A Wine Tasting and Discussion about Japan Meeting was held on April 27, 2016 as always at the representative’s home. The guests included Mr. Hiroyuki Arai, a Member of the House of Councilors representing the New Renaissance Party that is taking its own route as a conservative liberal party; Mr. Shuhei Shiozawa, a professor in Keio University who applied to the “True Interpretations of Modern History” essay contest upon seeing an advertisement for such in Kasui-kyo of Kaga Katayamazu Onsen; Mr. Kenji Miyoshino, President and CEO of DDS, Inc. – a company that is pioneering fingerprint authentication systems; Dr. Chris Earnshaw, President and CEO of Tesla Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., who is also the chairman of a NPO to prevent suicide; Mr. Tadahiko Horikawa, Representative Director of Naniwa Iron Works Co., Ltd. – a company with the largest share in Japan for sales of bolts and eyebolts for wheels; Mr. Norihito Yasuda @DIME (Internet media) Editor-in-Chief; and Mr. Natsume Yukiaki, an economic journalist who has been involved in interviews with a great many managers. They talked about the “now” in Japan – from business to politics.
Japanese people must enjoy themselves for the economy of Japan. Even in a society with an aging population, if the elderly make sure to stay healthy and have fun for as long as they can, the economy will not stagnate. The fact that having fun is still seen as bad in Japan is probably due to the sensibilities of the Edo Period (1603 to 1868) that still remain rather than the influence of Buddhism. In the Edo Period, there were production shortages in which less was produced than demanded. This meant that it was necessary for people to work to increase productivity. However, the reverse is now true; there is a lack of demand. Therefore, it is necessary to increase demand in Japan by people having fun.
Looking worldwide, Japan is the country with the overwhelming greatest number of companies that have been in existence for 100 years or more. Kongo Gumi is the oldest company in the world. This is a company founded in 576 in the Asuka Period (550 to 710) that designs and constructs shrines and temples. Managers in Japan consider continuation to be of primary importance and take a long-term outlook. Another reason that there are so many old companies in Japan is that there has been a lack of conflict due to self-sufficiency and no large-scale civil war. The fact that there are no streets enclosed by fences like in Europe and China is proof of the tranquility of Japan. Furthermore, because Japan is an island nation and not a peninsula has meant that the country only took in good things from the continent and didn’t accept those that didn’t fit. Therefore, there have never been eunuchs in Japan and the custom of foot-binding has never existed here. Conversely, the Korean Peninsula has a history of being at the mercy of the continent both culturally and politically. The nation on the Korean Peninsula is one that even now flatters China, draws close to Japan and argues vehemently about the non-existent forced transportation of 200,000 comfort women because it is a country that has survived with feelings of constraint in every direction.
The representative first began to learn about history because he felt there was a contradiction in the fact that educational establishments and the media only taught and reported the history which showed Japan in a negative light despite the fact that he found everyone highly appreciated Japan when he spoke to leaders in a great number of countries. The historical research of the representative led him to the concept called “theoretical modern history.” This connects together various facts with logical thinking in terms of whether something is probable or improbable.
There is no way that the harsh military discipline of the Japanese Army would have allowed even one non-combatant (e.g. a woman or child) to be murdered. Of course, the idea that the army would have slaughtered 300,000 people in a city that had a population of 200,000 with this population then increasing to 250,000 one month later such as is said to have happened with the Nanking Massacre is completely ridiculous. Moreover, instead of being bound by dogma, if new facts come to light, it is necessary to think of a non-contradictory explanation with these added and to revise previous theories. Historical revision is criticized, but it is only natural to make revisions in order to find the correct history.
Mr. Kenji Fujimoto, who was formerly the personal chef to Kim Jong-il, has stated that North Korea “makes the decision to suddenly fires missiles” at the United States which has provoked it in regards to the country’s missile tests. It is certain that Kim Jong-un is very conscious of the United States and South Korean military exercises. The mistake that all the media companies make in analyzing trends in North Korea is to not report the truth of the train explosion at Ryongchon Station in 2004. This explosion was an attempt to kill Kim Jong-il for not giving up nuclear development by Jiang Zemin, the Military Commission Chairman of China. It is clear from looking at the hole made by the explosion which was opened to the public that this was a major underground – not above ground – explosion. The Zhang Zuolin Assassination Incident in 1928 that started the invasion of China by Japan was the result of maneuvering by the secret military agency of the Soviet Union rather than the work of the Kwantung Army’s Colonel Komoto. There would have been no hole in the passenger car as remains in the photographs in the method based on the testimony of Colonel Komoto. In addition, Dmitri Prokhorov, a writer living in St. Petersburg, claims that the Soviet Union was involved from his analysis of the behavior of the secret military agency. For example, there was a failed assassination attempt on Zhang Zuolin by the Soviet Union directly before this incident. Nevertheless, the media in Japan is making no attempt to report on the truth of the Ryongchon disaster or the Zhang Zuolin Assassination Incident.
The representative started the “True Interpretations of Modern History” essay contest in order to question society about the historical viewpoint. The essay by Mr. Toshio Tamogami that won the top prize in the first contest asserted that Japan was a good country. However, he was dismissed from his post of the Chief of Staff of the Air Self Defense Force because he differed with the governmental view. He has now been arrested. This is clearly a politically motivated investigation. Nevertheless, the world has completely changed in the eight years since the establishment of the essay contest. The atmosphere in which Keisuke Nakanishi, the former Director General of the Defense Agency, was driven to resign just because he made remarks that touched upon the constitution in 1993 is now a thing of the past. The debate over change to the constitution now takes place out in the open. There is an urgent need to address the masochistic view of history. Among the junior high school history textbooks where a masochistic view of history is rampant, the only respectable ones are from Ikuhosha and Jiyusha. However, although the textbook from Ikuhosha is still being adopted, the one from Jiyusha is largely ignored. It is well-known that the GHQ created the Japan Teacher’s Union after the war. However, this Japan Teacher’s Union continues to this day to create textbooks and establish educational content in line with the policies of the occupation.
