In my essays over the past few months I have proposed that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe should embark on a double election of both houses based on the theme of constitutional reform. I directly called Abe’s mobile phone on May 23 to advise him to do so. Nevertheless, Abe spoke of the possibility of a double election in a May 29 interview on Yomiuri Television by stating, “A House of Representatives election took place last year. It’s important that members of the lower house are able to do their work in a calm fashion.” In this way, he expressed his negative way of thinking about a double election. Up until that point Abe continually said that he would make a judgment as was timely and appropriate. However, in the interview he neglected to say this for the first time; rather, he said it’s important for lower house members to work calmly. Perhaps he spoke in this negative way about the double election, giving reasons that are bizarre and difficult to understand, because things didn’t go as he had planned.
Looking back at the past, the Taro Aso administration was formed in September 2008. On October 28, the Nikkei Stock Average was the lowest it had been since the burst of the bubble economy at 6,994 yen. Two days later on October 30, Toshio Tamogami, the current chief of staff of Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force, was dismissed for writing an essay with content that differed from the government’s official view. His essay won the Grand Prize in the “True Interpretations of Modern History” essay contest organized by APA Group. He was the subject of intense bashing by the media. The police even said they would serve as my bodyguards because they had received a death threat against me. This was the most difficult time for the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).
Aso prolonged the dissolution of the House of Representatives until the end of its term, where the LDP had won a crushing victory in Junichiro Koizumi’s postal privatization election. The House of Representatives was dissolved in July 2009, and the LDP suffered an ignominious defeat in the general election in August. The media’s awful incitement, asking for change and the realization of a DPJ government, resulted in the LDP being completely defeated, and the inauguration of the Yukio Hatoyama Cabinet.
Before the election, Hatoyama stated that the Futenma base should be moved out of the country if possible, and out of Okinawa Prefecture at least. But when the DPJ actually gained political power, the Japan-United States accord – which had been constructed by the LDP over a long period of time – had to be started afresh, and the Futenma relocation issue began to wander off course. Hatoyama continued stating things that ran against reality, such as that the Japan-U.S.-China relationship is an “equilateral triangle,” and that the Japanese archipelago doesn’t just belong to the Japanese people. The Japan-U.S. relationship soured because of the Futenma issue, and opportunities were steadily presented for China to take advantage of. Hatoyama resigned in June 2010 because of misgovernment and the issue of donations from his own mother.
When Naoto Kan became the next prime minister, actions undertaken by neighboring countries in contempt of Japan became prevalent. President Dmitry Medvedev landed on Kunashir Island – the first time a Russian president had sent foot on the Northern Territories – in July. In September an incident occurred in which a Chinese fishing boat rammed into a Japan Coast Guard patrol boat near the Senkaku Islands. In August 2011, President Lee Myung-bak landed on Takeshima and spoke in a contemptuous way of His Majesty the Emperor (he said that, if the emperor wants to visit Korea, he should first visit and apologize to the people who died in the independence movement).
Afterwards, doubt was raised about contributions given to Kan by foreign nationals. Right when it seemed like he would have to resign if this issue was pressed, the Great East Japan Earthquake occurred. Kan attempted to use this earthquake, which took place on March 11, 2011, as a way to prolong his political power. For that reason he forcibly evacuated all people in regions from which there was no need to do so. In particular, he even rapidly evacuated patients who were hospitalized for serious illnesses, causing them to die from stress. LDP Policy Research Council Chairman Sanae Takaichi has criticized this, saying, “Not even one person has died because of radiation exposure.” But the DPJ should be criticized; the DPJ is responsible for the 1,415 people from Fukushima Prefecture who have died in causes related to the disaster. One can say this is the worst incident of misgovernment by the DPJ administration.
There is no scientific data that indicates cancer frequency is multiplied by exposure to radiation of 100 millisieverts or less. Despite this, the DPJ said it would evacuate regions with 20 millisieverts or greater. Yet it determined the 30-kilometer circle around the nuclear power plant as the evacuation area, regardless of radiation exposure, and forcibly evacuated people from there.
