On December 7, the front pages of all newspapers were covered with headlines about the establishment of the Act on Protection of Specified Secrets (Special Secrecy Law). The Sankei Shimbun also featured the subtitle “Your Party rebels against late-night voting.” It read as follows: The Special Secrecy Law, which strengthens penalties for government workers who leak highly classified information, was voted on in the House of Councillors plenary session late at night on December 6. It was passed and established with a majority vote by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and New Komeito Party (NKP). There were 130 votes in favor and 82 against. The Japan Restoration Party and Your Party left before the vote during this plenary session. However, a portion of the Your Party members remained at the House to show their opposition. The NKP withdrew once, and Akira Gunji (head of the Upper House caucus of the NKP) said the party would not approve steamroller voting. However, they returned to the House midway through and voted against this law. The Special Secrecy Law will be operated in a unified way with the National Security Council (NSC) that was founded in December in order to strengthen security guarantees in the realm of information. Up until now Japan has had no anti-espionage laws and has been regarded as a paradise for spies; foreign countries have hesitated to share confidential information for this reason. All countries have anti-espionage laws. Information provided by the United States and England will be required in the future for the smooth functioning of the NSC, and rules were necessary for this sharing. In the past there have been regulations in the National Public Service Act and Self-Defense Forces Act determining the illegality of information disclosure, but there were no laws to punish civilians who search for and steal confidential information via various methods. The Special Secrecy Law contains clear provisions on these matters. Article 24 of this law states: Persons who obtain special confidential information in order to receive fraudulent gains for oneself or gains for foreign countries, and with the goal of using it to harm the safety of the nation, the life of citizens, or the health of citizens, by stealing or destroying property, trespassing on facilities, intercepting wired telecommunications, taking actions to obtain unauthorized access (refers to actions to obtain unauthorized access as prescribed in Article 2, Paragraph 4 of the Act on the Prohibition of Unauthorized Computer Access [Act No. 128 of 1999]), or taking other actions to obstruct the control of persons who possess special confidential information – via actions to deceive, assault, or threaten people – shall be subjected to imprisonment of 10 or fewer years, or in some circumstances imprisonment of 10 or fewer years and a fine of 10 million or fewer yen. In this way, persons who acquire or attempt to acquire special confidential information – even if they did not actually commit the crime – can be punished. I think it was strange that a law of this sort did not exist in the first place.
Right now, we are shifting towards a “G-Zero” world in which no leaders exist. In the past the U.S. has ruled the world via its overwhelming great military strength, but this is coming to an end. President Barack Obama planned to carry out aerial bombing in Syria because Syria had used chemical weapons, but he could not obtain the approval of the British Parliament. Without the collaboration of Britain, Obama got cold feet. After acting in an aberrant way – such as asking for Parliamentary approval that was not actually required – Obama abandoned his plan of striking Syria in the end. Today, Americans are questioning the leadership of Obama. In the future, it will become even clearer that the U.S. is washing its hands of its past role as the world’s policeman. China, another major power, lacks the philosophies and qualifications to act as a leader. In the G-Zero world, each country will have to protect itself. The U.S. no longer needs to depend on oil from the Middle Eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia due to technological development in the field of shale gas and shale oil. It is being transformed from a country that imports resources to one that exports them. In contrast, Japan relies on overseas imports for most of its oil and natural gas, and 80 percent of Japan’s oil is transported through sea-lanes from the Middle East. The U.S. Fifth Fleet’s headquarters is located in Bahrain, where it works to maintain public order in the Middle East. However, as the U.S. needs fewer resources from the Middle East, it will probably think of reducing its military force in that region. It is certain that Japan will be required to play more of a military role in this region, which it has depended on for a long time. Considering this, Japan must urgently strengthen its military forces. In late November, China suddenly established an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) that included the airspace over the Senkaku Islands. Of course, this overlaps Japan’s traditional ADIZ. In December, South Korea also expanded its ADIZ, causing the ADIZs of the three countries to overlap. American Vice President Joe Biden met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on December 4, when he expressed his concern to Xi Jinping – saying that this sudden creation of an ADIZ had a grave impact – and asking for tensions to be eased. Biden’s stance matched that of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who said he would not tolerate China’s attitude when he met with Biden before his visit to China. They agreed to avoid strong arguments demanding the abolition of the ADIZ. When it established the ADIZ, China asked for prior announcements