Japanese Prime Minister Abe’s Speech in US Congress

EDITORIAL, 4 May 2015

#374 | Johan Galtung

Below are 15 selected points from the Abe Joint Session US Congress speech 30 Apr 2015, “Toward an Alliance of Hope,” with comments:

Pearl Harbor, Bataan, Coral Sea–

The battles engraved at the Memorial crossed my mind, and I reflected upon the lost dreams and lost futures of those young Americans.

With deep repentance in my heart, I stood there in deep prayer for some time.

My dear friends, on behalf of Japan and the Japanese people, I offer with profound respect my eternal condolences to the souls of all American people that were lost during World War II.

Comment: No apology, repentance, and condolences as when somebody passes away, for a war wanted and provoked by Washington as worried by rising Japan as by rising China today. Stupid Japan fell into the trap; “repent” says it well. Such were the games states play and still play, above all the USA that Japan now is joining in a much tighter alliance.

How about the lost dreams and futures of young Japanese? The war, the problem, had two sides; not only Japan killing Americans.

Enemies that fought each other have become friends bonded in spirit (the Battle of Iwo Jima). No trauma seething underneath after Hiroshima-Nagasaki and the even worse bombing of Tokyo? No need for conciliation, beyond elements of veteran friendship?
-feelings of deep remorse over the war. Our actions brought suffering to the peoples in Asian countries.–I will uphold the views expressed by the previous prime ministers in this regard. This is better: China, Korea and SE Asia did not provoke Japan into attacking and even if Japan was above all fighting white men from faraway very many Asians were killed in all places.
–the post war economic system that the U/s.has fostered by opening up its own market and calling for a liberal world economy. When the biggest power does that, and decides the rules, it is to become even bigger. How about the “voluntary restraint” when Japanese cars became really competitive? How about paying by making Japan de facto occupied?
And prosperity is nothing less than the seabed for peace. The three most belligerent countries (number of wars over number of years of existence) USA, UK and Israel are rich. The “seabed” is equitable trade, unknown to al three.
We can spread our shared values around the world and have them take root: the rule of law, democracy, and freedom. That is exactly what TPP is all about. TPP is exactly the opposite: unknown rules made law without open debate–and no known freedom clause to opt out. Besides, one way “spreading” is imposition.
Japan’s agriculture has declined–corporate governance with global standards–we made it stronger. But agriculture is needed to make Japan less vulnerable in case of war or other calamities
To turn around our depopulation–we empower women so they can get more active in all walks of life But women in “all walks of life” have also postponed marriage and children, even indefinitely.
The peace and security of the post war world was not possible without American leadership. Are 70+ US military interventions and 50+ efforts to overturn leaders “peace and security”?
In the end, together with the U.S. and other like-minded democracies we won the Cold War. Abe lands on this right wing US formula where “nobody won, the Soviet Union imploded” is a more peace building formula.
–we support “rebalancing” by U.S to enhance the peace and security of the Asia-Pacific region–first, last and throughout.

Japan will provide–$2.8 bill to help improve US bases in Guam.

We must make the seas stretching from the Pacific to the Indian Ocean seas of peace and freedom where all follow the rule of law.

we mst fortify the US-Japan alliance–our responsibility.

In Japan we are working hard to enhance the legislative foundations for our security.

-in place Japan will be much more able to provide seamless response to all levels of crisis. The Defense Cooperation Guidelines we agreed on is historic.

An alliance is based on mutual support, and readiness for war with an enemy–the USA makes many enemies and commits Japan.

Note who pays for whom.

A valid point, China overlooks the Law of the Sea recreating old sea lanes. Solution: negotiation and-or an East Asian Community.

This all adds up to “normalizing” Japan by abolishing A9, tying Japan to the most belligerent country in the world–instead of working for “A9 for all states”, normalizing having no army or at least no offensive capability.

We now hold up high a new banner that is “proactive contribution to peace based on the principle of international cooperation”. An alliance based on equality-not this one-may build peace within–and (threat of) war without. Translated as positive peace” in Japanese, the term I introduced in 1958 for cooperation and harmony across fault lines.
–an alliance that connects the biggest and the second biggest democratic powers in the free world working together. India is soon three times as big as the USA and Japan together, and as democratic in the sense of national fair and free elections.
Toward an Alliance of Hope. Hope that USA-Japan will come out on top of the Asia-Pacific?

