The top of the front page of the Nihon Keizai Shimbun’s morning edition on March 14 contained an article entitled, “The Nikkei Stock Average Reaches the 19,000-yen Level for the First Time in 15 Years: Changing Corporate Market Expectations and a Virtuous Cycle of Consumption Stimulus.” It read:
The market of high stock prices is speeding up even more. On March 13 the Nikkei Stock Average recovered to the 19,000-yen level for the first time since April 2000, nearly 15 years ago. Taking advantage of this improved performance, a series of corporations has begun using money for wage raises and growth investment. Expectations are growing regarding a virtuous cycle of stimulated consumption and improved business conditions. These corporate changes are attracting overseas money, which has served as the driving force in this quick-paced market of high stock prices.
The Nikkei Stock Average reached the 18,000-yen level on February 16 and achieved a rise in level in just 19 business days. This is a similarly rapid pace as the 1,000-yen rise in 18 business days directly after the new-dimension monetary easing by the Bank of Japan in the spring of 2013. Overseas money, which is overflowing in the market due to worldwide monetary easing, is heading towards Japanese stocks. The background to this includes expectations regarding change.
Thinking on the dollar basis, the current stock prices in Japan are still comparatively cheap. People in overseas countries can expect stock price rises in the future and can also aim to profit on currency exchange when the yen appreciates from now on. Looking at countries besides Japan, in the European economy the future prospects have been obscure since the Alexis Tsipras administration – which opposes strict fiscal restraint – took power in Greece. The economic circumstances are tenuous because of the bursting of the Russian and Chinese bubbles and cheap crude oil prices in oil-producing countries. It makes sense for money to concentrate in Japan due to these circumstances.
When Shinzo Abe became the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) president on September 26, 2012, the Nikkei Stock Average was 8,906 yen and the exchange rate was 77.72 yen to the dollar. As I write this essay, the Nikkei Stock Average is around 19,500 yen (2.18 times greater) and the exchange rate is roughly 121 yen to the dollar (43 yen cheaper). Japan has suffered from deflation due to political measures that were taken to strengthen the yen. Switching to policies to depreciate the yen has created a positive cycle in which stock prices have risen, asset effects are seen, and the economy is recovering.
APA Group began Summit Five, its summit strategy and medium-term, five-year plan, in April 2010 – 1.5 years after the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers. The first plan will conclude at the end of this March.
The original target was to increase the nationwide APA Hotel network to 40,000 rooms where guests earn APA Points by building 7,500 rooms (on the design basis) in the rectangular central Tokyo area surrounding the Imperial Palace and spanning from Ikebukuro in the north to Asakusa/Ryogoku in the east, Shinagawa in the south, and Shinjuku/Shibuya in the west. Another target was to increase the number of APA Card members to eight million people. Midway through we revised the target to 10,000 new rooms built in central Tokyo, bringing the nationwide total to 50,000. At present, we have already built 8,714 new rooms in this area for a total of 10,608 rooms, and have reached the nationwide total of 50,000 rooms. We have also achieved the APA Card target with 8.7 million members.
When we started this summit strategy, all Japanese financial institutions had of course ceased new loans due in the aftermath of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, and the withdrawal of loan credits was widespread. Some people even said this credit squeeze was going to totally destroy emerging Tokyo developers. However, APA Group had abundant funds and saw this as an opportunity to buy new properties in the central Tokyo area nearly every week, including locations that no major companies would buy (such as sites where land speculation had failed, sites with unusual topography, and small sites), sites one street off the main roads, and new properties around two to three minutes by foot from subway stations. We bought these all with cash we had on hand.After the inauguration of the Abe government, stock prices have rallied due to Abenomics (including new-dimension monetary easing) and the value of the yen has depreciated significantly. Tokyo won its bid to hold the 2020 Olympic Games in September 2013 and the Rugby World Cup will also be held in Japan in 2019. The government has decided on a policy to create an “integrated resort” (IR) centered on a new casino in either Osaka or Yokohama City. As a result, stock prices have risen drastically and the Japanese economy is making great advances towards the year 2020.
