Declaration of the Iwakuni International Rally

The following declaration was adopted by the International Rally against the U.S. military base in Iwakuni, Japan. The ANSWER Coalition participated in this and other related actions, and will continue its work in solidarity with the struggle against U.S. bases in Japan.

The International Rally in Iwakuni
Photo: Walter Smolarek

We, people from Okinawa, different cities in Japan, South Korea and the United States, gathered here at Iwakuni to oppose the massive consolidation of the U.S. base in Iwakuni and to demand the withdrawal of all the U.S. troops from Asia. Since just after the launching of the Abe administration in December 2012, it has pursued the consolidation of the U.S.-Japan military alliance in preparation for possible war in East Asia, and has also developed its own military build-up. We strongly oppose them.

Despite that, citizens in Iwakuni clearly showed their opposition to the consolidation of the Iwakuni base in March 2006. The U.S. and Japanese governments have planned to consolidate the base as one of the biggest U.S. bases in the Far East through the following ways: using of the base as an operational hub for the Osprey aircrafts, the building of a massive housing complex for the U.S. service members, the transfer of the squadron for aerial refueling from the Futenma base in Okinawa in 2014, the transfer of the carrier-based fighters from the Atsugi base in Kanagawa in 2017, and the deployment of the newest F-35 stealth fighters in 2017. We shall unite with the people in Iwakuni, support their unyielding struggle fully and expand the solidarity with Iwakuni people nation-wide. We shall also tell the truth about the massive consolidation of the Iwakuni base to our fellow people in Asia-Pacific and organize international coordinated campaign as one of the common issues that people in the region face.

Faced with the people's resistance in Okinawa, Iwakuni, Kanagawa and elsewhere, the U.S. and Japanese governments already abandoned their original plan that they shall finish their comprehensive realignment project of the U.S. forces in Japan by 2014. Okinawan people's struggle against construction of the new U.S. base in Henoko and of the new U.S. military helicopter pad in Takae have played a decisive role in the development of the struggle against the U.S.-Japanese governments' project. But now, in order to break through these situations, the Abe administration is intensifying its offensive through the construction of the new base in Henoko. The upcoming election of Nago city mayor in January, 2014 will become a focus point this offensive and defense. In addition, the building of the new U.S. X-band radar base at Cape Kyogamisaki, Kyotango-city, Kyoto and the possible deployment of the Osprey aircraft at an airport in Yao-city, Osaka have been launched. We will never need any U.S. bases in Okinawa and elsewhere. The accidents and crimes that would be committed by the U.S. troops, including heinous crimes such as rape cases against women and children, would never end without the dismantlement of the U.S. bases. Therefore, we must overcome the governments' offensives toward realignment of the U.S. forces in Japan and U.S.-Japanese military integration, developing the coordination among the struggles against the U.S. bases in Okinawa, Iwakuni, Kanagawa, Kyoto and elsewhere and among the struggle against deployment of the Osprey and its low altitude flight trainings nation-wide.

These are the parts of the struggle that confront the Abe administration's war drive directly. The administration intends to set up the Japanese National Security Council and pass the State Secret Protection bill at the ongoing Diet session. It also planned to enact the National Security Act that allows the use of the right of collective self-defense and finally even amend the Constitution itself in the next year. We shall unify the struggle against the government's war drive and the continuing anti-base struggle that is being carried out in different areas.

This is going on in the context of the 'U.S. pivot to Asia-Pacific', the massive reinforcement of the U.S. bases and the in the region. The U.S. forces have no borders. The ongoing realignment project of the U.S. forces in Japan and the U.S.-Japanese military integration is just a part of the U.S. military strategy. We, along with the people in the region, therefore, must develop solidarity and an international coordinated campaign demanding the withdrawal of all the U.S. troops in Asia-Pacific and confronting the government's promotion of chauvinistic propaganda in taking advantage of the territorial disputes including Diaoyu Islands issue between China and Japan. We shall intensify our support and solidarity with the struggle against the U.S. bases and the U.S. military presence in different countries/areas. As a part of this, we will join the annual peace march in Gunsan, South Korea next year.

Due to neo-liberal policies that the Abe administration promotes, poverty is expanding and people's rights are being deprived. In addition, people will face the increase of the consumption tax and the cutting down of social welfare. We shall unify the people's struggle to survive, the struggle against the government's war drive and also the struggle against reoperation of nuclear reactors and exports of reactors, and fight for people's future without military bases and nuclear power plants. The future shall not be given from anyone but only realized by the people's struggle. We shall uphold the flag of internationalism, and advance toward a people's future!

Nov. 30, 2013
Adopted by participants of the Iwakuni International Rally

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