• Fujisawa, Kanagawa

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In his July 19 letter, “As weak as his predecessors,” Timothy Bedwell expresses his desire to see U.S. forces exit Japan. I wholeheartedly agree, as the current Japan-U.S. defense pact is quite one-sided regarding who defends whom. In addition, so many overseas bases and commitments are a waste of valuable resources.

However, Bedwell’s argument goes wildly off the rails when he claims that Japan is an occupied nation that has no democracy. Japanese leaders’ factionalism and ceaseless infighting, which produce annual changes in government, are matters peculiar to Japanese culture.

For decades, Japanese voters maintained the status quo, rejecting the anti-American socialist and communist fringe parties in favor of the conservatives who support the American presence. The seven peaceful decades experienced by democratic, American-allied Japan have been far preferable to the half century before 1945 when, to put it mildly, Japan waged a unilateral foreign policy. I’m sure Japan’s neighbors would agree.

Japan’s current pacifism was imposed on it by the Allied Occupation, which ended in 1952. If the Japanese have since collectively seemed a bit conservative, they have simply been exercising their rights in their free and democratic nation.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

donald feeney

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