D. D. Kosambi

On Japanese Rearmament: An Indian View

Source: People's China, June 16, 1951, Vol. III, No.12, pp. 10-11
Transcription/HTML Markup: Mike B.
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2008). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

Rearmament is not a question to be discussed in the abstract. The question of the rearmament of Japan by the U.S. is one of immediate importance and one which vitally affects the whole of Asia, India included.

The U.S.A., the occupying power in Japan, does not talk of rearmament after the occupation ceases. It is actually rearming that country now. Photographs in a recent issue of the American Saturday Evening Post show the new Japanese "police" in army uniforms, with army weapons including quick-firing rifles and machine-guns. They live in army barracks, are trained by American military experts and, the accompanying article states, at least 150,000 of them have been recruited so far. Such facts remove the question of Japanese rearmament conclusively from the sphere of abstract debate which to some it has still appeared to be.

The article I cite and many others like it openly brag that the recruits have war experience, are veterans, are tough, have killed many Chinese, and so on. The most insolent caption says that these soldiers will bring hope to the "lost" continent, Asia. That so heavily and well-armed a "police" force should become necessary after six years of the MacArthurisation of Japan is in itself a striking commentary on the brand of democracy introduced by the U.S.A.! But note, furthermore, that the pretence of using these recruits for police work within Japan has been dropped except in official legalistic arguments.

This force is not meant for use after the U.S. evacuation, because there is no talk of any such evacuation even if a "peace treaty" should be signed. And in fact the U.S. draft treaty makes provision for a continued U.S. occupation of Japan and the use of Japan as a war base.

Thus it is clear that the revived Japanese forces are not meant to protect Japan, but to attack someone else. To certain investing companies, it is true, the continent of Asia is "lost" Clearly, these "investors" now hope that the Japanese who failed to colonise the continent of Asia for Japan will now be able to colonise it for their new masters.

It is not enough to laugh at this lunatic ideology, not even enough to expose it to the intended victims of aggression. The greatest victims will naturally be the Japanese people and it must be made clear to them just what role they are meant to play, at their own cost, and for whom.

Why are these Japanese "veterans," toughened by years of war now needed again? The answer was provided in an enlightening announcement of General Ridgway, MacArthur's successor, commander of the so-called U.S. forces in the field. He proposed that the American youths drafted for the Korean intervention be sent back home after about five months of fighting so that the strain might fall evenly upon all, and not just upon one group.

No one threatens to attack Japan even when it is actually being used a war base, and no one has an interest in attacking a peaceful Japan in the future. The mainland Asia is occupied by powers which have made clear their own love for peace. But they have also made it clear that anyone carrying war to their homelands will not be allowed to do so with impunity.

If the Japanese mean to defend themselves, they can do so without a large striking force. If they mean to attack anyone this cannot be done at all unless, of course—and this is what the U.S. imperialists intend—Japan is part of a far larger army which would treat the Japanese as front-line auxiliaries and colonial troops. The Korean campaign shows that the so-called UN. troops are incapable of carrying the war further than a stalemate, if, indeed, they can do even that. But this will not regain certain foreign investments in China which the vested interests concerned want to recover at any cost to their own people and those of Asia.

The sole purpose of Japanese rearmament therefore, would be for the Japanese people to do the hard and dirty work that the so-called U.N. troops are unable and unwilling to perform, and to do this at less cost to the U.S. This, the warmongers hope, would dampen the wide-spread protest within the U.S. itself against the war, and would also quiet those unhappy satellites who have been dragooned into sending token forces as U.N. contingents. But, it is perfectly clear, this is a policy of the further enslavement of the Japanese people.

Rearmament can only tighten Japan's chains and bring greater misery to her people, not to mention arousing the hatred of those against whom the new armaments would be used. Better then, for the Japanese, therefore, to demand their independence and work for a position of fraternal, amicable leadership in the peaceful development of Asia. We must distinguish sharply between the Japanese people and those who now control Japan. Through their representative at the Berlin World Peace Council meeting, the Japanese people proved their wish for peace and showed their distrust for those who want them to fight battles against their own close neighbours for the profit of foreign imperialists.

Marxism and Anti-Imperialism in India