As is my annual custom, I welcomed the New Year at a party at the Bellagio Las Vegas, a luxury hotel with a fountain in the United States. I invite our best clients of the year to the party, and everyone attends in formal dress. Just like last year, a former U.S. Air Force general who is friendly with President Donald J. Trump was seated at my table, and we exchanged ideas on the North Korea crisis. He said the U.S. will definitely not open hostilities with North Korea unless North Korea strikes first. This is mainly because American stock prices are high, unemployment rates are low, and the economy is positive. He stated that the U.S. would not start a war – which would involve many South Korean and Japanese citizens and result in causalities – unless North Korea engages in significant provocation. Trump’s basic stance is to avoid a defeat in his second election or impeachment due to increasing Russia-related suspicions. The former general said these are the two major conditions for starting a war. I asked, “Will the U.S. recognize North Korea as a nuclear state?” The general replied in the negative, and said the U.S. Armed Forces are always watching Kim Jong-un’s actions using methods including reconnaissance satellites and information from North Korean defectors. It is conducting repeated drills around the clock to maintain the current status in which a “decapitation strategy” of killing only Kim could be implemented, rather than waging war.
Hearing this, I recalled President Barack Obama’s mission to take out Osama bin Laden (code name “Geronimo”) in May 2011. The announcement said the U.S. did this without permission from Pakistan, a sovereign nation. SEAL teams used stealth helicopters to raid the compound in Pakistan where bin Laden was hiding, and killed him there. However, some people do not agree with this account.
Online newspaper Shupure NEWS ran an article entitled “Bin Laden’s Death a Fiction? Sudden Revelation of New Theory Shocks the Entire U.S.” on June 1, 2015. It read:
Hersh made his debut with an article exposing the My Lai Massacre by American soldiers during the Vietnam War, for which he suddenly won a Pulitzer Prize. Afterwards he has released a series of scoops including the shooting down of Korean Air Lines Flight 007, Israel’s nuclear arsenal, and maltreatment of prisoners in Iraq. Therefore, the White House and Pentagon were desperate to extinguish this fire, and the entire U.S. was shaken by the article. The Obama administration’s official statements about the mission include the following four points:
●The American intelligence agency identified bin Laden’s external contact person (courier) in August 2010. They investigated him and confirmed he was frequently visiting a concrete-walled residence in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
●The residence was monitored from the ground and sky, 24 hours a day, and a man with a stature resembling bin Laden was confirmed to be walking around the garden.
●Obama gave the assassination mission order without 100% confirmation that the man in question was bin Laden. On May 2, 2011, elite U.S. Navy SEALs rode two stealth helicopters from a base on the Afghan front. They entered Pakistani territory and raided the secret compound. There was an accident in which one helicopter made a failed landing, but the SEALs killed the man resembling bin Laden after a firefight.
●The SEALs brought back the man’s dead body and electronic devices containing large volumes of information. A DNA test confirmed that the man was bin Laden, and Obama made an announcement at a press conference.
However, Hersh insists these statements are mostly lies. Let us verify the most essential points chronologically:
1.The U.S. did not find bin Laden’s hiding place. A retired senior official in the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan’s military intelligence agency, contacted the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). He said he would reveal bin Laden’s location in exchange for the 25-million-dollar reward for finding bin Laden.
Hersh’s article merely mentions a “retired senior intelligence official,” but his identity has already been found out. International journalist Yoichiro Kawai explains, “This is Usman Khalid, a retired ISI senior officer. He secretly went to the U.S. with his family before the mission was carried out. He was given citizenship and new identity documents and is apparently working today as a CIA consultant. Of course, he also received the reward.
2.Bin Laden was not in hiding. He was taken into ISI custody in 2006 and put under house arrest in Abbottabad, where there are many key Pakistan Army facilities. He was suffering from a serious disease, and bin Laden’s attending physician sent his DNA to the U.S. In other words, the U.S. knew this man was bin Laden.
This view states this mission was a godsend to Obama, who was looking to win re-election, and that the two nations shared common interests.
