The Asahi Shimbun celebrated the Nobel Peace Prize given to an NGO working to abolish nuclear weapons
On October 7, the front page of the Morning Edition of The Asahi Shimbun
newspaper ran an article entitled, “ICAN Wins Nobel Peace Prize for Contributions to Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.” It read:
On October 6, the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced its granting of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), an international NGO aiming to ban and abolish nuclear weapons, which contributed to achieving the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons this year. The Award Ceremony will take place in Oslo on December 10.
Chairwoman Berit Reiss-Andersen said ICAN was being recognized for “its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons, and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition on such weapons.” She also said that this prize is dedicated to all people who are working for nuclear disarmament. It is also aimed at encouraging worldwide efforts for nuclear disarmament, which are at a continual standstill.
The entire front page was devoted to this Peace Prize, as well as the whole second page and a quarter of the third, suggesting The Asahi Shimbun
’s dedication to this topic. The article on the third page criticized the government’s response to ICAN’s prize, entitled, “Japanese Government Perplexed, Makes No Official Comment.”
American President Barack Obama, who gave a speech in Prague calling for a “world without nuclear weapons,” famously won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 for his nuclear abolition efforts. However, I predicted that, since it is unlikely that the United States will actually give up its nuclear weapons, the only thing Obama could do was to throw up a smoke screen by becoming the first sitting president to visit Hiroshima. Among the cities of Japan, Hiroshima has long had a large ratio of tourists from Europe and the U.S. Thinking that Hiroshima would gain even more global popularity if Obama visited, I purchased a large hotel site near Hiroshima Station and opened APA Hotel Hiroshima Ekimae-Ohashi, with 727 guest rooms, in October 2016. At the press conference for the groundbreaking ceremony, a reporter asked me, “Is it okay for you to build one of the Chugoku/Shikoku region’s largest hotels in this location?” The audience sniggered at my response, which was, “Yes, Obama will definitely visit Hiroshima during his term of office, and the number of overseas tourists will increase rapidly.” However, Obama did actually come to Hiroshima for the Ise-Shima Summit in May 2016. APA Hotel Hiroshima Ekimae-Ohashi has been extremely successful since its opening, and it is continually full to capacity.
Just like Obama’s concept of a “world without nuclear weapons,” I feel that ICAN was awarded its Nobel Peace Prize for an unrealistic, excessively idealized doctrine. The other newspapers all printed similar articles on their front pages on October 7. Only the Sankei Shimbun – perhaps sharing my view – mentioned it in an article that covered just one third of the second page. Page three had an article entitled, “2.1 Million Deaths in Tokyo and Seoul.” It read:
Johns Hopkins University’s 38 North website, which analyzes North Korea, released its prediction on October 4 that approximately 2.1 million people in Tokyo and Seoul would die and roughly 7.7 million would be injured if Japan and South Korea came into military conflict with North Korea and were subjected to preemptive nuclear attacks.
However, I think it is unlikely that North Korea will make a preemptive nuclear strike on Japan or South Korea. North Korea has nuclear weapons to defend against a Chinese invasion, and it will definitely not make the first move.
A perfect timing to dissolve the lower house
In these circumstances, maintaining peace and safety in Japan is the utmost obligation for the Japanese government. In the November issue of Apple Town
, the title page of this essay (“Japan Should Rethink its Three Non-Nuclear Principles and Quickly Conclude a Nuclear Sharing Arrangement”) featured a photograph of the July 2017 meeting between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Donald J. Trump. Abe has a dignified smile on his face while Trump is looking slightly downward. Past Japanese prime ministers have not taken photographs of this sort with American presidents, and it indicates Abe’s level of self-confidence. Today Abe is the world leader most trusted by Trump, and they frequently speak on the telephone. I think we can assume that Abe receives a fair amount of information from Trump, which he uses to make various decisions.