of flight plans for private aircraft that include its ADIZ; China declared that it was willing to take measures to enforce this rule against aircraft who did not submit flight plans, which increased tensions straightaway. The Japanese government asked Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways not to present flight plans to China, which is a justified measure towards not acknowledging the Chinese ADIZ. However, the U.S. pressed private airlines to submit flight plans to China, showing that the American and Japanese sides are not in step. ADIZs are connected to territorial disputes, so we cannot respond in a reconciliatory way. Because South Korea expanded its ADIZ after China, Japan is being drawn into conflict with these two countries. Japan must not remain an idle spectator; it must make stubborn protests against China’s inclusion of the Senkaku Islands – Japanese territory – in its ADIZ. It would be disadvantageous if South Korea and China compromised by approving each other’s expanded ADIZs, and if Japan was seen to be in support of this. In the first place, each country determines ADIZs regardless of its land territory or territorial waters. China’s attempt to set an ADIZ in order to incorporate the territory of another country is a violation of international law. Tension is growing at a steady pace in East Asia. The fundamental cause for this is the decline of American power, which China is taking advantage of. Japan will need to decrease its degree of dependence on the U.S. and protect itself via self-defense. The present era is no longer like the past, when Japan figured that peace could be maintained by relying on the U.S. because of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty and nuclear umbrella. Most Japanese citizens must quickly come to understand that peace is maintained through a balance of power. The Abe administration is steadily implementing the required measures to protect Japan, including the new NSC and the establishment of the Special Secrecy Law. I feel the execution of Abe’s concept of “proactive pacifism” – based on a balance of power – will become even more important.
Last week I visited Taiwan for the first time in a while, where I held a dialogue with former President Lee Teng-hui – our first in 11 years. He spoke in a profoundly thoughtful way about warfare: Before humankind discusses peace, we must speak of mankind’s thinking about war and peace. There are many discussions in which only the value judgments of the person speaking are put forward, such as “We must not wage war,” “We have no choice but to fight,” or “War is necessary.” However, we must consider how to actually accomplish peace in the real world. He also referred to the closing lines of War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. He said: I have clearly come to perceive that the causes of currently occurring historical incidents are caused by our lack of reason and understanding. When 500,000 people are slaughtered with the goal of killing millions of people, there is no way that the incident was caused by the will of a single person. So why have millions of people killed each other since the beginning of time, when we know this is evil in a corporeal and mental way? The reason is that wars are inevitable. In this way, humankind is enacting natural, zoological laws, just like honeybees that kill each other during the autumn season or male animals that fight to the death. There is no other answer to this terrible question. Lee Teng-hui believes that wars will be inevitable as long as humankind exists, in all times and places. Since World War II, Japan has served as a “showroom” for the West via the Cold War between the U.S. and Soviet Union; it became a model of economic prosperity, led by the U.S., to display to socialist countries. Japan also profited as others fought in the Korean War and Vietnam War that came after, which could be described as wars by proxy between the East and West. In this way, it accomplished rapid economic growth. But after the end of the Cold War, the U.S. changed its main enemy from the Soviet Union to Japan and Germany. It mobilized intelligence agencies and commenced an economic war to weaken Japan’s economic supremacy. Lee Teng-hui analyzes this as follows: To begin with, why did Japan fall into an economic slump of such length that it has been called the “lost 20 years?” We must go back in time to look at the Plaza Agreement of 1985. The yen exchange rate was around 250 yen to the dollar at that point, but it rose rapidly to nearly 120 yen at the end of 1987. The high-valued yen was a blessing to East Asian countries such as Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, and Hong Kong; they received funds and capital from Japanese corporations that could no longer carry out domestic business because of the high-valued yen. However, it was a major burden for Japan. From that point Japanese corporations have done everything they can to reduce costs and have continued manufacturing, but they came near to their limit in those ways as well. Before long, people in Japan began saying that the declining population was the cause of deflation, but this is a mistaken interpretation of the problem. There are four primary factors behind economic growth: domestic investment, exports, domestic consumption, and technological change (innovation). To Japan, exports are the most important. Japan has no resources, so in order to accomplish economic growth it has no choice but to import resources from other countries, create many new products, and export them overseas. The same applies to Taiwan. However, Japanese exports have grown sluggish due to the appreciation of the yen. To overcome this predicament, I have repeatedly advised that Japan has no choice but to resolutely cut the exchange rate.
