| When President Clinton of the United States of America visited China at
the beginning of July and spoke to university students at Beijing University
on American foreign policy with regard to Taiwan, he met with severe questions
from the floor. I was listening to him on the radio at that time, while
I was crossing by car the Kanmon bridge in front of the Shunpanroo, by
the side of the Akama shrine. It is this same Shunpanroo where a group
of politicians, lawyers and intellectuals from Taiwan, a group called "100
People's Mission to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Bakan Treaty",
came on 17 April1995. Although it is a shame, many Shimonoseki citizens
could not understand why those people from Taiwan had come. Most probably
neither most Japanese nor Mr. Clinton himself could understand it.
|Back in 1895, Japanese Prime Minister Ito Hirobumi and Li Hong Zhang, accompanied
by over one hundred Chinese delegates, concluded the Japan-China Peace
Treaty in Shunpanroo, also known as the Shimonoseki or Bakan Treaty. As
a result, Taiwan became Japanese territory. The visiting 100 People's
Party made the following public statement: The cession of Taiwan
to Japan was an arbitrary decision done without the consent of the Taiwanese;
the division of Taiwan from the mainland was a consolation in sadness.
If mainland China comes to reflect on her irresponsibility towards the
cession of Taiwan at that time, she must now, then, give up her hope to
||The actual tensions between the hope for Taiwanese independence and the
Chinese demands of reunification under the principle of One country
with two systems have become the main reason why the Taiwan Straights
are considered to be the place for the emergency situations in the
region offered by the Japan-American Mutual Defence Treaty. It is
demanded that Japan take common action together with the United States
whenever the American forces, pretending to be the world police, make international
|Since 100 years ago, Shimonoseki has been involved in Asian issues considered
to be of the utmost importance in the coming 21st century. Right now, the
legal basis to make it possible for Japan to go to war is steadily progressing,
by preparing a revised edition of the Japan-American Mutual Defence Treaty,
called New Guidelines . Nevertheless, the Japanese public is
uninterested and silent, in spite of the doubts of its unconstitutionality.
Why do people usually not care about this? In spite of the fact that the
next session of the Japanese Diet will discuss bills related to this issue,
not even in the public elections for the House of Councillors is it a matter
of concern. Japanese today are abnormal.
Here in Shimonoseki the medical staff of the national hospital's Labor Union
has beforehand stated that they will refuse to be mobilized in case of
an emergency situation, to show their opposition to the New Guidelines.
Although the power of citizens' groups is weak, much action is taking place
nowadays to show opposition and dissatisfaction with the trend in the United
States to involve Japan in military activities. One instance is the grass
roots solidarity action for the removal of American military bases from
Okinawa. Now is the time to oppose the gariba- syndrome or
the hypertrophic and self-complacent aspects of American militarism.
|One of the ways to start a partial destruction of the New Guidelines is
to let people know that, although Japan has signed the Antipersonnel Landmines
Convention, she did not ratify it yet. By ratifying the Convention, Japan
makes the decision not to allow the transportation of landmines through
Japanese soil and not to supply them to American forces.
At the Bakan festival last year, two warships of the Self Defense Maritime
Forces, like a pioneer gesture of the New Guidelines, were scheduled to
enter the Shimonoseki harbor to participate in the city's festival, but
the event met with public opposition of various organizations and citizens'
groups. This year, the committee for the promotion of the Bakan festival
has stated that, they will not give an invitation to the warships to come
to the festival. This has been received with joy by the citizens of Shimonoseki.
They see it as a success of the public declaration of a few citizens. During
the national activities for peace that will take place this year, at the
10-day peace period in the beginning of August, the customary peace-walk
campaign of the citizens of Shimonoseki has started its preparations with
the following slogans: Abolition of Nuclear Weapons, Ratification
by the Japanese Diet of the Antipersonnel Landmines Convention, Scrapping
of the New Guidelines.