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The grandson  of prominent Japanese war criminal Nobosuke Kishi, Abe is implementing revisionist politics  designed to obfuscate Japan’s actions during World War II. (Kishi–Abe’s grandfather –implemented Japan’s declaration of war against the U.S. during the Second World War.)
For background material to this discussion, see the Introduction  to the anti-fascist books, in addition to the author interviews  and text excerpts  of the Gold Warriors  book by Sterling and Peggy Seagrave.
Program Highlights Include: Some of the postwar chickens are coming home to roost in what may prove to be more than a rhetorical fashion.
- School textbooks are being edited  to reflect a revisionist perspective, more sympathetic to the ideology and goals of Imperial Japan.
- A new secrecy law has been passed, stifling open political discourse in Japan about the war.
- Abe has visited the Yasukuni Shrine, a controversial step  that aggravated Japan’s Asian neighbors and rivals.
- The NHK television network is being brought under the thumb  of Abe’s administration, compromising the integrity of Japan’s largest and (arguably) most prestigious news outlet.
- Controversial comments are straining relations  with the United States. Assertions by Abe allies include assertions that U.S. war crimes tribunals after the conflict were intended to obfuscate American war crimes and the remarkable claim that U.S. troops used slave prostitutes similar to the Japanese “comfort women.”
- Abe associates praising the World War II Kamikaze pilots .
- The Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations’ illegal shipping of 70 tons of plutonium  to Japan to bolster a secret nuclear weapons program that had been underway since the 1960’s.
- Japanese government officials are openly sanctioning anti-Korean racism and networking with organizations  that promote that doctrine. Several members of Abe’s government network with Japanese neo-Nazis. Echoing the political ideology of economically moribund European countries, Abe’s government and the Japanese right are scapegoating “Koreans” for Japan’s economic problems. One sees similar scapegoating of “immigrants” in the U.S. Will the answer to the decades-long economic problems of Japan be “let them eat fascism?”
- Vice-Prime Minister Taro Aso is a longtime admirer of Nazi political strategy and advocates using the Nazi method  for seizing power to sneak constitutional change past the Japanese public. Is Abe’s government doing just that?
- The State Department’s evident misgivings about Japanese chauvinism haven’t stopped U.S. strategic planners from supporting Japan’s move toward an offensive military capability , eyeing North Korea and [possibly] China.
1. School textbooks are being edited to reflect a revisionist perspective, more sympathetic to the ideology and goals of Imperial Japan. A new secrecy law has been passed, stifling open political discourse in Japan about the war.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s conservative government has begun to pursue a more openly nationalist agenda on an issue that critics fear will push the country farther from its postwar pacifism: adding a more patriotic tone to Japan’s school textbooks. . . .
. . . . Mr. Abe and the nationalists have long argued that changes in the education system are crucial to restoring the country’s sense of self, eroded over decades when children were taught what they call an overly negative view of Japan’s wartime behavior.
The latest efforts for change started slowly, but have picked up speed in recent weeks.
In October, Mr. Abe’s education minister ordered the school board here in Taketomi to use a conservative textbook it had rejected, the first time the national government has issued such a demand. In November, the Education Ministry proposed new textbook screening standards, considered likely to be adopted, that would require the inclusion of nationalist views of World War II-era history.
This month, a government-appointed committee suggested a change that would bring politics more directly into education: putting mayors in charge of their local school districts, a move that opponents say would increase political interference in textbook screening. And just days ago, an advisory committee to the Education Ministry suggested hardening the proposed new standards by requiring that textbooks that do not nurture patriotism be rejected. . . .
2a. Abe has visited the Yasukuni Shrine, a controversial step that aggravated Japan’s Asian neighbors and rivals.
Shinzo Abe’s past year as prime minister has concentrated chiefly on reviving Japan’s long-ailing economy. Yet in Mr. Abe’s mind, the country’s newfound economic prowess is a means to an end: to build a more powerful, assertive Japan, complete with a full-fledged military, as well as pride in its World War II-era past.
