Differentiation is a strategy of the weak; APA is switching to a strategy of strength that overwhelms other companies
I recently traveled to Oahu, Hawaii to visit Pearl Harbor as part of this fiscal year’s overseas autumn study tour for the Shoheijuku, APA Corporate Club, franchises, partner hotels, and employees. We departed on December 1, 2017 for a trip of three nights and five days with a total of 82 participants. At the departure ceremony at Narita Airport, I told the participants about APA Group’s great progress in 2017. I mentioned our advertisement on the front page of the nationwide Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspaper on December 7 introducing our housing business, including THE CONOE MITATSUNAMACHI, a luxury residence with monthly rent of 1.6 million yen, and THE CONOE ICHIBANCHO, luxury condominiums that cost 158 million yen. I also shared our hotel plan consisting of 40 hotels with 15,136 guest rooms including our six tower hotels under design and construction (as of December 27). I said that I have devoted more efforts to my activities to express my views than my business this year. For instance, a scandal about my book broke out in January 2017, but I responded dauntlessly to the Chinese government’s coercion to make us remove my books from APA Hotel rooms. I described the objective of this study trip as, “By visiting the old battle site of Pearl Harbor – which can be regarded as the point where war broke out between Japan and the United States – I hope you will learn many things from the standpoint of why this war began.”
After arriving in Hawaii, we first visited the U.S. Army Museum of Hawaii right by Waikiki Beach. There was a photograph of the Japanese Army entering Nanjing when it captured the city, and the text says that Japan’s expansion into China was the start of the war. I was glad to see there were absolutely no mentions of a “genocide” or “massacre” in Nanjing.
That night we held a welcome party at a restaurant in Honolulu. There, I announced, “APA Group anticipates an ordinary income ratio of more than 30% – the highest in the hotel industry – as well as increased income and profit in our account settlement for November of this year.” I also shared information about the current situation and our future vision:
Past data shows that economic slumps occur in all countries after hosting the Olympics. APA Group expects that a hotel surplus will occur in Japan from the year 2020, and that our performance will decline. At APA, we prioritize the concept of “pride.” We want our guests to feel proud to stay with us and for staff members to serve guests with a sense of pride. Based on our “New Urban Style Hotel” philosophy in which the guests and staff members are equal, we have operated hotels in sites including small and oddly shaped plots of land, as well as locations of failed land speculation. In the past we employed the Lanchester strategy, a differentiation tactic from a weak position. Going forward we are switching to a strategy of strength in which we dominate the market by building at a scale that overwhelms other companies, including the construction of large hotels.On the second day we toured premium hotels in Honolulu including the Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach, Trump International, and The Ritz-Carlton. We then visited the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, nicknamed the “Punchbowl.” More than 37,000 soldiers who died in action from World Wars I and II to the Korean and Vietnam Wars are interred in this cemetery. Afterwards, we enjoyed the resort atmosphere including swimming at the private beach of the Sheraton Waikiki, where we were staying. On the third day we went to the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor. It exhibits various military aircraft actually used by the U.S. Armed Forces, and I was shocked to read the panels displayed by the B-25 bomber.
Panels openly stating that 250,000 Chinese people were killed
These panels described the Doolittle Raid, the first air raid on Tokyo, when this B-25 (U.S. Army Air Forces) was launched from the USS Hornet on April 18, 1942. The aircraft carrier was stationed 1,200 kilometers off the coast of Kanto. Sixteen B-25 bombers led by Lieutenant Colonel “Jimmy” Doolittle struck locations such as Tokyo, the Yokosuka Naval Arsenal, Yokohama, Nagoya, Kobe, and Osaka. The Japanese deaths numbered 87 (the panel lists this number as 50). Some of these aircraft intentionally attacked civilians, which is a violation of international law, and students at the Mizumoto Elementary School in Katsushika City were killed by machine-gun fire. The sixteen bombers completed the air raid without being shot down by the Japanese Army. One bomber arrived at Vladivostok in the Soviet Union, four made emergency landings on the Chinese coast in regions controlled by the Japanese Army, and all crew members of the remaining 11 bombers bailed out by parachute over mainland China. Three of them died while abandoning their bombers and eight were taken as prisoners of war by the Japanese Army. Because the indiscriminate bombing of cities and firing of machine guns on civilians violates international law in times of war, three crew members were court martialed by the Japanese Army and executed as war criminals rather than prisoners of war. One crew member became ill and died in captivity. The Japanese Army searched for the other 64 Raiders, but Chinese citizens and militiamen gave them shelter and helped them escape. The panel says that approximately 250,000 Chinese people were killed by the Japanese for helping the American pilots, and lists Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo by Captain Ted W. Lawson and The Doolittle Raid: America’s Daring First Strike Against Japan by Carroll V. Glines as suggested reading. I have never heard this claim before.
