Big Talk

Strategy is Necessary for Transmitting Information Overseas: Can Japan Utilize International News Agencies and Marketing Companies?

Member of the House of Representatives Yoshiaki Harada has distinguished himself through his activities, including his announcement at the National Diet of a map compiled by China that shows the Senkaku Islands as Japanese territory. This map was then posted on the official Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. He is enthusiastic about information transmission; for example, the Liberal Democratic Party’s International Information Investigative Commission, which is chaired by Harada, is considering establishing new methods for international broadcasting. Toshio Motoya spoke with Harada about Japan’s future strategies for sharing information with the world.

Japanese people hold the illusion that correctness inspires understanding

Motoya Thank you for joining me on Big Talk today. I was surprised that you haven’t appeared on Big Talk yet although we meet frequently. You are engaged in wonderful activities, including in the National Diet. In particular, you recently pointed out that a map published by China in 1969 uses the Japanese names for the Senkaku Islands (including Uotsuri Island). Borders are also clearly elucidated. China recognized the Senkaku Islands as Japanese territory until that time. This was even endorsed by Chairman Mao Zedong. The map was posted on the Ministry of Foreign Affair’s (MOFA) official website. Did you bring up the existence of this map in the National Diet?

Harada I mentioned it at the House of Representatives Budget Committee. I thought it would have the biggest impact there.

Motoya You did a good job obtaining this map.

Harada I have various routes. Directly after the announcement some Chinese people were saying it was a Japanese forgery, but afterwards China changed its tune and insisted that there is plenty of proof that says the Senkaku Islands are not Japanese territory. Japan and China have problems including the Senkaku Islands, and there are also issues between Japan and South Korea. It is important for us to appeal to the international community regarding issues – such as those between Japan and China, as well as Japan and South Korea, including the Senkaku Islands – and gain understanding from other countries and the international society. To that end, I gave a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan together with Diet members such as Satsuki Katayama, where we extensively promoted the existence of this map.

Motoya That’s great.

Harada There are many issues with Japan’s information strategies. The first is that the Japanese people are too meek and reserved. We must have a strong fighting spirit as we transmit information.

Motoya I agree entirely. Moreover, there are many instances in which Japan itself trots out these issues with China and South Korea. News reports about the comfort women are based on Seiji Yoshida’s testimony. Mistaken reports have also been made saying that, in the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology’s inspections of high school textbooks, the description of the Japanese Army’s “invasion” of North China was changed to the word “advance.” These have all become international issues through the campaign by The Asahi Shimbun newspaper.

Harada These are problems with the anti-Japanese media.

Motoya Yes. The media is against Japan, and so is the MOFA. That’s why we should create a “Ministry of Information” – with an annual budget of 300 billion yen and 3,000 staff members – that is separate from the MOFA. It would watch the worldwide media and refute any mistaken reports in the local language within 24 hours. In the international community, no one believes that correctness inspires understanding. History is decided by the victors, and the common knowledge of the international society says the truth is determined by who is stronger.

Harada You have long pointed out the importance of information strategies, and I feel exactly the same way. With the same awareness of these issues, I proposed the establishment of the International Information Investigative Commission in the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and have served as its chairman from the start. Many earnest Japanese people believe they will be understood if they voice the truth, but the problem is in fact that correct information isn’t being shared. Information strategy is ancillary to public relations and is decidedly different from propaganda. How can one accurately convey information to other people? The answer is not just having a large PR budget. Even though the Japanese government has shared much information about the comfort women, it is not correctly accepted by South Korea and China of course, nor by the United States or Australia. The Japanese side needs to make more efforts and be more creative.

Motoya I have visited 81 countries across the world and spoken with influential figures in each. All of these people know that China and South Korea’s claims are false, and realize that China and South Korea know these are false while still continuing their assertions for the sake of their national interests. Now that military conflict between countries is outlawed, battles are shifting to wars of information and words. Japan cannot be victorious if it does not create a Ministry of Information as a structure in response to this new warfare.

Harada That is correct. To correctly and accurately convey Japan’s assertions, strategies are required in addition to earnestness.

Motoya There are many issues with the Japanese media as well. Television programs and newspapers all report the same views on the same topics. Only the Sankei Shimbun is working hard, but few copies of it are published. The Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) and the Nihon Keizai Shimbun are seen as neutral, but they are not free of bias. In particular, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun is significantly influenced by the financial world that is increasingly dependent upon China. Furthermore, the Sino-Japanese Journalist Exchange Agreement still prohibits negative comments about China. Only a handful of companies that have successfully expanded into China are reported on. The media does not cover how the great majority of Japanese corporations have been forced to withdraw – leaving their plants and machinery behind – and even made to pay fines.