That larger agenda, which helped cut short Mr. Abe’s first stint in office in 2006–7, has again come to the forefront in recent weeks, culminating in his year-end visit Thursday to the Yasukuni Shrine, which honors the nation’s war dead, including several war criminals who were executed after Japan’s defeat. . . .
. . . . Last month, he ignored blistering criticism from political opponents as well as the news media and steamrollered through Parliament a law that would tighten government control over state secrets. The law was presented by the government as a mechanism to aid in the sharing of military intelligence with allies, and create an American-style National Security Council.
Mr. Abe has also increased military spending for the first time in a decade, and loosened self-imposed restrictions on exporting weapons. A new defense plan calls for the acquisition of drones and amphibious assault vehicles to prepare for the prospect of a prolonged rivalry with China.
And experts say that next year, Mr. Abe could start taking concrete steps to reinterpret, and ultimately revise, Japan’s 1947 pacifist Constitution, something he has described as a life goal. Proposed changes could allow the country to officially maintain a standing army for the first time since the war, and take on a larger global security role. . . .
. . . . Nor do Mr. Abe’s deeply revisionist views of history — which he inherited from his grandfather Nobusuke Kishi, who was jailed for war crimes before eventually becoming prime minister — inspire confidence that Tokyo can play a bigger security role in Asia. . . .
2b. The U.S. appears to sanction the burgeoning Japanese militarism, despite State Department and U.N. concerns about growing Japanese racism.
Japan and the United States are exploring the possibility of Tokyo acquiring offensive weapons that would allow Japan to project power far beyond its borders, Japanese officials said, a move that would likely infuriate China.
While Japan’s intensifying rivalry with China dominates the headlines, Tokyo’s focus would be the ability to take out North Korean missile bases, said three Japanese officials involved in the process.
They said Tokyo was holding the informal, previously undisclosed talks with Washington about capabilities that would mark an enhancement of military might for a country that has not fired a shot in anger since its defeat in World War Two.
The talks on what Japan regards as a “strike capability” are preliminary and do not cover specific hardware at this stage, the Japanese officials told Reuters.
Defense experts say an offensive capability would require a change in Japan’s purely defensive military doctrine, which could open the door to billions of dollars worth of offensive missile systems and other hardware. These could take various forms, such as submarine-fired cruise missiles similar to the U.S. Tomahawk.
U.S. officials said there were no formal discussions on the matter but did not rule out the possibility that informal contacts on the issue had taken place. One U.S. official said Japan had approached American officials informally last year about the matter.
Japan’s military is already robust but is constrained by a pacifist Constitution. The Self Defense Forces have dozens of naval surface ships, 16 submarines and three helicopter carriers, with more vessels under construction. Japan is also buying 42 advanced F‑35 stealth fighter jets.
Reshaping the military into a more assertive force is a core policy of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. He has reversed a decade of military spending cuts, ended a ban on Japanese troops fighting abroad and eased curbs on arms exports.
Tokyo had dropped a request to discuss offensive capabilities during high-profile talks on revising guidelines for the U.S.-Japan security alliance which are expected to be finished by year-end, the Japanese officials said. Instead, the sensitive issue was “being discussed on a separate track”, said one official with direct knowledge of the matter.
But any deal with Washington is years away and the obstacles are significant – from the costs to the heavily indebted Japanese government to concerns about ties with Asian neighbors such as China and sensitivities within the alliance itself.
The Japanese officials said their U.S. counterparts were cautious to the idea, partly because it could outrage China, which accuses Abe of reviving wartime militarism.
The officials declined to be identified because they were not authorized to discuss the closed-door deliberations. A Japanese Defense Ministry spokesman said he could not comment on negotiations with Washington.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Asian countries had a right to be concerned about any moves to strengthen Japan’s military considering the country’s past and recent “mistaken” words and actions about its history.
