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For The Record  

FTR #969 Partying Like It’s 1932: Update on the Re-Emergence of Japanese Fascism

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This broad­cast was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment.

Intro­duc­tion: In the sum­mer of 2017, jour­nal­is­tic focus in Asia has been on Korea and its nuclear capa­bil­i­ty. The growth of Japan­ese fas­cism, in con­trast, has large­ly passed beneath the intel­lec­tu­al radar.

Fur­ther devel­op­ing cov­er­age in pre­vi­ous broad­casts, this pro­gram updates the re-emer­gence of the polit­i­cal forces that drove the con­quests of Impe­r­i­al Japan, as well as attempts to insti­tute an Orwellian re-write of the past.

Key the­mat­ic ele­ments of this pro­gram include an omi­nous res­o­nance between Japan­ese revi­sion­ist schools Tsukamo­to, Morit­o­mo Gakuen and the Native-Land-Lov­ing School, some of whose alum­ni assas­si­nat­ed Japan­ese prime min­is­ter Inukai on May 15, 1932. The “May 15th Inci­dent,” as it is known, was a key ele­ment in the rise of fas­cism in Japan.

“. . . . In 1939, his [Kos­aburo Tachibana’s] admir­ers enabled him to estab­lish a school. He called it the Native-Land-Lov­ing School (Aiky­o­juku). Every­body in Japan with a mes­sage to deliv­er or an axe to grind opens a school. . . . Those schools in the hands of the patri­ot­ic soci­eties are at once a method of train­ing young men for strong-arm work and a plau­si­ble excuse for extort­ing con­tri­bu­tions from the rich and timid. . . .”

Pro­gress­ing down­ward from the upper tiers of the polit­i­cal struc­ture, Japan­ese fas­cism stems from the Nip­pon Kai­gi (“Japan Con­fer­ence”), whose mem­bers exert pro­found influ­ence in the admin­is­tra­tion of Shin­zo Abe, as well as the Japan­ese par­lia­ment.

In addi­tion to open­ly sanc­tion­ing anti-Kore­an racism and net­work­ing with orga­ni­za­tions that pro­mote that doc­trine, sev­er­al mem­bers of Abe’s gov­ern­ment net­work with Japan­ese neo-Nazis. Some of those Nazi acolytes advo­cate using the Nazi method for seiz­ing pow­er in Japan. Is Abe’s gov­ern­ment doing just that?

In addi­tion to finance min­is­ter (and deputy prime-min­is­ter) Taro Aso, for­mer defense min­is­ter Tomi Ina­da and inte­ri­or min­is­ter Sanae Takaichi are appar­ent expo­nents of Nazi polit­i­cal method­ol­o­gy. ” . . . . 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 Strategy. Coin­ci­den­tally, Vice-Prime Min­is­ter [and Finance Minister–D.E.],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. . . . it is a lit­tle wor­ri­some that [Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter] Sanae Takaichi . . . is the oth­er female min­is­ter who was pho­tographed with a neo-Nazi leader and is a fan of Hitler. . .”

Abe appears to be using a super­fi­cial pseu­do-fem­i­nism to “sneak con­sti­tu­tion­al change past the pub­lic.” All five of his female cab­i­net appointees are mem­bers of Nip­pon Kai­gi (two resigned short­ly after being appoint­ed.) The actu­al views of these women toward wom­en’s rights belie their fem­i­nist cre­den­tials. ” . . . . The new­ly appoint­ed Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter, Sanae Takaichi, while serv­ing on the LDP’s Pol­i­cy Research coun­cil, sug­gest­ed that the Japan­ese gov­ern­ment rescind the Kono State­ment in 2015, on Japan’s 70th anniver­sary of its sur­ren­der from World War II. [11] The Kono State­ment was a land­mark 1993 apol­o­gy issued by the for­mer Chief Cab­i­net Sec­re­tary that apol­o­gized for the ‘com­fort women:’ 200,000 pri­mar­i­ly Kore­an women forced into sex­u­al slav­ery by the Japan­ese mil­i­tary. Anoth­er min­is­ter, Eriko Yaman­tani, has pre­vi­ous­ly made com­ments that denied the exis­tence of ‘com­fort women.’ . . . .” 

Much of the pro­gram focus­es on Shin­zo (and wife Akie) Abe’s sup­port for the Morit­o­mo Gakuen.

  1. Akie Abe was the hon­orary prin­ci­pal of the Morit­o­mo Gakuen (still being con­struct­ed) and con­tributed a mil­lion yen toward its con­struc­tion.
  2. Abe him­self appar­ent­ly donat­ed mon­ey to the con­struc­tion of Morit­o­mo Gakuen.
  3. Tomo­mi Ina­da sup­port­ed Morit­o­mo Gakuen, hav­ing rep­re­sent­ed the school as a lawyer. She lat­er claimed she could not remem­ber hav­ing done so.
  4. Morit­o­mo Gakuen Yasunori Kagoike is a mem­ber of Nip­pon Kai­gi.
  5. Morit­o­mo Gakuen appar­ent­ly ben­e­fit­ed from favors from Taro Aso’s finance min­istry.

High­light­ing the his­tor­i­cal res­o­nance between Tsukamoro and Morit­o­mo Gakuen and the Native Land-Lov­ing School, the pro­gram recounts the May 15th Inci­dent.

Pro­gram High­lights Include:

  1. Corpse of a Chi­nese woman who was a vic­tim of the rape of Nanking.

    The vir­u­lent, pro-fas­cist revi­sion­ism of bil­lion­aire Japan­ese hote­lier Toshio Motoya, whose writ­ings por­tray Japan as a hero­ic lib­er­a­tor in World War II and deny the Rape of Nanking.

  2. Motoy­a’s affil­i­a­tion with Nip­pon Kai­gi.
  3. Motoy­a’s spon­sor­ship of Toshio Tam­aga­mi, the for­mer head of the Japan­ese Air Self Defense Force, who has blamed World War II on Franklin D. Roo­sevelt and “com­mu­nists” in his admin­is­tra­tion.
  4. Taro Aso’s view that elder­ly Japan­ese should “hur­ry up and die.”
  5. A curi­ous mass mur­der of elder­ly, dis­abled Japan­ese that sug­gests the killer may have enjoyed pro­tec­tion or spon­sor­ship.

1a. Japan­ese Prime Min­is­ter Shin­zo Abe is turn­ing back the Japan­ese his­tor­i­cal and polit­i­cal clock. 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, some of whom advo­cate using the Nazi method for seiz­ing pow­er in Japan. Is Abe’s gov­ern­ment doing just that?

Recall­ing the Native Land-Lov­ing School, we note that prime min­is­ter Shin­zo Abe, his wife Akie and Tomo­mi Ina­da, the [now-resigned] defense min­is­ter are all affil­i­at­ed with the Morit­o­mo Gakuen and the Tsukamo­to Kinder­garten.