The tsunami that resulted from the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011 flooded the emergency power equipment at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, which cut off the electricity supply and made it impossible to cool the nuclear reactors. The fuel rods reached high temperatures, and the zirconium reacted with the coolant and produced hydrogen. This built up in the reactor buildings and caused a series of hydrogen explosions. This made the structures explode, but the nuclear reactor itself was not blown up like the Chernobyl accident. Despite this, the evaluation of the accident on the International Nuclear Event Scale – which was originally set at Level 5 – was later raised to Level 7, the same as Chernobyl. In the initial stage the government issued an evacuation order for an area shaped like a concentric circle. Yet the instructions were confusing, and they actually made people evacuate from upwind to downwind of the worst radioactive contamination.
The nearby Onagawa Nuclear Power Station, which was built in Japan, withstood the tsunami and there was no radiation leakage at all. So why did an accident occur at Fukushima Daiichi, which was made by the American company General Electric? According to product liability (PL) law, the American manufacturing company should be largely responsible for this. Yet the United States dispatched a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and shared videos of assiduous decontamination with the world without indicating the numerical values for the radiation exposure, which made many people think that Japan had suffered horrible radioactive contamination. The U.S. also incited uneasiness by ordering U.S. Armed Force officials providing assistance to not enter the 80-kilometer area around Fukushima Daiichi. Accordingly, many foreign residents evacuated to Kansai or returned to their home countries because they believed Tokyo was dangerous.
Rather than fomenting needless anxiety, our thinking should be based on scientific proof. The human body is capable of repairing damage and there are no impacts on health when exposed to low doses of radiation. In terms of medical knowledge, people in one part of Iran’s Ramsar region are exposed to 200 millisieverts of radiation yet they live healthy lives there. There are no cases of increased probability of cancer at doses of 100 millisieverts or less. Despite this, the evacuation standard is currently set at 20 millisieverts per year. People evacuated according to this standard include patients hospitalized for serious illnesses and elderly persons, and more than 3,000 people have died due to disaster-related causes. Was it truly necessary to make these people evacuate?
Then-Prime Minister Naoto Kan of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) stirred up as much anxiety as possible in order to prolong the life of his administration. The media took advantage of this, which has resulted in decontamination being conducted in all sorts of locations according to the ridiculous annual standard of one millisievert. Huge sums of money are also being spent to build super embankments that are from 10 to 15 meters high. Rather than building super embankments – which impede views and greatly harm both the tourism and the fishing industries – I have been advocating since directly after the earthquake that it would be more beneficial to construct six-story “disaster prevention condominiums” and rent them to people at low prices. They could serve as daily residences, and people could evacuate to the roof in the event of a tsunami. If we built these disaster prevention condominiums at 200-meter intervals, people who lived nearby would probably still have time to run to safety if they saw or heard a tsunami approaching.
The impacts caused by excess decontamination and super embankment construction are being felt across Japan today. Laborers from the Tohoku region, who previously came mainly to Tokyo to earn money, are staying in Tohoku to complete these tasks and earning high wages including danger pay. There is a nationwide labor shortage in the construction business for this reason, leading to steeply rising construction costs and delayed building times. More money is being wasted for the “highly contaminated” water stored in tanks. This water, with radioactivity of 190 becquerels per liter, is 10 times the Japanese radioactivity standard of 10 becquerels. Yet the American standard is 1,200 becquerels per liter and the European standard is 1,000 becquerels per liter. In the U.S. and Europe people brew coffee using what is regarded as highly contaminated water in Japan. I think we should cease these superfluous tasks such as tank storage and dilute the water by pouring it into the ocean.
From October to December the actual GDP increased by 0.4%, and the impacts of raising the consumption tax to 8% are fading. However, the economic recovery is best exemplified by APA Hotel’s favorable performance. The operating ratio of APA Hotels in Tokyo has steadily increased since Abenomics, and even now most hotels are maintaining a monthly ratio of 100%. This wave is spreading from Tokyo to Osaka, the western Japan area, Hokkaido, Hokuriku, and all over Japan. Because APA is administering a hotel network with more than 50,000 rooms (design basis) nationwide, this indicates that the economy is recuperating.
