Japan and the United States are ratcheting up the drive to transform their long-standing alliance to a militarily integrated partnership as the two countries discussed various defense issues at a recent high-level meeting, including the sharing of military bases between the Self-Defense Forces and the US troops in Japan.
According to the Mainichi Shimbun report on Thursday that at the "two plus two" meeting attended by Japanese and US foreign and defense ministers last Saturday in Washington, the two sides discussed the prospect of their troops' sharing military bases in Japan.
Their real intention was to further realize the Japanese-US military integration rather than merely to efficiently make use of the bases or cut their numbers.
The talks on the issue were part of the effort to attain an integrated defense mechanism in Japan and the Far East region. It also aimed to pave the way for a complete combination of mutual military bases in the future. Once the goal comes off, the partnership will become a global military alliance in a real term.
Military alliance between Japan and the United States is a bilateral arrangement against the backdrop of the Cold War. The Japan-US Mutual Cooperation and Security Treaty has always confined the purpose of the US military presence in Japan to the defense of Japan and the safeguard of peace and stability in the Far East region.
However, the Cold War demised without the end of their stereotyped conception formed during that period.
The Japan-US Joint Declaration on Security signed in 1996 and the Guidelines for Japan-US Defense Cooperation revised in the following year enlarged the scope of their joint defense. The declaration described the alliance as the foundation for the security of the Asian and Pacific region.
Japan, then, gave rise to a package of contingency institutions including the law concerning Japan's surrounding security situation, laying legal groundwork for joint military operations in the Asian and Pacific region.
At the latest Washington meeting, they mapped out common strategic objectives and widened the cooperation to dealing with terrorism and weapons of mass destruction across the world.
The 1996 security declaration came out with a subtitle Alliance for the 21st Century, demonstrating that Japan and the United States since then have worked toward a strengthened military partnership.
Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, a firm supporter of a tighter partnership with the United States, has always pursued a policy of Japan-US alliance in the global arena.
He addressed a parliamentary session earlier this year that the Japan-US alliance was the foundation for the peace and stability of the world.
He deems that a bolstered Japan-US alliance is the utmost priority in terms of Japan's national interest. Therefore, Tokyo is desperately aligned itself militarily with the United States, which sticks to unilateralism and a preemptive strike policy.
Japan's Red Flag newspaper pointed out that the joint statement issued at the Washington meeting aimed at updating the alliance to a global level, which would put in danger the peace and security of Japan.
Ichida Tadayoshi, secretariat head of the Japanese Communist Party, emphasized that the integration of the Japanese and US forces will lead Japan to peril.