” . . . . A grow­ing out­cry has put Mr. Abe’s con­ser­v­a­tive admin­is­tra­tion on the defen­sive and drawn atten­tion to the dark­er side of an increas­ing­ly influ­en­tial right-wing  edu­ca­tion move­ment in Japan. Mr. Abe said on Fri­day in Par­lia­ment that his wife, Akie Abe, had resigned as ‘hon­orary prin­ci­pal’ of a new ele­men­tary school being built by Tsukamoto’s own­er. . . .”

” . . . . In addi­tion to serv­ing as prin­ci­pal of the kinder­garten, Mr. Kagoike heads Morit­o­mo Gakuen and is a direc­tor of the Osa­ka branch of Nip­pon Kai­gi a promi­nent right-wing pres­sure group that includes Mr. Abe and oth­er influ­en­tial con­ser­v­a­tive politi­cians as mem­bers. In a mes­sage on Morit­o­mo Gakuen’s web­site, which the foun­da­tion removed on Thurs­day, Ms. Abe praised it for ‘nur­tur­ing chil­dren with strong back­bones, who have pride as Japan­ese, on a basis of supe­ri­or moral edu­ca­tion.’ Japan’s defense min­is­ter, Tomo­mi Ina­da [an overt expo­nent of Hitler’s polit­i­cal methodology—D.E.] , has also praised the foun­da­tion, send­ing Mr. Kagoike a for­mal let­ter of appre­ci­a­tion for his work. . . . . . . . The Finance Min­istry [head­ed up by Taro Aso, who is also an overt expo­nent of Hitler’s polit­i­cal methodology—D.E.] allowed Morit­o­mo Gakuen to have the land—a two-acre vacant lot near an air­port in an Osa­ka suburb—for 134 mil­lion yen, accord­ing to gov­ern­ment records and tes­ti­mo­ny  by min­istry offi­cials in Par­lia­ment. . . .”

 “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.

. . . . 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 Strategy. Coin­ci­den­tally, Vice-Prime Min­is­ter [and Finance Minister–D.E.],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. . . .

. . . In August, Japan’s rul­ing par­ty, which put Abe into pow­er orga­nized a work­ing group to dis­cuss laws that would restrict hate-crimealthough 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. . .

1b. We note the rise of fas­cism in Japan is a “process guid­ed from above.”

“Part­ners at the Pacif­ic;” german-foreign-policy.com; 3/20/2017.

“Right-Wing Pop­ulism from Above”

. . . . Japan, with which Ger­many is seek­ing clos­er eco­nom­ic and mil­i­tary coop­er­a­tion, has tak­en a sharp nation­al­ist course. This course is gen­er­al­ly asso­ci­at­ed with Abe becom­ing Prime Min­is­ter. Abe, who arrived in Hanover yes­ter­day, “is antic­i­pat­ing in Japan, (…) what right-wing pop­ulists dream of in Europe,”[6] a lead­ing Ger­man dai­ly recent­ly not­ed. With his vis­it at the Yasaku­ni Shrine, which is also hon­or­ing some WW II war crim­i­nals, he is pro­mot­ing a nation­al­ist trans­for­ma­tion of the state, he is per­mit­ting the grow­ing fal­si­fi­ca­tion of his­to­ry and he is respon­si­ble for the increased patron­iz­ing of the media. As a result, Japan slipped from 22nd down to 72nd on the world press free­dom index issued by “Reporters With­out Bor­ders.” Observers note that with the Nip­pon Kai­gi (“Japan Con­fer­ence”), a nation­al­ist lob­by orga­ni­za­tion has gained sig­nif­i­cant influ­ence. Of the 722 par­lia­men­tar­i­ans, 289 are mem­bers and 13 of the 19 min­is­ters and the Prime Min­ster Abe are in close con­tact with Nip­pon Kai­gi. Nip­pon Kai­gi says of itself that it is striv­ing to strength­en the empire, loosen the sep­a­ra­tion of state and reli­gion, upgrade the tra­di­tion­al fam­i­ly and gen­der roles, pro­mote the coun­try’s mil­i­ta­riza­tion and end crit­i­cal con­sid­er­a­tion of Japan’s crimes dur­ing WW II. “Right-Wing pop­ulism in Japan” is a “process guid­ed from above,” par­tic­u­lar­ly pushed by the coun­try’s elite, accord­ing to Gabriele Vogt, japa­nol­o­gist at the Ham­burg University.[7] The new nation­al­ism is push­ing the coun­try ever deep­er into a con­fronta­tion with Chi­na. . . .

2.  Recall­ing the Native-Land-Lov­ing School dis­cussed lat­er in the pro­gram, we note that prime min­is­ter Shin­zo Abe, his wife Akie and Tomo­mi Ina­da, the [now-resigned] defense min­is­ter are all affil­i­at­ed with the Morit­o­mo Gakuen and the Tsukamo­to Kinder­garten.

” . . . . A grow­ing out­cry has put Mr. Abe’s con­ser­v­a­tive admin­is­tra­tion on the defen­sive and drawn atten­tion to the dark­er side of an increas­ing­ly influ­en­tial right-wing  edu­ca­tion move­ment in Japan. Mr. Abe said on Fri­day in Par­lia­ment that his wife, Akie Abe, had resigned as ‘hon­orary prin­ci­pal’ of a new ele­men­tary school being built by Tsukamoto’s own­er. . . .”

” . . . . In addi­tion to serv­ing as prin­ci­pal of the kinder­garten, Mr. Kagoike heads Morit­o­mo Gakuen and is a direc­tor of the Osa­ka branch of Nip­pon Kai­gi a promi­nent right-wing pres­sure group that includes Mr. Abe and oth­er influ­en­tial con­ser­v­a­tive politi­cians as mem­bers. In a mes­sage on Morit­o­mo Gakuen’s web­site, which the foun­da­tion removed on Thurs­day, Ms. Abe praised it for ‘nur­tur­ing chil­dren with strong back­bones, who have pride as Japan­ese, on a basis of supe­ri­or moral edu­ca­tion.’ Japan’s defense min­is­ter, Tomo­mi Ina­da [an overt expo­nent of Hitler’s polit­i­cal methodology—D.E.] , has also praised the foun­da­tion, send­ing Mr. Kagoike a for­mal let­ter of appre­ci­a­tion for his work. . . . . . . . The Finance Min­istry [head­ed up by Taros Aso, who is also an overt expo­nent of Hitler’s polit­i­cal methodology—D.E.] allowed Morit­o­mo Gakuen to have the land—a two-acre vacant lot near an air­port in an Osa­ka suburb—for 134 mil­lion yen, accord­ing to gov­ern­ment records and tes­ti­mo­ny  by min­istry offi­cials in Par­lia­ment. . . .”

“Out­cry Over School Accused of Big­otry Ensnares Wife of Japan­ese Pre­mier” by Jonathan Soble; The New York Times; 2/25/2017; p. A6 [West Coast Edi­tion].

At Tsukamo­to Kinder­garten, an ultra­con­ser­v­a­tive school at the cen­ter of a swirling Japan­ese polit­i­cal scan­dal, chil­dren receive the sort of edu­ca­tion their pre­war great-grand­par­ents might have rec­og­nized.

