U.S. President Donald Trump arrives at Osaka International Airport on Thursday afternoon. Photo: REUTERS/Issei Kato
politics

Trump renews criticism of Japan-U.S. alliance before G20 summit

51 Comments
By Linda Sieg and Daniel Leussink

U.S. President Donald Trump renewed his criticism of the U.S.-Japan security alliance, the linchpin of Tokyo's security policies, ahead of talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of a Group of 20 summit in Osaka this week.

Trump was responding to a question in a Fox television interview in Washington on Wednesday about what bilateral deals he would like to see with various countries including Japan. Tokyo and Washington are engaged in difficult trade talks as Trump's administration seeks to lower the U.S. trade deficit.

"Almost all countries in this world take tremendous advantage of the United States ... Like even Japan on the treaty, we have a treaty with Japan. If Japan is attacked, we will fight World War Three," Trump said.

"We will go in and we will protect them and we will fight with our lives and with our treasure. We will fight at all costs, right? But if we’re attacked, Japan doesn’t have to help us at all. They can watch it on a Sony television, the attack."

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, asked about the remarks, said the two governments had not discussed revising the treaty and dismissed the notion that the pact was unfair.

"The obligations of the United States and Japan ... are balanced between both countries," he told a news conference.

Under the decades-old U.S.-Japan security treaty, the United States has committed to defending Japan, which renounced the right to wage war after its defeat in World War Two.

Japan in return provides military bases that Washington uses to project power deep into Asia, including the biggest concentration of U.S. Marines outside the United States on Okinawa, and the forward deployment of an aircraft carrier strike group at the Yokosuka naval base near Tokyo.

Trump is scheduled to hold nine bilateral meetings, with nations such as Japan, China and Russia, at the June 28-29 G20 summit.

A deterioration in U.S.-Japan ties that resulted in an end to the security pact, which puts Japan under the U.S. nuclear umbrella, could force Washington to withdraw a major portion of its military forces from Asia at a time when China’s military power is growing.

It would also force Japan to seek new alliances in the region and bolster its own defences, raising concern about nuclear proliferation in the tense region.

On a visit to Japan in May, Trump said he expected Japan’s military to reinforce U.S. forces throughout Asia and elsewhere as Tokyo bolsters the ability of its forces to operate further from its shores.

Abe, who has cultivated warm ties with Trump since the U.S. leader took office, has pledged to strengthen Japan's defences. He also wants to revise the nation's post-war, pacifist constitution to clarify the ambiguous status of its military.

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51 Comments
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With a friend like this, you wont need an enemy! Mr.Abe !!

8 ( +15 / -7 )

Seems Abe peaceful initiative already got thrown out the window by Trump.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

"We will go in and we will protect them and we will fight with our lives and with our treasure. We will fight at all costs, right? But if we’re attacked, Japan doesn’t have to help us at all. They can watch it on a Sony television, the attack."

We will not protect anyone. We will, however, protect our interests. A professor told me early on--don't think of Japan as a island full of allies who we hold close to our heart. Think of the nation as an American battleship poised to protect and project our interests in the region. Ditto Israel, the latest love fest with Poland et al.

IOW, if Trump pulled out and didn't "protect" the Japanese, how long do you think it'd take Japan's nuclear armed neighbors to step into the void? Especially given how effectively Japan has made amends for the war. How long for America to lose enormous influence in the region, suddenly finding it much harder to dictate trade.

2 ( +10 / -8 )

How very courteous.  I didn't realize it wasn't a mutual assistance treaty.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

MEGAGOB again! Throw insults at the host even before arriving. Did exactly the same prior to his British State visit.

First he says it. Then he denies he said it. Then he says it again.

Which is it Donny?

Japan pays the highest military host contributions of all countries across the globe. America has something like 800 foreign bases.

But the actual cost to America is only a small amount of the total defense budget.

The first priority for America is to have a present in a volatile region to protect its own interests. Second, it the promise to protect Japan against attack. That promise has never been tested.

Some on his staff need to inform Trump that it was America who wrote and imposed the constitution on the country forbidding it to have having a military capable of attack.

Guess Trump was missing from class when they had that bit of the history lesson. Bone spurs to the lav.

10 ( +16 / -6 )

Let me recapitulate what I posted on another thread. I wrote:

[I]t was the U. S. side that most wanted a bilateral security treaty to be signed concurrently at the time when the San Francisco Peace Treaty was signed in 1951. In a way, the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty was forced upon Japan in exchange for Japan's restoration of independence.

