Head of the Research Institute on Legislation by Diet Members Sadayuki Miyazaki entered the 16th Annual “True Interpretations of Modern History” Essay Contest, and was awarded the Prize for Excellence in the Adult Division for his astute essay on the hidden intentions in the laws created by the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (GHQ). He has ample experience as a bureaucrat and has worked as a researcher as well. Toshio Motoya spoke with Miyazaki about the legislation and organizations required by Japan in the future, the foreign policy it should enact, and other topics.
(Mo) Thank you for joining me on Big Talk today, and congratulations on your win in the 16th Annual “True Interpretations of Modern History” Essay Contest. You were awarded the Prize for Excellence in the Adult Division for your essay, “Budget Austerity is an Occupation Policy Relic: We Should Dismantle the Ministry of Finance and Reorganize the Cabinet Secretariat.”
(Mi) I’m thrilled to receive the Prize for Excellence. I look forward to talking with you today about many meaningful topics.
(Mo) Can you start by telling us about your past career?
(Mi) After graduating from university, I started working in the police field and served as a Cabinet secretary. After retiring from office, I became a professor at Teikyo University. Today I’m an author who has published approximately 20 books. I decided to write about the future of our nation, so I started doing research on what happened after Japan’s defeat in World War II. This made me realize that some laws and regulations established during the occupation period were intended to weaken Japan. They still exist today as the most serious cancer threatening Japan’s future prosperity. One example is the Public Finance Act of 1947. Article 4 prohibits Japan from issuing government bonds other than construction bonds, while Article 5 bans the Bank of Japan from underwriting government bonds. In other words, Japan cannot use government bonds to raise war funds, like it did before World War II. Because the United States was afraid that Japan would take revenge, it used the Public Finance Act to ensure that Japan would be demilitarized as specified in Article 9 of the constitution. The Ministry of Finance (MOF) functioned as a proxy for the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (GHQ), and has continuously implemented austerity measures in the postwar era based on the Public Finance Act. This has degraded business performance and resulted in more temporary workers, lower wages, fewer marriages, and decreasing birth rates. Japan’s defense capability fell relative to its global competitiveness, and Germany’s GDP rose above Japan’s. Drastic revisions to the Public Finance Act and Act on Special Provisions concerning Issuance of Government Bonds – which allows deficit-covering government bonds – must be completed as quickly as possible to break free from this budget austerity, carry out expansionary fiscal policy, and get the Japanese economy back on a path to growth.
(Mo) You clearly explained these points in your essay.
(Mi) The Police Act was another measure for weakening Japan. The police previously had centralized power, but the GHQ dismantled the Ministry of Home Affairs to create two types of police forces: the local government police and national rural police. This led to the prefectural police organizations we have today, but they are not always able to handle modern issues like international terrorism and cybercrime. We need to bring back a powerful national police force for this reason.
(Mo) The U.S. broke up the centralized police as a means to debilitate Japan.
(Mi) Yes, and the constitution itself was written to make Japan into a vassal state of America. The fundamental issues cannot be resolved just by revising Article 9. The preamble reads, “we have determined to preserve our security and existence, trusting in the justice and faith of the peace-loving peoples of the world.” But it’s not true that the whole world is a just place, or that all people are lovers of peace. You can see this in the Ukraine war and Israel-Hamas conflict. The preamble only recognizes Japan’s rights to safety and survival, which is its biggest issue. This means Japan should simply live quietly without asserting itself under the patronage of the U.S. Japan cannot plainly state its belief in communitarianism – an idea that values the interests of the community over the individual, which is in opposition to American individualism and liberalism.
(Mo) I imagine the GHQ feared that a national police force would have anti-American sentiments. Japan is still a vassal state of the U.S., 78 years after the end of the war. We must enact an independent constitution, create a police organization that contributes to our interests, and establish a military to become a truly independent nation.
