Japan Focus: “Japan’s Democracy at Risk: LDP’s 10 Most Dangerous Proposals for Constitutional Change” by Lawrence Repeta (UPDATED with Aso’s Nazi admiration gaffe)


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Hello Blog.  Meiji University law professor Lawrence Repeta has written up an important article about the probable outcomes and motivations of the specific texts (and subtexts) behind the LDP’s proposed constitutional revisions.  A rough draft of this article appeared on Debito.org from a Repeta lecture last May; as his lecture notes don’t appear as of this writing to be loading properly, let me put this article up instead.  Again, frightening stuff, especially from a human-rights perspective.  And it looks to me like it may come true with PM Abe’s Upper House win last weekend.  Arudou Debito


The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 28, No. 3, July 15, 2013.
Japan’s Democracy at Risk – The LDP’s Ten Most Dangerous Proposals for Constitutional Change
By Lawrence Repeta, courtesy lots of people


This is a critical moment in Japan’s history. In parliamentary elections held on Sunday, July 21, the LDP gained thirty seats, giving the Party a total of 115 in the 242-seat Upper House. Following its sweeping victory in December 2012 Lower House elections, this means that together with its coalition partner Komeito, the Party holds secure majorities in both Houses of the Diet. Although the LDP does not control the two-thirds parliamentary majorities required to pass resolutions for constitutional change, it does control Japan’s political agenda. Abe and his followers are in a good position to continue their push to revise the constitution.

Under the present constitution, the Japanese people recovered from the unimaginable suffering of total war and have come to enjoy several generations of peace and prosperity. That constitution has acted as a powerful restraint on the nation’s rulers. It has never been amended. The constitution is the “supreme law” of the land. As we show below, the LDP seeks fundamental change that could have far-reaching effects.


1. Rejecting the universality of human rights

The LDP proposals start with a thorough rewriting of the Preamble. Several ringing declarations of democratic ideals would disappear: “We, the Japanese people….do proclaim that sovereign power resides with the people…” Deleted. “Government is a sacred trust of the people….This is a universal principle of mankind….” Deleted. “…we have determined to preserve our security and existence, trusting in the justice and faith of the peace-loving peoples of the world…” Deleted.

In place of these ideals, the LDP Preamble would emphasize the strength of the Japanese nation, lauding the people’s pride in their country and their willingness to defend it. It would also express pragmatic goals such as a desire to “pursue friendly relations with all nations under a philosophy of peace” and to promote “education, science and technology.”

But, in contrast to the universal principles of the present constitution, the overriding theme of the LDP version is that Japan is different from other countries. Thus, the first sentence of the LDP Constitution would read: “Japan is a nation with a long history and unique culture, with a tennō [Emperor] who is a symbol of the unity of the people….” (Appendix One presents the full English texts of the present Preamble and the proposed LDP version.)

Regarding human rights, the LDP Q&A Pamphlet further explains,

…[r]ights are gradually formulated through the history, tradition and culture of each community. Therefore, we believe that the provisions concerning human rights should reflect the history, culture and tradition of Japan.3

This replacement of universal human rights principles with a unique system of rights based on Japan’s “history, culture and tradition” has profound implications for the people of Japan and for Japan’s relations with the world. Recognition of the universal nature of human rights is the fundamental principle that underlies the postwar global human rights regime. The first article of the UN charter proclaims that “promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all” is one of the UN’s primary purposes. One year after Japan’s Constitution took effect, the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as “a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations….” and described its purpose as securing “their universal and effective recognition and observance….”4

The LDP program clearly rejects this global consensus on human rights. Japan has been an important supporter of the UN since it joined in 1956. Denial of the universal nature of human rights would not only have an impact on the Japanese people, but would also mark a major change in Japan’s foreign policy.

What elements of “history, culture and tradition” should provide the basis for human rights in Japan? The Q&A’s authors do not tell us directly, but several proposed changes in constitutional wording and statements in the Q&A pamphlet indicate a clear direction. We will examine some of these proposals below.

2. Elevating maintenance of “public order” over all individual rights

The LDP would revise key language of Article 12 of the Constitution to read that the people “shall be aware that duties and obligations accompany freedoms and rights and shall never violate the public interest and public order.…”

What are these “duties and obligations”? The LDP doesn’t say. Such open-ended language would serve as an invitation to zealous officials eager to identify duties and obligations that may limit or even override individual rights. The most disturbing aspect of this text, however, is that “freedoms and rights” would be subordinated to “public interest and public order.” “Freedoms and rights” are specified in the present text of the constitution, but the new expression “public interest and public order” is undefined. In their Q&A pamphlet, LDP authors explain,

“Public order” here is “social order” (shakai chitsujo); it means peaceful social life (heibon na shakai seikatsu). There is no question that individuals who assert human rights should not cause nuisances to others.5

So the LDP target appears to be individuals who “assert human rights” and thereby “cause nuisances to others.” Although the public order limitation would apply to all constitutional rights, we can expect that it would have an especially powerful chilling effect on speech rights and other forms of protest. Every public march or other political demonstration slows traffic and causes “nuisances” to others. Most democratic societies accept such inconveniences as a necessary cost of freedom, especially for protection of the right to speak out. Japan’s courts have shown little respect for such rights, however, repeatedly ruling in favor of police action to manage public demonstrations and otherwise restrict public speech.6…

Under the LDP plan, the hostile attitude of the police and the courts toward public demonstrations would gain an unshakable foundation in the constitution itself with express language declaring that an undefined (and therefore potentially limitless) “public interest and public order” would be superior to individual rights.

