Sunday, October 25, 2015

Why Abbott told Japan to build our subs

Nick G.

Now that Abbott is no longer PM, a little of the truth surrounding the preferred Japanese build for the new submarines is starting to emerge.

While still clinging to the denials of a “secret handshake” deal between Abbott and Shinzo Abe, Japanese officials have now revealed that they were told by the Abbott government that they were needed to build the new submarines.

This is despite a pre-election promise to the Australian people that the subs would be built here.

US in a hurry to integrate Japanese and Australian armed forces

This is all part of a US grand plan to have Japan and Australia integrated seamlessly into the military machine it is building against its rival China.

One aspect of this is “interoperability” –getting the US and its key allies to standardise their weapons and communications technologies so that they all function as one unit.

The other major aspect is getting the Japanese military to emerge from the chrysalis of a post-WW 2 Constitution that restricts where and how the Japanese military can operate, and prevents Japanese industries from exporting weaponry.

In an article in the Adelaide Advertiser on October 24, journalist Tory Shepherd states that “ongoing unofficial conversations and briefings, and a request for Japan to consider exporting their technology, convinced Japan that they would eventually be signed up to build eight to 12 submarines.”

Shepherd quotes a Japanese Ministry of Defence spokesperson, Hidehiro Ikematsu, as saying that the unofficial conversations had begun under the former Labor government, which comes as no surprise at all given its strident cheerleading for US imperialism and its agreement to host a US marine base at Darwin.

However it was the Abbott Government that went from looking at options for building the new submarines to requesting that Japan be the builder.  Hidehiro Ikematsu refers to an “official request” that “came under the Abbott Government”.

Abbott “request’ facilitates emergence of revived Japanese militarism

The Australian requirement that Japan be the builder of the next generation submarines has been a crucial factor in Abe’s push to revise the Japanese Constitution and effectively embed his nation’s armed forces (the miss-named Self-Defence Forces or SDF) within the global deployment of forces available to US imperialism.  Abe was able to point to a highly profitable overseas demand for Japanese technology that only the Constitution was blocking.

Opposition to Abe’s revisions has given birth to massive opposition in Japan as a whole new generation of activists come forward to support an older generation who saw in the pacifist Constitution a guarantee that the Japanese people would never again be sacrificed on the altar of Japanese militarism.

For the moment, Abe has prevailed, and has established a new agency within the Ministry of Defence to expedite weapons sales abroad.  According to a report on October 1 from Japan’s Asahi Shimbun newspaper:

The new entity, called the Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency, is expected to serve at the core of Abe’s strategy to enhance international military cooperation through arms exchanges. The government allocated an annual budget of 2 trillion yen ($16.68 billion) for the agency, which will have a staff of around 1,800.

“In preparation for when the new security legislation takes effect, the Defense Ministry also plans to revise the SDF rules of engagement covering the use of weapons and other actions to deal with a wider range of duties.

“In April last year, the Abe administration relaxed the nation’s long-standing ban on weapons exports, enabling Japanese companies that meet certain conditions to sell arms overseas and engage in joint development and production of weaponry with foreign firms.

“The arms agency will be responsible for administrative procedures to assist those Japanese companies.”

In a second article in the same edition of the paper, it was revealed that the Acquisition and Cross- Servicing Agreement (ACSA) between japan and the US will be revised to allow Japan and the United States “to better coordinate their military forces in logistic support in a possible conflict with a common enemy.”

The article adds:  “By revising ‘contingencies in areas surrounding Japan’ into ‘serious influence situations,’ the new agreement will remove the geographical limitation imposed on the SDF in logistically supporting the U.S. military.”

(Above: US Marines and Japanese SDF in joint training exercise)

What is at stake…

Abbott has been revealed as a vile lick-spittle of the US imperialists, prepared to shamelessly break a major election promise worth $40-50 billion dollars and years and years of employment for Australian workers, in order to assist Shinzo Abe to defy the Japanese people and their Constitution in order to place a revived Japanese militarism at the service of US imperialism.

Major political changes of this nature are not taken lightly.  An Australian Prime Minister does not lightly risk the wrath of the Australian people to break a cut and dried election promise.  A Japanese Prime Minister does not lightly run the risk of massive domestic unpopularity to revise a popular Constitution.

These are the doings of politicians who know that the agenda of the US imperialists is to confront and provoke its major economic, political and military rival – China.

The demand for opposition to US imperialist war plans must resonate widely and loudly.

The popular call for an independent and peaceful Australian foreign policy must be amplified.