On May 11, the front page of the Sankei Shimbun newspaper ran an article entitled, “Japan, the United States, and Europe are excited and vigilant as exchange rates reach 101 yen to the dollar: high stock price level of 14,600 yen.”
In my essay in the previous month's issue, I wrote, “The Nikkei Stock Average was 16,435 yen on August 27, 2007, the date that marks the demise of the first Abe Cabinet, and the exchange rate was 114 yen to the dollar. Considering this, […] even more positive changes are hoped for.” That exact situation is currently in progress.
In my essay of last month, I also touched on the provocative actions by North Korea. I wrote that Kim Jong-un's brinkmanship is to establish his own structure and prevent a military coup d'etat undertaken with guidance from China, which is trying to turn its back on Kim Jong-un (who is obsessed with nuclear weapons) and support a pro-China government. I also said he would lower his fists when the U.S.-South Korean military exercises ended on April 30. From the beginning of May, North Korea has clearly toned down its rhetoric.
To Japan, it would be undesirable for North Korea to become even more of a puppet nation of China, or for North and South Korea to become united – this would lead to the birth of a Korean federation in possession of nuclear weapons. Kim Jong-un's current policy is in order to turn his back on both of these things. North Korea is persona non grata to Japan, but I hope that Japan will use factors such as intimidation from North Korea as an opportunity to reform the constitution, cultivate its military strength, and prepare itself against the true risks from the Korean peninsula. To that end as well, I hope Kim Jong-un will keep at it until Japan has been transformed into a decent country.
In last month's issue I mentioned the incident in which Kim Jong Il (Kim Jong-un's father) – who would not give up on nuclear development – was almost assassinated in a train explosion using 800 tons of high explosives at Ryongchon Station in 2004. This was the handiwork of Chinese Central Military Commission Chairman Jiang Zemin. Kim Jong-un is attempting to become independent from China for this reason. He is also being pressured by China to give up his nuclear weapons; he switched out many personnel because he is afraid of a coup d'etat guided by China and wants to protect himself against this danger.
The May 11 issue of the Sankei Shimbun contained an article entitled, “A female police officer in North Korea is treated as a hero: growing speculation of terrorism directed at Kim Jong-un.” It read:
In the past, in North Korea there were frequent traffic accidents involving important persons. Each time, theories were circulated saying that the cause was terrorism, such as assassination plans made to look like traffic accidents.
Absolutely no details were mentioned regarding the recent incident in which a female police officer is being treated as a hero. All that's being said is that she “safeguarded the security of the headquarters of the revolution [Kim Jong-un] in an unexpected circumstance.”
I think this North Korean female police officer protected Kim Jong-un by reporting a plan to assassinate him. Apparently, he is constantly in danger of being assassinated.
Looking at various circumstances, I feel like the things I write in this essay are coming true.
The title of my essay from last month was, “Prime Minister Abe Should Embark on a Double Election With a Focus on Constitutional Reform.” The demarcation bill based on the concept of “increase by zero, decrease by five” was passed in the House of Representatives on April 23 – where it could be re-approved with the agreement of two thirds of the House of Representatives, even though it was voted down in the House of Councillors – before the House of Councillors election. I felt this indicated a strong intention for a double election.
If a double election were to take place, some people say that 50 parliamentary seats would be in danger if the alliance with the New Komeito Party (NKP) were dissolved. However, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) should make a resolute separation from the NKP, which is definitely not in favor of constitutional reform, and should aim to maintain two thirds of the parliamentary seats by itself in both houses. Just like Junichiro Koizumi's postal privatization election, each candidate should be asked whether he or she is for or against constitutional reform; “assassins” should be sent to take out the candidates who dissent.
If the LDP embarked on an election with this resolve, it would not be impossible to secure two thirds of the seats by itself in the House of Representatives. Including National Diet members that are in favor of constitutional change, two thirds could be ensured. Because half of the House of Councillors members will be re-elected, even with an overwhelming victory it would be fairly difficult to acquire two thirds of the total seats. Still, if a major trend were born, the number of re-elected Diet members who support constitutional change would increase, and the possibility is high that members in favor of constitutional change would occupy two thirds of the seats in the House of Councillors.
Last month I wrote, “The most formidable enemy that will oppose a double election is the forces in the LDP that want to protect the current constitution.” An article was published in the Sankei Shimbun on May 11 that said:
Reconstruction comes before constitutional reform. On May 10, Shinjiro Koizumi, the director of the Youth Division, indicated his thinking that priority should be placed for the immediate future on speeding up reconstruction after the Great East Japan Earthquake, rather than the constitutional reform that is the LDP's point of issue for this summer's House of Councillors election. Koizumi said, “Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may wish to make [constitutional reform] into a point of issue, and the LDP touts constitutional amendment as part of its party platform. I do understand that.” He further commented, “I don't think this has an effect on the people in the areas struck by the disaster. Before constitutional reform, they are concerned with their immediate livelihoods.”