The Ministry of the Environment’s previous standard for decontamination was five millisieverts, but that should have been temporarily changed to around 20 millisieverts in this time of emergency. However, Minister for the Environment Goshi Hosono set an even stricter decontamination standard of one millisievert or greater, regardless of the fact that Japanese people are exposed to 1.5 millisieverts of national radiation each year. He made people think more than one millisievert was dangerous, and vast amounts of land became target areas for decontamination. This also wasted a large amount of tax money.
Moreover, the evaluation of the Fukushima accident was suddenly raised from Level 5 – the initial evaluation – to Level 7, which is the same as the Chernobyl accident. This was to prevent people from criticizing Kan for his low evaluation, but it was a huge mistake. Because of this evaluation, the accident has been reported throughout the world as a more serious one than it actually was.
In 2012, Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara announced his plan for the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to purchase the Senkaku Islands and construct some sort of facility there. The Yoshihiko Noda administration thought this would provoke China; in consideration of China, it swiftly decided to purchase and nationalize the Senkaku Islands. Nevertheless, the Chinese government turned the tables on these good intentions, making the false accusation that China’s prestige had been harmed. People in China were agitated, which led to furious anti-Japanese revolts.
The DPJ’s series of haphazard political policies shifted the popular will towards the LDP, and the LDP won a complete victory in the December general election. Abe was also able to become prime minister for a second time. In February 2013, right after the administration was launched, Abe demonstrated that he would respond to China in an entirely different way from the previous DPJ government. For example, an official announcement was made on the Chinese navy frigate that aimed a fire-control radar at a Maritime Self-Defense Force escort vessel. As the provocation regarding the Senkaku Islands increased, Japan became more conservative and support for the Abe administration grew. Also due to a request from the U.S., China quieted down to some degree.
Stock prices soared due to the “Abenomics” economic policies, and the yen decreased in value as well. The approval rating for the LDP is favorable at 38%, the highest it’s ever been. If a double election had been carried out, the LDP would have won complete victories in both houses. The non-reelected National Diet members would also have been swayed, and powers in favor of constitutional change would have secured two thirds of the seats. There would have been a high possibility of opening a path towards constitutional change. It was also a fantastic opportunity for Japan to become a decent country. However, the statements of Toru Hashimoto put a damper on the whole thing.
In a doorstop interview on May 13, Japan Restoration Party Co-representative Toru Hashimoto spoke about the comfort women issue. His statement was reported on critically by media throughout the world, including The New York Times and BBC. This statement also became connected to Abe’s proposal to reconsider the Murayama and Kono Statements, and multiple overseas reports warned that Japan was drifting to the right. The world’s response to the statement by the representative of Japan’s top opposition party was probably a manifestation of the attitude of victorious nations such as the U.S., who will tolerate absolutely no revisions to history after World War II. Partially due to the impact of this statement, the Japan Restoration Party approval rating, which was number two at 16.5% in its heyday (December 18, 2012, Kyodo News), dropped sharply to 4.2% on June 2 – nearly one fourth of what it had been. Hashimoto’s statement, and the decreased approval rating caused by it, served as a great hindrance to Abe’s plan for a double election.
I thought Abe’s initial intention was to create an alliance between the LDP and Japan Restoration Party on the topic of constitutional reform. The LDP would discard the New Komeito Party (NKP), which insists that it opposes constitutional change, and attempt to hold a double election on the theme of constitutional reform. This plan was still alive after Hashimoto’s statement was reported throughout the world. When I telephoned Abe on May 23, it seemed like he was still indecisive. The proof of this is that, on May 24, no common public commitment was settled on between the LDP and NKP for the House of Councillors election. This should have been a preparation to cancel the alliance.
However, even after Hashimoto’s press conference at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club on May 27, the international media continued criticizing him. If the dissolution had taken place in those circumstances, the Japan Restoration Party would have suffered catastrophic damage in the House of Representatives. The possibility was high that it would have been more difficult for the forces in favor of constitutional change to gain two thirds of the House of Representatives – for which there was a long-awaited opportunity at that time. Furthermore, the Abe administration would have been regarded by the world in the same light as Hashimoto if the LDP and Japan Restoration Party formed an alliance, and would have been blasted as an extreme-right government. Therefore, there was no choice but to abandon the dissolution, and the alliance with the NKP was continued.
