One year passes by very quickly. In 2015, my Remarks on the New Year stated, “In this time of ultra-low interest rates / A year in which we can take on major companies that had a head start and create results / Try with all your power to fulfill boundless dreams and realize your own aspirations.” As this phrase stated, APA Group opened a series of new hotels in central Tokyo and acquired land to build APA Hotel Yokohama Bay Tower, which will have 2,400 guest rooms, the largest number in Japan. In these and other ways, we accomplished many things over the past year.
Apple Town, this magazine, was also full of substantial content over the past year. In the February 2015 issue (published January 5), Big Talk featured my dialogue with Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to Japan H.E. Mr. Farukh Amil entitled, “Japan’s Greatest Contribution to the World is its Cutting-edge Technologies.” We spoke about topics including how Pakistan needs Japan’s earthquake-resistant technologies, and how Japan should use the Olympics to aim to become a tourism-focused country. I was impressed by his statement, “I am astounded by the politeness and kindness of the Japanese people. When I am with Japanese people, I feel a sense of security like I am relaxing at home.” That issue also included my special tripartite talk with Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Embassy of the Republic of Kosovo in Tokyo H.E. Ahmet Shala and Valton Beqiri, the former Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports. These two men said Japan’s most appealing feature is its truly unique culture. We spoke about topics including how the Albanians, who have been at the mercy of their neighbors, place great importance on their history, families, and human relations, which is one of the many ways in which they share common features with the Japanese. In my essay, entitled “Japanese People Should Learn True Modern History and Have Pride in Their Native Country,” I advocated for true history. For example, Japan avoided the fate of being colonized because the warrior class devoted itself to martial arts and had great pride. The United States drove Japan into a corner because it wanted to participate on the European front, and the atomic bombs were dropped on Japan as a way to restrain the Soviet Union. The APA Words to Live By was “Believe in yourself / Find pleasure in adversity / Live with pride.”
In the March 2015 issue (published February 5), Big Talk featured my dialogue with Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria Sid Ali Ketrandji entitled, “A Worldview With a Neutral Viewpoint is Necessary for Successful Global Diplomacy.” He said that it was a staggeringly great enterprise for Japan – which had a different culture from Europe and the U.S. – to become an economic power and rebuild after it was reduced to ruins, and hopes Algeria will look to Japan as a model. In my essay “We Must Take Back Japan’s Glorious History,” I reprinted my essay from Yasukuni (the newsletter published by Yasukuni Shrine) entitled, “Learning about true modern history to regain pride in our fatherland.” The APA Words to Live By was “Use your intelligence as a weapon / Ascertain the truth / Do not be a slave to circumstance.”
In the April 2015 issue (published March 5), Big Talk featured my dialogue with Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Embassy of the Maldives H. E. Mr. Ahmed Khaleel. The Maldives, which is made up of 1,190 islands, has become one of the world’s most prominent resorts by consistently implementing its policy of building one hotel on each island. We had an exciting discussion about Japan becoming a tourism-focused nation by fully leveraging its domestic resources and spirit of hospitality, the importance of early responses to violations of territorial waters, and how Japan should emulate Palau. In my essay I appealed for Japan to break the American atomic bomb curse by recognizing that it transformed World War III into the Cold War by dropping the atomic bombs, and create a truly friendly Japan-U.S. relationship. The APA Words to Live By was “We are obligated / to pass the glittering wisdom of our predecessors / to our children and grandchildren.”
In the May issue (published April 5), Big Talk featured my dialogue with Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Honduras Embassy in Japan Marlene Villela de Talbott, who visited Japan in the past to represent Honduras at the Miss World pageant. We talked about economics and politics in both countries, and she said that Japan is a mostly perfect country in many ways. My essay was entitled, “Historical Truths Have Been Demeaned Because of Postwar Conspiracies.” I denounced the sins of the Japanese mass media, which was warped by the Press Code determined by the army of occupation. I also wrote that U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander-in-chief Husband E. Kimmel was not given prior knowledge of the attack on Pearl Harbor, even though the U.S. knew about it through cryptanalysis. He was made to take responsibility for Pearl Harbor, leading to his dismissal. According to a request from his bereaved family, resolutions were passed in the Senate and House of Representatives to exonerate Kimmel. However, they were not signed by then-President Bill Clinton or the following President George W. Bush – signing these resolutions would have meant recognizing that the slogan “Remember Pearl Harbor” was a deception. The APA Words to Live By was “Live a life in which / every moment / is full of enthusiasm.”