Think of what Japan could have done if the so-called opposition had done their homework. With A9, not DCG, as a banner, Japan could build, with the two Chinas and the two Koreas, an East Asian Community with the contested islands as joint property, while at the same time keeping friendship and the San Francisco security treaty with the USA.


Johan Galtung, a professor of peace studies, dr hc mult, is founder of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment and rector of the TRANSCEND Peace University-TPU. He has published 164 books on peace and related issues, of which 41 have been translated into 35 languages, for a total of 135 book translations, including ‘50 Years-100 Peace and Conflict Perspectives,’ published by the TRANSCEND University Press-TUP.

This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 4 May 2015.

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4 Responses to “Japanese Prime Minister Abe’s Speech in US Congress”

  1. Akifumi Fujita says:

    I feel very very sorry that Japan’s Prime Minister Abe made a very ugly speech at the Joint Session of US Congress on 30 April 2015.I felt very depressed at the speech because I found almost nothing truthful about the real need of the majority of the Japanese people. He said he made a speech on behalf of Japan and the Japanese people. But I wonder what he meant by ‘Japan’ here. At least I don’t want to be represented by him. And I thank professor Galtung for his precise comments on concrete points in Abe’s speech.Especialy on the expression ‘proactive contribution to peace’,very emphasized in his speech,I would like to make a special remark.This is the Japanese translation of ‘Sekkyokuteki-Heiwa Shugi,meaning the priciple of positive peace,the concept first introduced by Professor Galtung in 1958.Abe and his brains around him never use the word ‘positive peace’abroad because in my understanding they know its origin.But domestically they are trying to blur the meaning of positive peace which is baced on the concept of negative peace meaning nagation of violence of any kinds. The present government is trying to change the Japanese Constitution with A9. The Japanese Constituion has been maintained by the majority of Japanese people, the sovereighnty of the constituion, for 70 years. If the presenet government succeeds in changing it,what will come out of that? Sociocide of the Japanese society? The most disastrous outcome imaginable. I think I will do my best to stop this tendency.

  2. satoshi says:

    Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s speech at the US Congress was made in accordance with the essence of AMPO (= the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan) and its pertinent agreements (including not only the so-called officially announced/concluded agreements but also the so-called secret or hidden agreements whose existence may be confirmed in the outdated US official archives) between the United States and Japan.

    Some critics point out that AMPO and these agreements are the “de facto” or “actual” supreme legal system of Japan, which lies above the Constitution of Japan. But only a handful of Japanese understand it. That explains why Article 9 has conflicted with AMPO and pertinent agreements over the decades. In the event of conflict between the obligations under AMPO and those under the Constitution of Japan, the former shall prevail. This infers what and how the actual legal hierarchy of Japan is.

    In that regard, it should be noted that Prime Minister Abe used the words the “rule of law” in his speech. Did he mean that AMPO and pertinent agreements were above the Constitution of Japan in the legal hierarchy of Japan? What kind of the “rule of law” did he really mean?

    Both US and Japanese governments do not (or do not want to) understand that how much they have sacrificed the lives and living of local Japanese people over the decades. How much blood and tears of ordinary people were shed because of these two parties? Nonetheless, they claim that both of them are “democratic” nations that respect “human rights” at the highest standard. What kind of democracy do they have? What kind of human rights do they respect? Democracy for whom? Human rights for whom? What the so-called national interest deserves to sacrifice democracy and human rights of many people? “An Alliance of Hope”? Whose hope? What kind of hope is it?


    Prime Minister Abe’s speech at the US Congress reminded me of a phrase in a Japanese popular song: “I want to become a woman of your favorite type.” This song was a hit song in 1970, sung by Chico Okumura. The name of this song is “The Slave of Love.”

