“Stop Lockheed Martin” Action in Komaki City, Japan

By Joseph Essertier, World BEYOND War, April 27, 2022

Japan for a World BEYOND War conducted protests against Lockheed Martin at two locations on the 23rd of April. First, we went to the intersection of Route 41 and Kuko-sen Street:

The view of the protest along Route 41 from the perspective of cars on the street

Then, we went to the main gate of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Nagoya Aerospace Systems Works (Nagoya koukuu uchuu shisutemu seisakusho), where Lockheed Martin’s F-35As and other aircraft are assembled:

A protester reading our petition in Japanese

At the intersection of Route 41 and Kuko-sen Street, there is a McDonalds, as one can see from the map below:

Route 41 is a highway with very heavy traffic, and it is close to Komaki Airport (only 5 minutes away), so we thought that this intersection would be best for a protest that would attract the attention of passersby. We read out our speeches with a loudspeaker there for about 50 minutes, and then went to the Mitsubishi Main Gate, where we read the petition demanding that Lockheed Martin “Begin Conversion to Peaceful Industries.” Through an intercom at the gate, we were told by a guard that we would not be allowed to submit a petition. He said that an appointment would be necessary, so we hope to get an appointment and do that on another day. 

This Mitsubishi facility is directly to the west of Komaki Airport. To the east of the airport, directly adjacent to it, there is a Japan Air Self-defense Forces Air Base (JASDF). The airport is dual use, both military and civilian. Not only are F-35As and other jet fighters assembled at the Mitsubishi facility but they are also maintained there. This is a recipe for disaster. If Japan became embroiled in a war under the principle of “collective self-defense” with the U.S., and if jet fighters were lined up at this airport, all ready for combat, Komaki Airport and much of the surrounding area would become a target for air strikes, as it was during the Asia-Pacific War (1941-45), when Washington and Tokyo were enemies. 

During that war, the U.S. destroyed around 80% of the buildings of Nagoya, one of the most destroyed cities. At a point in time when Japan had already lost the war, Americans burned Japan’s industrial centers to the ground and mercilessly murdered hundreds of thousands of civilians. For example, “In the ten-day period beginning on March 9, 9,373 tons of bombs destroyed 31 square miles of Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka and Kobe.” And flight commander General Thomas Power termed this firebombing with napalm “the greatest single disaster incurred by any enemy in military history.” 

The U.S. government has never issued an apology for these atrocities, so it is not surprising that few Americans know about them, but naturally, many Japanese still remember, not least the citizens of Nagoya. The people who joined Japan for a World BEYOND War on the 23rd know what war would do to the people of Komaki City and Nagoya. Our actions in front of McDonalds and at the Mitsubishi facility aimed to protect the lives of people in both foreign countries as well as in the communities of Komaki City and Nagoya, Japan’s fourth largest city. 

Essertier introducing the street protest

I gave the first speech, an impromptu one. (See the video below for highlights from our protests, after the clips of our reading of the petition at the gate to the Mitsubishi facility, starting around 3:30). I started my speech by asking that people imagine the feelings of the A-bomb survivors (hibakusha), who were fortunate, or not, to survive the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The F-35 can now, or will soon be able to, carry nuclear missiles, and destroy more of human civilization and ruin the lives of millions of people. With their intimate knowledge of what my country’s government did to them, I appealed to Japanese to not allow the same kind of bombing atrocities to be committed in other lands. Our protest pointed at some of the world’s worst perpetrators of indiscriminate violence, and in the photo above, I was pointing in the direction of the local Mitsubishi workshops producing machines of mass killing for Lockheed Martin. 

I explained much of the basic information about Lockheed Martin’s complicity in violence and how they were “making a killing.” I reminded people that the first F-35A that was produced here ended up becoming garbage at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, i.e., almost $100 million down the tube. (And that is only the cost to the purchaser, and does not include the “external” costs or even maintenance costs). Japan planned to spend $48 billion in 2020, and that was before the war in Ukraine started. 