In the June issue (published May 5), Big Talk featured my dialogue with Member of the House of Representatives Akihisa Nagashima. Nagashima is very knowledgeable about security guarantees, and we both feel that the constitution should be amended starting with the preamble. We spoke about the atomic bomb curse that binds the U.S. Namely, the U.S. had to portray Japan as a bad country so it would be forgiven for dropping the atomic bombs. It knows that the Nanking Massacre and comfort women stories are fabrications, but it cannot admit as much. In my essay I discussed my book Theoretical Modern History: The Real History of Japan, in which I explain the importance of arriving at the truth by analyzing history in a logical manner. I also discuss how illogical it was for the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) to decontaminate places with radiation one millisievert over background radiation after the nuclear accident in Fukushima, and to force people to evacuate from areas with 20 millisieverts. There was absolutely no scientific foundation for this illogical policy. The APA Words to Live By was “Difficulties are / perfect opportunities / to improve oneself.”
In the July issue (published June 5), Big Talk featured my dialogue with Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Estonian Embassy in Tokyo H.E. Jaak Lensment. We spoke about how the Japanese aesthetic exists nowhere else in the world, and how having a unique language greatly increases feelings of identification with one’s country. In my essay I advocated that Japan should move forward while holding up the flags of “principle of international cooperation” and “proactive contribution to peace” based on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s speech at the U.S. Congress. The APA Words to Live By was “Dreams are unnecessary / Lead a strategic life based on / accurate predictions of the future.”
In the August issue (published July 5), Big Talk featured my dialogue with Chargé d’Affaires Ad Interim, Embassy of the Republic of Haiti in Japan Judith Exavier. We discussed responses to historical issues, including the necessity of letting go of grudges and creating future-oriented relationships. We also agreed that no country is more wonderful than Japan when evaluated from a global viewpoint. In my essay I stated that the Abe administration must be a long-term government for the sake of peace in Asia, where there are many factors that can cause instability like China, North Korea, and Russia. I also introduced the lyrics of “Kimigayo” – a dignified national anthem, compared to the many national anthems across the world that reek of blood – and other national anthems. The APA Words to Live By was “Knowledge gained is / an investment in the future / Young people, invest in the future!”
In the September issue (published August 5), Big Talk featured my dialogue with Embassy of the Republic of Togo Chargé D’affaires A.I. Steve A. D. Aklesso Bodjona, who has published collections of poetry in Japanese. We discussed the importance of mutual understanding that is not bound by national borders. He said that Japanese people strongly desire to learn about other cultures and also have deep affection for their own Japanese culture. In my essay I pointed out the sins of the DPJ government, which lasted for three years and three months and created a breeding ground for future problems. These include the way the new National Stadium plan went off course. The APA Words to Live By was “Today is not a life process / It is a day to create the future.”
In the October issue (published September 5), Big Talk featured my dialogue with Chairman Seishiro Sugihara of the Japan Society for History Textbook Reform, which produced a historical textbook that does not include the Nanking Massacre. He says that world leaders do not believe in the Nanking Massacre or comfort women stories. Together, we insisted on the importance of conveying historical truths. In my essay, I said we should re-verify the Huanggutun Incident and once again published a portion of my December 2009 dialogue with Dmitri Prokhorov, a Russian author who says the Huanggutun Incident was the work of the Soviet secret service. The APA Words to Live By was “Even if you can memorize the past / you cannot memorize the future / Cultivate your power of insight.”
In the November issue (published October 5), Big Talk featured my dialogue with Member of the House of Representatives Yoshiaki Harada, secretary-general of the Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) Headquarters for Regional Diplomatic and Economic Partnership. We spoke about the importance of strategically transmitting information across the globe and the need to have a separate international news media besides the biased Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK). In my essay, I proposed that Japan use Jewish marketing companies to have fabricated history be amended. The APA Words to Live By was “Curiosity is the source of common sense / Use emotions as the power / to seize a future you can be proud of.”