Under this treaty the U.S. was guaranteed to retain all rights to the free use of the bases and to the perquisites it enjoyed during the Occupation era. In other words, the U.S. forces' presence remained the same as ever before. Or to speak more concretely, the virtual occupation continued seamlessly. This state of affairs can be seen most conspicuously in Okinawa.

So if Trump says the U.S. would withdraw from the security treaty, we in Okinawa will be rejoiced from the bottom of our heart, never forgetting to say, "Yes, please do so, and quickly at that!"

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Five years ago, Hillary Clinton reached one of the least-noticed diplomatic agreements of her tenure as secretary of State — a deal obligating Japan to continue paying nearly $2 billion a year to help defray the cost of U.S. troops stationed on its territory.

The Pentagon spends an estimated $10 billion a year on overseas bases. More than 70% of the total is spent in Japan, Germany and South Korea, where most U.S. troops abroad are permanently stationed.

$10 billion total out of $680 billion.

America spent $6 trillion fighting Iraq and Afghan

10 ( +11 / -1 )

It would also force Japan to seek new alliances in the region

It seems according to another article that they are starting to with France. It seems is more regarding maritime safety, but it is already a start.

The good point is that it would not cost them any piece of land, the bad point is that it would be insufficient.

> we will fight World War Three

Don't say this kind of things, people will start thinking that is your aim from the beginning : having WW3 starting somewhere and then coming to the rescue then reviving the 50ties.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

There seems to be a method to the madness though.

Domestic, foreign, or generally?

It's almost like he's been put into that position (any candidate would look good up against Hillary) to act as a wrecking ball to sow descent and division. (order out of chaos).

He was put in that position by an archaic system (EC) and a lot of under informed, gullible people that felt stupid when the adult president (Obama) talk to them because they lack the intellectual capacity to understand high-school level English.

Taking a step back it's not difficult to see there is a shift going on from the West to the East (BRICS) and I think he's helping to facilitate that. The real power brokers have no allegiance to any particular country.

Agreed about the lack of allegiance. Seems like you're on the bring of a conspiracy about the New World Order.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Or to speak more concretely, the virtual occupation continued seamlessly. This state of affairs can be seen most conspicuously in Okinawa.

Once again, people, there is no occupation, none, nothing. These types of comments miss the point in their entirety and are off topic and should be dealt with as such!

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Rusted on Trump haters, too obtuse to understand what’s really going on, will simply find more grist for their mill and can be safely ignored. The cognoscenti however recognise it for what it is; America finally waking up to the perils implicit in having an open ended military commitment while supposed allies are under no obligation in the case of America coming under attack. What Trump’s plain talking tells us is that the post war security framework is now past its use-by-date and in need of major overhaul.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Folks, Trump is doing Abe's dirty work for him here. Dont be fooled, Abe likes the idea that Trump is making these comments because this is exactly what he wants to push HIS agenda to change the constitution and specifically Article 9.

Abe will use this to push the change through, as he will argue that the US/Japan security agreement is the linchpin in the relationship between Japan and the US and Japan SHOULD be able to protect it's biggest and most important ally!

People are misreading this as criticism, but I would not be one bit surprised if Abe and Trump discussed this very issue and the way to handle it at their last meeting together.

Trump is Abe's BFF,

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I personally wouldn't take any notice of Trumpspeaks, unless I was a Democrats nominee. When Trump speaks (wherever that be in the world), he speaks to his base, potential voters. When he actions something he does it in the best interest of USA and its allies, remember, he is a property developer.

Property developers know how to spin to potential customers, but they also know how to be ruthless but practical in dealings.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Under this treaty the U.S. was guaranteed to retain all rights to the free use of the bases and to the perquisites it enjoyed during the Occupation era. In other words, the U.S. forces' presence remained the same as ever before. Or to speak more concretely, the virtual occupation continued seamlessly. This state of affairs can be seen most conspicuously in Okinawa.

And this poster failed to include here that the treaty was changed and both sides agreed that compensation would be paid for the use of the bases and private landholders would receive rent for the use of their land. And thanks to that there are PLENTY that do not want to see the bases returned because then they would have to actually find work!

Plenty as well made literally millions off the base rents, and some, still today, are collecting rent for the use of their land on JAPANESE military installations and joint use installations today!

The majority of bases in mainland Japan are on national government owned property so there are few lease issues, but the reverse is true down here in Okinawa.