3. Eliminating free speech protection for activities “with the purpose of damaging the public interest or public order, or associating with others for such purposes”

Just in case a future court might overlook the change to Article 12, the LDP would also revise Article 21 of the Constitution, which presently makes the simple, powerful declaration that “Freedom of assembly and association as well as speech, press and all other forms of expression are guaranteed.”

The LDP proposal adds this proviso: “Notwithstanding the foregoing, engaging in activities with the purpose of damaging the public interest or public order, or associating with others for such purposes, shall not be recognized.”

This change not only strips free speech protection from activities that might have the purpose of damaging the “public order,” it would also remove protection from the right of association. So even if I did not go down to the demonstration on that fateful day, if am a member of some citizens group that did, I might be prosecuted, too.

4. Deleting the comprehensive guarantee of all constitutional rights

Widespread recognition of the primacy of human rights as a fundamental condition of civilized society is a relatively recent phenomenon. As noted above, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was not created until its drafters were driven by recent memories of the most destructive war in human history.

Article 97 of Japan’s Constitution delivers a stirring declaration of the heritage of these rights: “The fundamental human rights by this Constitution guaranteed to the people of Japan are fruits of the age-old struggle of man to be free; they have survived the many exacting tests for durability and are conferred upon this and future generations in trust, to be held for all time inviolate.”

The LDP proposes to simply delete these words. The Party provides no explanation for this in its Q&A pamphlet, so we can’t be entirely sure about its motivation…

– Full article at: http://japanfocus.org/-Lawrence-Repeta/3969


24 comments on “Japan Focus: “Japan’s Democracy at Risk: LDP’s 10 Most Dangerous Proposals for Constitutional Change” by Lawrence Repeta (UPDATED with Aso’s Nazi admiration gaffe)

  • Baudrillard says:

    “Every public march or other political demonstration slows traffic and causes “nuisances” to others.”

    Well, that should (legally) mean the end of the black trucks then, as well as Makoto Sakurai and his gang of neo nazis, as they are noisy nuisance for sure. Or would it?

    If these people on the extreme right were not taken to task, it would spell the end of rule of law in Japan.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    That’s fascism folks!
    Can’t say the writing wasn’t clearly on the wall before the election.

    If it goes though, no NJ will want to come to Japan for longer than the bare minimum required to sign/hanko a business deal, and it will create a culture where Japanese managers sent to oversee Japan Inc.’s overseas production and distribution centers will have a decreased understanding of the cultures they are in, and the employment rights of the people there, leading to friction between management and staff; J-companies overseas will be a pariah of abuse the same as they are in Japan. ‘Brand Japan’ will go (further) down the toilet.

    How will the Japanese reconcile having chosen to tarnish the international image of Japan Inc., and the decrease in export driven economic benefits and international standing, against the ‘strong, internationally important Japan’ dream that is driving the policy makers who propose these changes?

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    “Japan is a nation with a long history and unique culture, under a tenno who is a symbol of the unity of the people and which is controlled under a system of separation of the legislative, administrative and judicial powers subject to the sovereignty of the people.”

    I got frozen when I saw this opening statement in their preamble. Maybe it’s good to stay cool in 100-degree freaking hot and humid summer 😛

    It’s pretty obvious that the central government wants to strengthen their power to control the people as their subject, regardless of few records that indicated hostile civil disobedience in the last 30 years. If not, they would never leave out the second sentence in the current preamble: “Government is a sacred trust of the people, the authority for which is derived from the people, the powers of which are exercised by the representatives of the people, and the benefits of which are enjoyed by the people.”

    Abe and LDP leaders’ attempt to manipulate constitutional language to create the fiction of an utopian Republican monarchism is really scary. I am now imagining Davy Jones-like monster who has Thomas Hobbs’ face and the upper body dressed up in the imperial male attires and numerous octopus legs (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Leviathan_by_Thomas_Hobbes.jpg). Yuck.

  • Edward J. Cunningham says:

    It seems ironic that the Abe of Japan who would delete the phrase from his Preamble “Government is a sacred trust of the people, the authority for which is derived from the people, the powers of which are exercised by the representatives of the people, and the benefits of which are enjoyed by the people.” is diametrically opposed to the Abe of the United States who famously wrote “…and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people not perish from the earth.”

