The revised national referendum act was approved and enacted at the House of Councillors plenary session on June 13. This law finally determined a specific process spanning from deliberations in the National Diet to proposals to citizens, national referendums, and constitutional reform, 67 years after the constitution was enacted.
However, the actual state of affairs, as described by the headline of the Yomiuri Shimbun morning edition on June 14, is that high hurdles exist to this end. It is extremely difficult to obtain approval from two thirds or more of the members of both houses ? something no political party has been able to accomplish in the postwar era. Moreover, a majority vote in favor is required during a national referendum, so it seems appropriate to say that constitutional change is essentially impossible.
The Shinzo Abe administration was inaugurated 1.5 years ago and still has the support of the people. It attempted to change the provision of two thirds or more of all National Diet members (as stipulated in Article 96 of the constitution) to a majority in order to accomplish the constitutional reform that has long been this administration’s dearest wish. However, this proved to be quite challenging as well. Now, the trend has become one of attempting to revise the constitution to include clear statements about environment rights (the right to live in a favorable environment) and national emergency powers (for responding to situations of emergency) ? rights for which it is easy to gain the understanding of citizens. However, is this enough?
The Wikipedia entry for the Constitution of Japan reads:
The Japanese government accepted the Potsdam Declaration on August 15, 1945. In effect, it was obligated to reform the constitution because of the demands of this declaration, including the unconditional surrender of the Japanese Army, strengthened revival of the democratic movement in Japan, respect for fundamental human rights, peaceful government, and determination of a government by the free will of the people. Underneath the control of the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers (GHQ), the Constitutional Revision Draft was created during the period when Japan was occupied by the Allied army. The draft of the new constitution that was drawn up afterwards, according to the constitutional reform procedures in Article 73 of the Constitution of the Empire of Japan (Meiji Constitution), was deliberated by the 90th Imperial Diet on May 16, 1946. It was promulgated as the Constitution of Japan on November 3 and enacted six months later.
Article 73 of the Meiji Constitution reads, “When it has become necessary in future to amend the provisions of the present Constitution, a project to that effect shall be submitted to the Imperial Diet by Imperial Order.” It is hard to say that this Imperial Order process was followed.
On the other hand, the GHQ issued a press code on September 19, 1945, one month after the end of the war. This press code prohibited criticisms of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, which had not even begun at that point. “Criticisms of the GHQ’s drafting of the Constitution of Japan” is also clearly defined as a prohibited item; the GHQ had decided to create the Japanese constitution by itself from the first.
I wrote an essay about this press code in the April 2014 issue of Apple Town, entitled, “The Anti-Japanese Media Cannot Break the Press Code Curse.” National Diet member Mio Sugita, a member of the Japan Restoration Party, read this essay. She mentioned the press code in a question at the House of Representatives’ Committee on the Cabinet on April 11. When she asked if the press code was still valid, Koichi Mizushima (counsellor, minister’s secretariat, Ministry of Foreign Affairs) answered, “The press code was invalidated when the San Francisco Peace Treaty came into effect.”
However, this is not true. The mass media ? including major newspapers and television stations ? has never reported on the press code. Since this is not discussed in news articles, I decided to break this prohibition via an advertisement, and ran an ad in the Sankei Shimbun on April 12, 2014 ? the fist time the 30 items of the press code have been published in the mass media. Item eight of the press code prohibits criticisms of Korean people, while item nine prohibits criticisms of China. Because the media has been unable to break the curse of the press code and has adhered to it, China has spread propaganda about the fabricated Nanking Massacre and stirred up tensions about the Senkaku Islands, which are Japanese territory. Koreans make false claims, saying that 200,000 “comfort women” were forced into sexual slavery and forcibly transported. Koreans have popularized this story throughout the world because Japan has not been able to make a valid rebuttal, and comfort women statues have even been erected in the United States.
