A long-standing defense treaty between the United States and Japan is the latest international agreement that draws the wrath of President Donald Trump. He would have obtained an exit from the treaty because he considers it to be unilateral, because he promises American aid if Japan is attacked, but does not force the Japanese army to surrender to American defense. The withdrawal of the United States would represent a fundamental change in an alliance that has helped to ensure security in Asia and lay the foundations for the region`s economic development. One of the issues that remains sensitive in relations is that of nuclear weapons. Because of its understandable allergy to all nuclear weapons, after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, Japan has insisted since 1960 that no American nuclear weapons be deployed on its territory. In 1967, Prime Minister Sato unilaterally explained his three now famous principles against nuclear weapons: Tokyo would not manufacture, possess or introduce such weapons to Japan. That was a problem in Tokyo. Could U.S. ships and aircraft carry nuclear weapons in transit through Japanese ports and airports without violating this third principle? A secret agreement signed in 1960 (then decommissioned in the United States) provided for this. Nevertheless, the Japanese government continues to defend the position that there is no such agreement: after all, she says, an exchange of notes accompanying the 1960 security treaty required Washington to consult Tokyo before bringing nuclear weapons to Japan, and Washington never did.
Meanwhile, the U.S. government`s policy is never to confirm or deny the presence of U.S. nuclear weapons. On 19 January 1960, Japanese Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi and US Secretary of State Christian Herter signed a landmark treaty. It forced the United States to defend Japan in the event of an attack by Japan and provided bases and ports to U.S. forces in Japan. The agreement has survived half a century of dramatic changes in world politics — the Vietnam War, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the proliferation of nuclear weapons in North Korea, the rise of China — and despite the heated trade controversies, the exchange of insults and deep cultural and historical differences between the United States and Japan. This treaty lasted longer than any other alliance of two great powers since the peace of Westphalia in 1648. Shortly after the 12-year-old Japanese high school student was raped in 1995 by two U.S. Marines and a U.S.
sailor, U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry launched a plan to reduce the U.S. military presence in Okinawa. The two governments developed an implementation agreement in 2006. But instead of helping to solve the problem, the agreement triggered the first conflict between Hatoyama and U.S. President Barack Obama. Over the years, Japan has also taken a number of steps to allay the Pentagon`s fears that it broke out in the United States for security reasons. In 1977, it took steps to make its equipment and communication with U.S. forces in the country interoperable and began conducting joint planning and training exercises.
In 1983, U.S. Presidents Ronald Reagan and Nakasone agreed on an agreement that would exclude Japan from its ban on arms exports to the United States. Japan has also gradually overcome its reluctance to send troops abroad. In 1992, after defeating the Persian Gulf War, it passed a law allowing its troops to participate in UN peace operations. Since 1992, Japanese troops have participated in such missions in Cambodia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, East Timor, Mozambique, the Palestinian territories and Rwanda. Between 2001 and mid-January this year, Japan held naval vessels in the Indian Ocean to provide fuel to coalition forces fighting in Afghanistan; it also deployed 600 troops to Iraq (albeit in a relatively peaceful area) and authorized (if it repulsed) the United States.