The number of foreign tourists to Japan reached 10 million in 2013 and is further increasing. The government’s aim is to increase the number of foreign tourists to 20 million by the Olympic Games, but it seems like the figure will exceed 25 million. Japan possesses the necessary elements for becoming a tourism-focused nation. It has good public order, people can walk around at night with peace of mind, the food is safe and delicious, and all transportation facilities are operated on schedule. Japan has beautiful nature in all four seasons and a long history, so it offers many things to see. In these and other ways – considering the fact that the annual number of foreign tourists visiting France is 85 million – it would not be at all strange for the number of foreign tourists to Japan to reach 30 or 40 million. Japan should make preparations to enter an era of tourism, and support should be given to the hotel industry such as increasing the floor space index for hotel sites by 20%. APA Group’s second medium-term, five-year plan – which will start on April 1 of this year – sets forth the target of 100,000 APA Hotel rooms across Japan and 15 million APA Card members.
In addition to tourism, the Japanese economy is led by advanced sciences and technologies and state-of-the-art medical technologies. The GDP would probably increase even more if these technologies – which have been offered at low prices up until now – were sold at reasonable prices. Japan’s future should be bright, but it is obstructed by low-level censure of the government, such as viewing the small political contributions given by corporations that receive subsidies as a problem. Despite these criticisms, the Abe administration still has a solid approval rating. Two years and three months have passed since Abe became prime minister for a second time, and I hope he will maintain political power until the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games (which he helped accomplish) and give the speech at the opening ceremony for the development of Japan. To that end, it is essential that Abe release a statement on the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.
Japan has been the target of contempt since World War II because of the atomic bombs dropped on it by the U.S. To be seen as a good country despite this, the victorious U.S. had to portray the defeated Japan as a bad country. On September 15, 1945 – immediately after the war – The Asahi Shimbun newspaper printed a statement by Ichiro Hatoyama saying that dropping the atomic bombs was a war crime. The newspaper was punished with a two-day publishing ban. Six days later, on September 21 the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (GHQ) released the 30-item Press Code. This code prohibited criticisms of the Allies, the dropping of the atomic bombs by the U.S., Chinese and Korean people, and the drafting of the Constitution of Japan (which had yet to be drawn up at that time). This is why Japan has been unable to refute fabricated criticisms, including the impossible Nanking Massacre (in which Japan supposedly slaughtered 300,000 people in Nanking, which had a population of 200,000 people that increased to 250,000 people one month after the occupation) and the comfort women issue (in which Japan supposedly abducted and forced 200,000 women into sexual slavery). After that, The Asahi Shimbun – which sold papers by praising the war before and during the fighting – drew close to the GHQ, becoming nothing more than the watchman of the Press Code due to its fear that it would be seen as a war criminal.
Yet there were reasons for why the U.S. dropped the atomic bombs. It provided huge amounts of military assistance to the Soviet Union to help defeat Nazi Germany, which is why the Soviet Union became a military monster. As a result, it was highly possible that communization would spread not only to the bordering European countries after World War II, but also to China, Korea, Japan, India, the Near and Middle East, and Africa. To prevent this, the U.S. – which predicted that more than 10 million people would be killed if World War III broke out – had no choice but to complete and utilize the atomic bombs it had used secret congressional funds to develop, thereby restraining the Soviet Union.
American President Franklin D. Roosevelt agreed with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill via the Hyde Park Agreement in September 1944 that the completed atomic bombs would be used in Japan instead of Germany. Japan had already taken steps to end the war via the Soviet Union, Chiang Kai-shek, and the Vatican. The U.S. bought time by purposefully responding in a vague way to Japan’s requests for the preservation of the Emperor System, and completed two types of atomic bombs: uranium and plutonium bombs. It conducted the Great Tokyo Air Raid to evade criticisms of the atomic bombs by showing that regular bombs could also cause enormous damage. It gathered workers, including roof tile and tatami makers, in the desert to construct many Japanese-style houses and research effective ways of using incendiary bombs. Afterwards, 325 B-29s raided Tokyo from the low skies on March 10, 1945, dropping cluster firebombs that split apart into small bombs. The U.S. turned Tokyo into a sea of fire and killed 100,000 civilians in the span of one night.
The U.S. also wanted to prove that fighting on the mainland would lead to one million American officers and men being killed, so it forced the Marine Corps to land on Iwo Jima, which had no strategic value. The number of people killed or wounded in action was more than 28,000 people, which exceeded the Japanese war dead. The U.S. emphasized that dropping the atomic bombs was necessary to avoid the more than one million casualties it estimated would result from fighting on the mainland. The U.S. made these great sacrifices and engaged in preparations in order to drop the bombs.
