On January 15, 2017, an American woman and Chinese man staying at an APA Hotel shot a video about my book that denies the Nanjing Massacre and comfort women stories, Theoretical Modern History II: The Real History of Japan, being placed in APA Hotel guest rooms. The video was uploaded to Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter. It was quickly viewed more than 100 million times, setting off a major outcry about my book. Due to this online furor, a foreign ministry spokesperson of the People’s Republic of China criticized APA Hotel by name, and the China National Tourism Administration called for domestic travel agencies to stop doing business with APA Hotels. Our hotels and Head Office received six bomb threats by telephone. The police also contacted us, saying they had received an application for a demo by thousands of Chinese residents of Japan who planned to protest against APA Hotel. But on the day of the protest, only around 80 people gathered to walk from Shinjuku Central Park to APA Hotel Shinjuku-Gyoemmae. Moreover, few Chinese residents showed up, and it is thought the organizers ended up hiring Japanese citizens with anti-Japanese sentiments at the cost of 8,000 yen per day, saying they could wear masks and did not have to speak out. This scandal inspired hundreds of conservative people to come together and protect APA. We received 20,000 encouraging e-mails and other messages, more people stayed at our hotels to show their support, and records were set for both sales and occupancy rates.
Memories of this outcry have faded considerably. However, APA Hotel recently received a large booking via an online travel agent (OTA). Afterwards, the customer who made the reservation visited the hotel, and the staff showed him online information about the rooms and other topics. He made no particular requests at that time. However, four days after the visit, the customer called our Head Office. He said, “I booked rooms with you, but all of the guests are South Korean. I’ve heard the books in the guest rooms may bother people from South Korea. I would like you to remove these improper publications so they can have a pleasant stay.” A staff member from the APA Head Office consulted with her boss before replying, “APA does not recognize these books as improper, and has no intention of removing them. If this inconveniences you, you are free to cancel the reservation.” The customer said he would look at the book and then get back to us.
APA Hotel rooms cannot be booked directly from China since January 2017, and the number of Chinese guests has declined significantly. At the same time, we are welcoming more guests from Europe, the United States, and Canada, as well as Japanese people staying with us to show their support. Chinese people can make reservations from outside of China, so there is a trend of increasing Chinese guests staying as individuals rather than members of group tours. After the booking and telephone call, we researched events the group might attend, but we could not find any. APA Hotel fundamentally does not charge cancellation fees for individual customers until the day before the booking. I feel like there was a motive behind this reservation. If we refused to remove the books, I think the large reservation would have been cancelled right before the booking date, which would have negatively affected the hotel. If we had removed the books, people could proclaim that APA had succumbed to pressure. Still, APA Hotel denying lodging to a guest is a violation of our accommodation contract. I believed we had to deal with this issue deliberately, and the customer was told that groups are generally asked to pay in advance after their booking is confirmed. This payment has not yet been received as of today.
In my published works, I have written that no Nanjing Massacre took place, which is based on sufficient proof. I spoke as follows at the monthly meeting of the Shoheijuku Kanazawa Branch on May 20:
The Japanese Army killed soldiers during combat. It tracked down, confined, and killed armed, plainclothes soldiers who were hiding in Nanjing after stealing clothing, money, and other goods from private homes. During the Japanese advance, Chiang stationed National Revolutionary Army (NRA) barrier troops to warn fleeing Kuomintang troops to return to the battle, and kill them if they did not. These deserters were shot at. Having nowhere to flee, they were taken as prisoners of war by the Japanese and executed. (Most of these soldiers were wearing civilian clothing. They can be killed, because plainclothes soldiers are guerillas who are not eligible for being taken prisoners of war.) There were almost no NRA soldiers from Nanjing. Chiang conscripted them from rural areas, and they were not given sufficient training. Chiang left them behind and escaped on an airplane. The Japanese Army did not have sufficient food for its huge number of plainclothes soldiers taken as prisoners. The residents of Nanjing were scared that, if released, the hungry soldiers would break into and pillage houses before escaping. Due to these circumstances, it seems the Japanese Army did kill soldiers wearing civilian dress.