They march in crisp rows to mil­i­tary music. they recite instruc­tions for patri­ot­ic behav­ior laid down by a 19th-cen­tu­ry emper­or. The intent, the school says, is to “nur­ture patri­o­tism and pride” in the chil­dren of Japan, “the purest nation in the world.”

Now Tsukamo­to and its tra­di­tion­al­ist supporters–including the wife of Prime Min­is­ter Shin­zo Abe–are under fire. The school has been accused of pro­mot­ing big­otry against Chi­nese and Kore­ans and of receiv­ing illic­it finan­cial favors from the gov­ern­ment.

A grow­ing out­cry has put Mr. Abe’s con­ser­v­a­tive admin­is­tra­tion on the defen­sive and drawn atten­tion to the dark­er side of an increas­ing­ly influ­en­tial right-wing  edu­ca­tion move­ment in Japan.

Mr. Abe said on Fri­day in Par­lia­ment that his wife, Akie Abe, had resigned as “hon­orary prin­ci­pal” of a new ele­men­tary school being built by Tsukamoto’s own­er.

The school sits on land that the own­er, a pri­vate foun­da­tion, bought from the gov­ern­ment at a steep discount—a favor­able deal that invit­ed charges of spe­cial treat­ment after details sur­faced this month. . . .

. . . . Par­ents said com­plaints about mun­dane-seem­ing mat­ters like par­ent-teacher asso­ci­a­tion fees would be met with chau­vin­is­tic dia­tribes, with school offi­cials accus­ing “Kore­ans and Chi­nese with evil ideas” of stir­ring up trou­ble. They said the school’s prin­ci­pal, Yasunori  Kagoike, accused par­ents who chal­lenged the school of hav­ing Kore­an or Chi­nese ances­tors.

“The prob­lem,” Mr. Kagoike said in one notice sent to par­ents, was that peo­ple who had “inher­it­ed the spir­it” of for­eign­ers “exist in our coun­try with the looks of Japan­ese peo­ple.”

Mr. Abe has made over­haul­ing Japan­ese edu­ca­tion a pri­or­i­ty through­out his career, cham­pi­oning a sim­i­lar if soft­er ver­sion of the tra­di­tion­al­ism prac­ticed at Tsukamo­to. . . .

. . .  . Tsukamo­to has tak­en the patri­ot­ic approach to school­ing fur­ther.

It first gained noto­ri­ety a few years ago for hav­ing pupils recite the Impe­r­i­al Rescript on Edu­ca­tion, a roy­al decree issued in 1890 that served as the basis for Japan’s mil­i­taris­tic pre­war school cur­ricu­lum and that was repu­di­at­ed after World War II.

Con­ser­v­a­tives see the rescript as a paean to tra­di­tion­al val­ues; lib­er­als as a throw­back to a more author­i­tar­i­an era. It encour­ages stu­dents to love their fam­i­lies, to “extend benev­o­lence to all” and to “pur­sue learn­ing and cul­ti­vate arts”—but also to be “good and faith­ful sub­jects” of the emper­or and to “offer your­selves coura­geous­ly to the state” when called upon to do so.  . . .

. . . . In addi­tion to serv­ing as prin­ci­pal of the kinder­garten, Mr. Kagoike heads Morit­o­mo Gakuen and is a direc­tor of the Osa­ka branch of Nip­pon Kai­gi a promi­nent right-wing pres­sure group that includes Mr. Abe and oth­er influ­en­tial con­ser­v­a­tive politi­cians as mem­bers.

In a mes­sage on Morit­o­mo Gakuen’s web­site, which the foun­da­tion removed on Thurs­day, Ms. Abe praised it for “nur­tur­ing chil­dren with strong back­bones, who have pride as Japan­ese, on a basis of supe­ri­or moral edu­ca­tion.”

Japan’s defense min­is­ter, Tomo­mi Ina­da [an overt expo­nent of Hitler’s polit­i­cal methodology—D.E.] , has also praised the foun­da­tion, send­ing Mr. Kagoike a for­mal let­ter of appre­ci­a­tion for his work. . . .

. . . . The Finance Min­istry [head­ed up by Taros Aso, who is also an overt expo­nent of Hitler’s polit­i­cal methodology—D.E.] allowed Morit­o­mo Gakuen to have the land—a two-acre vacant lot near an air­port in an Osa­ka suburb—for 134 mil­lion yen, accord­ing to gov­ern­ment records and tes­ti­mo­ny  by min­istry offi­cials in Par­lia­ment.

The price, which the min­istry ini­tial­ly kept sealed, was sur­pris­ing­ly low. . . .

3. More about the ties between Morit­o­mo Gakuen: ” . . . . The leader of a scan­dal-taint­ed Japan­ese edu­ca­tion group known for extreme right-wing views said Thurs­day that Prime Min­is­ter Shin­zo Abe had donat­ed mon­ey to it in 2015, a claim that direct­ly con­tra­dict­ed accounts by Mr. Abe. . . . In Mr. Kagoike’s meet­ing with the law­mak­ers in Osa­ka on Thurs­day, he elab­o­rat­ed some­what, mem­bers of the par­lia­men­tary group said after­ward. Mr. Kagoike told them he had received 1 mil­lion yen from Mrs. Abe when she gave a speech at the kinder­garten in Sep­tem­ber 2015, they said. The law­mak­ers also quot­ed him as say­ing he believed some of the mon­ey had come from the prime min­is­ter. Mr. Abe’s defense min­is­ter [since replaced—D.E.], Tomo­mi Ina­da [an expo­nent of Hitler’s polit­i­cal methodology—D.E.], has also been embroiled in the scan­dal. A for­mer lawyer, she helped defend Morit­o­mo Gakuen in a law­suit in 2004, but under ques­tion­ing in Par­lia­ment she ini­tial­ly denied work­ing for the group. She retract­ed that state­ment this week and apol­o­gized, say­ing she had for­got­ten . . . .”

“Ties to a Right-Wing Edu­ca­tion Group Embroil Abe in Japan” by Jonathan Soble; The New York Times; 3/17/2017; p. A6 [West Coast Edi­tion].

The leader of a scan­dal-taint­ed Japan­ese edu­ca­tion group known for extreme right-wing views said Thurs­day that Prime Min­is­ter Shin­zo Abe had donat­ed mon­ey to it in 2015, a claim that direct­ly con­tra­dict­ed accounts by Mr. Abe. . . .

. . . . In Mr. Kagoike’s meet­ing with the law­mak­ers in Osa­ka on Thurs­day, he elab­o­rat­ed some­what, mem­bers of the par­lia­men­tary group said after­ward. Mr. Kagoike told them he had received 1 mil­lion yen from Mrs. Abe when she gave a speech at the kinder­garten in Sep­tem­ber 2015, they said. The law­mak­ers also quot­ed him as say­ing he believed some of the mon­ey had come from the prime min­is­ter.