Japan should have a closer relationship with India, which overflows with youthful vitality

Harada Yet the economic crisis and contradictions are coming to a head in China.

Motoya It is impossible to sustain an economy focused on official demand like China’s. The 7% to 8% growth rate is itself highly suspicious. Many Japanese companies are already moving to Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, and other countries.

Harada We must look calmly at the situation and then make judgments. Up until now the only strategy has been that of “China Plus One.” This refers to the need to have relations only with China and one other country.

Motoya I recently visited India, which is currently very pro-Japanese. I met with important persons such as the minister of road transport and highways and minister of tourism. They said that India would have experienced more economic development if Japan provided financial aid, like the official development assistance (ODA) it has given to China. Perhaps that is true, but during the Cold War China was cooperating with the U.S. – which was against the Soviet Union – while it was thought that India was working together with the Soviet Union. Economic sanctions were also placed on India because it possesses nuclear weapons. India was regarded as an eastern country by the U.S., so it was difficult for Japan to provide support. But these limitations are gone today. The average age in India is young and it is an energetic nation. I thought that the Japanese financial world should look towards India more in the future.

Harada India has an enormous population and is very industrious; it is extremely important to Japan. It’s true that India favored the Soviet Union during the Cold War, but in the future I think Japan should strengthen its ties with India. In China there is a special relationship between politics and the economy. It introduced a capitalist economy and has become an economic power that approaches the U.S., but the political system is still under the one-party rule of the Communist Party. In other words, the economy exists to maintain the political structure. However, in the end the market rules the economy in a borderless fashion. China cannot go against this providence. There are many difficulties in the journey ahead, including the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) concept.

Motoya That’s true, and the utmost priority is placed on maintaining the political system. Basically, China and South Korea’s criticisms of Japan are measures for resolving internal issues by creating external enemies to maintain their political systems. All of the anti-Japanese demonstrations in China are manufactured by the government. President Xi Jinping has continually carried out an anti-corruption movement to establish his own power, and has finally gained control of the army as well. I suspect the military parade to celebrate the 70th anniversary of China’s war defeat over Japan, which took place on September 3, was based on this. They say China beat Japan, but Japan did not fight with the Chinese Communist Party. Up until now China has held a foundation day parade every ten years, but it was not able to wait until 2019, the 70th anniversary of the country’s foundation. In any case, it seems the Chinese economy is in a difficult situation to the degree that China must enhance its national prestige. I think China’s attitude has also changed since you brought up the map of the Senkaku Islands.

Harada Still, I don’t think it has become docile (laughs). The LDP sent written questions to China, asking it to provide the proof it says it has great amounts of, but there was no response. China is very good at making fabricated maps, so perhaps it will audaciously spread these over the Internet. That’s why people in other countries are deceived. Quality and quantity are important in terms of information. The Chinese media is under the patronage of the party, but the media’s freedom of expression is ensured in Japan. We must create a separate budget for information transmission.

Motoya The U.S. exists in the background to China and South Korea’s obstinate insistence on things the world views as lies. The U.S. committed a crime against humanity when it dropped the atomic bombs. Even Adolf Hitler didn’t do things like slaughtering hundreds of thousands of civilians with no warning. Aiming for hegemony in the postwar era, the U.S. could not be regarded as an empire of evil. Therefore, it needed to create a story that said the U.S. (a good country) used the atomic bombs to transform Japan (a bad, militaristic country) into a democratic nation. It imbued the Japanese people with this story via the Tokyo Trials, the War Guilt Information Program implemented by the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (GHQ), the Press Code imposed on the media, etc. This trend continues today, and the U.S. allows China’s claims about the Nanking Massacre and South Korea’s claims about the comfort women. The U.S. possesses a great deal of evidence that disproves the assertions of China and South Korea; for example, a report of questions posed by the American army to Korean comfort women in Myanmar shows they were simple wartime prostitutes. Despite this, the U.S. does not announce this proof because denying it would mean losing the legitimacy of its reasons for dropping the atomic bombs.

War broke out between Japan and the U.S. because Japan made enemies of the Jewish people

Harada I see. What should Japan do?

