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Welcome to TokyoFreePress Wednesday, March 29 2017 @ 02:46 AM JST

Treaty of Mutual Cooperation, or Mutual Addiction?

Big rally staged on June 18, 1960 (Left)
Nobusuke Kishi, alias the Specter of the Showa Era (Right)

All of these [self-deceptive] people believe it would be better for them to leave the relationship, but when it comes to doing so they are paralyzed. In order to remain in relationship, knowing it is against their own best interests, they frequently try to trick themselves by distorting the situation.
- How to Break Your Addiction to A Person by Howard M. Halpern, Ph.D.

To be genuinely loving and committed one must FREELY choose another person. [On the other hand] one of the hallmarks of an addiction is that it is a COMPULSIVE drive which, by definition, means that it limits this freedom.
- ditto

No other sovereign nation in history has been more dependent on another country than Japan. It's almost as though Japan is addicted to the United States through the incongruously parental arrangment called Nichibei Anzen Hosho Joyaku, or the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan. You can see a close parallel between this nation and a junkie hooked on the substance.

Nichibei Anzen Hosho Joyaku, or Anpo for short, was first countersigned by Shigeru Yoshida, grandfather of former foreign minister Taro Aso, in San Francisco on September 8, 1951. Article 10 of the pact read: "After the Treaty has been in force for ten years, either Party may give notice to the other Party of its intention to terminate the Treaty, in which case the Treaty shall terminate one year after such notice has been given."

Given this clause, the Japanese people were facing the first critical juncture in 1960, when I was in my early-20s. Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to oppose a proposed renewal. (To be more precise, it was a revision rather than an automatic extension.) Despite the nation-wide uproar, however, then Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi, former Class-A war crimes suspect and grandfather of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, could elbow his way into signing the revised treaty with U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower, and having it ratified in a turbulent Diet session, thanks to the powerful backing from rightwing fanatics and yakuza. Some even suspect that the CIA may have played a pivotal role, too, in facilitating the entire process.

Benjamin Fulford, former chief of Asia-Pacific Bureau at Forbes, wrote in his book that the birth of the Liberal Democratic Party in 1955, and some yakuza syndicates as well, was funded primarily by the U.S. intelligence agency. Fulford is a conspiracy theorist increasingly popular among the Japanese for his tendency toward pointing his finger at the U.S. government, military-industrial complex, or cabals formed by Judeo-Christian Fundamentalists for almost everything from 9-11 to avian flu epidemic to harmful effects induced by Tamiflu.

Although very few of his allegations are well substantiated, his story about the collusive ties among the CIA, the LDP and yakuza really adds up when taking into consideration the fact that Kishi acted as the main architect of the 1955 System soon after he was released from Sugamo Prison. Obviously Douglas MacArthur decided to acquit Kishi of his wartime crime against his fellow countrymen because the Supreme Commander for Allied Powers thought Kishi would be as instrumental in governing the postwar Japan as the Emperor, who the General, dubbed the Second Emperor himself, also thought would be reusable.

Whether or not there was a conspiracy, the 1960 anti-Anpo camp was too weak. It was just fighting a proxy war on behalf of the Soviet Union, without being able to present a realistic alternative to the security pact. The anti-Anpo movement was crushed by the mighty alliance between the two governments and yakuza - totally and for good. This really helped cement the 1955 System which had been taking root gradually on this soil. Ever since, the LDP, as well as some of its intra-party factions which would later spin off to form "opposition" parties, has been able to eternalize its monopoly of power.

It is true that we saw an equally tumultuous situation when the Treaty was up to another renewal in 1970. But the Japanese, whose brains had stopped functioning by then, failed once again to come up with a valid idea about national defense with which to replace Anpo. They were just parroting the empty rhetoric borrowed from Mao Zedon's Great Cultural Revolution or the anti-Vietnam War campaign among American youth, which was totally irrelevant to the Japan's defense issue. I think it was nothing more than a hiccup of the System we saw in 1970.

A decade or so later, Shintaro Ishihara started to advocate that it was high time for postwar Japan to cut its "umbilical cord" with Washington. However, the frivolous Tokyo Governor was just broadcasting a sheer nonsense, as usual. What was tying the Japanese down to the deadend situation was not the umbilical cord anymore, but the extension of their arteries, without which they couldn't even survive. In fact, he, as well as the rest of the population, knew deep inside that the termination of the security pact was out of the question, and would remain so forever. That's why he wears a wry grin every time he talks about the U.S.-Japanese relations.

As for the other side of the Pacific, I have talked and listened to my American friends in recent years to gauge how they view the bilateral treaty. I said to them that the Americans should take a hard relook at the 56-year-old arrangment, if that might lead them to think about breaking up with the Far Eastern ally, because Japan is now becoming more of a burden than help for the U.S. in pursuing its mid- to long-term strategies in this region. But most of them would not agree to my opinion and even cast doubt on my view that the Treaty is at issue at all. They were too much obsessed with the misplaced notion that priority must be placed on maintaining the status quo in this region, as if Asians were reasonably happy with it, and protracted problems from the past didn't remain mostly unsolved.

I am not certain if America is also hooked pathologically on the standing partnership, though only to a lesser degree. But at least it is apparent that the America's military-industrial complex has become addicted to Japan by now. The world's second largest economy sets aside almost US$ 50 billion for defense every year without consuming a single bullet in actual warfare. There's no point in criticizing the MIC for its voracious appetite for Japan's defense budget, the second largest among nonnuclear powers only next to Germany, as long as its Japanese customer is there, acting like a sucker.

The bottomline, therefore, is that it's somewhat unrealistic to expect either party will give the other a one-year prior notice for termination in the near future. And yet, I hope the Americans will wake up to the reality about the ever-changing dynamics governing in the Pacific Rim before death do us part. In a world where globalization is going on, it's more or less unavoidable for any two nations to develop interdependence. But if and when one country puts all the eggs in one basket, or two, that country is doomed to ruin. I hope the U.S. will become aware, sooner rather than later, that this is exactly what its counterparty of the Treaty is doing with America, and with China for that matter.

However, this is not to say I don't give a damn about Japan's future. The reason I am saying this is not only because for the ailing U.S. to stay committed to a failing country like Japan eternally is not the right thing to do, but also because by doing so the U.S. will help accelerate, rather than decelerate, the ongoing process of Japan's demise. As an old Chinese proverb goes, the lion pushes its cub off the cliff at a certain age so the cub can grow into a self-reliant and viable adult. It's quite unlikely that Japan could survive the plunge. But if she has to perish sooner or later, it cannot really be helped.

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