Mr. Abe’s defense min­is­ter [since replaced—D.E.], Tomo­mi Ina­da [an expo­nent of Hitler’s polit­i­cal methodology—D.E.], has also been embroiled in the scan­dal. A for­mer lawyer, she helped defend Morit­o­mo Gakuen in a law­suit in 2004, but under ques­tion­ing in Par­lia­ment she ini­tial­ly denied work­ing for the group. She retract­ed that state­ment this week and apol­o­gized, say­ing she had for­got­ten, but oppo­si­tion par­ties have demand­ed she resign.

Offi­cials in Osa­ka pre­fec­ture said this week they were con­sid­er­ing fil­ing a crim­i­nal com­plaint against Morit­o­mo Gakuen over irreg­u­lar­i­ties in the school’s licens­ing appli­ca­tion.

In ear­ly pub­lic­i­ty mate­ri­als for the new school, Mr. Kagoike pro­posed nam­ing it after Mr. Abe, a cham­pi­on of con­ser­v­a­tive caus­es who has dri­ven changes to Japan’s school sys­tem, includ­ing revi­sions in his­to­ry text­books to soft­en depic­tions of Japan’s wartime atroc­i­ties in its for­mer Asian empire.

The Finance Min­istry [head­ed by Hitler method­olog­i­cal expo­nent Taro Aso—D.E.] allowed Morit­o­mo Gakuen to acquire the land—a two-acre vacant lot near an air­port in an Osa­ka suburb—for 134 mil­lion yen, or about $1.17 mil­lion, one-sev­enth its assessed val­ue. Addi­tion­al sub­sides for clear­ing land­fill reduced Moritomo’s out­lay to next to noth­ing.

4. Morit­o­mo Gakuen head Kagoike hint­ed at what might be termed “the Japan­ese deep state” at work in the Taro Aso’s finance min­istry: “. . . . He hint­ed at ‘pow­ers at work behind the scene’ and said that uniden­ti­fied offi­cials with the Min­istry of Finance had helped facil­i­tate the deal. . . .”

“Fax Wield­ing Wit­ness Tries to Link Japan’s Prime Min­is­ter to Scan­dal” by Motoko Rich; The New York Times; 3/22/2017.

He said he had a fax in his hand.

It was not quite Joe McCarthy and his hit list, but in the most dra­mat­ic moment dur­ing sev­er­al hours of tes­ti­mo­ny on Thurs­day in Tokyo, the leader of an ultra­con­ser­v­a­tive edu­ca­tion group that has become entan­gled in a scan­dal with Prime Min­is­ter Shin­zo Abe pro­duced a two-page fax that he said showed that aides to Mr. Abe’s wife, Akie, had talked to gov­ern­ment  offi­cials on the group’s behalf. . . .

. . . .  “I am not par­ty to the details of this nego­ti­a­tion,” said Mr. Kagoike, adding that a lawyer for a con­struc­tion com­pa­ny had nego­ti­at­ed a deal on the group’s behalf.  “So I would ask that you please ask for clar­i­fi­ca­tion from the Min­istry of Finance.” . . . .

. . . . He hint­ed at “pow­ers at work behind the scene” and said that uniden­ti­fied offi­cials with the Min­istry of Finance had helped facil­i­tate the deal. . . . [Com­pare this with Hugh Byas’s dis­cus­sion of the Native-Land-Lov­ing School, excerpt­ed in the “Intro­duc­tion” to this broadcast–D.E.]

5a. Appoint­ing Nip­pon Kai­gi female mem­bers appears to be a man­i­fes­ta­tion of what Taro Aso advo­cates: ” . . . [Aso] has sug­gested Japan fol­low the Nazi Par­ty tem­plate to sneak con­sti­tu­tional change past the pub­lic. . . .”

“Japan­ese Scan­dal Deals a Blow to Abe’s Fem­i­nist Cre­den­tials” Motoko Rich; The New York Times; 3/22/2017; p. A9;  [West Coast Edi­tion].

. . . . “Ina­da is anti-fem­i­nist,” said Mari Miu­ra, a pro­fes­sor of polit­i­cal sci­ence at Sophia Uni­ver­si­ty, point­ing to the defense minister’s mem­ber­ship in an ultra­con­ser­v­a­tive activist group that believes women belong in the home. She added that Ms. Ina­da had resist­ed calls to push leg­is­la­tion that would allow mar­ried women to use dif­fer­ent sur­names from those of their hus­bands, a cause impor­tant to Japan­ese fem­i­nists.

Mrs. Miu­ra said Mr. Abe had cho­sen Ms. Ina­da because she shared his revi­sion­ist view that Japan had been unfair­ly accused of atroc­i­ties in World War II. “The women cho­sen by him are just sym­bol­ic or a cos­met­ic way of con­vey­ing women’s advance­ment,” Ms. Miu­ra said. “And that doesn’t real­ly empow­er women at all.”

Ms. Ina­da was one of three women to assume polit­i­cal lead­er­ship posi­tions in Japan last sum­mer, but from the moment she was appoint­ed, crit­ics have ques­tioned her qual­i­fi­ca­tions. . . .

5b. One of Abe’s “fem­i­nist” appointees is Sanae Takaichi: ” . . . . the oth­er female min­is­ter who was pho­tographed with a neo-Nazi leader and is a fan of Hitler. . .”

 “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.

. . . . 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 Strategy. Coin­ci­den­tally, Vice-Prime Min­is­ter [and Finance Minister–D.E.],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. . . .

. . . In August, Japan’s rul­ing par­ty, which put Abe into pow­er orga­nized a work­ing group to dis­cuss laws that would restrict hate-crimealthough 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. . .

5c. Taro Aso viewed Hitler’s polit­i­cal method­ol­o­gy as a tem­plate that, if fol­lowed, would enable the semi-clan­des­tine imple­men­ta­tion of con­sti­tu­tion­al changes that would oth­er­wise be opposed by the Japan­ese body politic.

The fol­low­ing arti­cle fur­ther devel­ops the “feminist“facade deployed by Shin­zo Abe, in an appar­ent attempt to sneak con­sti­tu­tion­al changes past the pub­lic by using female min­is­ters.

The five orig­i­nal min­is­ters (two of whom resigned short­ly after being appoint­ment) were all mem­bers of Nip­pon Kai­gi.

The cur­ren­cy of their so-called “fem­i­nism” can be mea­sured by their actions in con­junc­tion with what have become known as “the com­fort women.” ” . . . . The new­ly appoint­ed Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter, Sanae Takaichi, while serv­ing on the LDP’s Pol­i­cy Research coun­cil, sug­gest­ed that the Japan­ese gov­ern­ment rescind the Kono State­ment in 2015, on Japan’s 70th anniver­sary of its sur­ren­der from World War II.[11] The Kono State­ment was a land­mark 1993 apol­o­gy issued by the for­mer Chief Cab­i­net Sec­re­tary that apol­o­gized for the ‘com­fort women:’ 200,000 pri­mar­i­ly Kore­an women forced into sex­u­al slav­ery by the Japan­ese mil­i­tary. Anoth­er min­is­ter, Eriko Yaman­tani, has pre­vi­ous­ly made com­ments that denied the exis­tence of ‘com­fort women.’ . . . .”