Once again, dont be fooled by these comments, they no longer pertain to today!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

But why is he blaming Japan since they were never asked about this arrangement, it was imposed on them by the United States. The US wrote the Japanese constitution in which they explicitly state that Japan is forbidden from having an offensive arms forces. The people of Okinawa have been protesting against the US bases for decades. In 2010, when Yukio Hatoyama became Prime Minister, his main goal was to get rid of the US bases, and distant Japan from America. How did America respond? They got angry, and they took him out of power. He was ignored on multiple occasions by then Obama and Hilary, they all refused to speak with him, later America sent two Pentagon officials to "deal with the situation", and Hilary said then "there will be no changes in our alliance, and the basis will not be removed, regardless of who is PM". The US media kept attacking Hatoyama for being a "threat to the US-Japan alliance", the Japanese media picked on that, and within few months he resigned.

So, maybe Trump should look at his own administration first before blaming others. If he is not happy with this alliance, he is free to break from it anytime. Lots of people in Japan want to change the constitution anyway.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Now that i think about it, Trump was probably told to say this, because it conveniently plays into Abe's attempt at amending the constitution to allow Japan to "come to America's help". This is too convenient to be accidental.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

** zichi :**America spent $6 trillion fighting Iraq and Afghan

America spent $ ..... for Japan destruction

America spent $ ..... for Vietnam destruction

America spent $6 trillion for Iraq and Afghanistan destruction,

America win $6 trillion by Yemen destruction,

America will spend $... trillion for Iran destruction,

America will spend $... trillion for X,Y,... countries destruction,

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

America won $x billions by Yemen destruction,

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Can't say he's entirely mistaken. What would Japan do for the US, offer omotenashi and throw some coins at the nearest temple?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Every time this bumbling moron makes another moronic comment, I think he can't top himself - yet he always does.

And true to pattern, he's factually wrong. Japan enacted legislation in 2015 that broadened its ability to perform collective self defense, to include ballistic Missile Defense for the US and protection of US ships at sea.

https://www.mofa.go.jp/files/000143304.pdf

More importantly, Japan's "host nation support" for US military facilities is the most generous of all our allies. The Navy concluded because of Japan subsidizing basing costs, it's cheaper to station an aircraft carrier battle group in Yokosuka than San Diego. And that's just one example.

Is it any surprise that Putin, Xi and Kim all want the US to withdraw from Japan and the Security Treaty to be revoked?

Donnie just following his fellow dictators and tyrants...

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

The reality that we have always faced is that, in any thermonuclear exchange that hits China or Russia, wind patterns would guarantee the death of the Japanese people.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

YubaruToday  06:38 pm JST

Folks, Trump is doing Abe's dirty work for him here. Dont be fooled, Abe likes the idea that Trump is making these comments because this is exactly what he wants to push HIS agenda to change the constitution and specifically Article 9.

Well, the pro-Abe uyoku crowd don't seem to be too upset about it, given the recent "time for Japan to man up and get nukes" sort of comments that have been popping up recently. I get the idea it's exactly what the Washington hawks have been wanting for quite a while too.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The US doesnt need Japan to defend its self and if anyone ever did go to war with the US, Japan would get sucked into it anyway. You think China or North Korea would sit back and watch the US launch attacks from Japan unempeaded?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Perhaps, in renewed negotiations, Japan can offer some support U. S. if it is attacked . . . and in order to lessen U. S.'s financial burden, U. S. military presence in Japan can be decreased, allowing JDF to take its place?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Jtsnose.

With the current Article 9 in force. That is not possible.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Chip Star;

Domestic, foreign, or generally?

I meant Trump and his team, but generally too.

He was put in that position by an archaic system

I don't know how it works but I look at the Democrats and Republicans as part of the same tag team. Same in any county when you've only got 2, or maybe 3 main parties.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the Government Japan is a loyal friend and security partner for U.S. President Donald Trump. In fact arguably the only ally with the patience to tolerate Donald Trump gauche diplomatic unpleasantness.

The benefit to the People and Government Japan is secondary. The primary focus is a means to prevent the US mainland from tactical and strategic strike and provide a forward base to maintain freedom of navigation for vital shipping routes in the South China Sea for the US economy.

Japan has to contribute some $3.30 billion (2016/7). Also I believe their is a number of additional requirements that Japan has to commit costs too

Strengthening of the Japan - U.S. Alliance

https://www.mod.go.jp/e/publ/w_paper/pdf/2014/DOJ2014_3-2-1_web_1031.pdf

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Folks, the US is not going to sacrifice anything more than air strikes for Japan if at all. Deterrence is all it is.

Foolish to think you can just pay some money and have US soldiers die for you.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

That is the feeling many Americans share with Trump and it is true.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Don't forget: America First, to hell with the rest. The US has 800 military bases around the globe and not one of them are to protect the country on which they are located. They are in these countries to protect the US by deflecting any attack from mainland America and making the host country the target. If the US had experienced the destruction of their mainland similar to Japan, Vietnam, Iraq... Americans might start taking more control of their government. In the last 70 years, rather that protect US allies, it has demanded the allies follow it to war, support its claim to domination.

