I am writing this essay at the end of 2012, which was a wonderful year. The APA Group’s Summit Strategy, a medium-term, five-year plan begun in the Tokyo metropolitan area in April 2010, has been even more successful than expected. Based on this Summit Strategy, in two years and eight months we purchased a total of 43 buildings in central Tokyo, all of which were paid for in cash. We have carried out 15 condominium projects and 25 hotel projects. Our last construction order in 2012 was for a 28-story hotel with 620 rooms that faces the former Kabuki-cho Cine City Plaza of the Shinjuku Koma Theater. APA Hotel Kabukicho Tower is scheduled to open in June of 2015, and will certainly become one of APA Hotel’s landmarks in central Tokyo.
In addition, the fifth annual “True Interpretations of Modern History” essay contest award ceremony and publication party was held on December 7. Just like every other year, it took place at the Meiji Kinenkan in Motoakasaka. This lively event was attended by more than 1,000 people.
A total of 208 essays － 28 more than last year － were submitted to this year’s essay contest. I also felt that a greater range of different people had submitted their work, such as the two women who won in the Honorable Mention category.
Partially because the ceremony took place during the election campaign, Representative Shintaro Ishihara of the Japan Restoration Party － with whom I’ve long felt a sense of ideological solidarity － also made an appearance. There was a great crowd at the venue. We were surprised by the earthquake that occurred during my greetings I gave as the sponsor at the beginning of the ceremony. The epicenter of this earthquake was off the coast of Sanriku. The venue became very noisy because the shaking lasted for quite some time. However, I calmed everyone down by saying, “Everything is fine. Calm down － the aftershocks won’t be any larger than the main shock.” For this reason, no major confusion broke out. One of the guests, an ambassador, praised Japanese people by saying it was wonderful how composed they were even during an earthquake.
In this essay contest, the Grand Prize (Fuji Seiji Prize) was given to former Japan Coast Guard (JCG) officer Masaharu Isshiki for his essay entitled, “The Senkaku Islands aren’t China’s only aim.” The year before last, when Isshiki was an acting JCG officer, he leaked a video online showing the Chinese fishing boat ramming patrol boats near the Senkaku Islands. This brave act, which risked his position, resulted in Isshiki having to resign from the JCG. In 2012, the Japan-China relationship grew chilly and developed into the worst circumstances yet due to Japan’s nationalization of the Senkaku Islands. I can only say that it is amazingly fortuitous that we were able to award a prize to the essay written by Isshiki about the Senkaku Islands.
The Grand Prize winner of the first annual True Interpretations of Modern History essay contest in 2008 was Toshio Tamogami, who was the staff of Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force at that time, for his essay “Was Japan an Aggressor Nation?” He was criticized by all of the media outlets and political parties because his assertions differed from the official position of the Government of Japan, and people asked if it was appropriate for the chief of staff － the top acting position － to publish such an essay. Tamogami was dismissed from his position, called to the National Diet, and forced to resign. But even though the entire mass media heaped scorn on Tamogami, the online public opinion showed that many people supported his claims. This phenomenon was one of the first to show the decline of the existing mass media and the rise of the online public opinion. The Internet continues growing in influence; it served as the driving force behind the “Arab Spring” that broke out in 2011, through which political change was accomplished in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya.
The Grand Prize winner of the second contest in 2009 was Tsuneyasu Takeda, the great-great-grandson of Emperor Meiji, for his essay, “Did the Emperor of Japan really fall from being a ruler to a symbol?” This splendid work helped people see the truth by clarifying the position of the emperor from Takeda’s unique viewpoint.
The Grand Prize winner of the third contest in 2010 was Yuko Sanami, a journalist who reports on postwar issues, for her essay entitled, “Gratitude for all the Japanese Army officers and soldiers who fought in the Greater East Asian War: Thoughts after nine years of recovering their remains.” I always say that the problems in Japan exist because we have not yet synthesized World War II. Japan has worked only for economic development while ignoring the remains of our war heroes who are resting in overseas countries. Now, we need to reflect on World War II and make efforts to collect these remains as quickly as possible. Sanami has spent nine years working to collect such remains. Her proposal of expressing gratitude from the young generations to the soldiers who protected Japan is a wonderful one.
The Great East Japan Earthquake occurred in March 2011. Due to the tremors, the control rods at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant were automatically inserted without delay and operations were halted. But although the nuclear power plant was not heavily damaged, the tsunami that occurred afterwards caused the plant to lose all electrical power. It became impossible to cool the decay heat of the fuel inside the nuclear reactors, the fuel reached high temperatures, the zirconium cladding on the fuel roads reacted with the water, and hydrogen was produced. This hydrogen filled the building and could not be properly ejected, which caused hydrogen explosions. As a result, radioactive cesium was dispersed over a large area.
