September 26, 2007 marked the end of the first Abe cabinet after only one day and one year. On that day, the Nikkei Stock Average was 16,435 yen. The rate of foreign exchange was 114 yen to the dollar.
Afterwards, Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) abandoned his administration after one year, saying, “I’m not like you. Thank you for everything.” The Taro Aso LDP government (which became more left wing in accordance with the public opinion) dismissed Toshio Tamogami, the chief of staff of Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force, for writing an essay containing a correct understanding of history. The Aso administration suffered an ignominious defeat in the general election, lasting – once again – less than one year.
After the regime change, the Yukio Hatoyama Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) administration lasted for less than nine months, while the Naoto Kan administration was around one year and three months – a total of two years altogether. The Yoshihiko Noda administration ended up embarking on an election it didn’t want in exchange for the consumption tax according to a plan by the Ministry of Finance. It was utterly beaten. After just one year and four months, a regime change took place and Abe gained power once again.
Five years and three months passed before Abe became prime minister for a second time. During this time, the Nikkei Stock Average fell nearly 7,000 yen to 9,737 yen. The yen became more high-valued to the tune of 30 yen, and the exchange rate was 83 yen to the dollar. Regardless of the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, these numbers give a true account of the political chaos and resulting economic slump that took place during that time. The desire of the citizens to break free from this was demonstrated in the general election; the LDP won a crushing victory, and the ruling coalition was able to acquire more than two thirds of the parliamentary seats. Over just 10 days between this victory and the founding of the second Abe Cabinet, stock prices rose by 500 yen to 10,230 yen. The exchange rate also weakened by two yen to 85 yen on the dollar. As I write this essay on February 8, the Nikkei Stock Average is 11,153 yen, and the yen is even weaker at 93 yen to the dollar. These and other factors show the great expectations directed at the Abe administration.
The last period of the LDP administration, when it became leftist, was truly awful. Yet the 3.5 years of the DPJ government that betrayed its country were a time in which the government practically sold the country out. Hatoyama, the first prime minister, took it upon himself to say that carbon dioxide emissions would be cut by 25% – an impossible feat. The country’s dependence on nuclear power was to be raised by 50% to that end. He continued making statements that betrayed Japan, such as saying that the Sea of Japan is an “Ocean of Fraternity,” that the Japan-U.S.-China relationship is an “equilateral triangle,” and that the Japanese archipelago does not belong only to the Japanese people. On the topic of relocating the base in Futenma, he said the base should be moved out of the prefecture, or out of the country if possible. In this way, he upset internal administration, diplomacy, and the Japan-U.S. relationship.
After the founding of the following Kan Cabinet, on September 7, 2010 an incident occurred in which a Chinese fishing boat being operated illegally in Japan’s territorial waters near the Senkaku Islands rammed into Japan Coast Guard (JCG) patrol boats that were asking the boat to leave. The JCG arrested the captain of the fishing boat for interference with a public servant in the execution of his or her duties.
The Chinese government put relentless pressure on Japan for its treatment of the captain; for example, it arrested and detailed Fujita employees – who had done nothing wrong – that were disposing of poison gas left behind in China by the former Japanese army. First of all, the poison gas was handed over to the Chinese army (Chiang Kai-shek) by the Japanese army after the war – the Chinese side was the one that abandoned this gas, for which Japan has absolutely no responsibility. In consideration of China, the DPJ took the extralegal measure of releasing the captain without indictment, saying this was the individual decision of the Naha District Public Prosecutor’s Office.
Furthermore, because the government did not publically release a video of the collision that showed the truth of the matter, conversely demonstrations in China only intensified. As a response to this, Masaharu Isshiki, who was a JCG officer at that time, put the video of the collision on YouTube on November 4. This caused anger to break out across Japan, rapidly decreasing the DPJ’s approval rating.
The tragic Great East Japan Earthquake occurred on March 11, right when there was talk of Prime Minister Kan abandoning the government due to allegations that he had received political contributions from foreign nationals. Kan saw this disaster as an opportunity for him to remain in power, which made him jump for joy. Disregarding what the experts said, he repeatedly put on performances, such as flying to the affected areas by helicopter. The situation at this time was a terrible one; all electric power at the Fukushima nuclear plant had been lost because of the tsunami, and the electricity required for the cooling pumps and vents could not be supplied. Kan is greatly responsible for stalling the countermeasures, causing the hydrogen – which was produced by the zirconium cladding on the nuclear power plant fuel – to explode.
Afterwards, the government, in the name of “abandoning nuclear power generation,” shut down operations at all of Japan’s nuclear power plants. This caused an increase in alternate fuel import costs to the tune of three trillion yen per year, and also put the trade balance into the red.
China began asserting its dominion over the Senkaku Islands in 1970, when it became clear that oil fields were located on the bottom of the ocean. China shelved the issue because it did not have the technological or economic strength to excavate the offshore oil fields by itself at that time, thinking that postponing the conclusion was a profitable plan. However, the Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone – which says the Senkaku Islands are part of China’s territory – was enacted in 1992. In this way, China put an end to its policy of shelving the issue.
