• SHARE

Most Japanese do not realize that the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty is a military alliance pact. Unlike a conventional military alliance treaty, however, the pact is not based on reciprocal obligations. For the U.S., the treaty is unfair and is not really bilateral.

In a military alliance, partners share the same destiny; people of a participating nation must be ready to die for those of its allies.

Under the security pact, if Japanese ships are attacked in Japanese waters, the U.S. forces are obligated to repel enemy forces; if U.S. ships are struck in Japanese waters, Japanese Self-Defense Forces will be required to protect them from the enemy. But reciprocity ends there. The treaty stipulates that if Japanese ships are attacked outside Japanese waters, the U.S. forces must help Japan. But if U.S. ships are struck outside Japanese waters, Japan will have no reciprocal obligation.

In the immediate postwar years, Japan was poor and was lacking in resources to defend itself. The original bilateral security treaty, unilaterally requiring the U.S. to defend Japan, was signed when Japan and the Allied Powers signed the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty. The unilateral nature of the pact remains unchanged, more than 40 years after it was signed.

The U.S. mutual defense pacts with South Korea and Taiwan require the nations to fight against their common enemies. But Japan depends entirely on the U.S. for its defense. This is pitiful.

The Diet is now debating legislation for implementing the revised guidelines for Japan-U.S. defense cooperation. Foreign observers would think that Japan is unfair in depending entirely on the U.S. for its defense.

An independent nation must defend itself but Japan cannot do so under its Constitution, which says the Japanese people “forever renounce war as a sovereign right.” Japan needs armed forces to defend itself but the Constitution has no stipulation on them. Armed forces should be based on relevant laws, but Japan’s Self-Defense Forces have no such laws. Legally, they are not armed forces.

SDFs are inadequate to defend Japan against foreign enemies. This is all because Japan has stuck to the present Constitution _ which was imposed on Japan by the Occupation authorities 50 years ago _ without amending it. In the absence of a Constitution fit for an independent nation, there is no use in debating the pros and cons of legislation for implementing the revised guidelines for Japan-U.S. defense cooperation.

There have been different interpretations of the Constitution, but there has been no substantial debate on reforming the three-division SDFs. Japan has no defense capability to speak of. It has only inadequate equipment, personnel, ammunition, ships and aircraft. Japan is supposed to provide the U.S. forces with rear support in a military emergency, but what if the rear bases were attacked? Unless Japanese forces attack enemy bases, rear support bases in Japan would be hit by ships and aircraft deployed from there. There should be more discussions on this problem. I suspect that Japan is an ungrateful defense burden for the U.S.

In 1957, former Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi visited former President Dwight Eisenhower in the U.S. During the meeting, Eisenhower reportedly suggested that Japan expedite defense buildup, but Kishi demurred, citing the U.S.-imposed Constitution. Eisenhower reportedly scoffed at the “absurd” Constitution. Now, Japan still insists on preserving the meaningless, 50-year-old Constitution.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.

SUBSCRIBE NOW