On July 15, the top page of the Evening Edition of the Nihon Keizai Shimbun ran an article entitled, “Security Bills Adopted: Resistance from Opposition Parties.” It read:
During the questioning, Abe emphasized, “Can we protect the citizens if things continue this way, as the international circumstances are changing on a grand scale? We need this peace and security legislation that enables continuous responses.” He also indicated the awareness that, “Unfortunately, understanding has not yet been obtained from the citizens.”
There were two related bills: the Peace and Safety Legislation Establishment Bill, which contains 10 bills for revisions including the Self-Defense Forces Act and Armed Attack Situations Response Act; and the International Peace Support Bill, a new act that makes it possible for the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) to be dispatched overseas as needed to provide logistical support to other armies in international disputes. These bills recognize the exercise of the right to collective defense, which past governments have interpreted as prohibited according to Article 9 of the constitution. If these bills are passed, they will be a major turning point in Japanese security policy.
Abe gave a speech at a joint session of the United States Congress on April 29. He declared that he would pass these security bills by summer, for which he was highly evaluated. This is because there is an awareness in the U.S. Congress that the close Japan-U.S. relationship – based on the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty – will gain even more importance in the future as China is augmenting its military strength each year and the U.S. is cutting its annual war expenditures to the tune of five trillion yen and withdrawing from East Asia. From now on the Japan-U.S. relationship should be made a bilateral, not a unilateral, one. For instance, imagine that the combined American and South Korean armies were attacked on the Korean Peninsula, and there was a high likelihood that war would spread to Japan as well. In a normal country it would be only natural for Japan and the U.S. Army to join together, exercise the right to collective defense, and protect the land and its people. However, Japan could not do this because of Article 9 of the constitution.
In some ways, it is correct for the opposition parties to insist that these actions could only be taken after revising the constitution, but there are high hurdles to actual constitutional reform. Constitutional changes are approved after being proposed with two thirds of the National Diet members in both houses, put to a national referendum, and obtaining a majority of the valid votes. Bills related to constitutional amendment, such as the Referendum Act, were created during the time of the first Abe administration. But because people have been subjected to masochistic education and are exposed to self-torturing media reports day and night, the Article 9 Association – a citizen’s group that wishes to protect the constitution and is part of the left-wing movement to block constitutional change – had 7,500 groups in 2011. It created a nationwide organization and has many supporters. For this reason, even if backing were obtained from two thirds of both houses, it would be difficult to gain the required majority in a national referendum. Therefore, to respond to impending dangers we cannot wait for the circumstances to be favorable for constitutional change. That’s why these security bills are significant. Despite this, many opposition parties – centered on the DPJ – are resisting this. The article I quoted above read, “Representative Katsuya Okada of the DPJ criticized this, saying, ‘There is no need to vote right now. This is a reckless action undertaken while the number of opposing citizens increases as the discussions go on. This is a disgraceful thing for the governing party to do.”
Yukan Fuji published a column by Kazuo Yawata, entitled “Considering Safety Legislation,” over the two-day period from July 14 to 15. It read:
Yet if one thinks calmly, there are no consensuses in scholarly fields (not limited to the constitution) on given themes to which politicians and the government must abide. Therefore, this is quite strange.
For example, Marxian economics have long been predominant in the Japanese economic world, but no one has discussed whether economic policy should be implemented in line with these views. This would lead to the destruction of the Japanese economy.
To begin with, it is only normal for experts to have views that enhance their own roles.
It seems that constitutional scholars want to portray everything as unconstitutional in order to gain professional benefits.
Their research can be referred to in some ways, but one can conclude that it means nothing if most constitutional scholars think these bills are unconstitutional.
Some people say the JSDF are unconstitutional; is there any reason to ask if they think the security-related bills are constitutional or not?
The Morning Edition of The Asahi Shimbun on July 11 contained the results of a survey conducted of 209 constitutional scholars about the security bills (responses were received from 122 people). A total of 119 said the bills were or could be unconstitutional, while only two said the bills were in line with the constitution.
This survey also asked about the JSDF. Seventy-seven scholars said the JSDF were or could be unconstitutional, while 41 said they were or could be constitutional. Ninety-nine said there is no need to reform Article 9 of the constitution, and six said there is.
Most of the respondents said the JSDF are unconstitutional, and constitutional change is not needed. In other words, they believe Japan should be demilitarized.
During the conflict about the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty that took place in 1960, people cried out that the new treaty was unconstitutional and would draw Japan into war. Yet one half century later, Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi is highly appraised because the revision of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty improved Japan’s international position, brought peace to Asia, and prevented Japan from being drawn into war. Okinawa was also returned to Japan only because of this new security structure.
The establishment of the JSDF, conclusion and amendment of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty, peacekeeping operations (PKO), and other events were not immediately supported by the public opinion at that time. The government made decisions and then the people were persuaded. In this way, it is bizarre that the constitutional scholars and mass media are not reflecting on this past, but are merely repeating their old sayings.
I fully agree with what Yawata says.
