Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

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. 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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