Because the captain of the ship that rammed into the JCG boats was released due to pressure from China, on August 16 of last year (2012) seven activists from Hong Kong, who received financial support from China, landed on Uotsuri Island in the Senkaku Islands. They were arrested, but once again none of the seven people were prosecuted and they were all returned home. Due to weak-kneed diplomacy of this sort by the DPJ government, Japan is treated with contempt by China.
Korean President Lee Myung-bak landed on Takeshima, where no Korean president had set foot on in the past. After making it sound like His Majesty the Emperor of Japan wanted to visit Korea (which wasn’t true), President Lee said, “It seems like the Emperor of Japan wants to visit Korea. If he will call upon the people that were killed during the independence movement and apologize, then he should come.” His statements showed contempt for the Emperor, such as his request that the emperor bow down like criminals did in the old Korean culture. Russian President Dmitri Medvedev also made an unprecedented landing at the Northern Territories.
Moreover, afterwards the DPJ administration was worried that Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara’s insistence that Tokyo should purchase the Senkaku Islands and build a harbor there would be in opposition to the policy of shelving the issue. Instead, in consideration of China the DPJ decided to purchase the islands using national expenditures. But now China is using this as a pretext for continual anti-Japanese demonstrations. The anti-Japanese riots have escalated, such as the Japan-funded factories and stores that have been attacked. China initially intruded into Japanese territorial waters using fishing boats, but afterwards it has become normal for China to continually send official ships such as those from its State Ocean Administration. Similarly, aircraft from the State Ocean Administration has also invaded Japan’s airspace. These actions by China are definitely conducted with the aim of gaining effective control of the Senkaku Islands.
Furthermore, on January 19 of this year (2013), a Chinese navy frigate aimed a fire-control radar at a Japan Maritime Self Defense Forces (JMSDF) escort vessel equipped with a helicopter. On January 30, once again a Chinese frigate aimed a fire-control radar at the Yudachi, a JMSDF escort ship. This was announced on February 5 by Minister of Defense Itsunori Onodera.
On February 8, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspaper contained the following article, entitled “The Prime Minister’s Official residence in discord due to radar lock-on.” It read:
A Chinese navy warship aimed a fire-control radar for shooting at a JMSDF escort vessel. It took six days between the occurrence of this issue on January 30 and the announcement, as well as China’s objections. Why did it take so long to proclaim what had happened? The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is constantly left out of the loop. This shows the traces of discord between Prime Minister Abe’s desire to use this as an opportunity to reopen dialogues with China, and firm diplomatic policies. […] On the day of the incident, the Prime Minister’s Official Residence received a report from the Ministry of Defense. The Prime Minister’s Official Residence asked, “Is it okay to make an objection to China?” The escort vessel is equipped with radar analysis equipment. The lock-on lasted for several minutes, and it was mostly determined that the radar was aimed by a Chinese frigate. However, the policy taken was to gather together complete data so as to not give China as a chance to make a rebuttal.
Some newspapers reported that radar had been aimed by Chinese warships after the nationalization of the Senkaku Islands, during the time of the DPJ administration. According to these newspapers, a person concerned said that then-Prime Minister Noda and Deputy Prime Minister Katsuya Okada avoided a public announcement because they decided that they did not want to worsen the Japan-China relationship.
This time, when Prime Minister Abe received the final report from the Ministry of Defense on January 5, he said, “We need to inform the international community of what has happened. I want for us to immediately make an official announcement about terrible circumstances such as these.” At that time, he took care to make sure no future problems occurred by making calm responses. It was decided that the minister of defense, rather than the prime minister or Prime Minister’s Official Residence, would transmit this information to external parties. Government sources say that this was in consideration of the Japan-China relationship, so that the situation would not escalate while it was not determined if the radar targeting had been ordered by the Chinese leadership or not.
On the same day as the announcement by Minister of Defense Onodera, Minister for Foreign Affairs Fumio Kishida also sent an objection to China. At first the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it would confirm the facts. Afterwards, it said that Japan’s claims – that a fire-control radar was aimed – were entirely fabricated, and that an observation radar had been used. The Japanese side made a second refutation, and Prime Minister Abe requested an apology from China.
China’s assertions are patently untrue; for example, it is not possible to mix up these two types of radars because they have different frequencies. China continues making false claims, such as about the Nanking Massacre. As always, it believes that lies will become true if they are repeated 100 times. Observation radars are used to confirm the positions of nearby vessels and aircraft, while fire-control radars are known as “lock-on” radars because they are to ensure that missiles and artillery accurately find their targets. These actions are very dangerous. In fact, the use of fire-control radars is considered an act of war throughout the world.
China has become even more arrogant because the Noda administration at that time gave its tactic consent regarding the aiming of fire-control radar that occurred after the nationalization of the Senkaku Islands. One can also say that this led to China’s current behavior.
Japan has become an object of scorn because it has not fully refuted the acts of barbarity carried out by its neighboring countries. Rather, Japan has released the Murayama Statement and Kono Statement, and has not reliably objected to criticism from its neighbors. This incident is the result of these things.