“We again urge Japan to earnestly reflect on and learn the lessons of history, respect the security concerns of countries in the region and go down the path of peaceful development,” Hua told a daily news briefing in Beijing.
Japan would need U.S. backing for any shift in military doctrine because it would change the framework of the alliance, often described as America supplying the “sword” of forward-based troops and nuclear deterrence while Japan holds the defensive “shield”.
Washington did not have a position on upgrading Japan’s offensive capabilities, “in part because the Japanese have not developed a specific concept or come to us with a specific request”, said another U.S. official.
“We’re not there yet — and they’re not there yet,” the official said. “We’re prepared to have that conversation when they’re ready.”
NORTH KOREAN MISSILES
North Korea lies less than 600 km (370 miles) from Japan at the closest point.
Pyongyang, which regularly fires short-range rockets into the sea separating the Koreas from Japan, has improved its ballistic missile capabilities and conducted three nuclear weapons tests, its most recent in February 2013.
In April, North Korea said that in the event of war on the Korean Peninsula, Japan would be “consumed in nuclear flames”.
Part of Japan’s motivation for upgrading its capabilities is a nagging suspicion that the United States, with some 28,000 troops in South Korea as well as 38,000 in Japan, might hesitate to attack the North in a crisis, Japanese experts said.
U.S. forces might hold off in some situations, such as if South Korea wanted to prevent an escalation, said Narushige Michishita, a national security adviser to the Japanese government from 2004–2006.
“We might want to maintain some kind of limited strike capability in order to be able to initiate a strike, so that we can tell the Americans, ‘unless you do the job for us, we will have to do it on our own,’” said Michishita, a security expert at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo.
Reflecting Japan’s concerns, Abe told parliament in May 2013 that it was vital “not to give the mistaken impression that the American sword would not be used” in an emergency.
“At this moment is it really acceptable for Japan to have to plead with the U.S. to attack a missile threatening to attack Japan?” Abe said.
Under current security guidelines, in the event of a ballistic missile attack, “U.S. forces will provide Japan with necessary intelligence and consider, as necessary, the use of forces providing additional strike power”.
SHROUDED IN EUPHEMISM
The informal discussions on offensive capabilities cover all options, from Japan continuing to rely completely on Washington to getting the full panoply of weaponry itself.
Japan would like to reach a conclusion in about five years, and then start acquiring hardware, one Japanese official said.
Tokyo had wanted the discussions included in the review of the Japan‑U.S. Defense Cooperation Guidelines that are expected to cover areas such as logistical support and cybersecurity. Those talks, which formally kicked off last October, are the first in 17 years.
3. The NHK television network is being brought under the thumb of Abe’s administration, compromising the integrity of Japan’s largest and (arguably) most prestigious news outlet.
First, there was the abrupt resignation of the public broadcasting chief accused by governing party politicians of allowing an overly liberal tone to news coverage. Then, his successor drew public ire when he suggested the network would loyally toe the government line.
Days later, on Thursday, a longtime commentator for the network angrily announced that he had resigned after being ordered not to criticize nuclear power ahead of a crucial election, unleashing new criticism.
These are hard times for the broadcaster, NHK, which is widely considered the country’s most authoritative television and radio news source and like its British equivalent, the BBC, has been troubled by scandal. . .
. . . . The prime minister is already pressing for more patriotic textbooks and has pushed through a secrecy law that will allow Japan’s notoriously opaque government to hide more of what it does. The actions come as Japan is mired in an emotional tug of war with China and South Korea over their fraught wartime history and recent, potentially explosive, territory disputes.
“What I am worried about is that NHK will become loyalist media, become the public relations department of the government,” an opposition lawmaker, Kazuhiro Haraguchi, said in unusually harsh criticism in Parliament on Friday. NHK is “part of the infrastructure that forms the basis of our democracy.”
The lawmaker made the statements as a parliamentary committee summoned Katsuto Momii, the new president of the broadcaster, to explain remarks at a recent news conference, including his declaration that overseas broadcasts would present the government’s views on foreign policy without criticism.
