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Proletarian issue 22 (February 2008)
Japanese Star Wars test
Without a murmur of criticism in the western popular press, and certainly without the screams of horror and apocalyptic prediction that greeted China’s recent space missile test, the Japanese navy shot down a dummy ballistic missile about 100 miles above the Pacific Ocean on 17 December 2007.

In a largely ignored Reuters report, it was reported that the intercepting missile was fired from the destroyer Kongo in the test, a first for a US ally, costing $55m. It was also claimed by one Riki Ellison, a “prominent missile-defence advocate” , that “Japan has proven its capability to defend and protect [itself] from north Korean missiles”.

Paul Giarra, a former Pentagon senior with connections to Japan, who in the 1990s inaugurated a US-Japan missile defence working group, boasted that “Any system that can check China’s growing ballistic missile clout is problematic for Beijing.”

Of course, western commentators have omitted to mention that it is the US that has brought missiles to the Korean peninsula, arranging them around the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea (including right up to the land border between the US-occupied southern half of Korea and the DPRK).

It is the US that has used military provocations against both the DPRK and the Peoples’ Republic of China over the years, and it is the US whose whole history is one of invading other countries throughout the world and taking what it wants from them.

Uneasy alliance

It must not be assumed from this that Japan is just a lackey of the US. Far from it. Japan is an imperialist country in its own right (although, like Britain, junior to the US in terms of military might), with its own designs on the nations around it.

That these two imperialist nations can cooperate on some levels is not proof that rivalry does not exist any longer between imperialist bandits (there has just been a dispute between Japan and the US over funding of US bases in Japan, for example, not to mention the hundreds of trade disputes that are ever present between all imperialist nations), or that this rivalry will not lead to inter-imperialist wars.

What it does prove is that, in a system based on commodity production where the maximisation of profit is everything, it is the height of imperialist logic for the American Aegis shipboard detection and tracking tool built by Lockheed Martin Corp to be on a Japanese navy ship with the blessing of the US government, along with the Missile-3 Interceptor produced by Raytheon Co, just as in Japan itself one can find US Patriot missiles.

Weapons technology in the hands of the north Koreans and Chinese is invaluable for their populations’ defence against the constantly growing array of imperialist weapons all around them; weapons technology in the hands of the imperialists is there to threaten the world and, indeed, to be used against any who do not do as they are told by the imperialist bullies, so long as they haven’t got the weapons to protect themselves.
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