“The Japan Con­fer­ence, East Asian His­to­ry and East Asian Pol­i­tics” by Jor­dan Plews; North­east­ern Uni­ver­si­ty Polit­i­cal Review; 12/04/2014.

. . . . Some of the notable women includ­ed in the new cab­i­net were Yuko Obuchi, the daugh­ter of a for­mer Prime Min­is­ter and a ris­ing polit­i­cal star, and Midori Mat­shu­ma, who was appoint­ed to the impor­tant post of Jus­tice Min­is­ter. . . . The new min­is­ters are also mem­bers of a con­ser­v­a­tive orga­ni­za­tion called The Japan Con­fer­ence, which advo­cates for more extreme poli­cies than the LPD. The appoint­ment of five new con­ser­v­a­tive women to Abe’s cab­i­net may sig­nal a move to the right for an already nation­al­ist admin­is­tra­tion. This shift toward more extreme con­ser­v­a­tive pol­i­tics has, and will con­tin­ue to, strain rela­tions between Japan and Chi­na. The Japan Con­fer­ence, the denial of the dark parts of Japan’s his­to­ry, and the ever present Chi­nese fear of a remil­i­ta­rized Japan all stand to neg­a­tive­ly impact Japan-Chi­na rela­tions. . . .

. . . . Abe’s cab­i­net is com­prised of 19 mem­bers in total. Fif­teen of these, includ­ing Abe him­self, are mem­bers of The Japan Conference.[6] Formed in 1997, The Japan Con­fer­ence boasts over 35,000 mem­bers and makes up much of Abe’s con­ser­v­a­tive base.[7] The orga­ni­za­tion is con­cerned with spread­ing con­ser­v­a­tive ideals, con­sti­tu­tion­al revi­sion, moral edu­ca­tion, and the impor­tance of the impe­r­i­al family.[8] The group has also pub­lished books such as Jugun ian­fu kyou­sei renk­ou ha nakka­ta (The Mil­i­tary Com­fort Women Were Not Forced), a vol­ume deny­ing the forced sex­u­al slav­ery of over 200,000 Kore­an women and girls dur­ing World War II.[9] Con­tro­ver­sial doc­u­ments like this expose the ques­tion­able inten­tions of The Japan Con­fer­ence. The Con­fer­ence views the revi­sion of his­to­ry in favor of the denial of Japan­ese war crimes dur­ing World War II as the key to increas­ing sup­port for a remil­i­ta­rized Japan. The Japan Con­fer­ence has also expressed sim­i­lar views on oth­er Japan­ese atroc­i­ties such as the Nan­jing Mas­sacre, from which they believe the death toll expressed by Chi­nese author­i­ties is gross­ly exaggerated.[10]

The new­ly appoint­ed cab­i­net mem­bers are not only part of The Japan Con­fer­ence, but have also active­ly pro­mot­ed an agen­da that advo­cates con­tro­ver­sial vis­its to war shrines and the revo­ca­tion of offi­cial Japan­ese war crime apolo­gies. The new­ly appoint­ed Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter, Sanae Takaichi, while serv­ing on the LDP’s Pol­i­cy Research coun­cil, sug­gest­ed that the Japan­ese gov­ern­ment rescind the Kono State­ment in 2015, on Japan’s 70th anniver­sary of its sur­ren­der from World War II.[11] The Kono State­ment was a land­mark 1993 apol­o­gy issued by the for­mer Chief Cab­i­net Sec­re­tary that apol­o­gized for the “com­fort women:” 200,000 pri­mar­i­ly Kore­an women forced into sex­u­al slav­ery by the Japan­ese mil­i­tary. Anoth­er min­is­ter, Eriko Yaman­tani, has pre­vi­ous­ly made com­ments that denied the exis­tence of “com­fort women.” Haru­ki Arimu­ra and Sanae Takaichi also vis­it­ed the con­tro­ver­sial Yasuku­ni Shrine in Octo­ber, just a day after Prime Min­is­ter Shin­zo Abe sent an offer­ing to the shrine.[12] . . . .

. . . . The new min­is­ters have also been caus­ing con­tro­ver­sy domes­ti­cal­ly as well as inter­na­tion­al­ly. On Octo­ber 20th both Japan’s trade min­is­ter, Yuko Obuchi, and Jus­tice Min­is­ter, Midorushi­ma, resigned from the cab­i­net due to infringe­ments of polit­i­cal fund­ing rules. Also, Japan’s min­is­ter of inter­nal affairs, Sanae Takaichi was seen in pic­tures pos­ing along­side a Japan­ese neo-Nazi. Even the Min­is­ter in charge of pub­lic safe­ty, Eriko Yamatani, was seen pos­ing with mem­bers of an ultra-right-wing group called Zaitokukai, an extrem­ist group that advo­cates for the elim­i­na­tion of spe­cial res­i­dent sta­tus­es for both North and South Kore­an immigrants.[20] . . . . Japan­ese lead­ers advo­cate the phi­los­o­phy of The Japan Con­fer­ence and seek to reframe Japan as the lib­er­a­tor of East Asia[in World War II]. ..

5d. Bil­lion­aire hote­lier Toshio Motoya and his fash­ion­ista (“fas­cionista”?) wife Fumiko are lead­ing expo­nents of an Orwellian re-write of Japan­ese his­to­ry.

QUICK: Can you think of any oth­er reac­tionary, bil­lion­aire hote­liers with fash­ion­ista wives?

“Right-Wing Hote­liers in Japan Anger Chi­na With Their Revi­sion­ist Views” by Jonathan Soble; The New York Times; 1/20/2017; p. B4 [West­ern Edi­tion].

She is the col­or­ful face of Japan’s largest hotel chain, known for her gar­ish fash­ion sense and busi­ness books with titles like “I Am a Pres­i­dent.”

He is the dark­er side of the part­ner­ship: a right-wing polemi­cist 2who has lever­aged the couple’s suc­cess to sup­port con­tentious polit­i­cal caus­es, includ­ing defend­ing Japan’s mil­i­tarist past.

Now Fumiko Motoya and her hus­band Toshio, founders of APA Group, a Japan­ese real-estate and hotel empire, are fac­ing a bar­rage of crit­i­cism in Chi­na. Their twin projects—business and con­ser­v­a­tive politics—collided this week in an uproar over right-wing his­tor­i­cal books pro­mot­ed at APA’s chain of 370 bud­get hotels, in which such pub­li­ca­tions are often dis­trib­uted to rooms in much the same way as Gideon Bibles in Amer­i­can hotels.

The furor over the books, which pro­mote the claim that Japan­ese forces did not mas­sacre Chi­nese civil­ians dur­ing a ram­page in Nan­jing in 1937, has prompt­ed a rebuke from Bei­jing and threats of a boy­cott by Chi­nese trav­el­ers, a fast-grow­ing and eco­nom­i­cal­ly impor­tant group for Japan. . . .