(Mi) Yes, an autonomous constitution is the ideal, but the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) merely makes a pretense of revising the existing constitution – they have no real enthusiasm to accomplish this. They know that a national referendum would be a high hurdle, and assume it would render constitutional change all but impossible. In the U.S., no referendum is needed to revise the constitution. Three-fourths of the state governments must approve the amendment. I think we should do the same in Japan by requiring three-fourths of prefectural governments to agree on constitutional revisions. When Japan signed the San Francisco Peace Treaty in 1951, Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida should have declared that Japan would annul the occupation-era constitution. Jiro Shirasu, his close associate, has criticized this as well. Because Yoshida allowed the occupation constitution to survive, it has provided grounds for arguments by left-wing academics and newspapers, leading to the division in today’s public opinion.
(Mo) In East Asia, China is using its economic power to augment its military force. Japan must stand up to China to maintain a balance of power. The Japanese and American forces in the Far East used to be drastically more powerful than China, but today the opposite is true. Peace can be achieved when two parties are competing with each other for military supremacy, but war breaks out when one surpasses the other. Japan absolutely must enhance its military force to prevent that situation.
(Mi) I agree, and I believe Japan should obtain nuclear submarines to solidify our deterrence. These submarines have long continuous cruising ranges, can fire missiles with ranges of more than 3,000 kilometers, and can stay underwater for long periods of time so they are difficult to capture.
(Mo) Because Japan is surrounded by ocean, I also think submarines will be essential for defense. If a warship was attacked on the ocean, the surviving underwater submarines could retaliate. The Maritime Self-Defense Forces (MSDF) are working to obtain more conventional submarines. In October they launched the JS Raigei, the fourth Taigei-class submarine. I think they should step up the pace of these efforts, and I agree that Japan should also consider nuclear submarines.
(Mi) Japan’s non-nuclear submarines are said to have the world’s highest level of performance. I’ve heard that one MSDF submarine was able to “sink” all American mission vessels in a military exercise with the U.S. Navy. To defend itself, Japan should use its air and maritime fighting power to drive enemies back before they are able to land, and I think submarines would play an important role. The MOF curbed defense funding to 1% of the GDP as a way to prevent Japan from obtaining up-to-date equipment like nuclear submarines. Last year, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced a plan to increase defense spending to 2% of the GDP, partially due to American pressure. The estimated total amount for five years is 43 trillion yen. I hope this will allow us to promptly improve our defense capabilities.
(Mo) The ideology of absolute pacifism has prevailed in postwar Japan. Many people have supported the thinking that military force brings about war, and that Japan should hold to unarmed neutrality. This is a mistake. Switzerland is only able to maintain permanent neutrality because of its powerful military force with a universal conscription system.
(Mi) Swiss citizens are highly conscious of civilian defense. They are prepared to take up guns in an emergency, and each house is stocked with weapons and one month of food.
(Mo) A nation must fight to defend itself before depending on allies for what is lacking. We should not rest securely due to the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty. The Ukraine war demonstrates that a country has to fight for itself before receiving aid from others.
(Mi) In addition to military strength, Japan must also enhance its intelligence activities. People say that China has stationed more than 30,000 covert operatives in Japan. The Japanese security police knows about these spies, but there is no way to restrain them according to our laws. For instance, they overtly purchase land near bases to observe the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF). I propose that Japan create a registry of foreign agents, which many Western countries already have. Individuals and groups that represent another country – such as those working to spread information or lobby on a foreign nation’s behalf – would be obligated to register with a government agency and report their activities. They could be quickly exposed if they took any actions outside the scope of their registration and reports. If we established a law for this, we could cast a wider net than an anti-espionage law, including activities such as monitoring National Diet members or trying to honey trap them. I also advocate for a civil defense force. Japan should create a nongovernment organization, centered on its nationwide fire departments, to conduct tasks such as providing emergency transport and caring for injured soldiers. This would improve regional resilience and survivability.
(Mo) I think those are both good suggestions.
(Mo) Another issue is that Japan has no state of emergency legislation. For example, JSDF tanks and other vehicles must obey traffic regulations even during an emergency. We should create such a law, and we should revise the Self-Defense Forces Act and other laws so the JSDF is free to take action when emergencies occur.