The mass media in Japan has continued to comply with the press code established by the GHQ as a voluntary restraint even after the end of the occupation. The following circumstances lie in the background to this decision. The media centered on the Asahi Shimbun stated their desire for post – not pre – censorship by the GHQ under the occupation of the U.S. military. This is because pre-censorship takes time and lowers the value of news. This request was approved, but the order was given to perform self-censorship in advance in place of this. This system continues to be in place to this day. In addition, the Japanese censors employed by the GHQ did not want to become like the women who were shaved bald as Nazi collaborators in Paris when France was liberated because they were traitors after the occupation ended. Therefore, they thoroughly concealed what they had done and established the flow of postwar defeated profiteers who succeeded intellectual elites. This lives on to this day as a stealth complex in which there is a network consisting of the bureaucracy, legal circles and the media. This has become a hotbed for the masochistic view of history.
It is unlikely that a conflict through force between countries will occur anywhere in the world in this day and age. Conflict has shifted to wars of words and cyber wars – so-called information wars. Japan should also strengthen its information activities to immediately rebut and correct incorrect information and strategic information in the languages of various countries (e.g. English) in the language of those countries within 24 hours by setting up an information ministry with a budget of 300 billion yen in order to win these wars of words. It is also necessary to set aside part of the budget to cyber wars. The idea of nonaggressive defense only exists in Japan. The concept of offensive ability acting as a deterrent is lacking in Japan. In the United States, a strong president is created after there has been a weak president. The fact that Mr. Trump has become the presidential candidate of the Republican Party is part of this. Mr. Trump has made appeals to make the US-Japan Security Treaty a bilateral one. If he becomes president, this will be a major opportunity for Japan to become a truly independent country. The strength in the background to conflicts between states is of course nuclear weaponry. Achieving a balance in nuclear weaponry is an urgent piece of business for Japan. It is necessary to maintain the ability to deter attacks on Japan. This should be done by amending the constitution and then concluding with the United States the nuclear sharing treaty that has been agreed by four NATO countries in Europe and America.
Fingerprint authentication in mobile phones spread rapidly with its introduction by Apple onto iPhones in 2013. Biometric authentication (e.g. fingerprint authentication, facial recognition authentication and vein authentication) is spreading with the growing need for security. However, on the other hand, new problems are also being created with the trade-off in the right to privacy. Nevertheless, if biometric authentication becomes more popular, we may be able to realize a world in which we do not need keys, coins, seals or credit cards.
Japan currently has ultra-low interest rates. Those who are not expanding their businesses at a time like this are those with no abilities as business persons. There are also companies boasting debt-free management. Managers fixated on being debt-free even though they should be starting new businesses to increase their assets by borrowing as much capital as they can when there are such great financing conditions with abnormal ultra-low interest rates can only be called incompetent. They probably have no confidence to be able to obtain a return on their money. However, why are they doing business? It is very important to predict the future in order to be successful in business. It is necessary to consider the world (e.g. foreign exchange rates and interest rates) as a partner. Since Prime Minister Abe reclaimed political power, he has encouraged a weaker yen. This has also led to an increase in stock prices. Foreign exchange rates and stock prices should be assessed over longer periods. There is no sense to the media in Japan getting worked up over temporary ups and down. Now, in the period of ultra-low interest rates, housing loans are the capital that can be borrowed with the best conditions. In other words, serving as both tax reduction and inheritance tax countermeasures, buying and making use of real estate by taking out housing loans is the best way to form assets at present. Now is also the perfect time to refinance any housing loans with high interest rates that you might have.
The seat occupancy rate of the Hokuriku Shinkansen stands at 60%. Kanazawa is even now still packed with tourists and in a festive mood one year after the opening of this route. Land prices are also continuing to rise. On the other hand, the seat occupancy rate of the Hokkaido Shinkansen that opened this year is in the 20% range. Of course, the four hour barrier is great. It seems that there are many people who would prefer to use an airplane than the Hokkaido Shinkansen which takes more than four hours from Tokyo to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto. JR is also making this journey cheaper through various discounts. In particular, it does not hurt to know that the fare per kilometer becomes cheaper the further you go according to the long distance gradual decrease system.
Companies that aim to maximize their sales and profits will eventually go bust. This is because those firms will take excessive risks in order to meet those aims. “Create demand, generate jobs and make appropriate profit to fulfil tax liabilities.” Fulfilling these three elements is business; there are still many industrialists who do not understand this. The new high-function, high-quality and environmentally friendly urban hotels advocated by APA Hotel are a new hotel standard with no rival. This means these hotels are not caught up in excessive price competition. The number of APA hotel members exceeds 10 million people. However, the share of APA Hotel in regards to the annual total number of nights stay in Japanese hotels of 500 million is still just a little over 2%. The hotel industry in Japan is still in a state of emergence. Later, we will no doubt enter the stage when we see oligopolies and monopolies form. Increasing the sales of APA Hotel ten-fold and capturing a 20 to 30% share of the market is by no means impossible. APA Hotel Woodbridge – the first step in our overseas expansion – will have its grand opening in the United States on June 20. Global business standards come from the United States. APA Hotel will continue to make great strides around the world from here.