The US is a drop in the ocean without its allies - remember the scramble from Saigon.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Trump seens not to realize that the defence treaty was written by the US and signed after occupation. Japan was not in a position to say no. Also, the US is not in Japan to defend Japan, but only stayed in Japan after WWII to ensure Asia that Japan would never try to take over again. Somebody please tell Trump. Or maybe nobody over there knows.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I read Japan apparently got off rather lightly in respect to the customary G20 pre summit Trump-o-nag.

China is heading down the tubes, India is a protectionist tariff abuser, Germany a NATO delinquent, even Vietnam was subject to a tweet lashing. All before President Trump had opened his umbrella.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

China has one very powerful trade it might start using soon if their's no end to Trump's tariff war. Rare earth minerals. More than 80% of rare earth minerals imported into America are coming from China, which Xi is thinking of imposing strict export controls.

They are used in every electronic device including the F-35 jet fighter.

America does not have much rare earth deposits.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Trump is right. The Japanese may be unable, under their current constitution (written by the Americans) to rush to America's aid.

Perhaps Trump is voicing support for Abe's push fro constitutional reform, so that Japan can go in and kick some posteriors if need be.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Yubaru,

"Once again, people, there is no occupation, none, nothing." 

Let's confine our discussion to Okinawa only. Actual occupation by U.S. forces ended in 1972 when its administration was returned to Japan. There's no U.S. military government, no USCAR, no High Commissioner, no ordinances haphazardly announced by the High Commissioner, etc. So you are right in saying there's no more occupation here.

But let me repeat: "Under this treaty (Japan-U.S. Security Treaty), revised in 1960, and the concomitant SOFA, the U.S. forces were guaranteed to retain all rights to the free use of the bases and all the perquisites they enjoyed during the Occupation era. The U.S. forces' presence continued to remain intact and the same as ever before. Or to speak more frankly, a virtual occupation continued seamlessly in spite of Japan's recovery of sovereignty. Okinawa was incorporated into this regime in 1972 when it was returned to Japan. This state of affairs, aka a virtual occupation, can be seen most conspicuously in Okinawa.

On another thread, I cited three cases of aircraft accidents in which the crash sites were completely cordoned off by the U.S. military where the Japanese police and fire fighters couldn't enter tor inspection and fight fires. As for petty crimes, such as traffic violations, the Japanese police can't arrest a drunken U.S. service member involved in a serious traffic accident.  I call this state of affairs a virtual occupation. What do you call it?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Trump insults Japan. But praises Russia.

Traitor.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Folks, Trump is doing Abe's dirty work for him here. Dont be fooled, Abe likes the idea that Trump is making these comments because this is exactly what he wants to push HIS agenda to change the constitution and specifically Article 9.

I was thinking the exact same thing.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Folks, Trump is doing Abe's dirty work for him here. Dont be fooled, Abe likes the idea that Trump is making these comments because this is exactly what he wants to push HIS agenda to change the constitution and specifically Article 9.

Abe must be always a bad guy, doesn't he? LOL. Maybe he instructed Trump to refer to other allies like Germany, Australia, S. Korea too so as to hide this conspiracy under the table

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Who needs an enemy when you have friends like this!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Abe must be always a bad guy, doesn't he? LOL.

I don't think he's a 'bad guy', I just think that Trump's and Abe's agendas are more in line than they appear.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Let's confine our discussion to Okinawa only. So you are right in saying there's no more occupation here.

Every else in between is fluff and meaningless to the conversation, however, I give you credit for finally coming to the conclusion that others and myself have been stating to you for quite a long time now.

This state of affairs, aka a virtual occupation, can be seen most conspicuously in Okinawa.

You couldnt let it go, huh? Everyone understands the words "virtual" and "occupation", yet you put them together and attempt, time and time again, to create something that does not exist!

"Virtual Reality" or VR, like your "VC" exists only in cyber-space through the power of computers. Now maybe you have been play W.O.W. too much and think that the two are one and the same, but I most assuredly can tell you that you are 100% wrong!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

We will go in and we will protect them and we will fight with our lives and with our treasure. We will fight at all costs, right? But if we’re attacked, Japan doesn’t have to help us at all. They can watch it on a Sony television, the attack."

Spoken like a bitter 12 year old. Japan is a US military base next to China and Russia, that's why its a US asset, put a sock in it Adolf twitter.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Yubaru,

When something exists in essence/substance but not in name, don't you say that something exists virtually? It's your native language, and so I leave the problem of word definition up to you.

