The Asia-Pacific Consultation of Movements against U.S. Military Bases
Tokyo, Japan November 25 – 28, 2006
We, peace and anti-base activists from Asia and the Pacific, have gathered in Tokyo, Japan and discussed with a sense of urgency the regional situation caused by the aggressive and anti-people policies of the Bush administration. These policies have meant that Governments on all levels have to disregard the wishes of the people by ruining local environments, under- funding education and health, and attacking human rights. Sharing our experiences in struggles against military bases and militarization, we have reaffirmed that this situation is unbearable, unsustainable and unjust. It should be ended with the people’s action all over the world. The US attempt to dominate Afghanistan and Iraq has failed and have achieved nothing but misery and death to the people of the Middle East and poverty and distress to the people of the Asia Pacific Region.
We note with alarm that a process of monstrous military buildup in the name of U.S. Global Posture Review and ‘defense transformation’ is being carried out with its major focus on Asia-Pacific, for the sake of imperial domination all over the world. Through our three-day exchange, we have come to share a clear picture about what is happening in our region.
- The U.S.-Japan military alliance has been redefined to strengthen Japan’s role as a yet more loyal U.S. military partner for its long- and short-term global hegemonic design. For this “alliance of the future” the United States practically placed the Japanese Self-Defense Forces under the U.S. command, qualitatively reinforced its bases in Japan, and has already begun to freely use SDF and civilian facilities for military exercises and operations. The Japanese ruling elite is using this opportunity to rapidly remilitarize the country and to accelerate the campaign to revise the 1946 Constitution for deletion of its Article 9. Struggle of Japanese people, particularly communities around bases, are now rising against these warlike moves and developments.
- As part of the current U.S. force transformation, the U.S. and Japanese governments are now attempting to force the construction of a new military airport and port in Henoko in the city of Nago in exchange for the closure of Futemma Base. They also announced the relocation of 8,000 U.S. marines and their families to Guam on condition that Okinawa accept the new Henoko base. Though the two governments plead that they intend to reduce burdens of bases, their aim is nothing else than drastic reinforcement of military functions.
- Nonviolent resistance by local residents has effectively derailed the earlier U.S.-Japanese governments’ plan of building a U.S. base off the Henoko coast. Faced by an alternative base project in Henoko, the Henoko residents are determined to fight to prevent its construction.
- Along with this, the United States, in the name of ‘strategic flexibility’, is transforming its military presence in South Korea through consolidation of its bases on the huge Pyeongtaek base complex. This base will be used to intervene in the conflict in the North-East Asian region by US forces. The struggle of farmers resisting violent government repression for eviction and their supporters is mounting, heightening, drawing support from all parts of the county as well as neighboring countries. The so-called US forces ‘strategic flexibility’ is a violation of the Republic of Korea-US Mutual Defense Treaty and poses a serious threat to peace on the Korean Peninsula. The US should pay for the restoration of its polluted bases.
- Guam is given a new crucial springboard position in the U.S. lily-pad strategy as the hub for the newly deployed U.S. war systems. Military facilities will be constructed to accommodate marine troops along with nuclear submarines and attack planes. Leaders of the island’s territorial government have not been allowed participation in the decision-making process or development of the masterplan for the relocation of approximately 8,000 marines from Okinawa projected in 2008. In addition, the military population is insidiously being increased on existing bases, while the island’s people simultaneously suffer from the long-term consequences of radiation exposure and contamination from reckless military practices.
- Violating treaties and international law, the United States invaded and occupied the sovereign nation of Hawaii more than a century ago to gain a militarily strategic outpost in the Pacific. This has contributed to widespread environmental destruction and contamination, grave social injustice, and the disintegration of Native Hawaiian culture. Today, the U.S. military is threatening its largest expansion since World War II, including a Stryker brigade, expanded missile defense programs, and a possible aircraft carrier battle group. Communities in Hawaii opposed to militarization call for no military expansion in Hawaii, the clean up and return of military-occupied lands, sustainable economic alternatives to military spending, and just compensation for those harmed by the U.S. military.
- The Philippines, and especially the Mindanao-Sulu region, has been turned into the U.S. second front on “War on terror”. American troops permanently stationed and engaging in anti-insurgency operations in the name of training the Philippine armed forces, under the Visiting Forces Agreement and Mutual Logistics Support Agreement have opened the whole national territory to U.S. military penetration and expedition. The rampant activities of the United States are causing serious damage to local communities and environment and threaten women’s security. The second front thus made visible in the Philippines threatens to extend into Muslim populations in neighboring Indonesia and Malaysia.
- The Australian Government gives political, moral and concrete support for US hegemonic desires. It has troops in Iraq and Afghanistan supporting US aims in that region. However, by far the biggest contribution to US policy in the world and region by Australia is the hosting of over 40 US bases and the provision of training areas for the next aggressive acts by the US military. The US has set up a trilateral agreement between itself, Australia and Japan to further the aims of US domination.
The Global Posture Review-based U.S. strategy is binding the Asia-Pacific region into a single unit of military operation. This process is damaging people’s lives, people’s security, environment, and sovereignty, depriving people of their land, and militarizing all aspects of the people’s lives. Under the Global Defense Posture Review, US bases have changed their structure into three main groups, one group of bases are the main operating ones with permanent facilities while the others are less permanent and use the client military structures to pursue US objectives in our region.
We have all come from the people’s movements in our respective countries. We are heartened and encouraged by each other’s experiences and pledge to continue to work together to free ourselves from this global and regional regime of military domination. We are committed to support each other in our common struggle.
Realizing that Empire wants to rule globally, we have come together and pool our strength on a global scale to protect people’s lives and wellbeing against U.S. military system. We therefore enthusiastically welcome the initiative of holding the Inaugural Assembly of a global anti-base network in Ecuador in March, 2007 and will join it physically, spiritually, electronically, and in action.
Global struggle is intensifying and we pledge to carry it forward.