In the past, leaders have hesitated to embark on policies to weaken the yen because they feared criticism from the U.S. and neighboring China and South Korea. This situation has changed greatly since the Abe administration’s adoption of Abenomics. As the yen’s value drops, in one year stock prices have doubled and exports have increased as well. Japan should grow as a nation that is a travel destination and leads the world in terms of advanced science and technology. Because Tokyo’s bid to hold the 2020 Olympic Games was successful, I suspect that tourists from across the world will come visit. South Korea is protesting against the cheap yen because it doesn’t understand that Japanese funding will disappear as more protests are made, which will lead to worsened economic circumstances in South Korea. Korean manufacturers such as Samsung have gained worldwide shares by creating products made with purchased Japanese parts. This provision would stop if the two countries’ relationship degenerated, and the South Korean economy might even collapse. Japan must become unified with East Asia and accomplish economic growth as a group of nations with common destinies. Japanese leaders of the past have been unable to do anything but cave to foreign pressure. Even in response to mistaken claims, Japan has listened to other nations that are interfering in its domestic affairs. Japan has even been unable to determine the content of its own textbooks due to the clauses about our neighboring countries. However, the Abe administration is responding in respectable ways to South Korea, which is taking a hard line against Japan underneath President Park Geun-hye, and China, which is fixated on the Senkaku Islands issue. I think the only way to maintain peace is to regain a balance of power in East Asia by responding to these two countries in a consistent fashion. The Asahi Shimbun reported a scoop that revealed the poor nature of the survey on which the Kono Statement was based. Namely, the “comfort women” were not enslaved; they were simply wartime prostitutes. The theory that they were moved forcibly and subjected to sexual slavery is groundless. Despite this, in the U.S. many statues of comfort women are being installed according to resolutions in local assemblies. This is absurd. Regarding the Nanking Massacre as well, it is clear that this incident is a false rumor created as a facet of the Kuomintang’s wartime information strategies, yet Japan continues making apologies. This led to the Murayama Statement and Kono Statement. Japan must throw off these shackles and declare that it will revoke these two statements. Friction with China and South Korea may grow temporarily, and disorder may occur, but we could deal with this by firmly transmitting information that is based in truth. The NSC and Special Secrecy Law were created in order to regain Japan’s strength. The recent roars of protest, focused on the mass media, have been truly bizarre. This fury over the enactment of a law to make Japan into a decent country is just like the clamor over the introduction of the V-22 Osprey, SARS, the new strains of pandemic influenza, and the nuclear accident. Japan has lost out on many of its national interests as the media stirs up people. The Japanese people in Japan with anti-Japanese sentiments, who wish to obstruct the efforts to make Japan into a respectable country, are likely the reason that Japan is the most anti-Japanese country in the world. We must create media outlets with good sense, and I hope the Abe government will not yield to the anti-Japanese forces as he reliably carries out each policy to make Japan into a proper country.
1:00 a.m., December 20 (Friday)