(Mi) Article 71 of the Police Act states that the prime minister can proclaim a state of emergency. However, this is limited to “temporary control of the police” as specified in Article 72. We need laws that define specific authority, such as to search or confine someone without a warrant. The state of emergency discussion also pertains to constitutional reform, with some saying that we must revise the constitution to legally set forth the ability to forcibly limit private rights. But constitutional amendment is extremely challenging, as I mentioned before. There will not be strong momentum for constitutional reform unless Japan is in danger, but at that point it would be too late. In that case, one intelligent person has suggested a prearranged coup d’état. The JSDF and police could carry out a one-day coup and suspend the constitution with agreement from the government and Diet. The following day, they could administer the nation under existing laws while the constitution remains suspended. That would be the phase in which we would need legislation to allow court-martials in the JSDF, as well as rules of engagement (ROE) in line with other nations, founded on legitimate self-defense and emergency evacuation.
(Mo) I imagine that a prearranged coup would be a last resort, but there may come a time when that is our only option. I think the U.S. used various means to discourage unity among Japanese citizens, which was extremely strong during World War II. These included dividing up the police force among prefectures and not adding a state of emergency clause to the constitution.
(Mi) Yes, and Japan focused solely on its postwar economy while neglecting the issue of national security. We must fix this as soon as possible. That’s why I founded the Research Institute on Legislation by Diet Members, which has used the internet to propose over 80 laws that Japan needs today. These include the aforementioned foreign agent registry, a law abolishing special privileges for Zainichi Koreans, and a law prohibiting public officials from holding dual citizenship. We’ve also suggested a law for creating a talent agency registration system. As the current Johnny’s Jimusho issue demonstrates, talent agencies have more power than the celebrities they manage. This creates the risk that these agencies will abuse their power, including sexual coercion, which is why American talent agencies must be registered with their state governments and are clearly prohibited from abusing their authority. Japanese laws are very scarce compared to American laws.
(Mo) Why is that?
(Mi) Japanese Diet members are not very good at lawmaking. Western congresspeople use their staff to draft laws, but in Japan lawmaking is left up to the government. The most important laws were all created by the government, which has prioritized the economy over security. Lately, Sanae Takaichi served a central role in creating an economic security bill, but our laws are still insufficient. I think the LDP should start its own legislation bureau, including politicians with experience in the Cabinet Legislation Bureau. Political parties should draft necessary bills and bring them to the Diet. They should constantly be coming up with required laws and introducing them in the Diet at optimal timings.
(Mo) That’s a great idea.
(Mi) The Asahi Shimbun, Kyodo News, and other left-wing media outlets have also helped guide the Japanese people away from unity. In September 1945, The Asahi Shimbun printed a conversation in which Ichiro Hatoyama denounced the atomic bomb attacks. It was penalized with a publishing ban. This trauma turned Asahi into a mouthpiece for occupation policy. Communists and sympathizers worked at the paper, and its anti-Japanese stance became a selling point. We can say that Asahi and Kyodo News both benefitted from Japan’s defeat in World War II. However, this mass media is approaching its demise. Asahi is selling fewer papers and I doubt it will last another decade. Today people can express themselves freely and find supporters through social media and online videos. I think this will drastically change the Japanese public opinion and increase the number of free thinkers who are not bound by what the media says. To me, the future seems bright.
(Mo) I hope so, too.
(Mi) In terms of foreign policy, I think Japan should build a “New Japanese Federation.” Japan has focused mainly on its own security, but we should broaden our viewpoint and think about enhancing our collaboration with Pacific and Asian countries. Countries that want to emulate Japan by growing their economy and strengthening their military could join the New Japanese Federation, centered on Japan and modeled on the British Commonwealth of Nations. The United Kingdom used its military strength to build its commonwealth in the past. Japan could utilize its virtues, cultural power, and defense cooperation to do the same thing. I think Palau and other Pacific nations would join right away, and Japan could also welcome countries like Taiwan, Nepal, Bhutan, and Azerbaijan. Perhaps Sakhalin and the Siberian Republic would apply to join after Russia weakens and breaks apart.
(Mo) Maybe Japan could relax its requirements for providing technologies and weapons to members of the federation.
