War : China : U.S. seeks to militarize Japan


Richard Moore


October 30, 2005

U.S. and Japan Agree to Strengthen Military Ties


WASHINGTON, Oct. 29  - The United States and Japan
announced Saturday a sweeping agreement to reshape their
military alliance, including the reduction of marines on
Okinawa and the construction of a new generation of radar
equipment in Japan as part of a missile defense system.

After a morning meeting of the two nations' foreign and
defense ministers and secretaries, a joint agreement was
released calling on Japan to accept more responsibility
for its own defense, and requiring the United States and
Japan to further integrate planning in case of conflict.
The two sides agreed to greater sharing of intelligence
and to expand joint military training and exercises.

The document is yet another step in the evolution of
modern Japan, which has already grown from a defeated
adversary to an occupied nation to an economic powerhouse
under the American security umbrella.

The agreement and subsequent statements gave a clear
indication of Japan's desire to take an even greater role
in global security missions within constitutional
constraints imposed at the end of World War II. The
meeting came as Japan has troops on a humanitarian mission
in Iraq , the first time Tokyo has deployed its forces
into a combat zone since World War II.

At a Pentagon news conference, Defense Secretary Donald H.
Rumsfeld said the agreement would "ensure a durable, more
balanced and surely more capable alliance."

His counterpart, Yoshinori Ono, the director general of
the Japanese Defense Agency, said that Japan is ready to
move beyond territorial defense to play a greater role in
contributing to "peace and security around the world."

But Mr. Ono said Japanese military missions across Asia or
around the globe would be for humanitarian and
reconstruction efforts, or for logistical support to
counterterrorism missions conducted with the United

Although the use of the Japanese military beyond its
territorial waters has been a striking extension for a
nation that accepted pacifist limits in its postwar
Constitution, Japan still would not insert combat troops
into combat operations outside Japan.

Ending a decade of negotiations on the placement of
American troops within Japan, the agreement seeks to
remove a severe irritant in relations by reducing American
military personnel on Okinawa, where residents complain of
noise and crime.

The number of American military personnel in Japan, now
about 50,000, will fall by 7,000 with the relocation of
some Marine Corps units from Okinawa to Guam .

Anger among Okinawans at the American military reached
near-crisis levels in 1995, when a local schoolgirl was
raped by American servicemen.

The move also has significance for Guam, an American
territory that is taking on increasing strategic
importance in the Pacific.

The agreement calls on Japan to deploy the American X-band
radar, a part of missile defense that identifies and
tracks incoming warheads. North Korea fired a missile over
Japan in 1998, shocking the public there.

The relocation of American forces on Japan and the
reshaping of bilateral military headquarters is to be
completed in six years. The cost of all movements of
American forces in Japan will be paid by the Japanese
government; no cost estimate was released Saturday at the
conclusion of talks among Mr. Rumsfeld, Mr. Ono, Secretary
of State Condoleezza Rice and the Japanese foreign
minister, Nobutaku Machimura. President Bush is to visit
Japan next month.

American and Japanese officials also announced an
agreement to remove American aircraft from Futenma Marine
Air Corps Station in a southern part of Okinawa that is
now highly urban. A large part of the aircraft and crews
will move to expanded facilities at an existing base, Camp
Schwab, farther  north.

The Pentagon news conference was held a day after Japan
announced it had agreed to base a Nimitz-class American
aircraft carrier in Yokosuka, 30 miles south of Tokyo, in
2008, the first time a nuclear-powered carrier has been
allowed to use Japan as its home port.

The Japanese public is especially concerned about  the
basing of nuclear-powered warships in its territory
because Japan is the only country ever attacked with
atomic weapons.

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company



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