  • Kaerimashita says:

    @JimDiGriz #2

    There’s fascism and then there’s this in regards on how they want to learn and emulate their constitution from:

    From the former PM, now FM Taro Aso:

    I guess they really do want to be like Nazi Germany.

    改憲巡りナチスを引き合いに 麻生副総理
    2013/7/30 2:15 日本経済新聞


    Ariang News
    Updated: JUL 31, 2013
    Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso comes under fire for Nazi remarks

    Taro Aso, Japan’s Finance Minister and one-time prime minister has come under fire for reckless remarks that referred to the Nazi regime as inspiration for Japan’s constitutional revision.

    According to Kyodo News Agency, Aso suggested in a lecture in Tokyo that Japan study how Germany’s Weimar Constitution was transformed into the Nazi regime, before anybody realized what was happening.

    His comments stressed Japan’s constitutional revision should be done quietly.

    In response Seoul’s Foreign Ministry called on Tokyo to “be prudent in its words and deeds” and to take “a humble stance as a former invader.”

    Korea’s ruling and main opposition parites denounced Aso’s remarks as provocations on par with Pyongyang’s nuclear threat and said Japanese leaders should not fantasize about their country’s past military imperialism.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    @ Kaerimashita #5

    Thanks for that link!
    Where are all the apologists now, with all their accusations that debito.org is scaremongering, and that there is no ‘rightward swing’? They’ve gone pretty quiet now, haven’t they?

    On reading this, I will repeat the advice I gave before the election; if you don’t have a plan to leave Japan, you are a fool.

  • Ah, yes, I remember that, I also came across this.



    Also check out the comments made by the apologists and
    the Japanese on this:

    I find it really interesting but not surprising at how the Japanese and some apologists are so… “creative” and selective at either altering or justifying what Taro Aso said about wanting to follow Germany’s 1930 model. It is also very disturbing how there is almost no Japanese on the net who are pointing out the many problems of the LDP.

    Then there are comments that are rather predictable which involves the apologist bashing NJ about “mis-interpreting” Aso’s speech and not understanding the Japanese language, not understanding the Japanese way, etc.

    Then you have the usual are making up conspiracies accusing Chinese and Korean government agencies of making up entire articles. How convenient that the NJ is always to blame in almost every Japanese coverup.

    It is also disturbing that as Japan radicalizes, so too do the apologists, as I am increasingly finding their comments to mention favorable views of the Nazi regime. Sites like JapanToday are almost like carbon copies of Stormfront.

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    No one should be surprised with Aso’s gaffe as much as close-door culture of Japanese politics. He became famous for illiteracy and tone-deaf during his term as PM in 2008-09. His ineptitude to construct a clear, coherent, and compelling message well indicates the insensitivity to the power of language–especially the one inscribed in constitutional manipulation. Funny, apologists tend to believe that his remark only matters Nazi-reference, and it offends foreign audiences but understandable to many Japanese people. That’s simply wrong. Sneak tactic is exactly the reason why Japanese people have historically distrusted Nagatacho, turning millions of eligible voters turning away from national politics.

  • @Loverila (#8) Your argument sounds a lot like what I get from my Japanese acquaintances when they talk about such gaffes. As with Hashimoto the other day, they never clearly say “what he said was wrong”, but always “it’s wrong how he said it”. Unless a coherent, unqualified apology is made, it is safe to assume that any outrage about such statements isn’t about the message itself, but about the fact that a Japanese person has let his guard down and gave insight into “what everybody thinks”.

  • As with Hashimoto the other day, they never clearly say “what he said was wrong”, but always “it’s wrong how he said it”.

    You must be physic 🙂

    “”I retract my remarks in which I cited the Nazis as an example, as it has ended up leading to misunderstanding,” Mr Aso, who is also finance minister and a former prime minister, told reporters on Thursday..”

    It is the same tired excuse that the Japanese swallow hook line and sinker, yet when exposed to the outside world, suddenly retract as a misunderstanding. What utter bollocks. This Govt is a complete farce, just as it was when it was previous in power. Not once but twice Abe has not said anything regard these comments re: hashimoto and his “sex slave” comments, and now Aso, nothing from Abe at all, a deafening silence!

    What a great example he is showing the world….I just hope the world is finally listening and makes Japan accountable.

    Aso retracts remark citing Nazis as example for constitution change
    August 01, 2013(Mainichi Japan)

    TOKYO (Kyodo) — Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso on Thursday retracted his controversial remarks that could be interpreted as holding up Nazi Germany as an example for Japan to follow in amending its Constitution, aiming to alleviate criticism as soon as possible.

    “I retract my remarks in which I cited (the case of) the Nazis as an example, as it has ended up leading to misunderstanding,” Aso, who doubles as finance minister, told reporters.

