Shinzo Abe has said that being unable to visit Yasukuni Shrine during his first term as prime minister is a huge regret for him. Since he was elected to the position of prime minister for the second time, he has acted as if he would like to visit Yasukuni Shrine. However, he merely presented a cash offering to the shrine, a fact which the Chinese side was given notice of in advance. Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, and Minister for Foreign Affairs Fumio Kishida also did not visit Yasukuni Shrine on August 15, the anniversary of the end of World War II.
Recently, Abe has clearly been implementing a detour strategy. He is avoiding frontal conflict in consideration of China, Korea, and the United States regarding numerous problems that have made him the target of criticism in the past. At the same time, he appointed Yuji Sato as the first dyed-in-the-wool Japan Coast Guard commandant and assigned Major General Jun Nagashima as the first cabinet secretariat who is a uniformed personnel member. Moreover, he appointed Ichiro Komatsu, the former ambassador to France who agrees with the right to collective defense, as the director-general of the Cabinet Legislation Bureau. In these and other ways, he is working to establish a structure in which he can realize his own beliefs in the realm of personnel.
In defense principles Abe has written that the Japan Coast Guard will be given marine force functions. During the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) administration last year, the joint exercises by the U.S. and Japan were cancelled for political reasons (opposition from China). But with the establishment of the Abe government, the U.S. has firmly denied the tenacious requests from the Chinese government to cancel these activities. The three Japan Self-Defense Forces (land, sea, and air) and the U.S. Armed Forces have held exercises in California on amphibious tactics for the recovery of isolated islands (forays at dawn). In these and other ways, increasingly conservative policies are being implemented steadily.
The general section of the morning edition of the Sankei Shimbun newspaper on August 8 contained a column entitled, “Japan mounts an attack with its claims about the A-bomb issue.” It made serious statements about Abe’s speech and actions:
On August 6, Abe gave greetings at the Peace Memorial Ceremony held in Hiroshima City, saying, “We, the Japanese people, are the citizens of the only country in the world that has been the victim of nuclear bombing during a war. It is our mission to continue conveying the inhuman nature of these bombs to future generations.” He drew attention for his censure – using the phrase “inhuman” – of the dropping of the atomic bombs. The ceremony was also attended by U.S. Ambassador to Japan John V. Roos, and it is possible to say that Abe made a mild feint towards the U.S. in regards to this historical issue.
After the end of the Cold War, the Soviet Union – the major rival of the U.S. – disappeared. The warfare afterwards has been in the field of economics. Considering Japan as an enemy, the U.S. has used its past intelligence agencies and industrial espionage to begin official activities. At the same time, it has placed many unreasonable demands on Japan to weaken its economy via “global standards” and the U.S.-Japan Regulatory Reform and Competition Policy Initiative. Consequently, Japan’s GDP hasn’t grown at all for the past 20 years.
Anybody who thought logically would see that the theory that 300,000 people were killed in Nanking, as well as the comfort women (sexual slavery) issue, are not part of reality. The background of this is the Tokyo Trials historical view that was forced on Japan by the U.S., who will not permit any revisions of history. The meaning of Abe’s statement shows his will to criticize the inhuman actions carried out by the U.S. in Hiroshima and Nagasaki – which can rightly be called a crime against humanity – if it continues backing China and Korea, who have extreme views on the Senkaku Islands and comfort women issues. Up until now, such criticism has been kept quiet.
On the same day (August 6), a launching ceremony was held for the Izumo, the largest Maritime Self-Defense Forces ship in history. This escort vessel is 20 meters longer than the Hiryu (an official aircraft carrier of the former Imperial Japanese Navy), and it would not be an exaggeration to describe it as an aircraft carrier as well. Abe dispatched Aso to this ceremony. This schedule could not have been accidental. A ship of the same name that belonged to the former Japanese Navy won battles in the Sea of Japan and helped save survivors from the Rurik armored cruiser that had sunk. These actions were greatly praised in Japan and throughout the world, and this cruiser was the pride of the Japanese navy. The new Izumo is an aircraft carrier-type vessel equipped with helicopters only, but it could probably be slightly remodeled for F-35 vertical takeoff and landing aircraft (VTOL) and Osprey aircraft, which have been determined as the main fighters in the next term.
China purchased the Varyag aircraft carrier from the Ukraine via a merchant in Macao. Even the engine had been removed so this ship could not be used as an aircraft carrier, and China said it would use it as a casino. However, it was remodeled and went into commission last year (in 2012) as the Liaoning, China’s first aircraft carrier. However, there is said to be an issue with insufficient propulsive power, and that aircraft fully loaded with weapons and fuel are unable to take off. The Liaoning is an inferior ship that cannot be compared to the Izumo.
Having Aso attend this launching ceremony is one message from the prime minister expressing the inhuman nature of the atomic bombs. I think Abe is making clever judgments by bringing the world to the same level, and is reliably guiding Japan towards becoming a decent country.