I explained that our goal with Lockheed Martin (LM) is for them to transition to peaceful industries. Later, at the gate to Mitsubishi, I read our full petition, with the words, “conversion from weapons manufacture to peaceful industries with a just transition for arms industry workers that secures the livelihoods of workers and includes the participation of unions.” Another speaker read out the whole petition in Japanese, and as she was reading those words about our demand for protection of workers, I remember that one protester smiled and nodded his head vigorously in agreement. Yes, we do not wish for fighting between peace advocates and labor activists. An injury to one is an injury to all. We recognize that people need a way to make a living.

Below are summaries expressing the gist of each of some, not all, of the speakers’ points, and is not intended as a translation. First, HIRAYAMA Ryohei, a famous peace advocate from the organization “No More Nankings” (No moa Nankin)

On war profiteering

Close to where we are now standing, Lockheed Martin and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is making the F-35A, a fighter jet capable of dropping nuclear bombs. You can see a photo of the plane here. 

It has been reported that they are making lots of money from the war in Ukraine. “Do not get rich from war!” We who care about life and living things naturally say, “Do not get rich from war! Do not get rich from war!” 

As you know, U.S. President Biden is sending loads of weapons into Ukraine. Instead of saying, “Stop the war!” he just keeps pouring weapons into Ukraine. He hands them weapons and says, “Engage in war.” Who is making money? Who makes money from war? Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, companies in the weapons industry of America. They are making outrageous amounts of money. To make money off of people dying, to make money from war! The unthinkable is now underway.  

On the 24th of February, Russia invaded Ukraine. There is no question of the wrongness of that act. But everyone, listen. During 8 long years, the government of Ukraine attacked people in Donetsk and Lugansk, an area close to Russia, in what could be called the Donbas War. The Japanese mass media has not informed us about what the government of Ukraine did. What Russia did on the 24th of February is wrong! And during the previous 8 years the government of Ukraine engaged in war close to the border of Russia in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions. 

And the mass media does not report on that violence. “Only Russia has wronged Ukrainians.” This kind of one-sided reporting is what journalists are giving us. Everyone, with your smart phones, look up the search term “Minsk Agreements.” Twice these agreements were violated. And the result was war. 

President Trump, too, had already abandoned Minsk II by 2019. “Let the war rip.” Who makes money with government policies like this? The U.S. military industrial complex makes money hand over fist. Whether Ukrainians die or Russians die, their lives are of little concern for the U.S. government. They just keep the money-making going.

Just keep selling weapon after weapon for the war in Ukraine—this is an example of Biden’s insane policies. “NATO for Ukraine”… This guy Biden is just outrageous. 

A critique of patriarchy as a cause of war

I have been studying patriarchy with Essertier-san (and discussing it in recorded dialogues for a community radio program).

What have I learned after many years of observing wars? That once a war starts, it is so difficult to stop it. President Zelenskyy says, “Give us weapons.” The U.S. says, “Sure, sure” and generously gives him the weapons he asks for. But the war drags on and the pile of dead Ukrainians and Russians keeps growing, higher and higher. You cannot wait until after the war has begun. It must be stopped before it begins. Do you understand what I am saying? When we look around us, we see that there are people who are laying the groundwork for future wars.

SHINZO Abe called the Peace Constitution “disgraceful.” He called it a “pathetic” (ijimashii) constitution. (This word ijimashii is a word that a man might use toward another man, expressing disdain). Why? Because (for him) Article 9 is not manly. “Manly” means taking up arms and fighting. (A true man takes up a weapon and fights against the enemy, according to patriarchy). “National security” means to take up arms and fight and defeat the other. They don’t care if this land becomes a battlefield. They want to win the battle with weapons that are stronger than those of our opponents, and this is why they want to have nuclear weapons. (Fighting is the goal; protecting the everyday activities of people, enabling them to continue to live the way that they have lived until now is not the goal).

The government of Japan is talking about doubling the defense budget now, but I am stunned and speechless. Doubling it would not be enough. Who do you think you are competing with? That country (China’s) economy is much larger than Japan’s. If we were to compete with such a rich country, Japan would be crushed by defense spending alone. Such unrealistic people are talking about revising the Constitution.

Let us have a realistic discussion.