The first-ever U.S.-North Korean summit is scheduled for June 12. On June 8, the Sankei Shimbun newspaper’s Just Arguments magazine included an article by commentator Kanji Nishio. Entitled “Trump’s Diplomacy is a Cry of Danger,” Nishio wrote with great perception:
He purposefully enacted anti-foreign policies that will be most hated by other countries. This was a way to ring the alarm, telling them that the destruction of the world order by Russia and China has passed the danger mark. In April, he chose a policy of excluding China and hurriedly setting up a meeting with North Korea. Since then, he has acted on his own authority while disregarding all customary diplomatic channels.
At the same time, he decided to place high tariffs on Chinese iron, steel, and aluminum. This was only natural. He also brought back the high tariffs on American allies that were previously exempt, such as Canada, Europe, and Mexico, on the basis of American defense. This was a measure to unify political and economic policy, but it naturally provoked criticism.
Why is Trump proposing these illogical political measures? It is true that the world is standing at a crossroads of structural change today. The American civilization is being conspicuously challenged by Russia and especially China. We are on the brink of a crisis that we should refer to as a new cold war in both the military and economic realms. Although it took some time, the urgent North Korean situation has finally awoken the Trump administration to China’s real motives. It has rearranged the domestic structure over the past few months and decided on an anti-Chinese line.
Trump is not interested in philosophical ideologies, such as threats to human rights or democracy. However, he is highly alert to military or economic hazards, and has become aware of this reality that cannot be upheld by the U.S. alone. Based on this realist stance, he has demanded high tariffs from American allies in distant locations for “national defense.” What is his basis for these self-centered, unashamed, purposeful, plain-spoken, anti-foreign statements?
Trump wanted to tell the world about this extremely serious situation and show that we are in a state of emergency. The summit with North Korea is drawing attention across the globe, and Trump wanted to leverage this as a lucky opportunity to declare that the U.S. is being harmed unjustly. The self-evident premise is that American interests impact the world order, but I can think of no other politicians who have used such blunt logic to point out the cause of a crisis in a showy, prideful way.
The current North Korea crisis stems from the new cold war structure created by the withdrawing U.S. and expanding China. Trump has made correct decisions, as the article described: “Although it took some time, the urgent North Korean situation has finally awoken the Trump administration to China’s real motives. It has rearranged the domestic structure over the past few months and decided on an anti-Chinese line.” This is because North Korea’s nuclear program is in opposition to China. Rather than allowing North Korea to keep its nuclear weapons and become close to the Chinese dictatorship, it would be in the Japanese and American interests to achieve denuclearization and then guarantee that the Kim Jong Un government can be maintained. As I wrote in my essay from last month, the worst-case scenario for Japan would be for North Korea to become a latent nuclear power by hiding its completed weapons. In this scenario, it would utilize these nuclear weapons to integrate South Korea and create the “Federation of Korea.” If that happens, this anti-Japanese nation with a population of 80 million would be a Chinese underling with nuclear weapons to intimidate Japan. This would likely result in Japan becoming a Chinese autonomous region. To prevent this scenario from coming true, Japan should amend its constitution right away and gain military power. We must be able to use the strength of the Japanese people to make North Korea return its Japanese abductees, rather than resolving this issue by paying ransom for hostages.
Right before the U.S.-North Korean summit, the U.S. has switched to a stance of approving the phased denuclearization of North Korea. At first this seems like a concession by the U.S. However, Trump is acting in a calculated way. For instance, the current economic sanctions are extremely effective. If they are kept in place until complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization (CVID) is achieved, he thinks Kim will naturally give in. Trump is most interested in winning a second election, and he must be victorious in the midterm elections this November for that reason. If the North Korea issue is resolved too quickly, there is the risk that the Kim Jong Un government might be toppled from inside via a coup d’état or domestic conflict. Trump praised Kim Jong Un in the joint statement, which was merely a general statement. It contained no details, and it is thought this prevented the government from collapsing. Taking time for multiple discussions, and Trump widely promoting his splendid achievements around October, would be the most effective tactic for the midterm elections. Trump is aiming to win a second election by releasing a declaration on the end of the Korean War just before the presidential election of November 2020, based on the conditions of CVID and continuing to station U.S. troops in South Korea (which North Korea truly hopes for).
Up until now, the Kim Jong Un administration’s greatest achievements were executing Jang Song Thaek (Kim Jong Un’s pro-Chinese uncle who could threaten his regime) as a traitor to the state, and removing Kim Jong Nam (Kim Jong Un’s brother under Chinese protection who could have been set up as the leader of a Chinese puppet government). Kim Jong Un actually hopes for security guarantees under the current system. He wants to receive extensive economic aid from Japan, conclude a treaty with the U.S. like the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, and accomplish economic growth.