“We cannot say left when the government says right,” he said when asked whether NHK would present Japan’s position on territorial and other disputes. He explained that it was “only natural” for the network to follow the Japanese government position.
He also said it should refrain from criticizing the secrecy law as well as Mr. Abe’s visit in December to a Tokyo war shrine, which angered China and South Korea.
The comments seemed to run counter to the stated mission of the broadcaster, which is funded by fees collected from everyone who owns a television set, to report the news “without distortion or partisanship.”
While it is nominally independent, the broadcaster’s 12-member governing board is appointed by Parliament, which also approves its budget. The board, which includes four Abe appointees, chooses the president of the network.
The bluntness of the questioning in Parliament reflected the deep suspicion shared by many in the opposition that Mr. Abe’s governing Liberal Democratic Party is stocking the governing board with people ready to stifle criticism of his conservative government’s agenda, including playing down Japan’s wartime atrocities. . . .
. . . .The latest accusations of political interference have also become a headache for the Abe government, which has already seen its high approval ratings slide after passage in December of the secrecy law. Many Japanese journalists saw the law as a way of intimidating would-be government whistle-blowers from speaking with reporters, further hampering the independence of Japanese news media already criticized for being overly cozy with authority.
“This is gross political interference,” said Yasushi Kawasaki, a former NHK political reporter who teaches journalism at Sugiyama Jogakuen University near Nagoya. “The Abe government has stocked NHK’s board of governors with friendly faces in order to neuter its coverage.”
The top government spokesman, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, has denied that the appointments were politically motivated, but said the prime minister chose people whom he knows and trusts. . . .
4a. Controversial comments are straining relations with the United States. Assertions by Abe allies include assertions that U.S. war crimes tribunals after the conflict were intended to obfuscate American war crimes and the remarkable claim that U.S. troops used slave prostitutes similar to the Japanese “comfort women.”
A series of defiantly nationalistic comments, including remarks critical of the United States, by close political associates of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has led analysts to warn of a growing chill between his right-wing government and the Obama administration, which views Japan as a linchpin of its strategic pivot to Asia.
Rebuttals from the American Embassy in Japan have added to concerns of a falling-out between Japan and the United States, which has so far welcomed Mr. Abe’s efforts to strengthen Japan’s economy and military outreach in the region to serve as a counterbalance to China. The comments, which express revisionist views of Japan’s World War II history, have also led to renewed claims from Japan’s neighbors, particularly China and South Korea, that Mr. Abe is leading his nation to the right, trying to stir up patriotism and gloss over the country’s wartime history. . . .
. . . . One of the most provocative comments from Abe allies came this month, when an ultraconservative novelist, Naoki Hyakuta, who was appointed by the prime minister himself to the governing board of public broadcaster NHK, said in a speech  that the Tokyo war tribunal after World War II was a means to cover up the “genocide” of American air raids on Tokyo and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The United States Embassy called the comments “preposterous.”
. . . . Mr. Hyakuta’s comments came days after the new president of NHK, who was chosen last month by a governing board including Abe appointees, raised eyebrows in Washington by saying that Japan should not be singled out for forcing women to provide sex to Japanese soldiers during the war, saying the United States military did the same. Most historians say the Japanese system of creating special brothels for the troops, then forcing tens of thousands of women from other countries to work there, was different from the practice by other countries’ troops in occupied areas who frequented local brothels. . . .
Masahisa Sato stood in a ballroom under a giant Japanese flag, reading to the after-work crowd from a letter a World War II kamikaze pilot sent his young daughter.
“Don’t see yourself as a fatherless child. I will always be looking out for your safety,” Mr. Sato quoted the pilot as writing before he flew his plane into a U.S. ship off the Philippines in 1944, with his daughter’s favorite doll in the cockpit.
As the audience fell silent, Mr. Sato declared, his voice hoarse: “We have people we want to protect. We must have the resolve to hand this nation to the next generation.”