    Aso, who served as a prime minister for a year from September 2008, came under fire both internationally and domestically after he said in a speech Monday in Tokyo, “Germany’s Weimar Constitution was changed before anyone knew. It was changed before anyone else noticed. Why don’t we learn the technique,” referring to the event that occurred under the Nazi regime.

    The outspoken Aso emphasized Thursday that he pointed to Nazis as a “bad example” of constitutional revision, saying the Weimar Constitution was “changed amid bustle without adequate public understanding and discussion.”

    “I believe that it is extremely important that constitutional amendment should be calmly discussed,” he said.

    Aso also said, “I view the Nazis and the process in which the Weimar Constitution (was changed) extremely negatively,” adding, “I deeply regret that remarks I made (on Monday) regarding the Nazi regime caused misunderstanding.”

    Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference Thursday that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government “never looks positively at the Nazi regime.”

    “Our country has consistently created a society that thoroughly champions peace and human rights since World War II. The direction will never change down the road,” said Suga, the government’s top spokesman.

    Suga said later in the day that Aso does not need to step down as a Cabinet member.

    The Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, a global Jewish human rights organization, has lashed out at Aso’s comments by releasing a statement.

    Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the group, was quoted in the statement as saying, “What ‘techniques’ from the Nazis’ governance are worth learning — how to stealthily cripple democracy?”

    “Has Vice Prime Minister Aso forgotten that Nazi Germany’s ascendancy to power quickly brought the world to the abyss and engulfed humanity in the untold horrors of World War II?”

    At a news conference Thursday, South Korea’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho Tai Young requested Japanese political leaders to be “more careful” about their language and behavior.

    Cho said Tuesday it is “obvious” that Aso’s remarks “hurt” many people, urging him to consider the sentiment of people in Japan’s neighboring nations that “suffered damage by invasion.”

    In April, Aso visited the war-related Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, stirring a further backlash from South Korea and China at a time when ties with them have already soured over territorial issues.

    At home, lawmakers from both the ruling and opposition parties also lambasted Aso.

    Akihiro Ohata, secretary general of the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan, said Thursday that Aso’s remarks “harm national interests” as they can be translated as suggesting he “acclaims” what the Nazis did.

    DPJ leader Banri Kaieda said at the party’s board meeting that Aso “cannot get away by only retracting” his comments, expressing his intention to “strictly” pursue Abe’s need to take responsibility for appointing Aso as a Cabinet member.

    The small opposition Social Democratic Party called on Aso to resign as a Diet member.

    Natsuo Yamaguchi, head of the New Komeito party, Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party’s coalition partner, said at a press conference, “Politicians who hold an important position have to make remarks very carefully.”

    LDP Secretary General Shigeru Ishiba told reporters, “The government has to respond in order not to create misunderstanding,” adding the LDP “will also do what it can to avoid disrupting diplomacy.”

    Abe’s LDP and New Komeito scored a landslide victory at the House of Councillors election July 21.

    麻生氏、ナチス発言を撤回 国内外批判で火消し


    2013/08/01 13:30 【共同通信】

  • Baudrillard says:

    Aso’s family as Nazis used POW slave labor to enrich themselves in WW2, so he is just telling it like it is. There is no deep meaning here; he admires the Nazis.

    I was watching Chinese TV; several channels giving a lot of coverage to this; the Chinese Govt issued a statement saying Japan should examine history properly. A Shanghai University Professor was interviewed as to why a Japanese politician would say this, he postulated several deep and meaningful reasons, some rather inexplicable such as “he may be trying to provoke America”” (into what?).

    The honest truth is Aso’s family did well out of fascist policies in WW2 so of course he has happy memories of his childhood and is nostalgic for those “good” old days.

  • @Baudrillard (#11) It’s all over the big German newspapers and news websites as well. It seems that the Fukushima accident has led to Japan getting more into the focus of world news, and is being more closely monitored, so revealing statements such as Aso’s don’t go unnoticed these days. One important step to have Japan’s image re-evaluated. Maybe this nuclear crisis was good for one thing after all.

    As for the Aso family and Taro-kun himself, I hope everybody is in the clear what kind of people we are dealing with here – their family business (since the middle of the 20th century) is – wait for it – diamond mining in Sierra Leone. If that doesn’t scream “underworld scum” I don’t know what is.

  • #12 says:
    “It’s all over the big German newspapers and news websites as well. It seems that the Fukushima accident has led to Japan getting more into the focus of world news, and is being more closely monitored, so revealing statements such as Aso’s don’t go unnoticed these days. One important step to have Japan’s image re-evaluated. Maybe this nuclear crisis was good for one thing after all.”

    Well from what I see, Japan’s attitude being broadcasted world wide in the current economic environment is a bit of a double edged sword. Somehow I get the feeling that the right-wingers in Japan is one way or another adding fuel to far-right movements world wide.

    If you surf the web enough, you will find that many right wing and far right wing in Europe, Canada and the U.S. praising Japan and their ultra-conservative ideals as models that should be emulated in the west.