The U.S., which created the Constitution of Japan and U.S.-Japan Security Treaty as a set, wanted to prevent Japan from becoming a strong country once again so that it would always have to depend on the U.S. To that end, the U.S. purposefully created points of conflict between Japan and its neighboring countries. When World War II ended via Japan’s acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration, the U.S. ? which possessed the only nuclear weapons in the world ? had no military enemies. Therefore, it is likely that today’s Northern Territories issue would not exist if the U.S. had not approved the Soviet Union’s invasion of the four northern islands. Japan and the Soviet Union would probably have restored diplomatic relations and concluded a treaty of friendship. However, in reality the Northern Territories is a thorn in the side of Japan and Russia, who have still not been able to conclude a treaty of friendship. During the Korean War in 1952, South Korean President Syngman Rhee (an American puppet) drew the “Syngman Rhee Line” and began saying that Takeshima, located inside this line, was a Korean territory. The U.S. gave tactic consent to this. Accordingly, conflict over Takeshima continues between Japan and South Korea even today. Regarding the Senkaku Islands as well, even though Japan has effective control, the U.S. has not stated whose territory the islands are. This has led to deepening conflict between Japan and China. These things vividly show that the U.S. wanted to contain Japan forever.
No other prime minister has accomplished as many things as Abe has over his short term of just 1.5 years. In addition, no prime minister has stated his views so clearly. Abe also understands the importance of international propaganda warfare. The June 14 morning edition of the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper ran an article entitled, “The real circumstances of propaganda warfare in politics 6: Japan switches to proactive rebuttals.” It read:
On a June 6 Australian public broadcast TV program, Ambassador to Australia Yoshitaka Akimoto said in an interview, “Tension between neighboring countries is growing in the East China Sea and South China Sea. Japan is concerned that attempts are being made to unilaterally and forcibly change the present condition through the use of military power.” He avoided giving any names, but this was a way to contain China, which is strongly advancing into the ocean. One week before, the May 30 edition of Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant published a contribution by Ambassador to the Netherlands Masaru Tsuji. Tsuji gave a careful explanation about Abe’s concept of “proactive pacifism,” which included the statement, “This is not a policy switch. Japan’s foundation as a peaceful nation ? which has supported the 70 years since the end of World War II ? is unchangeable.” Since the beginning of 2014, there are more examples of ambassadors stationed across the world proactively sharing information via the local media. Last month, The New York Times published an editorial criticizing reinterpretations of the constitution related to Abe’s aim of the right to collective defense. At that time, Ambassador to the U.S. Kenichiro Sasae immediately lodged an objection.
I believe this should be carried even further; Japan should establish a new “Ministry of Information” with a yearly budget of 300 billion yen and 3,000 personnel. This ministry should check information published in all languages throughout the world, and should be able to refute any information within 24 hours in the local language.
The main battleground in conflicts of force in the international society is not warfare via military power; it involves economic warfare, propaganda battles, and information strategy warfare. The Japanese ambassadors have switched to making proactive objections, but these ambassadors are elite figures who were victorious in entrance examinations ? contests of rote memory ? and have never been taught how to debate. The reality of the world is based on the logic of power, and the strongest party ends up winning. People engage in many quarrels, and the party with greater physical strength makes others abide by his rules.
The revised act on regional education administration was passed in the House of Councillors on June 13. This includes the establishment of a new post called “superintendent of education” integrating two current posts: the current education chairman, who is mutually elected by education board members, and the superintendent of education, who is appointed by a board of education. The regional chief executive will become able to make direct appointments and dismissals with the agreement of the assembly. I hope to see superintendents of education that reflect the intentions of regional chief executives, making it possible to reform the mistaken postwar educational system.
World affairs are changing greatly due to China’s military prominence and the inward-facing attitude of the Democratic Barack Obama government in the U.S. Obama made an international pledge regarding the Syrian civil war that the U.S. would conduct an air strike in Syria if chemical weapons were used, but when this actually happened he hesitated to conduct the aerial bombing, saying it was not clear whether the government or antigovernment forces had used the chemical weapons. Consequently, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS; a Sunni organization in Iraq) has expanded its sphere of influence. Fighting in Baghdad, the capital city, has become to seem much more real. Despite its temporary denial of dispatching ground troops, the U.S. was forced to decide to dispatch up to 300 military advisors. However, the scale of this dispatch suggests the U.S. is abandoning its past role as policeman of the world.