Mr. Sato is no fringe militaristic crank. He is a top defense adviser to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and a member of Japan’s parliament running for re-election on Sunday. . . .
The United States deliberately allowed Japan access to the United States’ most secret nuclear weapons facilities while it transferred tens of billions of dollars worth of American tax paid research that has allowed Japan to amass 70 tons of weapons grade plutonium since the 1980s, a National Security News Service investigation reveals. These activities repeatedly violated U.S. laws regarding controls of sensitive nuclear materials that could be diverted to weapons programs in Japan. The NSNS investigation found that the United States has known about a secret nuclear weapons program in Japan since the 1960s, according to CIA reports.
The diversion of U.S. classified technology began during the Reagan administration after it allowed a $10 billion reactor sale to China. Japan protested that sensitive technology was being sold to a potential nuclear adversary. The Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations permitted sensitive technology and nuclear materials to be transferred to Japan despite laws and treaties preventing such transfers. Highly sensitive technology on plutonium separation from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site and Hanford nuclear weapons complex, as well as tens of billions of dollars worth of breeder reactor research was turned over to Japan with almost no safeguards against proliferation. Japanese scientist and technicians were given access to both Hanford and Savannah River as part of the transfer process.
While Japan has refrained from deploying nuclear weapons and remains under an umbrella of U.S. nuclear protection, NSNS has learned that the country has used its electrical utility companies as a cover to allow the country to amass enough nuclear weapons materials to build a nuclear arsenal larger than China, India and Pakistan combined. . . .
. . . That secret effort was hidden in a nuclear power program that by March 11, 2011– the day the earthquake and tsunami overwhelmed the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant – had amassed 70 metric tons of plutonium. Like its use of civilian nuclear power to hide a secret bomb program, Japan used peaceful space exploration as a cover for developing sophisticated nuclear weapons delivery systems.
Political leaders in Japan understood that the only way the Japanese people could be convinced to allow nuclear power into their lives was if a long line of governments and industry hid any military application. For that reason, a succession of Japanese governments colluded on a bomb program disguised as innocent energy and civil space programs. . . .
“For Top Pols In Japan Crime Doesn’t Pay, But Hate Crime Does” by Jake Adelstein and
Angela Erika Kubo; The Daily Beast; 9/26/2014. 
As Japan’s prime minister addresses the United Nations on Friday his reputation at home is tainted by links to avowed racists.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be speaking to the United Nations this Friday, but he may not be very welcome. In late July, the United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination urged Japan to crack down on the growing cases of “hate speech” targeting foreign residents. The U.N. committee urged Prime Minister Abe’s administration to “firmly address manifestations of hate  and racism as well as incitement to racist violence and hatred during rallies,” and create laws to rectify the situation.
Recent events make it appear that the prime minister and his cabinet are not paying attention; several members of the cabinet not only appear oblivious to racism and hate speech issues, they associate with those who promote them.
Last week photographs of Japan’s newly appointed National Public Safety Commissioner socializing with members of the country’s most virulent racist group, Zaitokukai, were brought to light in an expose by Japan’s leading weekly magazine, Shukan Bunshun. In U.S. terms, it would be the equivalent of the attorney general getting caught chumming around with a Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan. This week it was reported that another cabinet member received donations from them, and that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe himself may have ties to the staunchly anti-Korean organization.
All of this isn’t good for Japan and Korea relations, since much of the racism is directed at people of Korean descent, nor is it good for U.S.-Japan relations. In February, the U.S. State Department in its annual report on human rights, criticized the hate speech towards Korean residents in Japan , specifically naming the Zaitokukai. The group is well known for its anti-social actions, but The Daily Beast has learned that it also has had ties to Japan’s mafia—including the Sumiyoshi-kai, which is blacklisted by the United States .
The latest news of links between the Japanese ruling coalition and unsavory characters comes just after another scandal involving neo-nazi links to two other cabinet members  made headlines worldwide.