    This “slave of love”, serving for the national interest of the United States, seems to be faithful at a glance. She is obsequies in front of her lover/master, but she may be hiding her rebellious mind behind her highly sophisticated manners.
    • One day, Abe and his government show their fawning attentiveness to the government of the United States, by stating, for instance, “Japan will provide–$2.8 bill to help improve US bases in Guam…”, and “We can spread our shared values around the world and have them take root: the rule of law, democracy, and freedom. That is exactly what TPP is all about…” Prime Minister Abe also said, “-in place Japan will be much more able to provide seamless response to all levels of crisis. The Defense Cooperation Guidelines we agreed on is historic….”
    • Another day, Abe and his aides visit the Yasukuni Shrine and argue that Japan defended itself from the attack by the United States during the World War II/Asia-Pacific War, that the War was engaged for the self-defense of Japan, and that Japan liberated the peoples in the Asia-Pacific region from the colonialism of the West. For example, the day before President Obama’s visit to Japan on 22 April 2014, reportedly one hundred fifty Japanese lawmakers visited Yasukuni. The next day on 23 April 2014, they welcomed President Obama. Be aware of this highly contrasting, if not contradicting, act of Japanese politicians. It could be understood that the Japanese politicians’ visit to Yasukuni the day before Obama’s arrival could constitute a silent challenge against not only the United States but also against the Asian countries, especially against China and ROK. President Obama, when he visited Japan in 2014, should have visited the Yasukuni Shrine, not a sushi restaurant, so that he could understand another aspect of the seemingly faithful slave of love.


    It seems that the US government is fully aware of what is behind Japanese politicians’ obsequity. So, in turn, what are the US forces doing in Japan?

    Three examples, among many others, are mentioned here below.

    US military airplanes are reportedly conducting the low altitude flight (approximately 150 meters/500 feet or lower) trainings in Japan. Allegedly some of these low altitude flight trainings are conducted in the areas “near” (= not necessarily “in” or “above” but “near”) nuclear power plants. (Visit, for instance, ajw on 13 September 2013: “Demands Grow for Ban on U.S. Military Flights near Nuclear Plants” ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201309140057) Is that true? If so, is it a coincidence? Why are the low altitude flight trainings conducted in the areas near nuclear power plants, not in other safer areas? Any military training requires the target. What is the target of their (possible) attack in the low altitude flight training? What does the low altitude flight training near the nuclear power plant sites actually indicate, if their training as such is not a coincidence? The tacit message, if any, seems like this: “I am your friend/lover/master. But I can destroy you anytime.”

    Tokyo, the capital of Japan, is surrounded by the US forces and their military installations, (including Yokota, Atsugi, Zama, Yokosuka, the US Army heliport in Roppogi which is near the US Embassy in Tokyo, and more) located mostly outskirts of or in the heart of Tokyo. Imagine: If a new cabinet of the Japanese government, which might work against the US policy, would be formed, what might happen to Tokyo? Even though the Japanese government does nothing against the US foreign policy, they are already surrounded by the US military forces, the world’s strongest military power. The tacit message, if any, seems like this: “I am your friend/lover/master. But I can destroy you anytime.”

    All those prime ministers of Japan, after World War II, who resisted the policy of the US government, lost their political posts, with no exception. The tacit message, if any, seems like this: “I am your friend/lover/master. But I can destroy you anytime.”

    Japanese leaders know this, from the bottom of their hearts: “Do not make the world super power angry. They will destroy you immediately and completely.”


    Prime Minister Abe and his aides are fully aware of what they are doing. As he stated in his speech, Abe is ready to spend a huge amount of Japanese tax payers’ money for the US military forces, not only for those in Japan since the 1950s but also, by preparing a new budget [= $2.8 billion] probably from the next fiscal year 2016, for those in Guam, for instance. That may be one of the proofs of love. And love is forever (= bearing all these costs forever)?

    With a rising of China, it is becoming more vital for the United States to protect what they call “national interest” in the East Asia. What does the United States expect Japan to work more for the US national interest? It can be understood that Prime Minister Abe’s speech at the US Congress was his attempt to express that his government is ready to meet the expectations of the United States more than ever before. After his speech at the US Congress, Abe will visit Yusukuni again soon.

    The obsequies slave of love acts and speaks in accordance with AMPO in front of the eyes of the United States. However, the same person goes to worship of the Japanese Imperial military gods, enshrined at Yasukuni. It may be no contradiction for Japanese politicians: Working for the American global militarism as an act of the secularism on one hand; worshipping the Japanese military gods at Yasukuni as an act of the ecclesiasticism on the other hand. Prime Minister Abe’s speech at the US Congress expressed the former aspect of the same person. Meanwhile, the US lawmakers were reading the hidden (or almost subliminal) message between lines in Abe’s speech.


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