Edward Snowden is a former CIA staff member who exposed the information collection activities of American state institutions, which used interception and monitoring. He left Hong Kong, which is controlled by China, and fled to Russia. After staying for more than one month in the transit area of an airport in Moscow, he was allowed to reside for one year in Russia. This escape reads like a play that was scripted from the start, based on the conditions of handing over his vast amount of American strategy information to China and Russia.
As is also indicated in Snowden’s indictments, information strategy warfare throughout the world has grown harsher since the advent of the Internet society. China and the U.S. reproach each other, saying the other country is the mastermind of cyber attacks, but both are certainly carrying out such attacks. In addition to the collection and analysis of information – including intercepted data – confusing information is spread, and cyber attacks are mounted against the computer servers of other countries. This is a normal part of national security guarantees in the modern era. The problem is that Japan is not threatened by this reality.
We should promptly create a system in which, at least, television programs, newspaper articles, and other public information in the languages of countries that can impact Japan can be gathered and analyzed. Erroneous reports and those that censure Japan should be refuted, and a request should be made for amendment, within 24 hours. We must also construct a structure that allows us to engage in immediate counterattacks against cyber terrorism. A stance of waiting until the truth becomes clear – and a compassionate attitude of assuming that the other party has reasons for his or her actions – is something that only works inside Japan. The actual conditions in the world, where survival of the fittest applies, are much more cool-headed.
Japan should respond to this by quickly creating an information and publicity institution with a yearly budget of 300 billion yen and 3,000 people. Together with gathering and analyzing information from across the world, we should probably build a structure that allows us to make immediate counterattacks as a measure against cyber terrorism.
The U.S. has been forced to withdraw from Iraq, and will also unavoidably withdraw from Afghanistan next year. After that, it will rapidly decline in terms of its economy, military, and government. As a response, China and Russia are strengthening their cooperation just like the structure that existed during the Cold War. The first Chinese/Russian joint army exercises using weapons were held in August in the Ural region of Russia.
Vladimir Putin became the president for the second time this year, but his approval rating is declining steadily. Oil and natural gas exports are the foundation of the Russian economy. However, shale gas development in the U.S. is taking place at a rapid pitch, and it is certain that the U.S. will someday change from a country that consumes energy to one that produces it. Attention is also being paid to methane hydrate; Japan is carrying out surveys and technological development with the target of commercial production starting from 2019. Considering these things, it is sure that Russia’s predominant position as a resource-supplying country will become unstable in the future. Both Russia and China – where, it is now known, the local governments have vast amounts of bad debt and a major economic downturn has begun – are quickly approaching the time when they will have to bet on their survival. In the end, I suspect that Russia will be vigilant against the expanding China and will attempt to join hands with Japan.
The August 2013 issue of the magazine Sentaku (“Choices”) contained an article entitled, “The tragedy of China’s quickly weakening economy.” Worthy of notice is that, “The leadership of President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang has clearly shown the world the problems that would have traditionally been kept concealed, including the sharp rise in short-term interest rates, year-on-year export decline, and slowing growth rate.” These circumstances are becoming quite serious. The Xi Jinping administration must square off against many issues: power struggles inside the Chinese Communist Party, disparities between rich and poor, and more than 100,000 riots each year in response to inequality and political corruption. Many local governments have debt that they are unable to repay; there are many different theories about the sum total, but it is surely from one to three trillion dollars. China may have debt default three times the size of Japan’s national budget. China is ailing and waning for these reasons.
Japan has spent 20 years squaring its account after the bubble burst, and its GDP is finally turning towards expansion. In the future, even if Japan raised its consumption tax by 3%, the GDP would continue growing if personal income tax were reduced by around 3%. In this way, Japan could aim to once again become the world’s second largest economic power. From this point on Japan should work to refine its “soft power,” contribute to the world with its economic strength, and become a decent country that is highly estimated throughout the world.
The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), led by Abe, won a great victory in this summer’s House of Councillors election. I expect that no elections on national politics will be held for the next three years. Three years from now, it is very probable that the LDP will be victorious once again if both houses were dissolved and a double election was held. A Golden Age in Japan will be ushered in during these three years. The Tokyo Olympic Games (which I believe will be decided soon), the designation of Mt. Fuji as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the effects of the Tokyo Skytree, and other factors will draw tourists from throughout the world. The number of foreign visitors to Japan will of course exceed 10 million during this period, and I think it will reach the level of 20 million in the near future. I also believe that a major tourism boom will occur in which the number of domestic grows due to economic stimulation via the “Abenomics” economic policies.
APA Group has been implementing “Summit Five” – its five-year, medium-term plan – from April 2010. Our target is to construct 50 hotels in central Tokyo by the year 2015. Three years and four months have already passed since the plan was determined; up until now we have acquired sites for 30 hotels and have opened 16. All of these have monthly operating ratios of close to 100%. Tourism will definitely becoming a driving force in Japan’s future economic growth, and APA Group will shoulder part of this burden.