(Mi) Yes. Taiwan launched its first domestically produced submarine this September. More submarines provide powerful deterrence to prevent China from crossing the Taiwan Strait to invade Taiwan. Japan is not helping Taiwan construct submarines out of consideration for the Japan-China relationship, but I think Japan could more openly provide aid if Taiwan were a member of the New Japanese Federation. The Three Principles on Arms Exports, established in 1976 during the Takeo Miki administration, essentially prohibit Japan from exporting weapons and restrict its own freedom. The restrictions were relaxed in 2014 with the Three Principles on Transfer of Defense Equipment and Technology during the second Shinzo Abe administration. These rules are being reconsidered this year in the aim of strengthening the industry. I hope this goes well.
(Mo) I think Japan needs a cycle of exporting older weapons while also developing new ones. If export volumes are restricted, naturally these weapons will cost a great deal of money. We should export more weapons to parties that don’t pose threats to Japan, instead of applying uniform restrictions. I also think Japan should obtain equipment it needs for defense without being limited by the framework of 1% or 2% of the GDP.
(Mi) I agree entirely. We should probably consider our relationship with the U.S., too. American power is declining, but I think it will still have the world’s top military and intelligence gathering abilities over the next 20 or 30 years. In particular, the U.S. has overwhelming superiority when it comes to intelligence gathering. The Five Eyes intelligence alliance consists of five Anglo-Saxon countries like America and the United Kingdom, and they are the major joint operators of the Echelon spy station network. Japan will likely have to maintain peace by emphasizing its alliance with the U.S. for the time being. However, the U.S. is a hypocritical, undemocratic country that is controlled by some international finance capitalists, and its true character is being revealed. Some people doubt the results of the 2020 presidential election and believe Joe Biden fraudulently acquired votes through various methods, including by taking advantage of postal voting issues. The mass media is also controlled by liberal, international finance capitalists, so it is not at all impartial. Moreover, China and Russia are falling into hegemonism. The U.S., China, Russia, and United Nations have not been able to stop the Ukraine war or Israel-Hamas war. The UN is approaching its expiry date. In addition to the New Japanese Federation, I think we should also build an Asian League of Nations and an Asian Federation.
(Mo) That could be a revival of the Greater East Asia Prosperity Sphere.
(Mi) The Greater East Asia Prosperity Sphere was backed by Japan’s military power. I think countries should be free to join the new Asian Federation according to their own will.
(Mo) If Japan is to play a central role, it must rebuild its economy and obtain greater power.
(Mi) Yes, but Japan has a deflationary gap of roughly 20 trillion yen. We should issue national bonds to fill this gap. We could also boost national power by cutting the consumption tax to invigorate the economy.
(Mo) I think Japan still has potential. People in many other countries feel national pride, but Japanese people tend to speak only about the negative aspects of Japan. This issue is caused by the educational system and media, which have also spread the mistaken belief that peace can be gained just by wishing for it. Rather, a patriotic spirit and defense weapons are needed to prevent war. Japan needs armaments founded on a balance of power, as well as education and news reporting that inspire patriotic feelings. Perhaps we could even make media outlets pay fines for incorrect reporting.
(Mi) Even if we couldn’t impose fines, we should have a system for readers to submit formal objections that are judged and ruled on by a third party.
(Mo) At the end of the interview, I always ask for a “word for the youth.”
(Mi) Young people have already been freed from the masochistic view of history. I hope they will travel abroad, learn about other histories and cultures, and grow into true global citizens. They will surely feel more pride in their home nation of Japan, a safe country with delicious food and kind people. With a global viewpoint, I believe we can see that Japan has a bright future.
(Mo) I am proud of Japan and believe in its future, too. Thank you for joining me today.
(Mi) Thank you.
Born in 1945 in Ehime Prefecture. Graduated from the University of Tokyo’s Faculty of Law and Cornell University’s Graduate School of Management. His career background includes working as a National Police Agency secretary, at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris, and Cabinet examiner. He became a professor at Teikyo University in the field of behavioral science in times of danger. Today he is an author with many published works.