Even Russia committed its first territorial violation in five years on February 7. Russian Sukhoi Su-27 aircraft invaded Japan’s airspace in Rishiri Island, Hokkaido for one minute and 11 seconds. Air Self-Defense Force fighter aircraft were scrambled as a response. Perhaps Russia wanted to explore what sort of responses Japan, after the birth of the Abe administration, would make to this urgent situation.
One cannot move because they don’t like their neighboring countries. Japan must deal with these issues in a precise way while building up its strength. Maintaining a balance of power is vital in order to enjoy harmony with neighboring countries that one does not like. It is wrong to think that world peace was accomplished by the end of the Cold War.
Japan has decreased its war expenditures annually over the past 10 years, while China has increased its war funds to the equivalent of two digits each year over the past 20 years. In this way, they have grown 18 times larger. It is a very good thing that the recent Abe administration is working to increase war expenditures, even by a small amount. Japan should not go along with provocation from its neighboring countries, but a background of military strength is required so that Japan is not provoked in this way.
However, the constraints of the pacifist constitution obstruct Japan from becoming a respectable country. The result of the last general election was that the ruling power has been able to gain two thirds of the House of Representatives. If forces in favor of constitutional change can acquire two thirds of the seats in the summer House of Councillors election, work should immediately be begun to reform the constitution and make Japan into a decent country. As of now, the Abe administration’s stance is ordered as follows: 1) the economy, 2) the economy, and 5) diplomacy (there is no three or four). In other words, priority is placed on improving the economy. Only 1.5 months after the founding of the Abe government, stock prices rose by almost 1,500 yen and the exchange rate weakened by 10 yen. If things continue smoothly in this way, stock prices and the foreign exchange rate will likely reach respectable levels. To make the Japanese economy strong once again, it will be important for the LDP to be victorious in the next House of Councillors election and open a reliable path towards constitutional reform. Even if two thirds of the House of Councillors is impossible this summer, the LDP will certainly be able to acquire a majority.
After that point, no elections will be held for three years. During this time alliances with other political parties that support constitutional reform should be rearranged, the constitution that was created in an unjust way should be abolished, and a decent, independent constitution should be established. If the LDP embarked on the 2016 double elections, the possibility is high that it could win two thirds of the seats in both houses. The LDP should obtain the support of the citizens by skillfully using the provocative acts by neighboring countries such as China, Korea, and Russia. In this way, it should use these things as an opportunity for Japan to be reborn as a respectable country.
Prime Minister Abe must maintain political power for as long as possible, for five years at the least. American presidents with two terms are in power for eight years. The presidential term in Korea, which is said to be short, is five years. Japan must cut off the past trend of having six different prime ministers in 6.5 years. The Abe administration, as a long-term government, should reform the constitution and make Japan into a decent country. If these things cannot be accomplished, Japan might become one of China’s autonomous regions or the 51st state of the U.S.
It is not an exaggeration to say that all of Japan’s neighboring countries are acquiring nuclear arms. To protect Japan from these threats, we must make it possible to exercise the right to collective defense, and also to export weapons. The Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan should be made more equal. Furthermore, we should probably abolish the three antinuclear principles and introduce the nuclear sharing arrangement, in which the U.S. gives Japan the right to fire nuclear weapons in times of emergency.
Even now, in the Asian and African countries Japan is thought of as a latent nuclear state that could acquire nuclear arms at any time. Now that North Korea has successfully created a small nuclear ballistic missile that can reach all the way to the U.S., if the U.S. frowned upon the nuclear sharing arrangement, than Japan should have a system for creating nuclear weapons. By utilizing Japan’s technological power, nuclear weapon parts should be created. The parts could be put together in one week at any point if an emergency occurred. A security protection law should also be created, and it should be stated that absolutely no information about nuclear development or the possession of nuclear weapons will be announced in the future. Measures of this sort are necessary, to the degree that people wonder if Japan is developing nuclear arms like Israel. Now that all of Japan’s neighboring countries are nuclear states, we must assert that Japan – the only country in the world that has been the subject of a nuclear attack – has the right to gain nuclear arms, partially as response to these things. According to the actual circumstances of international politics, when Japan is threatened by a nuclear state it simply has to obey.
To deal with our neighboring countries in a resolute way, it is important for Japan to eliminate the blameless criticism it has been continually subjected to in the past since the end of World War II. Japan used to be a country that was worthy of pride. Japan accomplished many things during World War II while making many sacrifices. Japan banished colonial rule from the world and built a world of racial equality. If Japan had not won the Russo-Japanese War and taken part in World War II, there would never have been a black president in the U.S. like Barack Obama. It is also likely that racial equality would never have been realized. Japan has become despised due to the DPJ government, but Japanese people still have power that is hidden. The Abe administration is Japan’s last chance to regain pride in its history and be transformed into a decent country. I intend to fully support this government so that I can assist in Japan’s revival.
2:00 a.m., February 12, 2013 (Tuesday)