The standard line of defense offered by the cabinet members embroiled in controversy over their connections to racist groups, “We just happened to get photographed with these people. We don’t know who they are,” is getting harder to swallow. And it has raised some disturbing issues.
The U.N. and the U.S. State Department can certainly urge Japan to deal with the problem but as long as hate crime pays politically and to some extent monetarily and the administration seems to condone ultra-nationalist racist groups this is unlikely to happen. The scolding that the U.N. gave Japan seems more and more prescient as links between the cabinet and bigoted ultra-nationalist organizations keep coming to light.
The Zaitokukai , founded in 2006, has a name best translated as “Citizens Against the Special Privileges of Ethnic Koreans.” They are an ultra-nationalist, right-wing group that argues for the elimination of privileges extended to foreigners who had been granted Special Foreign Resident status—mostly Korean-Japanese.
The Zaitokukai also collect a lot of money in donations from like-minded citizens.
The group, which is led by Makoto Sakurai, whose real name is Makoto Takada, claims that ethnic Koreans abuse the social and welfare system in Japan. Zaitokukai claims to have over 14,000 members. It organizes protests and demonstrations across Japan, even in front of Korean elementary schools, yelling such slogans as “Go back to Korea,” “You’re the children of spies”—making numerous veiled and overt threats. The group asserts that all foreigners are criminals who should be chased out of Japan, especially the Koreans.
In a recent book, Sakurai states, “The Japanese understand what the Koreans are up to. If you think about it, there’s no way we can get along with these people. Even though Japanese people don’t do anything, Koreans just cause one incident (crime) after another. Every time a Korean commits another crime, our support goes up.”
And when support goes up, so do the earnings of the Zaitokukai—earnings that are poorly accounted for and go untaxed. It’s a great racket and it’s completely legal.
However, the group does have associations with the Japanese mafia, aka the yakuza, and those may not be legal. They are very closely tied to the political arm of the Sumiyoshikai, known as Nihonseinsha. .
Eriko Yamatani, as chairman of the National Public Safety Commission, oversees Japan’s police forces. It makes her association with Zaitokukai and their criminally inclined members highly problematic. One picture that dates back to 2009 shows Yamatani standing next to Yasuhiko Aramaki, who was arrested a year later for terrorizing a Korean elementary school in Kyoto, found guilty and then later arrested again in 2012 on charges of intimidation. .
Another of the people photographed with Yamatani is Shigeo Masuki, a former Zaitokukai leader. Masuki was arrested at least three times after the photograph was shot, once for threatening an elementary school principal and later for insurance fraud. Yamatani initially denied that she knew of the Zaitokukai affiliation of the people in the pictures. This is slightly strange since she has reportedly been friends with Masuki and his wife for over a decade. When replying to questions from TBS radio about the recent scandal, she explained the Zaitokukai exactly in the terminology of a true believer, inadvertently using the words “Zainichi Tokken (Special rights of the Korean Residents In Japan)” herself. At a press conference held today (September 25th), she was questioned about her use of the term and stated uncomfortably, “In my reply (to TBS) I might have just copy and pasted from the Zaitokukai homepage.” She refused to criticize the group by name or clarify whether she believed that ethnic Koreans had special privileges.
Yamatani, in her current position, oversees the National Police Agency—the very same agency that noted in its 2013 white paper that the Zaitokukai were committing hate speech, promoting racism, and posed a threat to the social order. If hate-speech becomes a crime, she may be in charge of overseeing the police that enforce the law.
She isn’t the only one close to the Zaitokukai in the current cabinet. According to the magazine Sunday Mainichi, Ms. Tomomi Inada, Minister Of The “Cool Japan” Strategy, also received donations from Masaki and other Zaitokukai associates.
Apparently, racism is cool in Japan.
Inada made news earlier this month after photos circulated of her and another female in the new cabinet posing with a neo-Nazi party leader . Both denied knowing the neo-Nazi well but later were revealed to have contributed blurbs for an advertisement praising the out-of-print book Hitler’s Election Strateg y. Coincidentally, Vice-Prime Minister,Taro Aso, is also a long-time admirer of Nazi political strategy , and has suggested Japan follow the Nazi Party template to sneak constitutional change past the public.