Prime Minister Abe must have the strong will to send assassins against people like Koizumi as well – a young, popular member of the faction that supports protecting the constitution – if they are against constitutional amendment.
Even if two thirds of the seats in both houses can be occupied by Diet members in favor of reforming the constitution via a double election, I think the problem will be the national referendum that takes place afterwards. The mass media complains that industry is being impoverished by the so-called “Abekuro” economic policies, and agitates the situation regarding topics such as growing income divides, the anti-nuclear power movement, and the anti-constitutional change movement.
A major national movement should be created, saying that this battle is for the destiny of Japan – a country that is worthy of pride. A majority should be acquired via the national referendum, and Japan should become a truly independent nation. I don't think there will ever be another opportunity to reform the constitution besides the present time, when the economy is continually improving and the approval rating is constantly growing. Even if a double election is held three years from now, I believe it will be impossible to gain two thirds of the seats in both houses.
The prime minister is allowed to tell lies about dissolution. I think he is acting as if he is giving his undivided attention to the House of Councillors election, and will carry out dissolution suddenly. But I was a bit concerned, so I directly telephoned Prime Minister Abe the other day and strongly advised him that this is the time to embark on a double election.
We must look at the damage from the Great East Japan Earthquake in a more composed way. According to the Reconstruction Agency, not one person has died due to radioactivity from the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, which occurred after the Great East Japan Earthquake. Yet the number of “earthquake-related deaths” in 10 prefectures has reached 2,688, including people who have committed suicide or died due to various causes while living in evacuation shelters after the accident. Among these, 1,383 people in Fukushima have died – 51% of the total. Many of these passed away when they were suddenly and forcibly made to move in order to evacuate away from radioactivity resulting from the nuclear power plant accident.
Even in regions with a yearly radiation exposure of 100 millisieverts or more, the dose would be reduced to 10 millisieverts or less just by staying inside and outside their homes for around one month. There is no risk of health damage in that case. Even people receiving medical care for serious illnesses, such as those on intravenous drips at hospitals, were suddenly forced to move even though there was no danger of tsunamis and no need for them to evacuate. A series of people died inside the buses as they were being moved to evacuation shelters for this reason. The responsibility for stirring up anxiety in this way – and even causing people to die – based on no scientific proof is quite weighty.
There is scientific data that indicates there is no confirmed, distinct increase in the death rate from cancer for amounts of annual radiation exposure totaling 100 millisieverts or less. Despite this, the Democratic Party of Japan's absurd policy of decontaminating areas with an annual dose of one millisievert or greater is costing several trillion yen in tax money.
Because of strong opposition, 52 of Japan's 54 nuclear power plants cannot be operated due to periodic inspections and other reasons. But even when power generation is shut down, there is still atomic fuel inside the atomic reactors, and cooling must be continued for the decay heat. Many people don't realize that the situation is a horrendous one in which costs are increased for that portion.
We are also missing the point of view of considering many things related to nuclear power in a way that is based on scientific foundations and calculations of probability. For example, a nuclear power plant that was being operated normally will be decommissioned just because it is located above an active fault that caused an earthquake more than 100,000 years ago. Speaking figuratively, if people could think in this way it would likely have been possible to narrow down the range for evacuations, and the number of people who died earthquake-related deaths could have been substantially diminished as well.
Many of the people who die in earthquakes live in wooden houses. The residents of condominiums made from reinforced concrete may be injured if their furniture falls over, but there are no cases in which they are crushed to death by buildings, burned to death, or killed by tsunamis.
Rather than spending several trillion yen for tsunami counter-measures by building high breakwaters that block views of the sea, we should subsidize around half of the costs for creating reinforced concrete condominiums that are the same size as the breakwaters or higher. In this way, people could save themselves by evacuating to the roof. I propose that disaster prevention condominiums should be constructed at 200-meter intervals in coastal areas. In places with no high ground, the residents of the condominiums and people living in nearby detached homes could run and climb the stairs to save themselves, either when they saw an actual tsunami or heard the sound of the approaching waves. It would likely be more convenient for fishermen to build and live in detached houses in the vicinity of disaster prevention condominiums along the shore, rather than on high ground inland. Directly after the earthquake I wrote that six-story condominiums can be built in 10 months, but I have never heard of a similar plan being implemented.
I hope Prime Minister Abe will make a decisive judgment about the restart of operations at nuclear power plants. At the same time, the Japanese government has skillfully and unexpectedly opened a big path towards the export of nuclear technologies through means such as concluding an atomic energy arrangement with Saudi Arabia and obtaining a nuclear power plant construction order from Turkey.
The latest nuclear power plants are pressurized water reactors with nuclear reactor core cooling devices for emergency use, as well as improved boiling-water reactors that drive pumps during times of emergency using turbines through the steam produced by decay heat in the nuclear reactor core. Compared to the boiling-water reactors in Fukushima, they are exceedingly safe. Today, since right after the earthquake Japan has become averse to nuclear power generation; people are afraid of accidents with the same astronomically low probability as being hit on the head by a meteor. We must have the courage to restart our nuclear power plants, and should rapidly export them as well.