In the December 2015 issue (published November 5), Big Talk featured a dialogue between myself Shuhei Shiozawa, professor in Keio University’s Faculty of Economics, who has won three prizes in the “True Interpretations of Modern History” essay contest, including the Prize for Excellence in the 6th annual contest. He said that Japan can be an affluent country even if the population decreases, and that the economy can be vitalized by enjoying life with a playful spirit. He also said that the Soviet Union (Comintern) was constantly involved in the course to World War II. In my essay, based on the inscription of the Nanking Massacre on the International Memory of the World Register, I said Japan must unite to engage in historical warfare. As Professor Zhu Xueqin of Shanghai University pointed out, not one person exists on the list of victims of the so-called “Nanking Massacre.” The APA Words to Live By was “Cultivate your ability to analyze information / Have an overhead view of the world / Strive for victory based on your strengths.”
In the January issue (published December 5), Big Talk featured my dialogue with Kent Gilbert, winner of the Grand Prize (Fuji Seiji Prize) in the 8th annual “True Interpretations of Modern History” essay contest. We agreed that Japanese people must have a greater realization that Japan is a blessed nation, unlike the rest of the world in which survival of the fittest rules. The title of my essay was, “Japan Should Have a Close Alliance with the United States to Oppose China, Which Aims for World Hegemony.” In it, I pointed out that in the Phase II Operational Directive for the Liberation of Japan by the Communist Party of China, a confidential document of the Communist Party, China’s final aim was executing the Emperor and making Japan into a republic. Because China is Japan’s neighbor, I feel that Marco Rubio of the Republican Party is the best choice for the next American president. The APA Words to Live By was “Life is short / Enjoy the process of battling the future / Don’t be defeated by time.”
The year 2015, during which we published Apple Town as described, is almost over. The March 2016 issue, which is released on February 5, will be the 300th issue that marks the 25th anniversary of Apple Town, Perseverance makes one stronger, but I think we’ve done a great job keeping it up this long. This was possible because I have also been able to maintain my health and achieve favorable business results.
This month’s issue of Apple Town contains my 295th Big Talk and 281st essay published under my penname of Seiji Fuji. Gilbert was chosen as the winner of the 8th annual “True Interpretations of Modern History” essay contest. As the dean of the Shoheijuku, I have given speeches at all sessions of the school: 55 times in Tokyo, 44 times in Kanazawa, and 36 times in Osaka. The number of students exceeds 10,000, and the organizing group was recognized as a public interest incorporated foundation on June 24. In these and other ways, this was a year in which my activities to express my views gained social recognition.
In terms of business, my most enduring memory is the opening of APA Hotel Woodbridge, the first overseas hotel, on November 13. I held a press conference in Manhattan, New York City on November 12, and will include the entire text of my speech here.
I was born in the town next to the hometown of Hideki Matsui of the New York Yankees, and am the founder, owner, and operator of Japan’s largest hotel network. I lost my father to illness at the age of 14, after which I received a scholarship to enter a local high school. After graduating, I studied through Keio University’s Faculty of Economics correspondence course while working at a regional financial institution. I left behind the world of being a salaried worker to open APA Group nine years later at the age of 27.
Today, APA Hotel is the largest hotel network in Japan. Including partner hotels across Japan, we have a total of 347 hotels with 56,607 rooms. Our expected financial results for this term are sales of 750 million dollars and current sales of 230 million dollars, making APA Hotel the Japanese hotel chain with the strongest earning power.
We started the Summit 5 project in April 2010. Aiming to be the top hotel chain in central Tokyo, we have opened 47 hotels with 11,365 rooms in that area up until today. Our focused investments in central Tokyo have contributed to enhancing the APA Hotel brand and high profit.
In the Summit 5-II project that was started in April 2015, we are aiming to expand the APA Hotel network to 100,000 rooms including partner hotels. We will move from central Tokyo to central cities in rural areas and are also looking towards overseas developments. Just this year we have opened 59 hotels in the APA Hotel network with 6,209 rooms. Among these, the APA brand includes the 28-floor APA Hotel Kabukicho Tower with 620 rooms, 21-floor Shinagawa-Sengakuji-Ekimae with 563 rooms, and the soon-to-be-opened APA Hotel Woodbridge, which has 200 rooms. In this way, we opened 13 hotels with 2,706 rooms.
We have achieved our target number of hotel guest rooms in Japan faster than the original plan and have become the largest chain. In terms of profit we boast one of the highest standards in the Japanese hotel industry, which is why we have achieved overseas expansion two years earlier than planned. By concluding this strategic partnership agreement with the Friendwell Group, we have established a joint venture to bring APA Hotel throughout the U.S. The first step is tomorrow’s opening of APA Hotel Woodbridge, which is in an ideal location just 20 minutes by car from Newark Airport and two stations (30 minutes) from Manhattan by train.