In spite of this chronology, the mass media reports on the Fukushima accident as if it were the same as the accident at Chernobyl, when the actual reactor in operation went out of control during nuclear fission and exploded. The biggest harm resulting from the Fukushima accident has been financial damage caused by harmful rumors and misinformation. Not one person has had their health injured or died due to the leaked radioactive cesium. Instead, now data has been released that shows no health hazards will be caused in the future either.
Despite this, a no-go area has been established within a 20-kilometer circle of the nuclear power plant. Even radiation protection scholars are still restricted from entering this area. Although the radioactivity is of a level that will not damage health at all if things progress in this way, people have been forcibly evacuated from facilities such as senior citizens’ homes and hospitals. More than 100 of these people have died. Even now, people are forbidden from entering the 20-kilometer area where there is no danger of harm from radioactivity.
Moreover, it has been decided to require decontamination even for one millisievert of radiation. People are in an uproar about this decontamination, which will result in a massive amount of unnecessary expenses. Areas with levels of several millisieverts can be fully revived as agricultural land just by replacing around 10 centimeters of surface soil. Even after the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, absolutely no decontamination activities were carried out. Yet no problems occurred in Hiroshima and Nagasaki directly after exposure back then, or during the present era either. Afterwards, the towns have been revived and are prospering.
There are places in the natural world with high levels of radiation, such as Ramsar, Iran (which has an average value of 10.2 millisieverts per year) and Guarapari, Brazil (5.5 millisieverts). Still, the people who live in those areas are healthy. In Japan as well, there was an incident in which people living in a home in Setagaya were continually exposed for many years to radiation from bottles of radium underneath the floor. The health of these people was not damaged, however. Some people even purposefully enter radon hot springs in order to be exposed to radiation.
Because DNA has the power to restore itself when exposed to radiation, humans have coexisted together with radioactivity. A person may develop acute leukemia or die due to radiation damage if they are exposed to a large amount of radiation － for example, millions of times larger than that released from the Fukushima nuclear power plant － at one time. However, there is absolutely no problem with being exposed to between 10 to 20 millisieverts of radiation per year. Even for exposure of around 100 millisieverts per year, a person’s health would not be damaged.
Based on the background of the nuclear accident, the Grand Prize in the fourth contest went to Jun Takada, a professor at Sapporo Medical University and Doctor of Science, for his essay entitled, “Fukushima is not Hiroshima or Chernobyl.” Takada declared that no health hazards exist in Fukushima, and proposed that reconstruction should take place after amending the excessive news that is spread about the harm caused by radioactivity. Takada just published a book called Japan Will Be Destroyed by the Abolition of Nuclear Power: The National Government’s Crime of Unscientifically Evacuating People From Fukushima due to Cesium together with University of Tsukuba Emeritus Professor Yatsuhiro Nakagawa. I believe we must ensure that radiation does not become a secondary historical issue.
There are powers that work to weaken Japan’s strength by advocating for the abandonment of nuclear power and the relinquishment of Japan’s nuclear power technologies, which are of the top level in the world. Some parties in the recent election even used this as a slogan. The newspapers, television channels, and other media outlets are clamoring to support these powers, but the citizens are more composed. As reported in the Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspaper on December 9, 70% of citizens believe that nuclear power is necessary.
When this essay is published the results of the election will have already been announced, but it is certain that the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) will win as I also predicted in last month’s issue. Conversely, I suspect the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) and Tomorrow Party of Japan － which advocate for the abandonment of nuclear power － will suffer crushing defeats. I think the situation will remain the same for the Japanese Communist Party and New Komeito. The Japan Restoration Party is making great strides forward as a new party, but it will not be able to go far enough to gain a casting vote.
The DPJ lost political power because of the misgovernment it has carried out over the past 3.5 years, especially due to its blunders in the realm of diplomacy. Anti-Japanese demonstrations would likely not have broken out in China if the government had released an official video of the Chinese fishing boat collision incident before it was leaked by Isshiki, the recent Grand Prize winner. The weak-kneed diplomacy of the DPJ administration, which concealed all sorts of things out of consideration for China, resulted in Korean President Lee Myung-bak’s landing on Takeshima and his statement asking for an apology from the Emperor of Japan. President Lee’s older brother was arrested, and its seemed like President Lee might be arrested after his retirement as well. He became a patriotic hero by speaking and acting in anti-Japanese ways while he was in office, probably to avoid arrest. But it was a terrible mistake for him to speak of the Emperor of Japan with contempt.
Allowing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to land at the Northern Territories was a defeat caused by the foreign policy of the DPJ. The DPJ administration also released without indictment the captain of the fishing boat that rammed the patrol boats, allowing him to return to his country in a manner like a triumphant general. If the Tokyo Metropolitan Government bought the islands, Governor Shintaro Ishihara would build boat docks and other facilities, which would incite China. Therefore the Senkaku Islands were purchased and nationalized, using money to buy power in a confused way. Perhaps the thinking was that China would be pleased by this move, but it was used as an excuse for protest through vehement anti-Japanese demonstrations. In this way, the DPJ also caused damage to Japanese supermarkets and other companies. Japanese cars have been attacked, even though they are driven by wealthy Chinese people. These protests are called “anti-Japanese,” but as shown by the way people are carrying them out while holding up photographs of Mao Zedong, they are actually demonstrations against the establishment and disparities.