Even Japan’s Prime Minister Abe has been photographed with members of Zaitokukai. Masuki, who snapped a photo with Abe on August 17h 2009, while he was still a member of the group, bragged that Abe kindly remembered him.” 
As of publication date, the administration hasn’t explained the relationship between the two and a home page featuring a photo of Abe and Masuki has been taken down.
Since September 3, it seems that every day yields new information linking an Abe cabinet member with a racist or neo-nazi group. While the ties to racist groups and the cabinet members seem problematic, there are signs of hope…sort of.
In August, Japan’s ruling party, which put Abe into power organized a working group to discuss laws that would restrict hate-crime , although the new laws will probably also be used to clamp down on anti-nuclear protests outside the Diet building.
Of course, it is a little worrisome that Sanae Takaichi, who was supposed to oversee the project, is the other female minister who was photographed with a neo-Nazi leader and is a fan of Hitler.
Maybe the Abe administration is sincere about dealing with hate crimes and just unlucky to have so many cabinet members being photographed and getting donations from the wrong people.
Sadly, Japan is in the middle of a huge racist boom. Anti-Korean books, magazines, and comic books are selling like wildfire. The anti-Korean diatribe Bokanron (The Impudent Korea Argument), a book released on December 5 last year, became the top selling book on Amazon within a week and sold 270,000 copies by the end of March. An assistant editor at a weekly magazine told The Daily Beast, “If you have an article ridiculing Korea or Koreans on the cover, the issue sells. That’s the climate we’re in.”
However, Japan is definitely in a precarious time. What was once taboo has become socially acceptable and the prime minister remains silent, hoping to avoid alienating his political base and let the fires of political nationalism continue to smolder.
6. More about Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Taro Abe’s Nazi views:
Japan’s deputy prime minister stirred controversy this week by appearing to suggest that the government could learn from the way that Nazi Germany changed its constitution.
The remarks by Taro Aso, who is also the Japanese finance minister, provoked criticism from Japan’s neighbors and a Jewish organization in the United States.
Aso, a former prime minister who has slipped up with verbal gaffes in the past, retracted the comments later in the week but refused to apologize for them or resign, saying they had been taken out of context.
Amid persistent talk in Japan about revising the country’s pacifist post-war constitution, Aso set off the controversy at a seminar Monday, in which he said that discussions over constitutional changes should be carried out calmly.
“Germany’s Weimar Constitution was changed into the Nazi Constitution before anyone knew,” he said in comments widely reported by the Japanese media. “It was changed before anyone else noticed. Why don’t we learn from that method?” . . . .
. . . . Aso’s apparent reference to those changes drew expressions of concern from the governments of China and South Korea, two countries that suffered heavily under Japanese imperial aggression during World War II, a conflict in which Japan was allied with Nazi Germany. . . .
7. Abe cabinet ministers Tomomi Inada and Sanae Takaichi wrote promotional blurbs for a book written by a Liberal Democratic Party politician that formally articulates the strategy endorsed by Taro Aso.
An official of the Liberal Democratic Party urges in a new book that his party try to regain power by adopting a new role model: Hitler.
The book, “Hitler Election Strategy: A Bible for Certain Victory in Modern Elections,” says the Nazi leader’s process for “unifying public opinion in a short period of time and snatching power” provides “very important teachings.”
The author, Yoshio Ogai, is a public relations official in the Tokyo chapter of the Liberal Democratic Party, Japan’s largest, which controlled the Government for nearly four decades until being ousted last summer. Just Personal Advice
In an interview today, Mr. Ogai said the book did not state an official party position, merely his personal advice to candidates in these “chaotic” times that they could learn some tactics from Hitler. He said, however, that he had cleared the book beforehand with the secretary general of the Tokyo branch.