The war between the U.S. and Japan was devised by the U.S. England made direct appeals for the U.S. to participate in the war, so Roosevelt used the Tripartite Pact to anger Japan and start the U.S.-Japan war. This allowed the U.S. to fight with Germany – Japan’s ally. The U.S. had already deciphered most Japanese diplomatic and navy codes, so it inferred that Japan was going to carry out a surprise attack at Pearl Harbor. It purposefully removed the aircraft carriers and new warships from the harbor for an “exercise” and stationed many officers and men on the USS Arizona even though it was a Sunday. Japanese planes attacked, and 1,200 people – roughly half the victims of Pearl Harbor – died in action on the USS Arizona.
People say the USS Arizona was blown up and sunk because of a secondary explosion at the powder magazine. However, regular powder magazines are located at the bottom of a ship and do not explode if the ship is bombed, so it could not have blown up just six minutes after the bombing. At the time of the Spanish-American War the U.S. inflamed the fighting spirit of its citizens by sinking its own USS Maine, blaming it on Spain, and using the slogan, “Remember the Maine.” It did the same thing for World War II via the slogan, “Remember Pearl Harbor.” Commander-in-chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet Husband E. Kimmel was given no prior knowledge of the Japanese Army attack; he was made to take responsibility for Pearl Harbor and was dismissed. At the request of his bereaved family, resolutions were adopted in the Senate in 1999 and House of Representatives in 2000 to restore his honor. However, neither then-President Bill Clinton or the following President George W. Bush signed these resolutions. If they had, it would have meant admitting that “Remember Pearl Harbor” was a conspiracy. I suppose we shall have to wait until the truth is revealed via the Freedom of Information Act.
Japan was drawn into the war to give the U.S. an excuse for fighting in Europe. But an awareness of racial equality grew in the world thanks to this war, and the trend of independence from colonial rule also gained speed. Considering this, I think World War II was a significant war in the end. Japan achieved rapid economic revitalization after the war, became a major country founded on its sciences and technologies, and is now working to become a tourism-focused nation. In the future Japan should increase its presence as a world leader at the UN. The former enemy clause should be abolished and Japan should become a standing member-nation of the UN Security Council. To that end as well, we must publically release the truths from our history – created via strategy warfare – that is replete with inconsistencies, spanning from World War II to the postwar era.
Most of the American wars since World War II have been desired by the military-industrial complex. Vladimir Putin was elected as president of Russia due to an incident in which a series of apartment buildings was bombed in 1999, which was carried out by Putin. Three hundred people died, which Putin claimed was the work of the Chechens. The Second Chechen War was started based on this pretext, making Putin more popular. Many people in Russia who have criticized the government have died suspicious deaths, including the assassination of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov in March as well as other opposition party politicians and journalists. It would take forever to enumerate the many cases in history of a country’s leaders carrying out massive killings for their own interests or those of their country.
Due to these world affairs, Japan should reform the constitution as soon as possible so that it can become a decent nation. It should also gain the ability to maintain the balance of power in East Asia by opposing China, which repeatedly intrudes into Japan’s territorial waters near the Senkaku and Ogasawara Islands and is continually augmenting its military strength. If not, we may be inviting war to take place where power vacuums exist. Accordingly, Japan should recognize that the U.S. had to drop the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and in return ask the U.S. to not go along with the fabricated criticisms of China and South Korea, giving Japan the ability to insist on historical truths. If this could be accomplished underneath the Abe administration, a path would be blazed towards a true U.S.-Japan relationship. Moreover, Japan should bear in mind that it is surrounded by the nuclear states of China, Russia, and North Korea, and take into account the fact that the nuclear umbrella no longer exists. To maintain peace in East Asia, Japan must get the U.S. to approve its introduction of the nuclear sharing arrangement, a system by which it could rent some of the American nuclear weapons and gain the right to use them in the event of an emergency. Japanese stocks will likely ascend to even greater heights over the five years before the Tokyo Olympic Games. During that time, I strongly hope that the Abe administration will remain in power and accomplish great things for the sake of Japan’s national interests.
March 23, 2015 (Monday) 11:00 p.m.