A group of intellectuals issued an appeal Sept. 25 in Tokyo calling on citizens to oppose the new Japan-U.S. defense cooperation guidelines and for the government and politicians not to seek legislation designed to implement the accord.
The statement was issued by 14 intellectuals from various fields, including the former Nagasaki Mayor Hitoshi Motojima, Yoji Yamada, movie director of the “Tora-san” series, Koji Fushimi, former president of the Science Council of Japan, conductor Yuzo Toyama and social critic and writer Shuichi Kato.
The statement says the new guidelines were not the Japanese government’s but a result of strong demand from the U.S. government. The purpose of the U.S. military’s presence in Asia is for America’s national interest and does not necessarily contribute to the peace and stability of Asia. It also states that the new guidelines will substantially affect citizens’ life and rights.
Motofumi Makieda, former chairman of the General Council of Trade Unions of Japan and the Japan Teachers’ Union, said the new guidelines change the basic nature of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, adding, “Bureaucrats who agreed on the review of the old guidelines must rethink the idea that Japan is at peace if only it listens to the U.S.” Their attitude is not appropriate as members of a sovereign state, he said.
Mikio Sumiya, professor emeritus of economics at the University of Tokyo, said the premise of the new guidelines contradicts the spirit of the Constitution, which states the importance of trusting other countries. The basic attitude of the new guidelines is “you never know what will happen next, so be careful,” which he said is completely wrong.
“Okinawans do not want to be aggressors toward other Asians,” said Hiroaki Fukuchi, director general of the Okinawa Human Rights Association. The group members said they will send the statement to all Diet members as well as to the Defense Agency and the Foreign Ministry. They also will call on citizens and labor unions to act against the guidelines.