The LDP – which will be triumphant in the double election three years from now – probably hopes that Abe will govern for five years, just like Yasuhiro Nakasone and Junichiro Koizumi. If he lasted more than five years, people in the party would start complaining. His successor will be important, so I definitely hope Abe will pick a female successor. There are many female candidates for prime minister, such as Policy Research Council Chairman Sanae Takaichi and Minister for Administrative Reform Tomomi Inada, who were the first cabinet ministers to proclaim that they would visit Yasukuni Shrine this year and then do so. I believe Abe’s mission is to open up a path to having a female prime minister after placing checks on the U.S. while simultaneously maintaining a friendly relationship with the U.S. and bringing up its responsibility for the atomic bombs, revising the constitution during his term, altering the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security Between the United States and Japan (U.S.-Japan Security Treaty) into an equal treaty of mutual benefit, and transforming Japan into a decent country.
The next election will be held in 2016, which is the year of the presidential election in the U.S. If the Republican Party took political power from the Democratic Party in that election, the circumstances would be ideal for Japan to revise its constitution at that timing and start work on revising the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty.
Looking at the history between Japan and the U.S., Commodore Matthew Perry came to Japan in his “black ships” in 1853. Then-president Franklin Pierce, a Democrat, is the one who forced the shogunate to open the country to the world. The U.S. supported Japan in various ways during the Russo-Japanese war from 1904 to 1905. However, the president at that time was Republican Theodore Roosevelt. President William Howard Taft, who approved Japan’s annexation of Korea (1910) and the recovery of tariff autonomy (1911), was also a Republican. Manchukuo was founded in 1932, when Republican Herbert Hoover was president. Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt, an extreme racist, made a public promise that the U.S. would not participate in the war in Europe, despite the appeal from England, its ally. He won the presidential election that year based on this promise. To help England, he constricted Japan economically with the American-British-Chinese-Dutch (ABCD) encirclement. He provoked Japan with the Hull Note, effectively a declaration of war (this note was written by Harry Dexter White, who was revealed as a Komintern spy afterwards and committed suicide). Together with participating in Europe’s war from behind, he started warfare with Japan to gain hegemony in the Pacific Ocean – the dearest wish of the U.S. since Perry’s arrival. It also worked to weaken Japan and Germany, which had hindered Joseph Stalin’s ambition to communize the world.
After Roosevelt’s death, Democratic Harry Truman – who was also an extreme racist – assumed the office of president. Germany and Japan had weakened, and the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union had begun since the closing days of World War II. To establish global hegemony in the postwar period, the U.S. ignored multiple signals from Japan (via Sweden, Switzerland, the Vatican, the Soviet Union, and other parties). Japan wanted reconciliation, and its only condition was the duration of the Emperor System. The U.S. delayed this issue and then dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki as a restraint on the Soviet Union. In addition, during the American occupation of Japan, the U.S. placed responsibility for the war on the Emperor of Japan. To ensure that it would not be questioned about its responsibility for dropping the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it forced a constitution on Japan that can be described as a masochistic one.
After the war, Okinawa was returned to Japan according to its heartfelt wish when Richard Nixon (a Republican) was president in 1972. Looking at history, it is clear that the Republican Party governments have had a pro-Japanese stance, while the Democratic Party administrations have had an anti-Japanese one.
The American president during the long-term Nakasone administration was Republican Ronald Reagan, while Republican George Bush was in power during the Koizumi administration. President Bush proposed visiting Yasukuni Shrine together with Koizumi, but Koizumi declined this invitation. If they had visited the shrine together, I don’t think the issue would have been prolonged until today. When Democrat Barack Obama became president in 2008, the effects even reached Japan. The DPJ – which is nothing more than a benefit society for winning elections and is thoroughly incapable of governing – gained political power in 2010.
Since the end of World War II, Japan has constantly been made to face invisible barriers put up by the U.S. So that the U.S. could still be seen as a “good country” even after its dropping of the atomic bombs, Japan had to be seen as a bad one. The U.S. established this historical viewpoint via the Tokyo Trials; any changes afterward have been called “historical revisionism” and are fully prohibited.
But a soft counterattack has finally begun through Abe’s use of the word “inhuman” at the ceremony in Hiroshima. As the U.S. declines and China expands, if the Republic Party gained control of the government in the election three years from now, it is highly possible that the U.S. will approve the revision of Japan’s constitution and the U.S.-Japan Security so that Japan can be responsible for security guarantees in East Asia. Japan must not let this chance go by. I wish to guide the public opinion in a respectable, conservative direction via this essay contest, the essay contest I hold, the Shoheijuku school, and my new column that is being published in Yukan Fuji (“Evening Fuji”).
1:20 a.m., August 16, 2013 (Friday)