    Many very conservative forums around the web often mention Japan again and again and looks up to LDP and JRP nutjobs as inspiration for their cause. Abenomics, the illusion of it at least, is now acting like icing on the cake where right-wingers and apologists in the west use as “evidence”, “proof” that Japan’s ultra-right, homogenous and insular culture is a premium model of success.

    In an alternative analogy, I think of Japan’s nationalism as a bad flu in a flu season (aka world economic crisis), and being contagious and easily infectious. i.e. adding fuel for far-right movements around the globe. People are easier to influence with radical ideology when times are bad.

    In a way, I feel Japanese nationalism has an indirect hand in encouraging and inspiring scum like this:


    I know its old news, but Japan is increasingly becoming a hot topic amongst right wing circles in the west and particularly on the internet. Because of such bad timing, I feel that Japan’s ideology is not only dangerous to Asia, but also to the rest of the world.

    Also Markus, I understand that while Germany is more apologetic than Japan, I do however feel that that is slowly changing in today’s economic climate. The fact that Japan is praising Germany’s past might turn more people to the right. Sure many Germans will oppose the LDP’s views but not probably not as many as in the past.

    Many, particularly the ever increasing unemployed, underpaid, overworked and underemployed will probably feel variable degrees of sympathy with Japan’s hard-right. Political opinions and times have changed in Europe, especially after the economic crisis.

    This is one reason I am concerned with the LDP and more focused on Japanese politics, is how the Japanese right will affect and change world opinions on world politics. I know it sounds crazy that people outside Japan will just follow the Japanese way of doing things at the drop of a hat but the bad shape of the economy and desperation has a way of affecting human psyche.

    — Yes, I archived the same article but never blogged about it:

    Norway killer’s manifesto praises Japan for not adopting multiculturalism
    CRIME JUL. 26, 2011 – 01:20PM JST ( 109 )OSLO — Courtesy TMC

    Anders Behring Breivik, the gunman responsible for the massacre of 76 people in Oslo last Friday, wrote a manifesto more than 1,500 pages long and nearly a decade in the making, in which he gives a chilling picture of a self-confessed “monster.” It was designed to bring about the revolution he says is needed to end a centuries-long Muslim colonization of Europe.

    In his manifesto, Breivik, 32, praised Japan for not adopting multiculturalism and limiting the number of Muslims. He described Japan and South Korea as model countries. He said his aim was to achieve a “monoculture” modeled on those two countries.

    These “role models,” he said, “represent many of the European classical conservative principles of the 1950s” because they are “scientifically advanced, economically progressive” societies “which will not accept multiculturalism or Cultural Marxist principles.”

    Breivik said that Japan and South Korea are today the most peaceful societies “where you can travel freely everywhere without the constant fear of getting raped, ravaged, robbed or killed.”

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    @ Markus #12 & Bayfield #13

    I guess Merkal won’t dare have her picture taken smiling with Aso at any G20/G8 Finance Ministers meetings any more, like this photo:

    Aso must be poison for her now.

    Which begs the question, doesn’t this have a negative impact on Aso to fulfill the international responsibilities of his job as deputy PM, and Finance Minister? It’s just plain unprofessional? Also (and as per usual) why isn’t the J-press hounding him over the damage he has done to Japans international image? I can forgive the J-public for being so badly educated about the war that they don’t understand the gravity of Aso’s remarks, but the press should be hunting him down for a resignation. Speaking of which, just like the Hashimoto outburst, yet again, Abe’s silence on the issue is DEAFENING! and that in itself speaks volumes.

    Read this today;

    ‘Words taken out of context’ CHECK!
    ‘Regrettable’ CHECK!
    ‘Unfortunate’ CHECK!
    ‘Misunderstanding’ CHECK!

    FULL HOUSE of Japanese excuses!
    And yet, this isn’t the first time he’s had to apologize for making Nazi comments, and later regretted doing so. Seems he is incapable of learning from past experiences. Sure, go and build up the Japanese military while you’re at it.

    As for Breivik praising the ‘myths’ of Japanese homogeneity and safety, I remember at the time, it was embarrassing for the Japanese. Much in the same way that Hashimoto’s outburst was embarrassing; the Japanese believed the statement to be true, but objected to who/how it was said. Or maybe that was tatemae that concealed a honne- ‘Please don’t draw attention to our myths! People who disagree with you might place us under scrutiny and disprove the (false) image that we’ve worked so had to create and propagate’.
    For every time a right wing nutter outside of Japan praises Japan’s homogeneity, attention will be drawn to the reality of the false image. It’s good for us.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Oh, one more point!

    It seems that even the most offensive comments are ok in Japan, provided that when challenged, you ‘retract’ them. End of story, it seems. I would challenge anyone debito.org reader to give their J-boss a total mouthing off, and then ‘retract’ it. What, no takers? Scared of getting fired? Aso’s not scared.