How do you explain other facts I presented. The three crash sites of U.S. military aircraft were cordoned off by the military where even the Japanese police and firefighters couldn't enter? 

What do you think about the continued existence of bases, some occupying prime land, and the large-scale U.S. military presence 74 years after the end of World War II? And pollution of various kinds derived from those bases and the troop deployment? Isn't that a "virtual" occupation?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

When something exists in essence/substance but not in name, don't you say that something exists virtually? It's your native language, and so I leave the problem of word definition up to you.

If you leave the definition up to me, then you should be deferring to me and others that have explained to you ad naseum I might add, that your use of the word is wrong, and you should stop using it.

And by the way, there is no occupation in "essence nor substance". We use Japanese passports, follow Japanese law, use Japanese yen, etc etc etc.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Yubaru,

You didn't touch on the fact involved with the three aircraft crashes -- the fact that the crash sites were cordoned off by the U.S. military and the Japanese police and firefighters couldn't enter the cordon-off sites even though the sites were off base.

U.S. bases occupy about 18% of the land mass of Okinawa Island, with some bases occupying prime land, thus making itself as a hindrance to Okinawa's economic development.

Beside space on land, how much more space at sea and in the air is taken by the U.S. military for exclusive use? 

Yes, “occupation” exists here as a hard fact even though it is supposed to have ended in 1972.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

A member of the U.S. delegation to negotiate Okinawa's return to Japan tells an interesting episode he experienced in Okinawa. 

When he asked an Okinawa-based brass how many U.S. bases there are in Okinawa, the officer replied instantly and almost mechanically that it's not the U.S. bases that are in Okinawa but that it is Okinawa that is in U.S. bases.

That picture or impression hasn't changed much since Okinawa’s reversion to Japan in 1972.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

On another thread, I cited three cases of aircraft accidents in which the crash sites were completely cordoned off by the U.S. military where the Japanese police and fire fighters couldn't enter tor inspection and fight fires. As for petty crimes, such as traffic violations, the Japanese police can't arrest a drunken U.S. service member involved in a serious traffic accident. I call this state of affairs a virtual occupation. What do you call it?

The information above is just completely false.

1) In 2003 the US and Japan completed a Memorandum of Understanding on Response to Accidents and Incidents Off-base, and developed a series of guidelines. In those guidelines it denotes the US and GOJ senior representatives jointly control access to the accident site, and the outer perimeter is manned by the Japanese Police. Since 2004, this practice has been exercised on Okinawa every six months between the US military, and Japanese Police and Fire Fighters. The procedures are spelled out in detail on the MOFA website.

https://www.mofa.go.jp/region/n-america/us/security/guideline3.html

2) The SOFA clearly states that the GOJ has jurisdiction on all off-base criminal incidents involving SOFA personnel in a non-duty status. Go to the GOJ prison in Yokosuka city and you'll find approx 14 US military affiliated personnel; active duty, civilian employees, and family members, that are serving time in a Japanese jail for crimes committed off-base.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

These comments regarding Okinawa have taken this thread totally off topic, not to mention that the era being discussed is now in history books and has nothing to do with today!

1972 and before is a long time ago, and until the poster accepts that times have changed, they will continue to live and post things from then and not today.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

extankerToday  06:24 am JST

Abe must be always a bad guy, doesn't he? LOL.

I don't think he's a 'bad guy', I just think that Trump's and Abe's agendas are more in line than they appear.

I didn't address that to you. Besides, I hope Trump could be that cooperative

0 ( +0 / -0 )

lincolnman,

In those guidelines it denotes the US and GOJ senior representatives jointly control access to the accident site, and the outer perimeter is manned by the Japanese Police.

You seem to justify all these measures by citing the 2003 bilaterally agreed-upon memorandum.

When an accident occurs off base, the Japanese police are tasked with guarding the outer perimeter of the accident site but never allowed to get access to the very scene of the accident while the U.S. military is investigating at first hand and takel evidence off to the base, debris and dirt all included. What a caricature this is!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Here's another case, rarity in mainland Japan but almost daily affairs in Okinawa, showing how caricature-like the Japan-U.S. relationship is.

In Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture, a drunken Marine soldier stole a car off-base, smashed it into the parking lot of a townhouse. But the police didn't arrest him on suspicion of theft, drunken driving and damage to the property and send him to the prosecutor for further interrogation.

A U.S. MP car came to the scene later and took him away off to the base.

You claim all these measures were legitimate and justified because they were carried out according to the SOFA.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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