Motoya Japan should break the American atomic bomb curse. It was very possible that World War III would break out as the Soviet Union tried to communize the world. Japan should fully recognize the good aspects of the atomic bombs, which transformed World War III from a fierce fight into a cold war. This year, American Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy and Under Secretary Rose Gottemoeller attended the peace ceremonies in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. If Japan accepted the legitimacy of the atomic bombs, perhaps President Barack Obama would attend next year and apologize for dropping these bombs. If that happened, Japan and the U.S. could build a strong relationship in the truest sense of the word.

Harada The evaluation of the atomic bombs is changing in the U.S., so I definitely hope the president will participate next year.

Motoya First, we must fully understand why war broke out between Japan and the U.S.: because Japan made enemies of the Jewish people. The Jewish powers are behind the American white Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP) establishment. American railroad executive E. H. Harriman – a Jew – contributed to Japan’s victory in the Russo-Japanese War by taking on large amounts of war loans. He proposed the joint management of the South Manchuria Railway, leading to the temporary agreement between him and Taro Katsura. But Minister for Foreign Affairs Jutaro Komura saw the Hibiya incendiary incident – which was incited by the Japanese media – as a serious one, so he put up strong opposition, ending the joint management of the railroad. Since then, the U.S. saw Japan as a hypothetical enemy, including its drafting of War Plan Orange.

Harada I have also heard that Komura’s opposition was an underlying cause.

Motoya The Jewish people have experienced many hardships including prejudice while wandering across the world for 2,000 years. They devoted efforts to education, believing that wisdom is their greatest asset. Due to harmonious collusion within this ethnic group, they have gained control of worldwide media, finance, and marketing. In contrast, I think Japan should leverage the power of the Jewish people. Major marketing companies are always used in American elections, including presidential elections, at costs of tens of billions of dollars. All influential marketing companies are funded by Jewish people. Japan should ask these American marketing companies to undertake publicity activities overseas and also in Japan.

Harada I see. The Japanese media is biased, but it is seen as a problem when politicians point this out. You are suggesting that this be entrusted to American corporations.

Motoya Yes. In particular, I think it will be useful to purge Japan of its masochistic view of history, since imported things tend to be more esteemed. Like I wrote in Theoretical Modern History: The Real History of Japan, my latest book, the population in Nanking before the entry of the Japanese Army was 200,000 people. Therefore, 300,000 people could not have been killed there. Marketing companies should use PR strategies to promote the fact that President Franklin D. Roosevelt knew about the Attack on Pearl Harbor, and that Douglas MacArthur gave testimony that World War II was a defensive war to Japan at the U.S. Senate Diplomacy and Military Affairs Committee in 1951.

Harada I strongly believe that, instead of the biased NHK, we should create a broadcaster like a second NHK to transmit information in a neutral, strategic fashion. China is carrying out fierce media strategies in the U.S.

Motoya For that reason, I feel we should use marketing companies – instead of politicians like yourself – to refute any mistaken reports in the worldwide media within 24 hours in the local language, thereby spreading accurate information. I think the marketing companies could be paid fees contingent upon success according to assessments, and that it would be acceptable to spend around 100 billion yen to this end. Japan must be more aware of the real circumstances in the world and implement more determined strategies, including these things.

Harada It is good that Japanese people believe in justice, but they lack determination. Yet will the citizens accept the idea of paying money for this?

Motoya We could consider secret funds or donations from private citizens. It is not necessarily right to make all of these things open. We should secretly be able to use 100 or 200 billion yen for a PR budget.

Harada In other words, you think the country should respond to that degree.

Many people were deeply moved by the wonderful statement on the 70th anniversary of the war

Motoya The Chinese military parade on September 3 featured amphibious infantry fighting vehicles, anti-warship missiles, and many other impressive weapons. In the past, cutting-edge weapons were the result of development efforts by different countries. Today computer hackers steal information about weapons from other countries and then copies are manufactured. These are basically stolen from the U.S., but the U.S. is not stupid. It assumes this information will be stolen, so it generally keeps information about hardware and the software used to operate it separate. Even if the hardware is imitated, the weapons lack sufficient performance. For that reason, Chinese weapons have variable capabilities. For instance, the Liaoning is an aircraft carrier that was bought from Russia and then remodeled, but it doesn’t have the ability to launch ship-borne planes with full equipment such as missiles. It looks like a normal aircraft carrier, but it has poor performance. But China would become a considerable threat if it could fill in these gaps.