  • On the point of gaffes, phrasing, “misunderstanding” and legality on the international stage

    So Japan is a good “international citizen”…of course so when taken to the International Court of Justice (IJC) over whaling, the wording and and phrasing of Japan’s stance/defence was truely jaw dropping.
    Some of the wording used particularly by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs
    Koji Tsuruoka

    Australia has affronted Japan’s national dignity
    Australia has selective moral judgement
    Australia cannot impose it’s will onto other nations
    Is using the IJC as one instrument to impose it’s will on Japan
    Tradition of cultures and peoples are sacrificed
    We don’t criticise other cultures
    Japan has always lived in harmony with nature
    (the issue) is the legality of Japanese whaling,not good or bad science
    The ICJ has no authority to hear the matter

    So is this Japan saying we are a member of the international community or simply restating
    that “we” are unique ,stop the criticism, you have to understand “us”?

    I think the insular interpretation is more appropriate.

    At least now Japan has been required to respond in an international forum…perhaps the honne
    really surfaced






  • Jim Di Griz says:

    @ Karjh12 #16

    Valid points.

    I was following the Japanese sides opening statements.
    First it’s about science, then it’s culture, then it’s about ‘legality of whaling’, and finally (of course) it’s big bad Australia, like a cultural imperialist, forcing it’s values on poor week, little, victim Japan. Yep, they went through every meme in the J-book.

  • Looks like Total Asshole…er…um…Taro Aso has managed to draw the ire of the Jewish community:

    麻生副総理のナチス発言を批判 米のユダヤ系団体が声明

    Also looks like he has no plans to assume responsibility for his gaffe:

    Aso rules out resigning as minister, lawmaker over Nazi remark

    On the plus side, Mainichi has an English *and* Japanese critique of his recent foot-in-mouth:

    Editorial: Aso’s retraction of Nazi remarks insufficient

    Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso’s controversial remarks suggesting Japan should learn from the technique Nazi Germany used to effectively suspend its democratic Constitution came as a shock.

    Aso later retracted his reference to Nazi Germany, saying, “What I said differed from my true intentions and caused misunderstanding.” But his explanation is unreasonable, and does little to convince the international community. The least Aso can do as a Diet member is to front up to the Diet to give an account of his remarks.

    Aso made the comments at a July 29 symposium in Tokyo organized by the Japan Institute for National Fundamentals (JINF), as a panelist. The JINF, headed by journalist Yoshiko Sakurai, advocates revisions to Japan’s war-renouncing Constitution and the establishment of a national military.

    “Pre-war Germany had the Weimar Constitution. Hitler came to power through an election while under one of the most progressive Constitutions in Europe. Something like that could happen to any country even if it has a good Constitution,” he told the symposium. “I don’t want the Constitution of Japan to be revised amid bustle. Germany’s Weimar Constitution was replaced by the Nazi Constitution before anyone knew about it. It was changed before anyone else noticed. Why don’t we learn this technique?”

    Aso’s remarks up to “… even if it has a good Constitution,” do not appear to be wrong. The problem is the second half of his statement.

    What Aso called the “Nazi Constitution” apparently refers to the Enabling Act of 1933 that effectively suspended the Weimar Constitution and established Nazi dictatorship. Aso’s understanding of the historical facts is unclear, but we hardly need to be reminded that the Enabling Act led to Germany’s involvement in the war and the Holocaust.

    In any case, Aso’s remarks can be taken to suggest that Japan should learn from the Nazi technique of changing the supreme law before anyone knew about it. There is no other way of interpreting what he said, and his remarks badly lack the common sense expected by the international community.

    The deputy prime minister later explained that he cited the Enabling Act as a “bad example” of constitutional changes that occurred amid bustle without adequate public understanding and discussion. If so, this raises questions about his ability to choose proper words to accurately convey his opinions.

    We have insisted that constitutional amendments require in-depth public discussion. Aso did emphasize that a draft of a new Constitution drawn up by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) was the result of longstanding effort. It may be that he wants to avoid public opposition to the LDP’s draft “amid bustle.”

    It is only natural that a Jewish human rights organization issued a statement condemning Aso for his remarks, and that opposition parties are demanding Aso step down as a minister of the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

    Aso, who served as prime minister from September 2008 to September 2009, has repeatedly made controversial remarks. However, his latest remarks came as questions are raised over the Abe government’s interpretation of history regarding Japan’s involvement in World War II, and are far more serious than just a gaffe.

    The Diet should call Aso to account during an extraordinary Diet session beginning on Aug. 2. Prime Minister Abe must not treat the matter as someone else’s problem.

    August 02, 2013(Mainichi Japan)

    社説:麻生氏ナチス発言 撤回で済まない重大さ
    毎日新聞 2013年08月02日 02時30分









  • #18 says:
    “Aso did emphasize that a draft of a new Constitution drawn up by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) was the result of longstanding effort. It may be that he wants to avoid public opposition to the LDP’s draft “amid bustle.””