I have visited 81 countries in the past, and I realized that people in all nations regard good hotels as ones that provide hospitality like that given by a servant to a master. But I decided to strive for an entirely different philosophy: hotels where guests can stay with pride and the staff can provide hospitality with pride. In this way, I helped revolutionize the hotel industry.
Today, now that we are top in Japan, I hope this philosophy will spread throughout the U.S. from APA Hotel Woodbridge on the outskirts of New York City, our first overseas hotel. I believe that hotels across the world will someday be New Urban Style Hotels.
APA Hotel’s New Urban Style Hotels are based on the concept of high quality, high functionality, and environmental friendliness. The CO2 emissions per room are one third that of regular urban hotels. In this era, all things are becoming more compact. For instance, cars have been transformed from the full-size Cadillac to the Prius, while airplanes have moved from the 747 jumbo jet to the 787 and then regional jets. APA Hotel will develop New Urban Style Hotels based on this new concept across the U.S. and work to change the hotel culture. Thank you!
For me, 2015 is wrapped up by the party commemorating the publication of The Shocking Truth About Modern History VIII, the essay collection from the 8th annual “True Interpretations of Modern History” essay contest. This party is held on December 8 of each year at the Meiji Kinenkan. On the same day, we acquired the plot of land in front of the prime minister’s official residence, which we bought at auction at a high price for a project totaling 20 billion yen. Two years from now, a landmark APA Hotel will be built by APA, which is based in Akasaka. On that day I said, “I hope Abe will come to the ribbon cutting ceremony when the hotel is opened,” which inspired a round of applause. The lively party was attended by more than 1,300 guests including 34 embassy staff members from 27 countries, as well as 24 National Diet members. The greetings at the beginning were given by diplomacy commentator Hideaki Kase, and a toast was given by Sankei Shimbun President Takamitsu Kumasaka.
At this party, I also announced the publication of my latest book, entitled APA’s World Strategy That Starts Now. It is subtitled Adversity Provides Splendid Chances, which was my quote in my junior high school yearbook. The front page has a photograph from when I traveled to the North American continent for the first time at the age of 29, while the back cover photograph was taken in Manhattan when I visited the U.S. in May 2015 to get ready for our American expansion. The pages include a photo and the philosophy from the catalog for the first condominium I constructed at the age of 34. There is also a photograph of me with my beloved crimson Jaguar V12 (of which there was only one in Hokuriku at that time), enjoying my hobby of rifle shooting, when I experienced g-force of 7.5 on a F15 fighter aircraft, at Victoria Falls in Brazil, when I was invited as a state guest to Bahrain and met the king, my dialogues with important persons from around the world, me at the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum where you can view a retired aircraft carrier and a real space shuttle is displayed, the press conference and ribbon-cutting ceremony for APA Hotel Woodbridge, and more.
This book is packed with information about how I think and my past way of living, so it should allow readers to gain a good understanding about me. It will be placed in each APA Hotel guestroom so that many people can read it.
The award ceremony for the 8th annual “True Interpretations of Modern History” essay contest was held before the party. Each year we have given the Grand Prize (Fuji Seiji Prize) to essays that are highly topical, including those by Toshio Tamogami (the first winner), Tsuneyasu Takeda (the second winner), Yuko Sanami (the third winner), Jun Takada (the fourth winner), Masaharu Isshiki (the fifth winner), Jin Matsubara (the sixth winner), and Mio Sugita (the seventh winner). This year, Kent Gilbert was awarded the Grand Prize (Fuji Seiji Prize) for his essay entitled, ‘How the National Character of the Japanese People Negatively Impacts Diplomacy and National Defense.” He also gave a speech at the beginning of the party.
We are approaching the start of 2016, and my Remarks on the New Year are as follows: “The “soft” dominates the “hard” / When establishing a standard and conquering the world / Try with all your power to fulfill boundless dreams and realize your own aspirations.” As these remarks indicate, during 2016 we will expand across the globe. I have operated hotels based on the philosophy of guests and staff being equal, which led to my declaration to the media at the press conference in Manhattan that these hotels will conquer the world. I will work with my whole power in 2016 so that I can fulfill these words.
December 23, 2015 (Wednesday) 9:00 a.m.