On the morning of May 29, the chief secretaries of the LDP and NKP, together with the chairman of the Diet Affairs Committee, determined that the House of Councillors election will take place on July 21. Abe’s statement on Yomiuri Television on May 29 was likely based on this determination. Considering that, one can see the reason behind Abe’s strange comment about “working calmly.” The Japan Restoration Party approval rating declined due to Hashimoto’s statement, so there was no longer any benefit for the LDP in an alliance. Perhaps both parties decided to join together once again because of fear of what would happen if the NKP was cut off.
Another part of the background behind the abandonment of the double election is barriers put up by the U.S. Due to the rising stock prices and falling yen caused by Abenomics, it seemed unlikely that the Abe Cabinet’s approval rating would decline. If a double election had taken place, the LDP would have gained a complete victory in both houses, which would bring Japan one step closer to reforming the constitution and creating a decent country. The U.S. and China both recognize that Japan, as a respectable country, would be a threat. The U.S. felt apprehensive, so it put some sort of pressure on China to cease provoking Japan further about the Senkaku Islands issue. The reason is because the LDP approval rating grows, and Japan becomes more conservative, as this provocation increases. On June 2 the People’s Republic of China deputy chief of the general staff stated that the Senkaku Islands possession issue should be shelved, which was likely the result of pressure from the U.S. A transparent glass wall was put up by the U.S., which does not approve of Japan gaining independence. This wall served as an impediment, crushed the Japan Restoration Party, and has led to violent fluctuations in stock prices.
Since the formation of the Abe government, stock prices were rising and the yen continued dropping favorably. If things continued in that way, the approval rating for the Abe administration would have increased. It is thought that the U.S. mobilized hedge fund managers buy stocks, and then turn around and short sell them. Once the stock prices had decreased, they were bought again, and this process was then repeated. Enormous profit was gained in this way, and people also became concerned about the Abenomics economic policies. However, if demarcations are made regarding ups and downs in stock prices, they will grow and this trend will continue in the future, and the Japanese economy is on the road to steady recovery.
Rather than being agitated by violently fluctuating stock prices, I hope Abe will take a solid stance and manage his administration while keeping an eye on world affairs. A large issue is how to persuade the U.S. and maintain a good relationship. It would be possible to rid Japan of the postwar regime – in other words, achieve independence from the U.S. To that end, we must teach about Japan’s history that is worthy of pride, based on correct historical textbooks. The many citizens that are anti-Japanese just because they don’t know any better must be made to have a true historical viewpoint. Furthermore, we must cease unconditional belief in the reports of the media that is strongly influenced by the U.S. and China, such as the Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK), Nikkei Shimbun, and Asahi Shimbun.
The decision to hold off on a double election was unavoidable in order to prevent bashing of Abe caused by bashing of Hashimoto. Now is the time to be patient. The LDP should aim to hold a double election three years from now, when the House of Representatives term ends in overlap with the next House of Councillors. Furthermore, the Abe administration should strive to be a long-lived one through steady accomplishments.
Hidenao Nakagawa, the former chief secretary of the LDP, authored a book entitled The Collapse of a Bureaucratic Nation. He wrote about a “stealth complex” centered on graduates from the University of Tokyo Faculty of Law and composed of bureaucrats, people from legal circles, large companies, and the mass media – a network that takes part in shrewd cooperation with the U.S. and is the American vanguard for indirect rule. There was not enough wariness against this during the first Abe administration of five years ago, and things took place all at once. The Abe government came to a standstill after just one year due to opposition from both the U.S. and this stealth complex. We must not allow this to happen again.
Now Abe says he will follow the Kono and Murayama Statements, while also stating that he highly regretted not being able to visit Yasukuni Shrine during his previous administration. Yet even though 168 National Diet members and four current cabinet ministers – the largest number ever – visited the annual festival, Abe just made an offering without visiting himself. At the same time, he announced that he will appoint a minister in charge of remains collection and devote great energy to that task.