Harada Toshio Tamogami, former chief of staff of Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force, has declared that the Japanese Self-Defense Forces would not suffer a military defeat in a fight with China at this point in time.

Motoya That’s right. That’s why the security bills submitted to the National Diet right now must be passed.

Harada Yes. If possible, I hope they will be properly passed in the House of Councillors without using the 60-day rule in which they are returned to and adopted in the House of Representatives.

Motoya The anti-Japanese media is launching vehement attacks against the Shinzo Abe administration regarding the security legislation. But that’s not enough, so they are also bashing the Abe government about the Olympics starting with Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Hakubun Shimomura. They say that 300 billion yen is a lot of money, but each year Japan is paying needless fuel costs to the tune of 3.6 trillion yen – one billion yen per day – because its nuclear power plants are shut down. We must criticize this first. The Olympics will have great economic effects for many years, totaling tens of trillions of yen. From a long-term standpoint, they are a cheap investment. These problems would not exist if the media were to have a stance of praising the Olympics.

Harada The government is working hard, but the world is different than it was 50 years ago. At that time Japan was developing and everyone banded together to work to make Japan into an advanced country. Today, some people ask what purpose the Olympics serve. This may be a fantastic opportunity to strengthen the solidarity of the Japanese people.

Motoya It is expected that Abe will be reelected as LDP president without a vote, and it is very likely that he will remain prime minister for the next three years. Even though his approval rating declined due to the security bills, as expected of Abe, he made a comeback due to his statement on the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. When I read his statement, I was truly moved. It contained everything: criticisms of colonial rule by the Western Europe powers, criticisms of the U.S., restraints on China, etc. Taking over keywords, such as “aggression,” he did not say them himself. It was a well-considered statement, and I felt that intelligent people were involved. Because Abe helped Japan win its Olympic bid, I hope he will be president for another term so that he can be responsible up until the opening ceremony. I am most worried about his physical condition; he must be calm without fretting over minor details. China and South Korea will certainly draw close to Japan as their economies break down.

Harada I agree. There’s no need for him to behave modestly. Abe is being asked to have the magnanimity to look upon them with detachment and in a resolute manner. South Korean President Park Geun-hye and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon are participating in anti-Japanese national activities in which celebrations are held to mark the 70th anniversary of the war against Japan. It is said that China and South Korea have agreed to hold a summit meeting between Japan, China, and South Korea, but Japan should decide whether to take part through the proper channels and without being flustered.

Motoya Yes; it is bizarre for Ban Ki-moon to participate in a military parade. Japan’s financial contributions to the UN are second only to the U.S., so it should have said it would temporarily put these payments on hold if Ban Ki-moon goes to the parade. He is aiming to be the next South Korean president, which would destroy the Japan-South Korea relationship. Japanese and South Korean citizens are on good terms. The South Koreans that travel to Japan all praise Japan as a wonderful country. If more of them came to Japan, South Korea would have to change.

Harada I agree.

Motoya At the end of the interview, I always ask for a “word for the youth.”

Harada I hope young people will fully study history, feel a limitless pride in being Japanese, and determine their own futures. A bill was passed in the National Diet to lower the voting age to 18, and a further discussion is underway. To make people who have turned 18 aware that they are adults, with the responsibility that involves, I think we should stop applying the Juvenile Act and will have to allow them to drink alcohol and smoke.

Motoya I also agree with making the standard for all of these things 18 years so they become responsible adults. There are issues with the Juvenile Act’s prohibition in Article 61 of including the names of minors in news reports, etc. It’s strange that the perpetrator’s name is anonymous while the victim’s is not.

Harada I concur. The perpetrator’s human rights are important, but we must also help assuage the victim’s suffering from the viewpoint of protecting human rights.

Motoya Today anything can be found on the Internet, so I hope young people will first learn about historical truths. Thank you for joining me today.


Yoshiaki Harada
Born in 1944 in Fukuoka Prefecture. Graduated from the University of Tokyo’s Faculty of Law in 1968. Entered Nippon Steel Corporation in 1969. Joined the Ministry of International Trade and Industry in 1970. Was elected to the House of Representatives for the first time in 1990 (is currently in his seventh term). Has served in positions including parliamentary vice-minister of welfare; senior vice minister of education, culture, sports, science and technology; financial affairs and finance chairman; and foreign affairs chairman. Is currently secretary-general of the Liberal Democratic Party’s Headquarters for Regional Diplomatic and Economic Partnership, director of the House of Representatives Budget Committee, and an attorney.