Japan Peace Conference calls for Asia Without Military Bases

Original source: Akahata (Japan)

Nearly 1,200 people took part in the 2010 Japan Peace Conference from December 2nd to 5th, calling for a peaceful Japan and Asia without U.S. bases or military alliances. It was held in Nagasaki's Sasebo City which hosts a huge U.S. Naval base.

Taking place annually under the demand for abrogation of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty and removal of U.S. bases from Japan, the conference this year focused on the task to further develop solidarity with anti-base struggles in Okinawa, which just had its gubernatorial election at the end of last month with both candidates running on a platform opposing bases.

At an international symposium on the first day of the conference, panelists from the U.S., South Korea, the Philippines, and Japan stressed the need to pursue a diplomatic solution to the military tension on the Korean Peninsula and to increase international efforts to realize a base-free Asia.

Lee Jun-Kyu, lecturer at the Laborer Academy for Alternative Society in South Korea, said that for an order guaranteeing peace in Asia, not a bilateral military alliance but a framework for multinational negotiations must be established.

Joseph Gerson from the American Friends Service Committee stated that the structure and alliance serving the "U.S. Empire" is increasingly losing validity.

Corazon Valdez Fabros from the Philippines, representing the International Network for the Abolition of Foreign Military Bases, described the Okinawan resistance as a symbol of hope for a peaceful and base-free Asia-Pacific region, calling for continuous efforts to build up international solidarity.

In a special report, Afghan journalist Mohammed Ibrahim Alkozai reported on the situation in Afghanistan.

During the following three days, participants exchanged their experiences in anti-base struggles taking place throughout Japan, including Yokosuka, Iwakuni, and Okinawa, at plenary sessions and workshops. They also took part in a tour of the Sasebo base as well as in a demonstration march through downtown Sasebo.

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