To be victorious in the double election three years from now, Abe should avoid direct engagement in the issues that have been the targets of past criticism. Rather, he should continue making Japan more conservative with a detour strategy from the rear. Based on the concept that Japan’s greatest ability is its “soft power,” drastic monetary easing and regulatory reforms should be taken to break free from deflation, and investment tax reductions should be put in place as well. At the same time, floor space ratios in central Tokyo should be raised. National strategy special zones should be established, and nuclear power plants should be re-started. Other efforts should include overseas exports and the usage of the deep underground. In this way, policies should be put in place to increase the gross national income (GNI) per person by 1.5 million yen by 10 years in the future.
A double election should take place in three years, the LDP should win a great victory, and the constitution should be revised. After gaining power in this way, the Murayama and Kono Statements on baseless topics such as the Nanking Massacre and comfort women issue should be revised. The economy should of course be grown, and the national income should be increased. In this way, the national public opinion for constitutional reform could be cultivated over three years, and then a plan could be made. If that were done, there would be no need to begin by revising Article 6; we could start by proposing a “citizens’ plan” and holding a national referendum. Japan should also strengthen its ties with adjacent major nations since as India, Indonesia, Russia, and China. While maintaining our alliance with the U.S., Japan – located between a withdrawing U.S. and expanding China – should act to create a balance of power in Asia.
When I was reading the June 15 issue of Toyo Keizai the other day, there was a column entitled “World Viewpoint” by Richard Katz, the editor of The Oriental Economist Report who lives in New York. I suspect he read the English translation of “Big Talk” with Representative Hakubun Shimomura (before he became the minister of education, culture, sports, science and technology) in the December 2012 issue of this magazine. I will summarize his article entitled “The inexplicable media that champions the Abe administration” below.
Katz reproaches the Japanese media for being negligent in its judgments of Abe, saying, “The Japanese media is known for starting to speak negatively of the prime minister several months after he takes office. However, Abe has been given an unbelievable ‘free pass’ for six months.”
Katz also mentions the prime minister’s statement in response to a question in the Diet on whether the Murayama Statement naming Japan’s actions as an “invasion” has merit or not. Underneath the title of, “Prime Minister Abe’s statement that shook the Japan-U.S. relationship,” his criticism was, “The declaration in the National Diet that this is an issue for historians, not politicians, is in fact a refusal to reconfirm the content of the Murayama Statement.” In this way, he asked for the Japanese media to be critical of Abe.
He also wrote:
The Japanese media has not investigated why many close associates of the prime minister have extreme, revisionist views. For example, in a 2012 interview Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Hakubun Shimomura said, “Abe should declare that the Nanking Massacre did not take place and that the comfort women issue does not exist. He should fully repudiate the Tokyo Trials historical viewpoint, and should visit Yasukuni Shrine.” The person conducting this interview was Toshio Motoya, an important person in the real estate world who has a relationship with the prime minister. In 2008, the magazine published by Motoya conferred the Grand Prize on Toshio Tamogami for an essay he wrote. Tamogami, who was appointed as chief of staff of Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force during the first Abe Cabinet, was dismissed for claiming that Japan was drawn into World War II according to a careful plan by the U.S. However, he frequently appears at official occasions with the Abe, such as rallies for the prime minister.
In this way, Kratz attacked the Japanese media for not criticizing what Shimomura and I talked about in Big Talk, and for the fact that this representative – who claims that history should be revised – has become a minister.
I feel that this is an example of criticizing and removing people who have true views of modern history by calling them “extreme revisionists” – the true character of the U.S., a fundamentalist Protestant nation. The final mission of the president – a monotheist Christian who places his hand on the Bible and takes an oath at his presidential inauguration – is to make the entire world into Christians.
The Abe administration should not yield to internal or external criticism. In the next three years, which will be a Golden Age, I hope Japan will build its soft power and foment a national public opinion towards constitutional reform. The Shoheijuku school that I supervise will provide full support to the Abe government as well.
10:10 a.m., June 21, 2013 (Friday)