    Avoid public opposition to changing constitution? Impose dictatorship before the people wake up from their dream? This is where I think the territorial tensions of Dokdo and Senkaku come into play. In fact I think Taro Aso is being redundant, as I think Abe is already well underway carrying out what Aso suggested will after the fact.

    If the LDP does plan to follow the Nazi’s path this is what I think may happen:

    Like how the Nazis used the Riechstag fire incident to create a crisis as emergency measures to change the constitution, the LDP will use the ever increasing territorial tensions as “emergency measures” to change the constitution as well.

    From how radical Japan has become, I have a feeling that the territorial tensions may escalate to the point where both China and Japan will fire warning shots at each other, but that doesn’t necessarily mean instant war. It will be much like how North Korea fires their guns into South Korea territory as warning shots, then quickly step back before it becomes too hot.

    At this point, the masses will be stunned and shocked, just like how the Germans where shocked when their capital building was set ablaze. And before people can recover and try to make sense of a near-war scenario, the LDP will then quickly pass what is left of their “constitution draft” to the parliament with a flowery excuse like “emergency security measures for self-defense and protection of the public” to impose dictatorship on the public.

    Basically, I predict that territorial tensions will escalate to the point where “warning shots” will be used. Infact, talks of using of “warning shots” is already one of the options on the LDP’s table for quite a while:


    Like with the Reichstag fire incident, the LDP will use the Senkaku crisis at a “near-war” scenario to change the constitution right when the public is in confusion shock and in disarray with territorial tensions.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    @ Bayfield #19

    I think you are right about Abe’s intentions.
    But maybe a provocation from China or Korea to raise the fear level is not required. The Japanese are quite capable of engineering a false flag operation (see; Mukden Incident). But even still, a false flag operation is not even required.
    I believe that the Japanese public are either so apathetic (still not worried about the triple meltdown?), or are already sufficiently afraid to hand over freedoms to Abe.
    For example;

    The Japanese media have a responsibility to explain to the reader that this is the sort of thing that all navies do almost every day; transit through international waters. However, in the hands of the J-press, this becomes a scare story.
    How about this;
    No proof ever released.
    Or this one;
    Japanese jets scrambled for a Chinese propellor plane in international airspace? Please. could I have some more *drama* with that? When I was in the UK in the ’80s, the Russian airforce used to start everyday by sending nuclear bombers/recon TU-95’s across the North Sea toward the UK air defence zone. RAF fighters would scramble up to meet them, they would take photos and time the RAF response, and then go home. This is part of the ‘fair play’ cold war game. It never was news in the UK (how could anyone have stood. or believed, a constant ramping up of drama for 60 years?).

    Japan, having sat out the cold war in a state of relative ignorance, is now in the situation of the right-wingers having provoked the Chinese into a state where Chinese national security concerns make it common sense to take precautions against Japanese verbosity; Japanese politicians talk as though China is the enemy, so China must look at Japan as a potential aggressor. It’s constructivist theory in action.

    The Japanese public are unsophisticated enough about international relations (after all, the US mostly has been calling the shots for the last 68 years) to be frightened by how this novel new ‘cold war’ is presented to them by the media, but also (I believe) willfully complicit in sustaining this illusory threat, as a pretext to remilitarize, and ‘show the Chinese who’s boss’, in order to regain some misplaced pride as ‘Asia’s top nation’.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    @ Bayfield #19

    For what it’s worth, you can bet that the Senkaku area is crawling with JSDF, US, and PLA(N) submarines cat-and-mousing each other like we used to do with the Russians in the cold war, and THAT never made news either.
    If I was a gambling man (and I am), I would say that sooner or later, an over zealous JCG ship will have an incident with a Chinese Coast Guard vessel (maybe warning shouts that actually hit the Chinese), and a chinese sub will torpedo the JCG ship, and then the US will say enough is enough, and send Abe off to Beijing cap in hand to beg for a de-escalation.
    And don’t forget, as I’m sure that Abe knows, when you provoke a nuclear armed enemy to bomb you, it’s not the capital that gets vaporized, or there won’t be anyone left with the authority to stop the war- it will be Osaka, Nagoya, or Kyoto that would get bombed.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Sick-note is seeking to make a canny move that will help ‘normalize’ a Japanese army, by giving all the ‘peace loving Japanese’ military fetishists a chance to get their hands on some real gear. ‘Natch, it will be last generation stuff, but I am sure that many impressionable teenage boys will (once having fondled the real thing) be lining up to enlist and get the very latest goods!
    Makes that step to militarization easier for the public to unwittingly digest; civillian, to cosplay fetishist, to enlisting to fulfill the fantasy.