3.The Obama administration announced it did not tell Pakistan about the mission to prevent information leaks. However, an agreement was actually concluded in January 2011. On the day of the mission, guards at the bin Laden residence were ordered to depart when they heard the helicopters. The SEALs were taken by ISI officers to bin Laden’s room on the third floor, where he put up no resistance to the shooting.
Without cooperation from Pakistan, it would have been impossible for the American helicopters to enter Pakistani territory without being intercepted by the Pakistan Army, and for the power to be cut to the village where bin Laden was hiding before the operation.
There are always two sides to the news. Did the mission proceed as the official announcement said, was there a secret agreement with Pakistan, or is there some other truth? In any case, Obama did take the step of killing bin Laden with an eye to winning the 2012 presidential election, which he accomplished as planned. American presidents will do anything to be re-elected. In the past, President Herbert Hoover lost to Franklin D. Roosevelt when Hoover was unable to end the Great Depression. To prevent a similar loss, Roosevelt created the lend-lease policy and provided a total of 50.1 billion dollars (700 billion dollars in today’s currency) of military supplies to the United Kingdom, Soviet Union, China (Chiang Kai-shek’s National Revolutionary Army), France, and other Allies starting in 1941. This special war procurement did not just win one re-election for Roosevelt, who started World War II – he was actually victorious in four elections.
It would not be surprising if Trump decided on a decapitation strategy to remove Kim Jong-un, thereby ensuring his re-election and banishing the impeachment crisis he is facing from the Russiagate suspicions.
On January 11, the top article on the front page of The Yomiuri Shimbun’s Morning Edition was entitled, “Sharing Interception Information Between Aegis Ships.” It read:
The JMSDF currently has four Aegis ships for missile defense. One to two ships are stationed in the Sea of Japan for guarding and monitoring. One ship can launch up to eight Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) missiles. It is thought the new system will enable ships in distant ocean areas such as the Pacific Ocean to make counter attacks even if the ship in the Sea of Japan runs out of missiles. This increases the number of missiles that can be intercepted, even if North Korea launches several repeatedly. Japan will have eight Aegis ships in FY2020 including refitted and new ships. The two new-model ships (roughly 170 billion yen each) will be equipped with this system enabling remote battle and be completed in FY2019 or FY2020. The JMSDF is also considering refitting the other ships to install it. The new system will also be installed on two sites for Aegis Ashore, a land-based Aegis system that will start operations around FY2023. New-model SM-3 Block IIA interceptors will be deployed in FY2021 with ranges of approximately 2,000 kilometers, three times that of SM-3s. The new system and SM-3 Block IIAs together will enable interception by more distant Aegis ships.
Also on January 11, the International Section of the Nihon Keizai Shimbun’s Morning Edition contained an article with content similar to the Yomiuri’s, entitled, “U.S. to Sell New-model Interceptor Missiles to Japan.” It read:
Of course, this new interception system and SM-3 Block IIA missiles are being brought to Japan to strengthen its ability to respond to North Korean missiles. As explained on page two of the same Yomiuri issue, the current Aegis ships can only intercept two missiles launched simultaneously. This will be increased to three or four with the new ships under construction and Aegis Ashore. If North Korea launches a missile at Japan or another country a short distance away, it can use its currently deployed Scud, Rodong, Taepodong, and various other missiles to implement a saturation attack strategy by firing many missiles at once. Japan is enhancing its interceptor missile system for this reason, but is that enough? The Ministry of Defense is attempting to introduce long-distance cruise missiles with the ability to attack enemy bases in this year’s budget. The article concludes by commenting, “How do we improve deterrence? Japan must consider methods other than interception, such as gaining the capability to strike enemy bases.” I feel that interceptors perform much too poorly in a benefit-cost analysis. Scud, Rodong, and other missiles probably cost less than 100 million yen to launch, yet interceptor launches cost hundreds of millions of yen. I also suspect the U.S. sees the North Korea crisis as an opportunity to sell interceptor missiles and other weapons to Japan and other nations. I believe we should obtain intermediate-range ballistic missiles, large bombers, long-distance cruise missiles, and other offensive weapons to provide deterrence – we cannot protect ourselves with shields alone, no matter how many we have.
