The Guardian May 8, 2002


Editorial:

A stupid and criminal policy

The visit to Australia of Japan's Prime Minister, Junichiro Koizumi came 
and went with hardly a ripple but behind the scenes further steps were 
taken to bring into existence a US-Japan-Australia military axis. So-called 
"security" issues took pride of place over the vague proposals for a "free-
trade" agreement between Japan and Australia.

Prime Minister Howard told his visitor that "We see a security relationship 
between our two countries vis-`-vis the United States as extremely 
important." The Australian Government is doing exactly as commanded by the 
US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, who raised the idea of such an "axis" 
during a visit to Australia last year.

Howard, once again showing his willingness to say anything in an attempt to 
pull the wool over people's eyes, went on to declare that such an axis "is 
not designed in any negative sense as far as China is concerned."

Who does Howard think he is fooling? Every move made by the US and 
Australian governments in the Pacific and, in particular, the military 
build-up that is taking place by the US, Australia and Japan, has China as 
its main target.

This same objective lies behind Japan's idea of creating an Asian trading 
bloc to include the ASEAN ten, plus the US, Australia, New Zealand, Japan 
and China.

The Australian newspaper had no illusions. It wrote on May 2: 
"Japan's unprecedented consideration of a free trade deal is part of an 
economic and political regional power play unfolding between the ailing 
post-war powerhouse [Japan] and an aggressive China."

Note the language! In what sense is China being "aggressive"?

It is the US and Australia who are sending troops to other countries. It is 
the US that is threatening intervention and promoting the separation of 
Taiwan which it has recognised on many occasions as an integral part of 
China. It is the US which bombed Yugoslavia and Afghanistan and is 
continuing to bomb Iraq and threatening that country with an invasion.

Mr Koizumi responded: "In the area of military co-operation I believe Japan 
can play a role that is different from the roles that other countries would 
play."

The people of Asian countries will remember what "role" was played during 
the years of occupation by Japan's armies. The people of China will 
remember the Nanking massacres in which hundreds of thousands of civilians 
were killed.

Australians would be well advised not to forget the Changi prisoner-of-war 
camp and the Burma railway. In this respect Mr Koizumi, shortly before 
coming to Australia, paid a visit to the shrine in Japan erected to honour 
the leaders who were responsible for Japan's aggression at that time and 
the atrocities carried out by Japan's armies. Has anything changed?

On Australia's part the very same policy of appeasement of Japan is being 
implemented by the Howard Government as was carried out by the Menzies 
Government before the war in the Pacific erupted with the Japanese attack 
on Pearl Harbour.

Before Pearl Harbour Japan had already been at war for some years and had 
occupied Korea, Manchuria and part of China. It had made a number of 
military attacks on the eastern provinces of the Soviet Union. Japan was 
part of the Berlin-Rome-Tokyo fascist axis as it was known at that time.

Some Australians have speculated that Australia will be able to break down 
its present isolation from Asia by developing an even closer relationship 
with Japan and going along with its economic, political and military plans. 
Nothing could be further from the truth.

Asia is no longer the Asia of the 1930s and '40s. All Asian countries have 
won their independence from their former colonial masters and they are 
steadily becoming stronger economically.

They will not be willing to be colonised again in a new version of the 
South-East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere as it was known at that time. Nor 
will they submit to a new military occupation even though it is accompanied 
by US and Australian military forces.

Any attempt to gang-up against China and other Asian countries is a stupid 
and criminal policy and will not succeed. The Howard Government's approach 
is not in the interests of Australia's people.
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