Why does Japan have Article 9? Japan was attacked and burned with nuclear weapons 77 years ago. In 1946, when the smell of burning still lingered, a new constitution was adopted. It says (in the preamble), “Never again shall we be visited with the horrors of war through the action of government.” There is awareness in the Constitution that it is pointless to take up weapons. If taking up arms and fighting is manly, then that manliness is dangerous. Let us have a foreign policy in which we do not intimidate our opponents.

YAMAMOTO Mihagi, a famous peace advocate from the organization “Non-war Network” (Fusen e no nettowaaku)

The F-35A in the broader context of Japan’s military industrial complex

Thank you everyone for all your hard work. We are raising our voices today in connection with the Mitsubishi F-35. This Komaki Minami facility is responsible for the maintenance of aircraft for Asia, such as the aircraft at the Misawa Air Base. (Misawa is an air base shared by the Japan Air Self-Defense Force, the U.S. Air Force, and the U.S. Navy, in Misawa City, Aomori Prefecture, in the northernmost prefecture of the island of Honshu). The F-35 is incredibly noisy and the residents in the surrounding communities are really suffering from the roar of their engines and the booms. 

The F-35 was developed by Lockheed Martin, and Japan is planning to buy over 100 F-35As and F-35Bs. They are being deployed at Misawa Air Base and at Nyutabaru Air Base in Kyushu. There are also plans to deploy them to Komatsu Air Base in Ishikawa Prefecture (in the center of Japan on the side of Honshu that faces the Japan Sea). 

According to Japan’s constitution, in fact, Japan is not allowed to have weapons like this. These stealth jet fighters are designed for offensive operations. But they are no longer calling these “weapons.” They now call them “defensive equipment” (bouei soubi). They are easing the rules so that they can get these weapons and attack other countries.  

Then there are the Lockheed C-130 military transport aircraft and the Boeing KC 707 tanker that is used for aerial refueling. Equipment/weapons such as these are often stationed on the Japan Air Self-Defense Force Komaki Base. They would enable Japan’s jet fighters, such as the F-35, to engage in overseas, offensive military operations. (In recent months, elite government officials have been discussing whether or not Japan should be allowed to be capable of striking enemy missile bases [tekichi kougeki nouryoku]. Prime Minister KISHIDA Fumio called for a debate on this issue in October of last year. Now a switch in terminology, to make it easier for largely pacifist Japan to accept, from “enemy base strike capability” to “counterattack” is being adopted once more).

There are missile bases in Ishigaki, Miyakojima, and other so-called “Southwest Islands” (Nansei Shotō), that were ruled by the Ryūkyū Kingdom until the 19th century. There is also the Mitsubishi North facility. Missiles are repaired there. Aichi Prefecture is that kind of place. There are many facilities set up by and for the military industrial complex. 

It was also a center of manufacturing during the Asia-Pacific War. In 1986, the plant was fully relocated from the Daiko Plant, where it is engaged in the development, production, and repair of flying vehicles, aerospace engines, control equipment, and other products. There were even many weapons industries in the city of Nagoya, and many people died as a result of (U.S.) aerial bombings. Areas in which facilities for the military industrial complex and military bases are located are targeted during times of war. When pinch comes to shove and war breaks out, such places always become targets for attack.

At one point, it had been decided and specified in Japan’s constitution that Japan’s “right of belligerency of the state” would not be recognized, but with all this offensive military equipment and weapons being produced and set up in Japan, the preamble to the constitution is being rendered meaningless. They are saying that Japan’s self-defense forces can join with other countries’ militaries even if Japan is not under attack. 

An important election is coming up. Please pay attention to what is happening. 

(A little explanation is in order. Candidates are now being chosen for the upper house election this summer. If political parties that are in favor of military expansion win, Japan’s Peace Constitution could be history. Unfortunately, the pro-peace MORIYAMA Masakazu, who was backed by the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, the Japanese Communist Party, the Social Democratic Party, and the local Okinawa Social Mass Party, just lost to KUWAE Sachio, who ran as an independent and was endorsed by the ultranationalist, ruling Liberal Democratic Party. This is bad news for those who value the Peace Constitution and hope to defeat militarist parties in the election this summer).

