Trump marks US-Japan security pact with call for stronger, deeper alliance

The US-Japan treaty was first signed in 1951 and revised in 1960 under Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s grandfather. (File/AFP)
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Updated 19 January 2020

Trump marks US-Japan security pact with call for stronger, deeper alliance

  • In June last year, Trump told a news conference in Japan that the 1960 treaty was “unfair” and should be changed
  • The treaty obligates the United States to defend Japan, which under its US-drafted constitution renounced the right to wage war after World War Two

TOKYO: US President Donald Trump marked the 60th anniversary of the signing of the current US-Japan security treaty with a call for a stronger and deeper alliance between the two countries, despite criticizing the pact six months ago.
“As the security environment continues to evolve and new challenges arise, it is essential that our alliance further strengthen and deepen,” Trump said in a statement dated Jan. 18.
“I am confident that in the months and years ahead, Japan’s contributions to our mutual security will continue to grow, and the alliance will continue to thrive.”
In June last year, Trump told a news conference in Japan that the 1960 treaty — which was signed exactly six decades ago on Sunday, and is the linchpin of Japan’s defense policies — was “unfair” and should be changed, echoing his long-held view that Japan is a free-rider on defense.
Trump at the time added he was not thinking of withdrawing from the pact.
The treaty obligates the United States to defend Japan, which under its US-drafted constitution renounced the right to wage war after World War Two. Japan in return provides military bases used by the United States to project power in Asia.
The treaty was first signed in 1951 and revised in 1960 under Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s grandfather, then-premier Nobusuke Kishi. Kishi was forced to step down afterwards following a public outcry from Japanese critics who feared the pact would pull their country into conflict.


Jailed Wikileaks founder Assange no longer in solitary, health improving

Updated 19 February 2020

Jailed Wikileaks founder Assange no longer in solitary, health improving

  • Assange was moved from solitary confinement in the medical wing to a different part of the prison with 40 other inmates
  • WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson: He has improved thanks to the pressure from his legal team, the general public, and amazingly, actually from other inmates

LONDON: Jailed WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is no longer being kept in solitary confinement and his health is improving, his spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson told reporters on Tuesday.
Assange, 48, is in Belmarsh high-security prison in London, fighting an extradition request from the United States where he faces 18 counts including conspiring to hack government computers and violating an espionage law. He could spend decades in prison if convicted.
His supporters had expressed concern about the state of his health after he appeared confused during a court hearing in October, struggling to recall his age and name and saying he was unable to think properly.
Assange was moved from solitary confinement in the medical wing to a different part of the prison with 40 other inmates after his legal team and prisoners complained that his treatment was unfair, Hrafnsson said.
“I saw him about 10 days ago — he has improved thanks to the pressure from his legal team, the general public, and amazingly, actually from other inmates in Belmarsh Prison to get him out of isolation,” Hrafnsson said ahead of an extradition hearing that starts next week.
Australian-born Assange made global headlines in early 2010 when WikiLeaks published a classified US military video showing a 2007 attack by Apache helicopters in Baghdad that killed a dozen people, including two Reuters news staff.
WikiLeaks later angered the United States by publishing caches of leaked military documents and diplomatic cables.
Assange has consistently presented himself as a champion of free speech being persecuted for exposing abuses of power. But his critics paint him as a dangerous figure complicit in Russian efforts to undermine the West.
He fled to the Ecuadorean embassy in London in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he was wanted for questioning about allegations of sex crimes which have since been dropped. He spent seven years holed up in the embassy until Ecuador decided to stop giving him refuge and he was dragged out last May.
Earlier, a group of doctors representing 117 physicians and psychologists from 18 nations called in a letter for an end to what they described as “the psychological torture and medical neglect of Julian Assange.”
His father, John Shipton, said Assange’s long confinement indoors had damaged his health and feared that sending his son to the US would be akin to a “death sentence.”
“His situation is dire, he has had nine years of ceaseless psychological torture where false accusations are constantly being made,” he told reporters.