In China, a fierce struggle for power is being fought by the Crown Prince Party group, which focuses on Jiang Zemin and says the Senkaku Islands were nationalized by Japan because the Hu Jintao system was not a sufficient one, and the Communist Youth League of China group, in which Hu Jintao serves a central role and reacts to Japan in unsparing ways. At the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in 2012, Xi Jinping (of the Jiang Zemin faction) took over the highest position in the government and army from Hu Jintao. Of the seven members of the new Politburo Standing Committee, more than half are part of the Crown Prince Party (the Jiang Zemin faction). For ten years Hu Jintao suffered due to the behind-the-scenes rule of Jiang Zemin, and was unable to create a unique vision. Jiang Zemin, who has no conspicuous military service record or achievements in the party, was nominated by Deng Xiaoping and rose from being a mere party secretary to the supreme leader. He constantly criticized Japan, which poses no threat of counterattack, and concealed his lack of accomplishments via patriotic, anti-Japanese slogans. In this way, he worked to ensure solidarity inside China.
When the CPC administration was founded, it wasn’t an anti-Japanese one. Chairman Kozo Sasaki of the Japan Socialist Party visited China in 1964. When he apologized for what the formerly militant nation of Japan had done, Mao Zedong apparently answered, “[Japan has] nothing to apologize for. Thanks to the Imperial Army, the CPC was able to regain political power.”
The Nanking Massacre is a total fabrication by the Kuomintang. This is proved by the fact that even some Chinese scholars doubt the truth of the Nanking Massacre. For example, Professor Zhu Xueqin of Shanghai University, a historical scholar, claims that not even one person exists on a list of victims.
Similarly, the issue of comfort women that has become a problem with Korea is also a fabrication; this can be understood by reading Kim Wan-seop’s book entitled Vindication for the Pro-Japanese Faction. President Lee utilized the comfort women issue as a way to strengthen the foundation of his personal political power. He installed a statue of a comfort woman in front of the Japanese embassy, caused a resolution to be made in the United States House of Representatives regarding a request for the Japanese government to apologize about the comfort women issue, and carried out propaganda activities throughout the world.
At that time, there were systems of licensed prostitution throughout the world. It was legal for a woman to sell her body in exchange for money, and many amassed wealth in that way. In the countries it occupied, the Japanese Army utilized professional prostitutes to prevent sex crimes being committed against regular women. In Japan and Korea as well, civilian merchants were recruited and assembled through the provision of money. There is absolutely no proof that direct, forcible transportation was practiced by the army. However, the Kono Statement － which recognized the forced transportation of comfort women － released by then-Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono is still causing major negative impacts today.
I hope the LDP will victorious in the next election, and that Shinzo Abe will become prime minister. Although economic measures are of course the most important thing, I also hope that the LDP will fully clarify the points at issue of the past. It should repudiate the Nanking Massacre and comfort women issues, and plainly resolve to not follow along with the Murayama and Kono Statements.
The LDP should also repeal the stipulations about Japan’s neighboring countries that are included in our textbooks. All countries carry out education to inspire pride in their own history; no other countries create historical textbooks while considering how their neighboring countries feel. The Viking Ship Museum in Norway proudly discusses its ancestors’ tradition of going on campaigns all the way to the Mediterranean Sea and pillaging as a “saga” (an epic poem about adventure, or a legendary tale of heroes). That’s how things usually work.
In addition, Abe should announce that he will visit Yasukuni Shrine, and the administration should press forward with constitutional revision (the creation of an independent constitution). If all of these things were completed at once, the mass media’s force of argument would fall apart and it would lose its strength. Furthermore, the LDP should be able to gain the support of the citizens by making enemies of all the mass media outlets. Furthermore, Abe should release an “Abe Statement” that clearly declares these things as his first speech after taking back political power.
Looking back, a great uproar was caused by Tamogami winning the Grand Prize in the first True Interpretations of Modern History essay contest. Because of that, the world is steadily moving towards conservatism. The Senkaku Islands were nationalized because Isshiki released the video; the furious opposition in China to this has conversely encouraged a switch to conservative beliefs in Japan. I feel that such things will lead to Abe becoming prime minister once again, the LDP winning a great victory in the next election, and great leaps being made forward by the Japan Restoration Party directly after its formation. I also hope this momentum will result in 2013 being the first year of Japan’s restoration.
I wrote of my impressions on the beginning of the year as follows: “During the first year of Japan’s restoration, the Japanese people must have confidence and pride in their eternal history. We must aim to revive Japan, our fatherland. We must make efforts while using our entire power and having endless passion. We must be the ones to realize our own aspirations.”
2013 is the third year of our Summit Strategy, and I believe it will be a truly wonderful year.
9:10 p.m., December 13, 2013（Thursday）