Seeing the Obama administration, which was only able to determine this small action, various forces have begun taking action across the world. This includes President Vladimir Putin, who snatched the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine, and China, which willfully determined an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) that includes the Senkaku Islands and scrambled aircraft in response to Japanese Self-Defense Force (JSDF) aircraft entering this ADIZ, resulting in near-midair collisions. Moreover, China is also enhancing its antagonism with the Philippines and Vietnam in the South China Sea.
Abe has reflected on his first term as prime minister, so he is not directly forcing things to go his way. Rather, he is implementing a skillful detour strategy. Abe visited Yasukuni Shrine, and it seems likely that the right to collective defense can be achieved, even with a fair amount of limitations in consideration of the New Komeito Party (NKP).
However, these limits are tricky. If limits were placed on the right to collective defense through compromise, it’s likely that enemies would attempt to attack Japan via methods that did not conflict with these limits. The creation of limits definitely puts all of Japan’s cards on the table. Unlike the armies of other countries, which can do anything except what is on the negative list, the JSDF can only do what is determined by the positive list. Despite the JSDF’s excellent equipment and highly trained troops, it is bound hand and foot and can take no effective actions. Independent nations are capable of waging war; countries that can wage war are not drawn into battles. This is the same principle by which strong people are not bullied. A balance of power ensures peace. Even though offensive abilities serve as deterrence, Japan has left this up to the U.S. and the JSDF has a stance of nonaggressive defense. This means it cannot protect Japan in an emergency.
The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) under Abe has accomplished a fair amount, but it is bound by too many shackles (including the NKP) when it comes to making great strides as a leading conservative power. Toshio Tamogami, who won the Grand Prize in the 1st Annual True Interpretations of Modern History essay contest sponsored by APA Group, gave a special lecture in Sao Paulo, Brazil entitled, “To create a new Japan.” It was also published as an article in a local Sao Paulo newspaper. Right after he returned to Japan, Tamogami declared that he would form the new “Japan Genuine Conservative Party.” He has begun preparing to stand at the head of the conservative powers towards the national election ? which people say will be a double election ? that will take place two years from now. Tamogami is resolved to the fact that a farther right Japan Genuine Conservative Party must serve as an icebreaker to ensure the LDP boat captained by Abe doesn’t share the fate of the Titanic. I also intend to provide extensive support.
When the Japanese economy was stronger than it is now, China and South Korea did not bring up historical issues to criticize Japan. The criticism regarding visits to Yasukuni Shrine and the comfort women issue began when the Japanese economy grew weaker. Considering this, the policy of the Japan Genuine Conservative Party is 1) The economy, 2) The economy, 3) and 4) The economy, and 7) Diplomacy and security guarantees (there is no 5 or 6). For security guarantees, Japan should first obtain diplomatic force via bargaining power, and then gain military strength as backup. It will be important for Japan to gain “soft power” via its economic strength. If Japan is bound by the current constitution, it will not be able to enhance its soft power and its economic strength will not grow. To this end, I believe the best method would be establishing an independent constitution.
To enhance Japan’s economic strength, the first pressing task is re-starting the nuclear power plants that have been shut down with no legal basis. Because of this, Japan has been forced to pay surplus oil charges to the major oil companies to the tune of 3.6 trillion yen per year, which is dragging down the economy. Nuclear plants that meet a determined safety standard should be swiftly restarted. Nuclear power is essential because Japan must decentralize its energy source risk. Roughly 90% of Japan’s fossil fuel, including oil and natural gas, passes through the Strait of Hormuz. Nearby, the U.S. Fifth Fleet is based in Bahrain and the Third Fleet is deployed in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait, where they are responsible for regional stability.