The Great East Japan Earthquake struck on March 11, 2011 underneath the DPJ government. Then-Prime Minister Naoto Kan was facing a critical moment due to the issue of donations from foreign nationals. He saw this disaster as a chance to prolong his political power, so he insisted on inspecting the nuclear power station in Fukushima immediately after the earthquake. This resulted in delayed venting of the containment vessels. The zirconium cladding on the fuel rods (which had reached high temperatures) oxidized, producing hydrogen that filled the reactor buildings and caused hydrogen explosions. If holes had been made and part of the ceiling had been destroyed before the hydrogen built up to the degree that caused the explosion – such as dropping a pointed weight from the sky or shooting at the roof – the hydrogen (which is lighter than air) would have been scattered, and it would have been possible to prevent the explosions.
However, this was put off due to the assumption that radiation – even in miniscule amounts – should not be released before the arrival of the prime minister, which had disastrous results. The System for Prediction of Environment Emergency Dose Information (SPEEDI) under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology was used to calculate radioactive concentration based on factors such as atmospheric currents. Despite this, the results were not officially announced and people were made to evacuate from a concentric circle around the nuclear power plant. This meant that some people conversely evacuated to areas with high radioactivity. People were forcibly evacuated from areas with low levels of radiation, which is why many people have died “disaster-related deaths” – more than the 1,600 people in Fukushima Prefecture who died from the direct damage of the earthquake. Yet not one person has died from radiation. According to the Comparison of Annual Radiation Exposure from the Average Background Radiation in Different Countries (the 2014 Fall Meeting of the Atomic Energy Society of Japan), the average background radiation in the world is 2.4 millisieverts. The average in Japan is 2.1 millisieverts, in Northern Europe is four millisieverts, and in the Ramsar region of Iran is 10 millisieverts. People live healthy lives in these regions with high levels of radiation, but then-Minister for the Environment Goshi Hosono of the DPJ set the standard for decontamination at places higher than one millisievert (the standard value in Japan), which is much safer than the amounts in Northern Europe or Ramsar. Therefore, huge amounts of unnecessary decontamination work have been performed at massive expense, which was then borne by the citizens.
Because of work in Tohoku such as decontamination, disaster restoration, and the building of seawalls, there are more jobs for laborers with favorable conditions and they remain in their home regions without having to find work in other places. As a result, there isn’t the expected number of people in the Tokyo metropolitan area, meaning delayed construction periods for condominiums, hotels, and all sorts of projects. Building costs have also risen steeply. The building costs for the new National Stadium are far higher than the initially estimated costs. The reason for this is the extreme labor shortages in Tokyo – where there are fewer laborers because the DPJ previously decreased the number of public works projects – at many building sites due to work in the Tohoku region including seawall construction and excess decontamination.
Efforts are underway to construct seawalls that will span a total of 390 kilometers along the coast of Tohoku, with total project cost of one trillion yen. Citizens in some regions such as Akahama in Otsuchi-cho, Iwate Prefecture have rejected these seawalls because they block visibility and conversely make it harder for the people to see changes in the ocean’s condition. Since directly after the Great East Japan Earthquake, I have suggested that we construct “disaster prevention condominiums” to allow people to evacuate to safety even after they personally see or hear a tsunami approaching. These reinforced concrete buildings should be built at 200-meter intervals at right angles along the coastline in Tohoku where people reside, and should have six or more stories. The first and second floors could be parking areas, and there should be emergency staircases to allow anyone to evacuate from the first floor to the roof. A six-story condominium is tall enough to withstand a tsunami of the class seen after the Great East Japan Earthquake, and the spacing of 200 meters would ensure that anyone could run to safety in 100 meters. If these buildings were constructed using national subsidiary aid and then sold or rented at low prices, I believe many fishermen and people in the processed marine products industry would live there. This project would cost much less than the construction of seawalls and would steal fewer laborers from other regions including Tokyo.
The decision to choose Zaha Hadid’s design for the new National Stadium was made by a review committee headed by Tadao Ando underneath the DPJ government in November 2012. Abe became the prime minister one month later in November 2012. DPJ Chief Secretary Yukio Edano emphasizes that his party chose the design, but that the Abe administration gave the green light for this plan with a budget exceeding 100 billion yen. However, the DPJ still bears great responsibility. After inheriting political power, it only makes sense for a new government to implement the plans determined by the previous administration for the sake of political stability. Criticism of this by the previous administration or mass media is likely contradictory to the rules of parliamentary democracy, in which regime changes are assumed.