We are saying, “Do not get rich off war” to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

Japan’s “right of collective self-defense” could suck Japan into a U.S. war

The war in Ukraine is not a problem for others but a problem for us. Just imagine what would happen if the U.S. stepped into the war in Ukraine. Japan’s self-defense forces (SDF) would support the U.S. military in accordance with the principle of the right of collective self-defense. In other words, Japan would be engaged in a war with Russia. That is as terrifying as it gets. 

Everyone, despite the existence of nuclear weapons in the world after the War, it was thought that peace could be maintained through the nuclear deterrence theory (kaku yoku shi ron).

The nuke-have countries claimed that they were cool-headed, but we now know, from what has happened with the war in Ukraine, that this theory of deterrence has completely collapsed and is unsupportable. If we do not stop the war here and now, once again, just as before, nuclear weapons will be used. Like Japan’s “rich nation, strong army” (fukoku kyouhei) campaign of the pre-war period (going back to the Meiji period, i.e., 1868-1912), Japan will be aiming to become a great military power, and we will be caught up in a world like that.

Everyone, please listen, do you have any idea how much just one of these F-35s cost? NHK (Japan’s public broadcaster) says that one F-35 costs “a little over 10 billion yen,” but they really do not know exactly how much. Through Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, we are also paying for lessons on how to assemble the planes, so there are additional costs. (Some experts?) are guessing that the real cost is more like 13 or 14 billion yen.  

If we do not stop the expansion of this weapons industry, once again, even if this war ends, great power competition will become more and more intense, and this great power competition and military expansion will make our lives full of pain and suffering. We must not create a world like that. Now, we must, all of us together, end this war. 

In the days of the Vietnam War, through the voices of public opinion, citizens were able to stop that war. We can stop this war by raising our voices. We have the power to end wars. We cannot become leaders in the world without stopping this war. It is by building that kind of public opinion that we stop wars. How about joining us to build such public sentiment?

Do not allow them to continue

As has already been said, this F-35A can be equipped with nuclear missiles. They are assembling this jet fighter at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries facility. I do not want them to make any more of these. It is with that feeling that I came here today to join in this action. 

As you know, Japan is the only country to ever be attacked with nuclear weapons. And yet, we are engaged in the assembly of F-35As that can be equipped with nuclear missiles. Are we really OK with that? What we must do is not assemble these planes but to invest in peace. 

The war in Ukraine was mentioned previously. We are told that only Russia is at fault. Ukraine is at fault, too. They attacked the people in the east of their country. We do not hear about that in news reports. People must become aware of that. 

Biden keeps sending weapons. Instead, he should engage in dialogue and diplomacy. 

We cannot allow them to continue to assemble these F-35As that can be equipped with nuclear missiles. 

Remember Mitsubishi’s profiteering from the colonialism of the Empire of Japan

Thank you all for your hard work. I, too, came today because I feel that they must stop assembling these F-35As. I sense that NATO and America are not actually aimed at stopping this war. On the contrary, it seems to me that they are sending more and more weapons to Ukraine and are now trying to start a war between Russia and the US. Japan, too, has been sending a small amount of equipment to Ukraine in accordance with the Three Principles on Arms Exports. It seems to me that Japan is sending arms to prolong the war rather than to end it. I think that the military industry is very happy right now, and I think that the U.S. is very happy.

I am involved with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and I am aware of the Supreme Court ruling in 2020 in Korea on the issue of those who worked for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has not complied with the ruling at all. Such is the government’s position. In South Korea, the direction taken by [Japan’s] colonial rule [there] has not been resolved by the Japan-Korea Claims Agreement. A judgment that has been issued, but the issue has not been settled. 

There have been harsh judgments against [Japan’s] colonial rule. However, the Japanese government is now [trying to] justify that colonial rule. Japan-South Korea relations are not improving. Korea and Japan have completely different approaches to the colonial rule [of the Empire of Japan that began] in 1910. 

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries blew off a huge amount of money due to the failure of the Space Jet. This is because they could not make a world-class airplane. I think this problem has been there in the postwar period. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has been excluded from Korea. The Mitsubishi Group has been eliminated. They cannot do their job. 

Our tax money has been added to this 50 billion (?) yen for something that is not world-class. Our tax money is being invested in this project. We should be able to speak harshly to MHI, a company based in our country. Our goal is to create a society without war by quietly paying attention to those who try to use the military industrial complex for money making.

