solving genius of the people, and the actual rule of law are core strengths that give America survivability in the face of crisis. America came through the Depression, and is now emerging from the devastating effects of the recent financial crisis.

The idea of America “declining” is an invalid argument. Look at the numbers. America is evolving, changing its role in the world, as other nations emerge as co-equals in economic and military terms.

The writer gives assertions without providing hard evidence for his claims. I suggest he does the research next time, instead of adopting a faintly anti-American/ Japan-apologist posture.

Awakenings? Awaken to the fact that North Korea is once again threatening all of East Asia with nuclear war. There is a reason why the U.S. military remains on constant watch in the Asian region. Nuclear war is a much greater threat if North Korea feels that its enemies are showing signs of growing weak or passive.

Japan would be foolish to abandon its military alliance with the U.S. and go it alone or try to build a security pact with communist China. China is still communist, with missiles aimed at Taiwan and Japan.

How quickly the world forgets the dark days of the Cold War, when the Soviet Union dreamed of expanding its own empire into places like Hokkaido, Vietnam, Indonesia — the whole of Asia if possible. The United States was the superpower that kept the Soviets at bay and made sure that North Korea was kept on a very short leash.

I’m sure that the Chinese Nationalists would have loved to have occupied Okinawa at the end of World War II, instead of the U.S. Army. Russia dreamed of have its own occupation “sector” in Hokkaido, like another East Germany.

Thank God the U.S. military had the wisdom to keep China and Russia out of Japan in 1945.

Where’s the gratitude?

Winona, Missouri

The alternative is China

In response to Mr. Victoria’s letter, I would be interested in hearing what realistic alternatives he has in mind that would provide Japan with foreign policy autonomy while still keeping a militant, expansionist and arrogant China in check.

The actions of the Chinese government over the course of the Senkaku incident gave a clear insight into their inclination to overreact, including but not limited to taking four Japanese businessmen hostage.

China has also shown its willingness to forcefully seize resources and land that it desires if there is no sufficient military force to oppose it, and then engage in a program of Han Chinese colonization while at the same time marginalizing the native residents. Reference the events of 1949 invasion of East Turkestan, the 1950 invasion of Tibet and the occupation of those countries to the present date.

The U.S.-Japan alliance is not perfect but it is a much better arrangement than where Japan would be without it. Which is, at the complete mercy of China.

Vidalia, Georgia, USA

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