Korean President Park Geun-hye visited the U.S. in early May and spoke ceaselessly of the relationships between the U.S., Korea, and China. But it is not a sensible plan for Korea to ignore Japan. In “Latitude and Longitude” (a column in the Sankei Shimbun) on May 11, there was an article entitled, “The Obama administration vacillates on the Senkaku issue.” It read:
No one in the Obama administration has declared any specific pledges, such as, “If the Senkaku Islands were subjected to an armed attack, the U.S. Armed Forces would defend them.” Things remain ambiguous in a way that inspires unease on the Japanese side.
The cause for anxiety on this point is the April statement by Michael McDevitt, an expert on Chinese marine strategy.
At a public hearing for the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a consultative body for the U.S. Congress, McDevitt said, “The U.S. should avoid entering into direct combat with the People's Liberation Army regarding these unpopulated islands.”
I was extremely disappointed in the Obama administration, which does not understand the importance of the Senkaku Islands and calls them things such as “unpopulated islands.” The line connecting the Japanese islands, Okinawa, and the Senkaku Islands stops China from advancing into the Pacific Ocean. With a recognition such as this by the U.S. – and in conformance with the trend of China's expansion and the American withdrawal – a line might be drawn between Hawaii and Japan, dividing the Pacific Ocean to be ruled by China and the U.S. Japan suffers many disadvantages when the U.S. has a Democratic government.
The Abe administration should open up the path to constitutional reform by seizing the fantastic opportunity of a double election, in which two thirds of the seats might be obtained. In this way, it should take the first step towards making Japan into a normal country that can protect itself. There will be no elections for the next three years if the LDP is victorious in the July double election. During this time the economy should be reorganized and the GDP should be increased. If this were accomplished it would be possible to increase the national defense budget, which is limited to 1% of the GDP.
Up until now Japan has been evaluated as a country that does not carry out invasions, but we must also strengthen our position as a country that is not invaded. To that end as well, the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security Between the United States and Japan – which was concluded together with the constitution and hinders Japan from becoming a truly independent nation – should be altered after the revision of Article 9 of the constitution into a treaty like the Anglo-Japanese Alliance.
In order to have an independent army, Japan needs to launch its own GPS satellites and work to make its computer systems independent as well. In the past we have spent vast amounts of money to outfit ourselves with weapons that are completely devoted to defense, such as missile defense systems and Aegis ships made in the U.S. But if we continue in that way, nothing could be done if a large number of missiles were launched at the same time. We should stop purchasing all weapons for self-defense and should use that money to develop offensive weapons. We should first develop and deploy ballistic and cruise missiles that can be used for retribution and offensive purposes, and could deal devastating damage only to specific areas like Beijing and Pyongyang. I suspect this alone would greatly dampen China's aggressive urges.
Furthermore, Japan should also be endowed with strong conventional weapons like the Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) bomb, which is known as the “Mother of All Bombs.” It will also be important for Japan to utilize its advanced science and technologies to develop highly efficient anti-missile weapons like laser guns for ballistic missile interception. In addition, Japan should aim to become a latent nuclear state in which – although parts are available to build nuclear weapons right away – nothing is officially disclosed about the possession of nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons are political weapons that will never be used; deterrence is accomplished merely when people think you might have them. Possessing offensive weapons would increase Japan's deterrence ability, and the degree of safety would definitely grow.
Japan should begin using its technological strength to develop combat aircraft (which the U.S. does not approve of), change the Three Principle on Arms Exports, and furnish weapons to friendly nations. In this way, Japan should work for collective security guarantees with friendly countries located nearby, including Taiwan.
Prime Minister Abe's first foreign travel destinations were Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia. He also visited Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Turkey during Golden Week. This shows that his foreign travels are surrounding China in a way to encircle it tightly.
In the future, Russia will be an important partner for Japan. The population in Siberia is decreasing, while the population in Chinese territory near the border is growing. Therefore, Russia is feeling threatened by population pressure. The shale revolution is taking place in the U.S., the map of world resources is being redrawn, and Russia wants Japan to import natural gas from Sakhalin. But President Vladimir Putin is a cool-headed politician, so we must take sufficient care. Regarding the issue of the Northern Territories as well, we should not sweep the problem away by saying “it's a tie” and dividing the area equally. We should stick to our principles and ask for all four islands to be returned. When it seems likely that this will be accomplished, Japan should make arrangements to import resources and for development aid.
Relationships utilizing Japan's strengths are being constructed in various countries other than Russia, such as a nuclear power plant in Turkey, an airport built by Mitsubishi Corporation in Mongolia, and a freight railway construction order from India received by Sojitz. As part of this trend, Japan should become a strong country that can protect itself, with an independent army, based on the foundation of its friendship with the U.S. Japan should also aim to be a nation that is the target of expectations and trust from around the world ? sweeping away baseless censure from World War II – as the core of the balance of power in East Asia.
11:59 p.m., May 24, 2013 (Friday)