However, the U.S. is depending less on resources from the Middle East because of the shale revolution, so it is losing interest in this region and no one knows when it will withdraw these forces. In that case, who will protect the Strait of Hormuz? I think Japan will be the country that must guard this sea-lane. We should regard the right to collective defense as a matter of course, and reform the constitution so that Japan can exercise the required military force as necessary. It is also essential for Japan to reduce its degree of dependence on the Strait of Hormuz. To that end, we have no choice but to re-start our nuclear plants. Moreover, because of the westerlies Japan is threatened by the increase of more inferior nuclear plants made by China and South Korea, which would also pose a danger to the entire world. Japan possesses the world’s leading nuclear technologies, so it should further refine its safety technologies and contribute to the world by rapidly exporting them across the globe.
Even though Japan urgently requires a new, independent constitution, if we abided by the provisions of the Constitution of Japan, it would be basically impossible to revise the constitution. The current constitution was originally established by the U.S., which acted contrary to international law that stipulates a country must not force permanent laws on a nation it is occupying. In that case, we should make all laws determined by the current constitution valid, stop the constitution because it is in violation of international law, and abide by the Meiji Constitution’s revision procedures to enact an independent constitution. Afterwards, laws that do not conform to the new constitution should be amended in succession.
The Japan Genuine Conservative Party should aim to acquire strong economic power and establish an independent constitution. As would be only natural for an independent nation with an independent constitution, the JSDF would be made into a national army and its main weapons and equipment should be produced in Japan. As the world’s GDP has doubled over the past 20 years, Japan’s GDP has not grown at all. Even if defense expenditures were the current figure of 1% or less, if Japan’s GDP grew at the average worldwide rate, the national defense budget could probably be doubled or increased even further. The U.S.-Japan Security Treaty should also be changed from a unilateral treaty to one of mutual benefit. Japan should introduce offensive weapons, enhance its deterrence, and probably obtain nuclear arms as well since it is located in East Asia ? the region across the world with the highest probability of nuclear warfare. First, Japan should consider introducing the nuclear sharing arrangement administered by the four NATO countries and the U.S. that allows the rental of nuclear arms. If a restrained country like Japan were to obtain nuclear arms and suitable military strength, it would contribute greatly to peace in East Asia.
The Japan Genuine Conservative Party should serve as a radical political party to make dignified assertions about the way Japan should be, which is something the current LDP cannot do. Today, the major problems in Japan are its mistaken education and incorrect media. These cannot be corrected underneath a coalition government of the LDP and NKP; this can only be accomplished under a conservative coalition government composed of pro-Japan politicians. I have continued publishing Apple Town, this magazine, for over 20 years, and I have conveyed the truth via these essays and my Big Talk interviews with influential persons from across the globe. I have also written many books, and my activities at the Shoheijuku schools in Tokyo, Osaka, and Kanazawa are expanding as well. At the party commemorating the publication of Japan Pride: A Proposal for Revival II on June 2, the more than 1,000 attendees included 17 ambassadors to Japan, 25 National Diet members, and other prominent figures from across the globe. Tamogami also gave a speech directly after the formation of his party.
Right before then, the Japanese Restoration Party inevitably dissolved along the line of east and west. It was basically a union of people with differing thoughts and beliefs, so this made perfect sense. The Japan Restoration Party probably wanted to join up with Yuinotoh and then the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), and to expand its influence as a major opposition party. This is the same as the former DPJ, which had no party platform because its policies were inconsistent. After being put in charge of the government due to it impossible public promises, the DPJ became a “benefit society” for winning elections that was deserted by the people. Today, people support parties that indicate a clear future for Japan. I suspect the Japan Genuine Conservative Party will collaborate with the political party formed by Shintaro Ishihara and Takeo Hiranuma, and I hope that it will join hands with other conservatives and provide indirect support to the Abe government.
3:00 p.m., June 25, 2014 (Wednesday)