. . . . “As polit­i­cal patrons, they can’t be ignored,” said Tamot­su Sug­ano, an author who has researched Japan­ese right­ist groups. “They spread mon­ey every­where.”

The Mon­toyas have used a for­tune esti­mat­ed to be in the bil­lions of dol­lars to court and sup­port politi­cians, most­ly on the con­ser­v­a­tive end of the spectrum—from the cen­ter-right estab­lish­ment to the fringe. Guests at their long-run­ning wine par­ties have includ­ed Shin­zo Abe, the cur­rent prime min­is­ter, accord­ing to a record of an event in 2005 that includes a pho­to­graph and was cir­cu­lat­ed by APA at the time. . . .

. . . . Right-wing lit­er­a­ture has long been a sta­ple, if odd, ameni­ty at APA hotels in Japan. Much of it is writ­ten by Mr. Motoya, who uses a pen name but acknowl­edges author­ship.

The books and arti­cles describe a kind of alter­na­tive his­tor­i­cal uni­verse, one where Japan fought entire­ly nobly in World War II and in which its alleged atroc­i­ties were invent­ed by Chi­nese and Kore­an pro­pa­gan­dists. The accounts dif­fer sharply from those of main­stream his­to­ri­ans, both in Japan and abroad.

One piece of litere­tature that was fea­tured for years was an essay by a for­mer air force gen­er­al, Toshio Tamoga­mi, [the for­mer chief of staff of the Japan­ese Air Self Defense Force and a mem­ber of Nip­pon Kagai–D.E.] which won a prize in an APA-spon­sored con­test in 2008. In it, Mr. Tamoga­mi claimed that Japan had been duped into attack­ing the Unit­ed States at Pearl Har­bor in 1941, in a plot he said was hatched by Com­mu­nists inside the admin­is­tra­tion of Pres­i­dent Franklin D. Roo­sevelt. . . .

5e. It should come as no sur­prise that Motoya has “close ties” to Nip­pon Kai­gi.

“Abe Hotel Flap Shows Japan’s Revi­sion­ists Grow­ing Bold­er Under Abe” [AFP-JiJi]; The Japan Times; 2/27/2017.

. . . . Tamot­su Sug­ano, an expert on Japan­ese right­ist groups, said Motoya has close ties with the ultra-con­ser­v­a­tive lob­by Nip­pon Kai­gi, or Japan Con­fer­ence, which has pub­lished a dossier call­ing the mas­sacre in Nan­jing a “false accu­sa­tion.” . . . .

6a. Next, we excerpt FTR #291, from the spring of 2001. High­light­ing what has become known as the “May 15th Inci­dent,” the broad­cast sets forth the assas­si­na­tion of Japan­ese prime min­is­ter Inukai by mil­i­tary cadets from The Native-Land-Lov­ing School. A sub­sidiary ele­ment of the Japan­ese patri­ot­ic and ultra-nation­al­ist soci­eties, the Native-Land Lov­ing School is a direct antecedent of the Morit­o­mo Gakuen and is one of the ele­ments of the­mat­ic con­ti­nu­ity in the pro­gram.

The Japan­ese patri­ot­ic and ultra-nation­al­ist soci­eties were fun­da­men­tal to the rise of fas­cism in Japan, incul­cat­ing the young with fas­cist val­ues and paving the way for the rise of fas­cism in that coun­try through a wave of polit­i­cal assas­si­na­tions. The May 15th Inci­dent was the most famous of those killings.

(As indi­cat­ed above, these assas­si­na­tions paved the way for the rise of fas­cism in Japan, through the elim­i­na­tion of poten­tial oppo­nents of the Japan­ese fas­cists and mil­i­tarists.) On May 15, 1932, the Japan­ese Prime Min­is­ter [Tsuyoshi Inukai] was assas­si­nat­ed by a con­spir­a­cy hatched by the patri­ot­ic soci­eties, act­ing through a group of young mil­i­tary offi­cers called the Blood Broth­er­hood.

Gov­ern­ment by Assas­si­na­tion by Hugh Byas; Alfred A. Knopf [HC]; p. 53.

. . . The civil­ian wing of the young offi­cers’ plot was a gang called the Blood Broth­er­hood (Ket­sumei­dan, lit­er­al­ly the Blood Oath Band). Some of them were vicious youths, liv­ing on the bor­der­land where patri­o­tism and crime meet; oth­ers were idle, fanat­i­cal stu­dents. All of them were ide­al­ists, in their way. They were will­ing instru­ments, but they had hyp­no­tized them­selves with slo­gans and they regard­ed them­selves as more than tools. The prospect that the army would become the active force of rev­o­lu­tion had stim­u­lat­ed the patri­ots all along the line, and many cur­rents met in the move­ment which cul­mi­nates on May 15. . . .

6b. The offi­cers of the Blood Broth­er­hood, in turn, were asso­ci­at­ed with the Native-Land-Lov­ing School, run by Kos­aburo Tachibana. This school, like oth­ers of its kind, was a direct out­growth of, and vehi­cle for, the patri­ot­ic soci­eties.

Gov­ern­ment by Assas­si­na­tion by Hugh Byas; Alfred A. Knopf [HC]; pp. 63–64.

. . . . Kos­aburo Tachibana was haunt­ed by dreams in his boy­hood and could not decide whether to become a states­man or a gen­er­al or (some­times) sim­ply a good man. He had been born in the pre­fec­ture which after­wards became the site of the naval air train­ing base and the home of the Blood Broth­er­hood, and his birth­place fixed his des­tiny . . . . In 1939, his admir­ers enabled him to estab­lish a school. He called it the Native-Land-Lov­ing School (Aiky­o­juku). Every­body in Japan with a mes­sage to deliv­er or an axe to grind opens a school. . . . Those schools in the hands of the patri­ot­ic soci­eties are at once a method of train­ing young men for strong-arm work and a plau­si­ble excuse for extort­ing con­tri­bu­tions from the rich and timid. . . .

6c. Two days before the killing of Prime Min­is­ter Inukai, his assas­sins-to-be gath­ered to plan their crime.

Lat­er that day, the con­spir­a­tors gath­ered at the Prime Minister’s res­i­dence and mur­dered him in front of his daugh­ter-in-law and grand­child.

Gov­ern­ment by Assas­si­na­tion by Hugh Byas; Alfred A. Knopf [HC]; pp. 22–26.

. . . . Two days ear­li­er, on Fri­day, May 13, two young naval offi­cers had made a two-hour train jour­ney from Tokyo to a place with which they were famil­iar, the drab coun­try town of Tsuchiu­ra, rail­way sta­tion for the inland naval air base and train­ing school called Kasum­i­gra-ura, the Misty Lagoon. An army cadet and a Tokyo stu­dent accom­pa­nied them. They were met by a teacher of the Native-Land-Lov­ing School, which trained farmer boys in agri­cul­ture and patri­o­tism. They all went to a Japan­ese restau­rant where they were, as usu­al, giv­en a pri­vate room. . . . On Sun­day, the same men met some oth­ers in var­i­ous places in Tokyo and their actions became the May Fif­teenth inci­dent. At five o’clock that Sun­day evening nine naval and mil­i­tary offi­cers of ages between twen­ty-four and twen­ty-eight alight­ed from two taxi­cabs at the side entrance of Yasuku­ni Shrine in Tokyo. The shrine is ded­i­cat­ed to all mem­bers of the fight­ing ser­vices who have died in Japan’s wars. There is no holi­er place in Tokyo. . . .