    And with all those surplus pants and shirts being worn around town, no one will be so surprised if they ever see a real uniform on the street too!
    It’s pretty basic psychology, most fascist states have done it.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Whilst Sick-note was off in Hiroshima yesterday making insincere speeches about world peace;

    Reichsmarshall Aso was at the same time presiding over the launching of Japans biggest post-war military ship;

    The timing is just an ‘unfortunate coincidence’ apparently. Named ‘Izumo’ after the Japanese shinto myth god- we can see this fits Sick-notes ideology completely. Shouldn’t MSDF be named after prefectures, rivers, and towns? Mixed messages much? Should have just called it the ‘恨み’.

    Especially since only last week Sick-note promised to improve relations with China. Not much chance of that now. Even N. Korea can see Sick-note for what he is, proving that even a broken clock is still right twice a day;

    Don’t believe me? The US knows Sick-note is a trouble maker too;

  • Nothing new, really, but the current regime’s increasing, obsessive insistence on “a more assertive” Japan “escaping the postwar regime” always provides food for thought:


    Japan Projects A More Assertive Image To The World
    August 21, 2013 7:29 AM

    Japan’s military held large-scale exercises at the foot of Mt. Fuji as Minister of Defense Itsunori Onodera cited “deepening uncertainties” in the region as justification for expanding the role of Japan’s armed forces at home and abroad.

    Onodera said Tuesday that Japan’s military would increasingly be called upon to participate in international peacekeeping operations and bilateral activities with allies.

    The statement follows the recent unveiling of the largest Japanese warship to be built since World War II; plans to create a marine corps, a national security council, and possibly develop the capability to launch preemptive strikes against enemy ballistic missile sites.

    All of these are in line with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s clearly-stated policy goal of “escaping the postwar regime.”

    A Postwar Japan

    What Abe calls the postwar regime was in fact the allied nations’ consensus on how to construct a new security arrangement for East Asia that would prevent a repeat of World War II. It was outlined in the allies’ 1945 Potsdam Declaration, and then written into Japan’s Constitution by U.S. military officers under the command of Gen. Douglas MacArthur.

    They took a two-pronged approach. First, Japan was disarmed, and its constitution forbids it from either waging war or maintaining a standing army. Second, the constitution was revised to emphasize popular sovereignty, democracy and human rights in order to prevent the reemergence of militarism.

    Japan has interpreted its constitution to allow the creation of “self-defense forces,” and to allow their deployment in peacekeeping operations overseas.

    Now Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, or LDP, says that Western conceptions of natural rights in its constitution are incompatible with the country’s traditions. It has drafted a revised constitution that critics say could fundamentally alter the relationship between the Japanese state and its people.

    “Today, we think of Japan as a democratic country, where rights are generally protected by the courts and so on,” says Larry Repeta, a law scholar at Tokyo’s Meiji University.

    “But that is under the existing constitution,” he says. “The LDP proposes to put specific restrictions on free speech and other individual rights. That’s one example of the kind of society that they envision, and that they propose in their revised constitution.”

    Repeta says the revised constitution would subordinate individual rights to public order and give the government sweeping powers in times of emergency.

    But Satsuki Katayama, an LDP lawmaker and co-drafter of the revised constitution, rejects criticism that the new document offers any less protection for citizens’ basic rights.

    “We clearly state in the new constitution that we will respect human rights,” she says firmly. “The articles that concern basic human rights in the original constitution remain unchanged. Perhaps some extreme leftists may disagree, but I would say this constitution draft really respects human rights.”

    An Issue For U.S. Relations

    For now, the LDP does not have enough votes in parliament to amend the Constitution. So its first move will be to try to lower the number of votes required to do so. While Abe’s level of popular support appears strong, that seems to be due mainly to his efforts to revive the Japanese economy.

    Meiji University’s Larry Repeta says that opinion polls show consistent public opposition to revising key parts of Japan’s constitution. “I sense that there’s really a big gulf between the beliefs of the Japanese people and the beliefs of the political elite that rule the country,” he says.

    The Abe government’s effort to change the status quo in East Asia presents the U.S. with a problem. It wants robust cooperation with its chief military ally in Asia, but it doesn’t want to be drawn into any conflict with China that Japan might provoke.

    Former Deputy Prime Minister Yohei Kono says that the continued strength of the U.S.-Japan alliance needs to be based on a shared understanding of history.

    “We should not forget our determination at that time to build a new country, based on our experience of fighting and losing a war,” Kono said at an interview in his Tokyo office.

    “It was at that time that our new constitution was drafted. But after 67 years, people have changed and the elderly have passed away. A new generation is coming up that doesn’t know about the war. We shouldn’t forget that feeling. We should pass it on.”

    Actually, just a few short years after the U.S. government helped draft Japan’s constitution, Washington began calling for it to be amended.

    The outbreak of the Korean War in 1950 necessitated the redeployment of U.S. troops from Japan to South Korea. Left nearly undefended, Japan took a small step towards rearming by organizing the predecessor of today’s Self Defense Forces. It was a lightly armed unit called the National Police Reserve, or NPR.


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