When asked by the media about the possibility of a preemptive strike on North Korea, Trump said, “You’ll see.” As this response indicates, the U.S. Armed Forces will eventually take military action. I believe this will be a limited air strike with prior warning given to North Korea, which has a troublesome government but is a necessary buffer state. A unified Korea with nuclear weapons would be the worst scenario for Japan. This air strike should not be aimed at killing Kim Jong Un or toppling his government. Rather, the U.S. should announce the time and location in advance and warn persons there to evacuate. Foreign nationals should be encouraged to flee from Seoul. An evacuation drill should be held in Seoul using nuclear bomb shelters (which can hold 323.2% of the population). Cruise missiles and B1 bombers should then be used to strike nuclear weapon- and missile-related facilities. These preparations would take around two months, so I think the U.S. will do this during the period from around November to early next year, after the National Congress of the Communist Party of China is concluded. Abe comprehended this decision by Trump via their close communication, and he felt the need to solidify the government base before then, which is why he decided to dissolve the House of Representatives and hold a general election as a way to save Japan from this national crisis. On Constitution Day in May he took the opportunity to propose in a video message that the constitution be reformed by adding a new clause to Article 9 by 2020, keeping the first and second clauses as-is, to make the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) into a constitutional force. He was then continually subjected to more baseless attacks by the anti-Japanese media on issues including Moritomo Academy and the Kake Educational Institution. At the House of Councilors Budget Committee, former Vice Minister for Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Kihei Maekawa stated, “The administration is distorted.” In response, former Ehime Prefectural Governor Moriyuki Kato said, “The distorted administration has been reformed,” yet the media barely reports on this. These are mostly efforts by the media to manipulate information, and they caused the government’s approval rating to fall all at once. Afterwards, the media and opposition parties have kept up their criticisms about the fact that these baseless suspicions have not been cleared up even though the Moritomo Academy and Kake Educational Institution issues have been deliberated on for six months in the National Diet, saying there is no accountability, that the doubts have yet to be answered, and that this is unacceptable.
Meanwhile, as the North Korean threat is increasing and the risk of war is growing, many citizens started doubting the mass media for repeatedly covering these trifling, pointless suspicions directed at private-sector schools, and the government’s approval rating began to recover. Seiji Maehara had just become the president of The Democratic Party (DP), which was greatly shaken by accusations of infidelity by Shiori Yamao, who was offered the position of secretary-general. People left the DP like rats deserting a sinking ship, and its approval rating fell even lower. Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike attacked the Tokyo Togikai Jiminto (the LDP chapter of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly) as “thieving servants” and brought the Tomin First no Kai a complete victory in the Tokyo Assembly election. She also specifically started showing her interest to move into national politics. I think Abe showed great decisiveness in dissolving the lower house, thinking it was the only possible timing due to the North Korean threat and weakened power of the DP, and before Koike established her new Kibo no To (Party of Hope) structure.
Alliances are changing due to pressure from the LDP
The October 7 edition of Yukan Fuji
magazine included an interview with me about my thoughts on the general election. The largest headline read, “Change of Government Unlikely.” The media was making noise about a regime change if Kibo no To – which absorbed the DP members due to the momentum of the Tokyo Assembly elections – obtained a majority in the House of Representatives. However, Koike did not run, even though she talked about the election as a chance for a change of government, because of a public opinion poll in which more than 60% of respondents were against her quitting her job as governor and running for the House of Representatives. So, who will Kibo no To name as its leader? Shigeru Ishiba and Goshi Hosono have been suggested, but no one has been clearly specified. At first, Maehara was going to move all of the planned DP candidates to Kibo no To, but Kibo no To has actually declared that it will reject the liberal faction. To be officially recognized by Kibo no To, former DP members had to sign a humiliating policy agreement saying they will make financial contributions to the party in addition to supporting the safety legislation and constitutional reform. This led to the founding of The Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan led by Yukio Edano, which broke up the DP. This shows that the media is making a pointless fuss by reporting on the election as a change of government.
In the Yukan Fuji
interview, I stated:
Since Abe became prime minister, stock prices have doubled, corporate operating income increased from 12 to 20 trillion yen, and general accounting and finance tax yields grew from 43 trillion to 55 trillion yen. Foreign tourists to Japan roughly tripled from 8.36 to 24.04 million, the job-offer-to-applicant ratio soared (roughly doubling) from 0.82 to 1.51, and fewer people are receiving public assistance. Economic growth exceeds the “Izanagi boom.” Economic indices clearly show that Abenomics is succeeding, and as a businessperson I cannot imagine that a change of government – which would cause stock prices to fall rapidly – will take place. It is unlikely that people will choose to oust Abe while Japan is facing the Korean Peninsula crisis. There is still time before the votes are casted and counted, and the ruling party should focus its energies on this.
All markers show that Abenomics is effective, yet the media says it has failed. Like Trump, I think we have no choice but to label news of this type as “fake news.”
Kibo no To’s popularity peaked right after its establishment and then suddenly declined. Its true character is being revealed day by day, such as the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly members who have been part of the Tomin First no Kai since its founding leaving the party. I suspect that its winners in the general election will be limited to double digits. In contrast, I think the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is in an advantageous situation and can win a major victory. Even if it lost, there would definitely be a larger number of Diet members in favor of constitutional change including Kibo no To and the Japan Innovation Party. This may open up the possibility of rearranged alliances. With the appearance of Kibo no To (which champions a neoconservative viewpoint), Koike and Maehara did a great service by separating apart the conservatives and progressives from the DP (previously a mix of conservatives and progressives that could be described as a “mutual benefit society” for winning elections). The proposal of adding a new clause to Article 9 rather than reforming the constitution was made in consideration of the Komeito. If a coalition government can be formed with the LDP, Kibo no To, and Japan Innovation Party minus the Komeito, and politicians in favor of constitutional change occupy two thirds of the Diet seats, it will likely be possible to more freely come up with constitutional amendments for independent self-defense. The Komeito has evaded things such as the summoning of witnesses to the Diet by snuggling up to the ruling party. If it seemed likely to be left out of the alliance, the Komeito might employ the tactic of clinging to the LDP by abandoning its past claims and switching to a stance that is close to the LDP. If so, the Diet members who want to proactively amend the constitution would increase by a huge number. I think Abe decided on the dissolution because he could see this far.
