Reader Mail

Oligarchs behind military spending

Why does Japan want to spend at least ¥200 billion to buy two land-based Aegis missile batteries from Lockheed Martin Corporation that fire projectiles which were co-developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries? Ostensibly, it is to provide necessary military protection and to reduce trade friction with the U.S. (“Tokyo snubs homegrown weaponry to buy from the U.S.” in the July 12 edition.) In reality, it is to maintain the dominant power structures of the two countries.

The American military industrial complex loves overseas sales. Dominant U.S. oligarchs maintain power with that complex, and with nationalism, culture wars and fear-mongering. Japan’s do it in a similar way, and with a U.S. crutch. Having two land-based Aegis batteries would allow Japan’s Aegis-equipped destroyers to cooperate more in U.S. Navy Asia-Pacific power plays.

Given the right media coverage, Japan’s people may feel safer. But they will not be. They should realize that such missile systems offer no guarantees. They should see that many American oligarchs benefit from militarism, and will reap profits from a war with North Korea, China or Russia (“Lockheed Martin stock surges as North Korea threat triggers brisk interest in missile defenses” in the Aug. 9, 2017, edition). They should know that the danger of Japan becoming involved in war is growing. They should recall the words of James Madison, the fourth U.S. president: “The means of defense against foreign danger have been always the instruments of tyranny at home.”

Japan’s current militarization is about supporting U.S. regional hegemony and maintaining certain oligarchs’ control over Washington, which will help keep certain oligarchs in power in Tokyo. Meanwhile, Japan’s wealth gap grows, and its people muddle along while coping with the economic pinch and increasingly unstable weather conditions, and console themselves with the erroneous belief that they live in a truly independent democracy.

DONALD WOOD
AKITA

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.