. . . . They found the Prime Min­is­ter, Mr. Inukai, a diminu­tive alert man of sev­en­ty-five. His first name was Tsuyoshi but his friends knew him as ‘Ki.’. . . He was a very small man, quick and fear­less. His goa­tee beard was of a vague gray col­or which some­how sug­gest­ed, quite erro­neous­ly, that it had once been blond. Late in life he had attained the goal of his ambi­tion and he was intense­ly proud of being the Emperor’s first Min­is­ter. He led the offi­cers into a room. His daugh­ter-in-law, car­ry­ing her baby, was with him, and one of the offi­cers ‘know­ing what would hap­pen in a few min­utes,’ as he said at the tri­al, told her to go away, but she stayed. The young men were rather con­fused and some were impressed by the old man’s calm demeanor as he asked them to take off their shoes and sit down and talk it over. He had a cig­a­rette in his hand and he lit it. ‘As I observed,’ said one of the offi­cers in his tes­ti­mo­ny, ‘our leader was will­ing to talk with the Prime Min­is­ter. The group that had gone to the back door burst in, head­ed by Lieu­tenant Masayoshi Yam­ag­ishi, a man of action, car­ry­ing a dag­ger. ‘No use talk­ing,’ said Yam­ag­ishi. ‘Fire!’ The word was shout­ed like an order and they all began fir­ing. One shot the Prime Min­is­ter in the neck and anoth­er, delib­er­ate­ly, in the stom­ach. The Prime Min­is­ter sank on the mat­ted floor and nev­er spoke again. ‘Believ­ing the whole affair was over,’ the offi­cers walked out. . . .

7. A deranged man attacked a res­i­dence for peo­ple dis­abil­i­ties in Japan, stab­bing 19 peo­ple to death. A num­ber of ques­tions are being asked about how this could hap­pen: the man pre­vi­ous­ly worked for the facil­i­ty, was com­mit­ted to a men­tal hos­pi­tal after writ­ing a let­ter to a politi­cian call­ing for the euthana­sia of dis­abled peo­ple, pledg­ing to kill hun­dreds of them, and then released with­out fol­lowup. Police vis­it­ed his home hours before the attack when no one was home.

“Knife Attack in Japan Leaves Many Won­der­ing if Police Did Enough” by Jonathan Soble; The New York Times; 7/27/2016.

A day after the worst mass killing in its post­war his­to­ry, Japan was grap­pling on Wednes­day with why law enforce­ment and men­tal health offi­cials were unable to stop a trou­bled man they had been aware of for months.

Satoshi Uemat­su, a 26-year-old for­mer employ­ee of a res­i­dence for peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties, con­fessed to stab­bing 19 peo­ple to death ear­ly Tues­day.

Although the author­i­ties appear to have respond­ed prompt­ly to ear­li­er instances of omi­nous behav­ior by Mr. Uemat­su, legal spe­cial­ists, advo­cates for dis­abled peo­ple and mem­bers of the news media are ques­tion­ing whether those author­i­ties did enough to mon­i­tor and treat an appar­ent­ly trou­bled man who had adver­tised his will­ing­ness to kill.

“Giv­en that he warned he would com­mit a crime,” the news­pa­per Mainichi Shim­bun said in an edi­to­r­i­al, “there needs to be a thor­ough exam­i­na­tion.”

In Feb­ru­ary, Mr. Uemat­su was briefly com­mit­ted to a men­tal hos­pi­tal after he deliv­ered a ram­bling let­ter to a politi­cian in which he threat­ened to kill hand­i­capped peo­ple.

“I can oblit­er­ate 470 dis­abled peo­ple,” he wrote in the let­ter, which was obtained by sev­er­al Japan­ese news out­lets on Tues­day. The killings, Mr. Uemat­su was quot­ed as say­ing, would be “for the sake of Japan and the world” and would “pre­vent World War III.”

Four days after he dropped off that let­ter, Mr. Uemat­su was placed under invol­un­tary psy­chi­atric super­vi­sion by order of offi­cials in the city of Sagami­hara, where he lived and where the res­i­dence for dis­abled peo­ple, Tsukui Yamayuri-en, is locat­ed.

In addi­tion to writ­ing the let­ter, he had told co-work­ers at the facil­i­ty, home to about 150 peo­ple with men­tal and phys­i­cal dis­abil­i­ties, that he thought severe­ly hand­i­capped peo­ple should be euth­a­nized, the center’s man­age­ment said.

Mr. Uemat­su spent two weeks in the hos­pi­tal before two doc­tors deter­mined that his psy­chot­ic symp­toms had abat­ed and that it was safe to release him, the author­i­ties said. He was released into the cus­tody of his par­ents and was sup­posed to return to the hos­pi­tal for out­pa­tient treat­ment, but it appears there was lit­tle fol­low-up.

“There’s noth­ing in the law that spec­i­fies what the city is sup­posed to do after release,” said Eiji Yagi, direc­tor of the wel­fare depart­ment in Sagami­hara. The city offi­cials said they did not know whether he had abid­ed by the con­di­tions of his release.

“There’s sup­posed to be a sup­port plan involv­ing wel­fare insti­tu­tions and the com­mu­ni­ty,” said Shota Oku­miya, a lawyer who has defend­ed crim­i­nal sus­pects with men­tal ill­ness. But often, he said, “there’s no bud­get for it.”

In April, Yamayuri-en installed 16 sur­veil­lance cam­eras after the police sug­gest­ed the facil­i­ty strength­en its secu­ri­ty. On the night of the attack, in which an addi­tion­al 26 res­i­dents were injured, most of them seri­ous­ly, eight staff mem­bers and a secu­ri­ty guard were on duty.

The police say Mr. Uemat­su was able to restrain sev­er­al of his sleep­ing vic­tims with plas­tic cable ties before he began method­i­cal­ly slit­ting their throats.

Hours before the attack, a police car drove up to Mr. Uematsu’s home, a neigh­bor, Aki­hi­ro Hasegawa, 73, said, adding that no one was home at the time. The Japan­ese media report­ed on Wednes­day that Mr. Uematsu’s car had been found parked ille­gal­ly, but it is unlike­ly the police would have gone to his house to deliv­er a park­ing sum­mons. City and pre­fec­ture police declined to com­ment on the police vis­it.

The author­i­ties said Mr. Uemat­su had test­ed pos­i­tive for mar­i­jua­na dur­ing his hos­pi­tal­iza­tion. The rela­tion­ship between cannabis use and psy­chosis has long been debat­ed, but many experts believe the drug can exac­er­bate the symp­toms of peo­ple pre­dis­posed to schiz­o­phre­nia and oth­er men­tal ill­ness­es.