Abolishing nuclear weapons is an impossible ideal
Of course it would be ideal to abolish nuclear weapons from the world, but that would be impossible. Fifty-eight people died and more than 500 were injured in the shooting in Las Vegas on October 1. However, few discussions are being had in the U.S. about stricter gun control even after this incident. The American society overflows with guns, and I think that forcibly controlling them would lead to taking guns away from people who want to protect themselves against violence, while criminals or potential criminals would not give up their weapons. In the same way, nuclear weapons have spread and I think no countries would give them up, including North Korea. Some people insist that dialogue is essential, but repeated talks have taken place and aid provided in exchange for giving up nuclear weapons, yet North Korea has not halted its nuclear program. I think the only solution is to physically destroy its nuclear weapon development facilities through a limited air strike with advance warning or other military means. Former South Korean President Kim Young Sam invited me to his home for the second time to have a meal in 2009. He said, “American President Bill Clinton was on the verge of a precise military attack on nuclear facilities in 1994, but I frantically resisted and made him stop because North Korea said it would respond to an American attack by turning Seoul into a ‘sea of fire.’ […] Looking back, it was wrong of me to oppose the attack at that stage.” We must not repeat this mistake.
North Korea already possesses Nodong, Taepodong, and other missiles that can reach China and Japan. It is also close to completing intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that can strike the U.S., and I think it will also equip them with multiple nuclear warheads in the future. The U.S. has started discussing a compromise plan in which it allows these nuclear weapons while prohibiting any further development. However, Japan would be forever menaced by North Korea if Trump adopted this plan. Some people claim that the nuclear umbrella will protect us, but would the U.S. retaliate against a nuclear attack on Japan if it meant the risk of being targeted? No, that’s impossible. A realistic solution is entering into a nuclear sharing arrangement with the U.S. in which American nuclear weapons are stationed in Japan and jointly managed with the U.S., and the rights to use them are transferred to Japan in the event of an emergency. This would provide deterrence against North Korea and is likely the only option. To that end a new Diet resolution is needed for revising the Three Non-Nuclear Principles, and we must also amend the constitution including abolishing the second clause of Article 9 (even if the first clause is untouched) to make the JSDF into a self-defense army.
Allowing North Korea’s nuclear weapons will destabilize East Asia
Japan is surrounded by nuclear states, including North Korea, China, and Russia. Nuclear arms are the ultimate self-defense weapon for protecting one’s country, as well as a weapon for threatening non-nuclear powers. Considering this, it is possible to understand North Korea’s nuclear armament due to its precarious geopolitical position next to China. However, we definitely cannot allow this from the viewpoint of Japan’s national security. Approving these weapons will lead to an eternal threat, and also means being asked to pay unreasonable reparations and pre- and post-war compensation. Japan is already being subjected to unfair attacks about historical fabrications by China, which says that 300,000 people were killed in the Nanjing Massacre, and by South Korea, which claims that 200,000 comfort women were forcibly transported. If we add North Korea to this, the situation in East Asian will certainly grow more unstable.
To prevent this, we must reform the Japanese constitution to make it into a country capable of independent self-defense, and transform the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty into an equal, reciprocal agreement with mutual responsibility like the Anglo-Japanese Alliance of the past. Defense spending should be increased as Trump advocates from 1% of the GDP (as specified by the constitution) to a level near 2%. This additional budget should be used to purchase offensive weapons that help deter war. It is difficult to protect the country with only defensive weapons like missile defense systems. We can prevent war by having deterrence with offensive weapons such as cruise missiles, ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and long-range bombers. “If you want peace, prepare for war” is a famous saying from Ancient Rome. As this aphorism says, today Japan must boost its ability to deter war and fully oppose the threats posed by China and North Korea to maintain peace in East Asia. The LDP must be victorious in the perfectly timed general election for that reason as well. Afterwards, I hope Abe will win next year’s presidential election to serve a third term as prime minister, participate in the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics, amend the constitution, and reform the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty. In this way, we should make solid preparations against the real threats facing Japan.
October 16 (Monday) 1:00 p.m.