Japan’s defense-related spending reached an all-time high of 5.1911 trillion yen in FY2018. Over 60% is for personnel expenses, equipment repair, oil purchasing, and maintenance fees for current equipment, so the budget for purchasing new equipment is definitely not very large. At present, almost no money is being spent on offensive weapons. If Japan is going to spend tens of billions of yen to buy an interceptor system, we should invest in research and development of rail guns and laser guns, which are next-generation weapons.
I do not believe North Korea will give up its nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles. Nuclear armament would be the cheapest way for Japan to handle the North Korea crisis, but the U.S. will definitely not allow Japan to possess its own nuclear weapons and take steps down the path to independent self-defense. Still, it is possible that Japan could conclude a nuclear sharing agreement with the U.S., as I have been advocating for some time. The U.S. is already taking part in nuclear sharing with four North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries of Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Belgium. To that end, Japan would at least have to abolish the Three Non-Nuclear Principles, but would that be sufficient? I think Japan must increase its offensive weapons for deterrence, and become a nation capable of independent self-defense for deterrence against North Korea and China, to ensure a high level of safety for its citizens. To that end, we must promptly add a third paragraph to Article 9 of the constitution that maintains the land, sea, and air forces (Japan Self-Defense Forces) as national-defense armies with the right of belligerency as “war potential” for self-defense, regardless of the preceding two paragraphs.
The American defense industry is probably already succeeding at business negotiations related to the North Korea crisis. If it seems likely that the president might not be re-elected, the U.S. will start wards and take military actions even if they negatively impact the economy. I wonder if the U.S. is giving lip-service to the use of military force against North Korea but not taking any actual steps to that end because it first wants to sell defensive weapons to Japan and other countries. Faced with this crisis, I feel Japan must rethink its weapons systems that are dependent on the U.S., and that Japan should independently develop and arm itself with offensive weapons that are being expanded for striking enemy bases.
I am concerned that Japan will repeat the mistakes made by Iran. During the era of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Iran purchased American weapons such as fighter aircraft at high prices. Iran came into opposition with the U.S. after the Iranian Revolution, and these weapons all became scrap iron because no one could maintain them. Some people theorize the British Army could not fire even one Tomahawk missile during the Gulf War because the U.S. changed the GPS codes so Britain could not take credit for this deed. Rather than sharing with the U.S., Japan should develop and maintain its own military GPS satellites with unique codes and computer systems. We should not simply depend on other countries for the effectiveness of our weapons.
I am not suggesting Japan take an aggressive position against the U.S., which accounts for almost half of the world’s military spending. Rather, I am asserting that Japan – as a truly independent nation – should revise and maintain the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty as a bilateral agreement like the past Anglo-Japanese Alliance, and that we should have an equal relationship of mutual benefit with the U.S. To that end, Japan must break the curse placed on the U.S. by it sense of guilt for dropping the atomic bombs on Japan. The main reason for the atomic bombings was to prevent the former Soviet Union – which had become a mighty military power thanks to military assistance from the U.S. – from starting World War III, a hot war” to communize the entire world in the post-World War II era. That’s why the U.S. removed the text guaranteeing the maintenance of national polity originally included in the Potsdam Declaration draft, although the U.S. had received information saying that Japan would surrender (as long as the Emperor system was maintained) from the neutral Switzerland and Vatican, as well as the former Soviet Union (with which Japan had concluded the Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact [Non-aggression Pact]). In this way, the U.S. bought time to develop the nuclear bombs before the Japanese surrender and then attacked Hiroshima and Nagasaki with the completed bombs. This changed World War II into the Cold War rather than a hot war in which the former Soviet Union (a military monster) would make a sweeping conquest over Eurasia. It was highly probable that the Middle East, Africa, and perhaps even Japan (including Hokkaido) would be divided and ruled by the former Soviet Union, and predictions said more than 10 million people would be wounded or killed in this battle over global communization.
Having successfully developed atomic bombs, the U.S. achieved global hegemony after World War II. Japan should understand these aspects of the atomic bombings and break the curse on the U.S. I think this would further strengthen the Japanese-American relationship and open a path for Japan to become a truly independent state.
January 16 (Tuesday), 10:00 a.m.