To achieve the denuclearization of North Korea, proactive American military backup will be needed to guarantee the security of the disarmed North Korea against China. This North Korea crisis is actually a struggle between China and the U.S. over North Korea.
Homare Endo skillfully analyzes and summarizes the North Korean situation in Toichi Suzuki’s column in the June 8, 2018 issue of Yukan Fuji. First, she describes Trump’s intentions as follows:
2. This is the start of the process. After, multiple summits will probably be held.
3. There is no need to hasten disarmament (he actually approves the phased denuclearization advocated by North Korea).
4. However, if denuclearization does not take place, the economic sanctions will not be lifted and the present situation will be maintained. He does not want to use the phrase “maximum pressure” going forward (in other words, he will not put any further sanctions in place).
5. He looks forward to the day the sanctions are lifted.
6. After North Korea accepts denuclearization, the far-away U.S. will not have to pay much money if neighbors like Japan, South Korea, and China provide financial support.
7. The two leaders might discuss ending the Korean War at the June 12 summit.
Endo analyzes this as follows:
Trump stated that he will not even attend the summit meeting if he is not assured of CVID. This is contrary to his previous remarks saying there is no need to be hasty, and it is reasonable to interpret this as a concession. However, the White House has not deviated from its policy of continuing the economic sanctions until the final stage of denuclearization, and giving only paper-based political rewards in the initial and intermediate stages. Considering this, North Korea will not receive any benefits during the phased denuclearization. This will force Kim Jong Un even further.
American think-tanks and other parties say that denuclearization will take time. Moreover, compelling CVID might make the North Korean military authorities launch a coup. Trump is probably considering Kim Jong Un’s inability to maintain his structure.
In this way, Trump’s statement that he wishes to avoid the phrase “maximum pressure” is highly significant. This is because the current economic sanctions are sufficiently effective. In the future, we must pay attention to whether Kim Jong Un turns to the U.S. or to China and Russia.
I think Endo is correct in saying the current sanctions are working, and that Trump is not considering any further sanctions. North Korea has apparently run out of crude oil, and people in rural areas are dying from starvation. If things continue in this way, North Korea will destroy itself with these starvation tactics. Kim Jong Un wants to quickly find a way to resolve this issue and receive financial aid, and I think Trump said the process can be done slowly because he sees Kim Jong Un’s weak points. Kim Jong Un is being taken in by Trump’s ingenious stratagem. Trump is even hinting that a military strike might be possible if the summit is unsuccessful. If that happens, I think he might conduct a limited air strike with prior warning (as I have long suggested) to display the power of the U.S. The U.S. should specify which nuclear- and missile-related facilities will be attacked on what date so that people can evacuate. It should conduct an air strike of these facilities, then demand CVID and state that all-out war will occur if this isn’t accomplished. At the end of last year, I attended a New Year’s party at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, where I spoke with a former U.S. Air Force general. He said the U.S. prepares for total war even when conducting a limited strike, which takes six months. I think the U.S. might be ready for this now, and agree with Endo’s analysis that Trump has not made any concessions.
Looking at the Japanese mass media alone, many people are saying Japan should pay extensive reparations to North Korea to make up for the past after the nuclear weapon and abduction issues are solved. This is wrong. Many people in the Korean Empire agreed to Japan’s annexation of Korea, and both countries completed the official procedures and entered into a treaty. There was no opposition from the international community. Japan aimed to make the Korean Peninsula part of its nation just like Hokkaido, and invested huge amounts of money to build infrastructure like the Sup’ung Dam, railways, roads, and schools. The assets left behind do not total just one or two trillion yen – they are significantly greater than the amount of wartime compensation. In light of this history, there is absolutely no need for Japan to pay reparations. If Kim Jong Un accepts CVID, Japan should pay appropriate funds for inspections to use North Korea as a buffer area against China. However, this way of thinking and the amount would be quite different from reparations. Trump has a mistaken historical awareness that Japan was the colonial ruler of the Korean Peninsula, and it seems like he regards Japanese financial aid as suitable for this reason. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe must sufficiently explain the history of the annexation to Trump, and make him understand that it was nothing like colonial rule by the Western nations.
June 8 (Friday), 6:00 p.m.