A Japan­ese tele­vi­sion net­work, TBS, quot­ed an uniden­ti­fied child­hood friend of Mr. Uematsu’s as say­ing he con­tin­ued to smoke mar­i­jua­na after his release.

Anoth­er per­son who knew Mr. Uemat­su told the net­work that his per­son­al­i­ty had begun to change late in his col­lege years. This per­son said that although he was usu­al­ly friend­ly and out­go­ing, he began using syn­thet­ic mar­i­jua­na-like drugs, cov­ered his back in tat­toos and showed bouts of aggres­sive behav­ior.

“He would say how tak­ing care of dis­abled peo­ple was a waste of mon­ey for the coun­try,” TBS quot­ed the friend as say­ing.

It is unclear whether Mr. Uemat­su ever sought help. Japan has only recent­ly begun to dis­re­gard long­stand­ing taboos on dis­cussing men­tal ill­ness, and experts say the sort of men­tal health pro­grams wide­ly avail­able to stu­dents at uni­ver­si­ties in the Unit­ed States and else­where remain rel­a­tive­ly rare.

After a knife-wield­ing man killed eight chil­dren at a pri­ma­ry school in Osa­ka in 2001, the Japan­ese Par­lia­ment passed a law expand­ing men­tal health treat­ment for peo­ple con­vict­ed of vio­lent crimes. But there has been less focus on ear­ly diag­no­sis and pre­ven­tion, said Nozo­mi Ban­do, a social work­er and doc­tor­al can­di­date at Osa­ka Uni­ver­si­ty.

“Espe­cial­ly if the per­son has turned to drugs, there’s a sense that if you talk to any­one about it, you’ll be kicked out of school at the least,” she said. “Get­ting coun­sel­ing is just not some­thing that would occur to most peo­ple.”

Osamu Aoki, a jour­nal­ist and com­men­ta­tor, wrote, “This kind of extreme and unusu­al case could lead peo­ple to brand those with men­tal ill­ness­es as dan­ger­ous, and lead to a short­sight­ed debate and calls for more pre­ven­tive mea­sures like invol­un­tary com­mit­ment.”

With health and wel­fare bud­gets strained, how­ev­er, the need for work­ers has not done much to push up wages, which are most­ly at or near the min­i­mum. That has left many employ­ers lit­tle pow­er to be choosy in hir­ing.

Low-rank­ing night-shift work­ers at Yamayuri-en were paid 905 yen an hour, or about $8.60.

9. Japan’s deputy prime min­is­ter, finance min­is­ter and advo­cate of Hitler’s polit­i­cal method­ol­o­gy, Taro Aso, advo­cates has­ten­ing the death of the elder­ly to reduce health care costs.

“Let Elder­ly Peo­ple ‘Hur­ry Up and Die’, Says Japan­ese Min­is­ter” by Justin McCur­ry; The Guardian; 1/22/2013.

Taro Aso says he would refuse end-of-life care and would ‘feel bad’ know­ing treat­ment was paid for by gov­ern­ment

Japan’s new gov­ern­ment is bare­ly a month old, and already one of its most senior mem­bers has insult­ed tens of mil­lions of vot­ers by sug­gest­ing that the elder­ly are an unnec­es­sary drain on the country’s finances.

Taro Aso, the finance min­is­ter, said on Mon­day that the elder­ly should be allowed to “hur­ry up and die” to relieve pres­sure on the state to pay for their med­ical care.

“Heav­en for­bid if you are forced to live on when you want to die. I would wake up feel­ing increas­ing­ly bad know­ing that [treat­ment] was all being paid for by the gov­ern­ment,” he said dur­ing a meet­ing of the nation­al coun­cil on social secu­ri­ty reforms. “The prob­lem won’t be solved unless you let them hur­ry up and die.”

Aso’s com­ments are like­ly to cause offence in Japan, where almost a quar­ter of the 128 mil­lion pop­u­la­tion is aged over 60. The pro­por­tion is fore­cast to rise to 40% over the next 50 years.

The remarks are also an unwel­come dis­trac­tion for the new prime min­is­ter, Shin­zo Abe, whose first peri­od as Japan’s leader end­ed with his res­ig­na­tion after just a year, in 2007, part­ly due to a string of gaffes by mem­bers of his cab­i­net.

Ris­ing wel­fare costs, par­tic­u­lar­ly for the elder­ly, were behind a deci­sion last year to dou­ble con­sump­tion [sales] tax to 10% over the next three years, a move Aso’s Lib­er­al Demo­c­ra­t­ic par­ty sup­port­ed.

The 72-year-old, who dou­bles as deputy prime min­is­ter, said he would refuse end-of-life care. “I don’t need that kind of care,” he said in com­ments quot­ed by local media, adding that he had writ­ten a note instruct­ing his fam­i­ly to deny him life-pro­long­ing med­ical treat­ment.

To com­pound the insult, he referred to elder­ly patients who are no longer able to feed them­selves as “tube peo­ple”. The health and wel­fare min­istry, he added, was “well aware that it costs sev­er­al tens of mil­lions of yen” a month to treat a sin­gle patient in the final stages of life.

Cost aside, car­ing for the elder­ly is a major chal­lenge for Japan’s stretched social ser­vices. Accord­ing to a report this week, the num­ber of house­holds receiv­ing wel­fare, which include fam­i­ly mem­bers aged 65 or over, stood at more than 678,000, or about 40% of the total. The coun­try is also tack­ling a rise in the num­ber of peo­ple who die alone, most of whom are elder­ly. In 2010, 4.6 mil­lion elder­ly peo­ple lived alone, and the num­ber who died at home soared 61% between 2003 and 2010, from 1,364 to 2,194, accord­ing to the bureau of social wel­fare and pub­lic health in Tokyo.

The gov­ern­ment is plan­ning to reduce wel­fare expen­di­ture in its next bud­get, due to go into force this April, with details of the cuts expect­ed with­in days.

Aso, who has a propen­si­ty for ver­bal blun­ders, lat­er attempt­ed to clar­i­fy his com­ments. He acknowl­edged his lan­guage had been “inap­pro­pri­ate” in a pub­lic forum and insist­ed he was talk­ing only about his per­son­al pref­er­ence.

“I said what I per­son­al­ly believe, not what the end-of-life med­ical care sys­tem should be,” he told reporters. “It is impor­tant that you be able spend the final days of your life peace­ful­ly.”

It is not the first time Aso, one of Japan’s wealth­i­est politi­cians, has ques­tioned the state’s duty towards its large elder­ly pop­u­la­tion. In 2008, while serv­ing as prime min­is­ter, he described “dod­der­ing” pen­sion­ers as tax bur­dens who should take bet­ter care of their health.

“I see peo­ple aged 67 or 68 at class reunions who dod­der around and are con­stant­ly going to the doc­tor,” he said at a meet­ing of econ­o­mists. “Why should I have to pay for peo­ple who just eat and drink and make no effort? I walk every day and do oth­er things, but I’m pay­ing more in tax­es.”

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