I immediately looked up Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, which was published in 1943. It discusses this military operation in which Lawson and others participated. The book does not say that about 250,000 Chinese people were killed by the Japanese Army for helping the American airmen, as is written on the panels in question. I was able to find the foreword written by Lawson’s wife on the Internet and read it straight away. It makes just two mentions of China. The first said that when Lawson (the author) returned to the U.S. after the raid, he wanted to write about how the Chinese people risked themselves to protect the American pilots who had taken part in the operation. The second mention said that news about the Doolittle Raid was not published until one year later out of fear of retaliation against the Chinese people and missionaries that aided the Americans. However, nowhere did it say that the Japanese killed 250,000 Chinese people. Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo was made into an American movie in 1944, and it also does not depict the killing of 250,000 people. I have no idea upon what the museum bases its claim that 250,000 Chinese people were killed after the Doolittle Raid.
In January 2017, a controversy broke out about my book that denies the Nanjing Massacre being placed in APA Hotel rooms. APA released a statement that said, “We would like to receive any insights if you point out wrong or false statements and show other facts, so that we can seriously study about them.” The Chinese government did not respond, by which it lost the ability to play the historical card of the Nanjing Massacre. Looking at this in a perceptive way, I think China was making preparations to have a new historical card to play in the future regarding the killing of Chinese people after the Doolittle Raid. I have long advocated for Japan to establish a “Ministry of Information” with a staff of 3,000 and budget of 300 billion yen to quickly request that any mistaken news reports from inside or outside the country – as well as exhibits and statements that purposefully show contempt for Japan – be quickly amended. In the same way, I think the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) should promptly inquire about the Pacific Aviation Museum’s basis for this text, and ask that mistaken information be immediately removed from the panels.
Directly after returning to Japan, via a friend I had a former deputy minister for foreign affairs give photographs of the panels by the B-25 bomber used in the Doolittle Raid to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. I also asked my friend Kenya Akiba, a member of the National Diet, to tell the MOFA and Consulate-General of Japan in Honolulu to request the removal and correction of these panels. The Consulate-General of Japan said it had learned of these panels two years ago and had asked for them to be removed, but nothing had been done. The Consulate-General should keep protesting until the panels are amended. It merely lodged an objection and asked that the panels be corrected, but it should keep requesting that these panels – which contain false information not based on facts – be removed unless they are fixed.
Japan should place maximum priority on increasing its number of children
After returning to Japan from Hawaii, I read the December 2017 issue of Bungeishunju magazine. As part of the Special Feature on Today’s Wars, there was an article entitled, “Japan Holds the Key to the American Army Strike” featuring a dialogue between journalist Akira Ikegami and Edward Luttwak, senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in the U.S. Luttwak, a world-renowned strategy expert, took part in a Wine Tasting and Discussion About Japan event in October 2014. I spoke with him there, but for various reasons I could not write about Luttwak’s participation in Apple Town. In the final part of this dialogue with Ikegami, Luttwak said, “Considering (Japan’s) fundamental strategy, I am confident that measures to deal with the falling birth rate would lead to a path of national victory in the future.” He also stated, “Sweden, France, and Israel are ‘young countries’ – advanced nations that have taken steps to cope with their declining birth rates.” He said the same thing three years ago at the Wine Tasting and Discussion About Japan. In the December 2014 issue of Apple Town, I summarized my view about reviving the extended family as follows:
Japan should place the most priority on a national strategy to increase the number of children. Some people say immigration will prevent population decline, but immigration policies are failing in all countries. The best way to increase the number of children is to revive the extended family. We should use the tax system to encourage people to build large homes where two or three generations can live together. Extended families would halt the trend of “individual families,” and no one would have to die alone. Mutual aid within families could also reduce the social burden. Elderly Japanese people have money, and if we recommended that people have large families, it would mean mobilizing individual financial assets of 1.4 quadrillion yen. This would also make it easier for people to have children. To revive the extended family, we should also bring back the family headship system in which eldest sons inherit everything in exchange for looking after their parents. Another measure to increase the number of children would be making all child-related expenses free, like France, Sweden, and Israel have done. This is based on the concept that children are raised by society.Moreover, regarding the discussion of Japan gaining nuclear arms, Luttwak concludes that the concept of “nuclear deterrence” means nothing to North Korea, which lacks any discretion. So, what specifically should be done? Luttwak says the government could send a signal by quietly completing procedures to equip Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) aircraft with the ability to strike enemy territory: “If Japan merely sent this signal, the Chinese side would react and think, “We don’t want to leave this up to Japan.’ The U.S. would think, ‘Japan is serious, so as its ally we will take action.’”