Essertier’s prepared speech

What is the worst kind of violence? Indiscriminate violence, i.e., violence in which the perpetrator of the violence does not know whom he is hitting.

What type of weapon causes the worst indiscriminate violence? Nuclear weapons. The people of the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki know this better than anyone.

Who makes the most money from nuclear weapons and the jet fighter that will deliver the nuclear weapons? Lockheed Martin.

Who makes the most money from war? (Or who is the world’s worst “war profiteer”?) Lockheed Martin.

Lockheed Martin is one of the most unethical, dirtiest companies in the world today. In a word, my main message today is, “Please do not give any more money to Lockheed Martin.” The U.S. government, the U.K. government, the government of Norway, the government of Germany, and other governments have already given this company too much money. Please do not give Japanese yen to Lockheed Martin.

What’s the most dangerous war in the world today? The war in Ukraine. Why? Because the nation-state with the most nukes, Russia, and the nation-state with the second most nukes, the USA, might possibly go to war with each other there. Although the Russian government has often warned NATO-member countries, especially the U.S., not to come any closer to Russia, they keep moving closer. They keep threatening Russia, and Putin has recently warned that he will use nukes if NATO attacks Russia. Of course, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was wrong, but who provoked Russia?

US politicians and intellectuals are already saying that the U.S. military must fight the Russian military in Ukraine. Some experts say that the U.S. and other NATO members are in a new Cold War with Russia. If America attacks Russia directly, it will be a “hot war” unlike any war in the past.

America has always threatened Russia (previously part of the former Soviet Union) with nuclear weapons, ever since the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. NATO has threatened Russians for 3/4 of a century. During many of those years, the people of the U.S. did not feel threatened by Russia. We have definitely enjoyed a feeling of safety before. But during the last 75 years, I wonder if Russians have ever felt truly safe. Now Russia, under the leadership of Putin, in possession of a new type of weapon called a “nuke-capable hypersonic missile,” is threatening America in return, and Americans do not feel safe. Nobody can stop this missile, so nobody is safe from Russia now. Russia’s threatening the U.S. is revenge, of course. Some Russians may think that this is justice, but such “justice” could cause World War III and a “nuclear winter,” when the earth’s sunlight is blocked by dust in the earth’s atmosphere, when many members of our species, Homo sapiens, and other species starve because of dust thrown up into the sky by a nuclear war.

World BEYOND War opposes all wars. That is why one of our popular T-shirts says, “I am already against the next war.” But in my opinion, this war in Ukraine is the most dangerous war since World War II. That is because there is a significant chance that it will escalate to a nuclear war. Which company is in the best position to profit from this war? Lockheed Martin, a U.S. company that has already profited from 100 years of U.S. imperialism. In other words, they have already profited from the deaths of millions of innocent people. We must not let them profit from such violence anymore.

The U.S. government is a bully. And Lockheed Martin is a sidekick of that bully. Lockheed Martin empowers murderers. Lockheed Martin has been an accomplice to many murders and blood is dripping from their hands.

What weapon does Lockheed Martin profit from the most? The F-35. They get 37% of their profits from this one product.

Let’s proclaim loudly that we will no longer allow Lockheed Martin to commit violence against the disadvantaged while hiding in the shadows!

For Japanese speakers, here is the Japanese translation of our petition to Lockheed Martin and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries:

ロッキードマーチン社への請願書

 

世界最大の武器商社であるロッキード・マーチン社は、50カ国以上の国々を武装していると自負している。その中には、独裁国家や国民を酷く抑圧するような政府も含まれている。ロッキード・マーチン社は核兵器の製造にも関わっている。また、恐ろしい惨禍をもたらすF-35や、世界中の緊張を高めるために使われているTHAADミサイルシステムの製造元でもある。ロッキード・マーチンは、その製品が製造される罪とは別に、詐欺やその他の不正行為で頻繁に有罪とされている。

 

したがって、私たちはロッキード・マーチン社に対し、兵器製造産業から平和産業への移行を直ちに開始し、また労働者らの生活保障と労働組合への参加を含む公正な企業へ転換するよう要請する。

 

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