This National Stadium design was also a factor in Tokyo winning its bid to hold the Olympics. It is bizarre for the media and DPJ to complain about the fact that construction costs have risen by around 100 billion yen, without criticizing the fact that entirely safe nuclear power plants have been stopped, leading to increased crude oil import costs of three trillion yen per year. I feel the economic effects of the Olympics will continue for at least a few decades, amounting to future economic ripple effects of more than 10 trillion yen. However, if people insist there is no budget for this, it would likely be possible to cut the costs by around 50 billion yen without changing the design through value engineering (VE), such as instead building pillars that are inverted triangles to support the middle of the two keel arches (which are said to cost 100 billion yen). This would reduce the construction time by around two months, and the stadium would likely be finished by the 2019 Rugby World Cup. In this time of low interest rates, the yield for five-year government bonds is around 0.1%. Even if we issued 50 billion yen worth of Olympic government bonds with a five-year period and a 0.2% interest rate (twice that of regular government bonds), the monthly interest rates would be around eight million yen. If we sold naming rights, it would likely be possible to collect the funds for these interest rates. The repayment period should be five years. A portion of the audience seating should be made into guest seating for around 2,000 people, selling the seats from five to 30 million yen (over a period of five years) for usage spanning 30 years, including the names of parties who request it. I think that many corporations and individuals would purchase these seats to support the Olympics, and these funds could be used as capital for repaying government bonds.
The Constitution of Japan, which was established during the American occupation, is in clear opposition to Article 43 of the Hague Convention with respect to the Laws and Customs of War on Land, which stipulates that the occupier must respect the existing laws of the occupied territory. The U.S. purposefully created this constitution to prevent Japan from becoming a strong world power once again, and the preamble is full of nonsense. Because there are high hurdles towards reforming this constitution (as stipulated by Article 96), it has not been revised at all and 68 years have passed since it was enforced. However, the world circumstances have changed greatly during this time. In China of the past, Mao Zedong was grateful to the Japanese Army for the Communist Party’s usurpation of political power. Today its officially announced military spending is roughly 17 trillion yen per year – 3.4 times that of Japan. This has made China the world’s second major military power after the U.S. in terms of budget.
The August issue of Bungeishunju scooped a plan to assassinate Xi Jinping in an article written by Takanori Kato, a former senior staff writer of The Yomiuri Shimbun who was stationed in China. According to this article, the true sin of people such as Zhou Yongkang and Bo Xilai – who were ousted via Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption movement – was their conspiracy in drafting a plan to overthrow the government. This plan also included the assassination of Ji Xinping. However, Zhou Yongkang, Bo Xilai, and others were purged. Xi Jinping also resolved the longstanding issue of grasping hold of the People’s Liberation Army by investigating people such as Xu Caihou, a former top military official, for accepting bribes. In this way, he removed his rivals and finally gained total power inside his party. LDP General Council Chairman Toshihiro Nikai visited China in May and was able to share a harmonious handshake with Xi Jinping – something that was only possible because Xi Jinping holds political power. Xi Jinping, who fears what will happen when the Chines bubble bursts, had to hasten his efforts to restore the future Japan-China relationship for the sake of economic revival.
The Chinese leaders hope for Japan to gain military strength, which will help maintain a balance of power in East Asia. This will also stifle some of the Chinese media and adventurists and contribute to staving off war. In all countries, the central government figures and military personnel are the ones who truly wish to avoid war. That is why a close military alliance is needed between the U.S. and Japan, which is presupposed on the approval to exercising the right to collective defense. These security bills were laboriously created through an extreme constitutional interpretation to exercise the right to collective defense. Some parties refer to them as “war bills,” but that is a mistake; they should appropriately be called bills for deterring war. In a normal country, there would be no constitutional restrictions and these laws would not be needed. It makes sense that these bills were approved at the House of Representatives on July 16. Even if they are not voted on in the House of Councilors, there is the 60-day rule that says they can be re-approved in the House of Representatives. Therefore, I think it is nearly certain they will be passed in the current Diet session. This would mean overcoming one major hurdle that was the Abe administration’s objective.
When Abe became the 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. Compared to then, today stock prices have risen to 2.3 times that amount and the value of the yen is two thirds what it was. Thanks to the cheap yen, there is improved performance in the Japanese export industry and the number of overseas tourists has risen drastically. Chinese tourists are going on massive shopping sprees, which are further boosting the Japanese economy. However, the mass media does not mention these good aspects at all but has an exceedingly masochistic stance that does nothing but find fault with the government. The U.S. induced Japan to have a self-torturing viewpoint in the past via its occupation policy. Time has passed, and now the U.S. wants Japan to be an equal partner. The times are changing rapidly and the powers that want to protect the constitution – which has lasted for 68 years – lack awareness of the world. These people do not even attempt to see the positive aspects of what Japan did during World War II.
Even for a landscape that appears beautiful when seen from a distance, if you move closer you will see the harsh struggle for existence experienced by the living creatures in that landscape. It is important to not just look at one aspect of things, but to have a view of the whole. After World War II, the Japanese people were continually brainwashed by the masochistic media – which was poisoned by the Press Code released by the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (GHQ) – and education by the Japan Teachers’ Union. The peak of this was the baby boom generation that fought against the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty in 1970. However, most of these people are in their late 60s and are rapidly retiring, and society is now centered on generations with new ways of thinking. It is certain that Japan will naturally become a country with healthier ways of thinking as time passes, but the global situation will not wait until that point. First, people who understand this must speak out. I will continue telling the truth by writing these essays and through measure such as the Shoheijuku school and “True Interpretation of Modern History” essay contest.