Furthermore, in this dialogue Luttwak shared a rather pragmatic, perceptive view about how Japan should deal with the North Korea issue:
Furthermore, in this dialogue Luttwak shared a rather pragmatic, perceptive view about how Japan should deal with the North Korea issue:
The worst-case scenario would be for North Korea to be recognized as a nuclear weapons state, as this would allow Kim Jong Un to eternally threaten Japan and South Korea. Therefore, right now we must remove the North Korea threat (nuclear and missile facilities). This is not an all-out war against North Korea.This is the same thing as the limited air strike with prior warning that I have been proposing for the past few months. Moreover, Luttwak’s view is that the U.S. Armed Forces (which are afraid of risk and do not trust President Donald J. Trump) will do nothing if things continue in this way, and that no diplomatic measures remain for China to impede the North Korean nuclear program. In addition, there is the major issue of Seoul’s vulnerability. Luttwak was a member of an American advisory team sent to South Korea in the 1970s, and at that time he proposed that government functions be moved south from Seoul. He recommended that corporations also move south from Seoul and that air-raid shelters be installed in all buildings. However, South Korea implemented none of these suggestions. Luttwak concludes as follows:
Japan cannot depend on the U.S. or China. South Korea is much too irresponsible, so Japan’s only choice is to take action on its own. Japan should gain the capability to strike North Korean nuclear and missile facilities by itself.Ikegami of course responded to this by bringing up “nonaggressive defense,” to which Luttwak unequivocally replied:
A preemptive strike to banish the North Korea threat (nuclear missiles) would not be an attack, but rather a form of self-defense. Japan is standing at a crossroads and must decide if it will launch a preemptive attack on nuclear and missile development facilities to protect itself, or if it will live in submission to Kim Jong Un.
The “Korean Federation” would corner Japan
Luttwak warns that Japan needs national unity to oppose North Korea, and that we must avoid the situation in which public opinion is split on gaining the ability to strike enemy bases. He says, “Just buying parts would send a signal. Rather than splitting the public opinion, this should be done quietly to convey the message about Japan’s seriousness in a way that is only understood by experts in Washington and Beijing.” For instance, if F-15s were modified for ground attacks, they could be equipped with Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) kits that can change ordinary bombs into precise inducibles. Just purchasing these JDAM kits for “research” would send a message to the U.S. and China.
I also agree with Luttwak’s conclusion, in which he says that Japan needs to make full-scale efforts regarding the declining birth rate and that “Japan must take measures to become a ‘young country’ over the long term, but now is its last chance to banish the immediate threat of North Korean missiles. There is no time to lose.” To resolve this crisis, Japan must cooperate closely with Trump and the U.S., give the JSDF the ability to attack enemy bases, and use any means possible to obstruct and abolish Kim Jong Un’s reckless nuclear weapon and ballistic missile development. If not, it is highly probable that North Korea – possessing nuclear weapons and missiles – will annex South Korea to create the “Federation of Korea,” an anti-Japanese nation that could attack Japan from the side and has a population of 80 million people. This country would certainly continue making unreasonable demands of Japan based on false history, such as pre- and post-war compensation and reparations for the comfort women and requisitioned workers. Furthermore, the Korean Federation would eventually become a Chinese vassal state and serve as the advance guard to keep putting pressure on Japan. Japan would likely become an autonomous region of China like Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang Uygur, and Tibet. This would fulfill the ulterior purpose of Xi Jinping – the arrogant proposal made to the U.S. about dividing and ruling the Pacific Ocean, with China controlling the area west of Hawaii and the U.S. the area east of Hawaii. The North Korea crisis is a life-and-death emergency for Japan, and it must sufficiently demonstrate to other countries that it has the will to resolve its own problems. The Japanese government should consider the suggestions made by Luttwak with great seriousness.
December 11 (Monday), 11: 00 a.m.