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The Ghost at the Abe-Trump Banquet: Nobusuke Kishi
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Understandably, a lot of the coverage analyzing the impact of Trump on Japan has emphasized the negative: Trump is a trade-war guy, he wants Japan to pay more for bases, he’d be happy to stand aside as Japan slugged it out in some military encounter with North Korea, he’s pulled the plug on TPP…

Quite a long list. And Prime Minister Abe hurried to New York to reaffirm the relationship and hopefully mitigate some of the awful things Donald Trump has promised to do to Japan.

Abe’s takeaway from the November 17 meeting with Trump was “as an outcome of today’s discussion I am convinced Mr. Trump is a leader with whom I can have great confidence in.”


Ooh baby.

In my most recent piece for Asia Times, And the Winner of the US Election is…Shinzo Abe? I take a contrarian view: that Trumpismo–and the virtual demise of the TPP (in its present form, maybe! but never say never! Read the piece!) is a long-expected and, in some fundamental way, welcome development for Japan when it comes to Japan edging aside the United States as the indispensable nation in Asian trade diplomacy.

Here I’ll focus on the military dimension of the U.S.-Japan relationship, illustrated by the parallel experiences of Prime Minister Abe and his grandfather, Prime Minister Nobosuke Kishi.

Japan—and Abe—have been preparing for the moment that the United States would kick Japan to the curb since at least 1971-72, when Nixon screwed Japan royally with the Plaza Accord and PRC recognition.

And Abe’s been anticipating that moment, since his stated ambition is to re-establish Japan as a “normal” nation, freed from the shackles of the peace constitution imposed by the United States and one that completely controls its national and global destiny.

Trump’s stated disdain for the structures of the post-war US-Japanese alliance gives Abe the space, indeed the imperative to pursue that dream.

Japan isn’t quite “normal” yet, but via the Cabinet’s reinterpretation of the Peace Constitution and the passage of legislation redefining and enabling collective self defense in 2015, the road to Japanese power projection outside its borders and territorial waters, though winding and narrow, has been blazed.

Well, maybe not too winding and narrow. The very fact that the legislation was a hopeless farrago of amendments (heroic attempt to explain the law here, thanks to the US Naval War College) to existing policies probably created holes big enough for a Komatsu bulldozer to drive through, if the political will exists.

Most of the debate related to “collective self defense” i.e. incrementally enhancing Japan’s ability to join U.S. military operations not directly involved in defense of the Japanese homeland. Though much lusted for by US pivoteers, this revision carefully avoided permitting Japan’s front line military participation in whatever mischief the US cooked up.

However, the “Peace and Security Preservation Legislation” also redefined unilateral Japanese use of force through military action outside its borders “when an armed attack against a foreign country that is in a close relationship with Japan occurs and as a result threatens Japan’s survival and poses a clear danger to fundamentally overturn people’s right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness” according to a ‘splainer provided by Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Enabling unilateral Japanese overseas military operations is the permanent takeaway from constitutional re-interpretation, no matter what the US does or doesn’t do in Asia.

For Abe, there’s a personal element in his struggle to redefine Japan’s military role, thanks to his bloodlines in the right wing Japanese elite, specifically his grandfather, Nobosuke Kishi. There’s some pop-psyche mumbo-jumbo involved, as this fascinating piece on the timing of the votes on the security legislation from Nikkei indicates:

July 15 [2015; the date the Diet House of Representatives approved Abe’s security bills] was an important date for Nobusuke Kishi, Abe’s grandfather and a former Japanese prime minister. Fifty-five years ago to the day, Kishi’s cabinet was forced to resign amid mounting public opposition over the renewal of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty.

01_Kishi_family_with_Abe_(cropped) There’s more than LDP astrology at work. Kishi’s experiences are cited by Abe himself as a shaping influence. Here’s a family snap of the two:

In his autobiography, Abe claims that, despite being only six years old, he remembered the traumatic days of 1960:

Abe, in his book, “Utsukushii Kuni-e” (“Toward a Beautiful Country”), recounts his childhood memory of June 18, 1960, the day before the new security pact was passed. Protesters surrounded the parliament building, and Kishi was trapped inside the prime minister’s official residence. According to Abe’s recollection, Kishi was drinking wine with Eisaku Sato, Kishi’s younger brother who later became a prime minister himself, when he said, “I know I am not wrong. If I am going to be killed over this, so be it.”

Pushing through the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty over massive popular opposition was a transformative moment in Japanese history and for Kishi himself. It represented a major step in the restoration of the prestige and power of the pre-war conservative elite after it had been broken and discredited by the war and the occupation.

Similar, in fact, that the breakthrough Abe achieved in 2015.

Abe now finds himself in the same circumstances as his grandfather did 55 years ago: pushing his vision of Japanese transformation within the context of an overbearing U.S. presence that is at the same time welcomed and resented.

Fortunately for Abe, though beset with demonstrators inside and outside the Diet, he was not driven to the extremity of calling in the police to literally carry incensed opposition lawmakers out of the chamber, four cops per legislator, as his grandfather did to force through the vote, thereby earning Kishi the profound hatred and contempt of a generation of Japanese leftists as a Showa militarist retread.

Indeed in 1960 the outrage in Japan at the treaty was so great and the demonstrations so massive that Eisenhower’s envoy trying to make it into town from Haneda was trapped in his limo and had to be rescued by a Marine helicopter.


Understandably, Ike’s visit to Japan to celebrate ratification of the treaty was canceled.

Also fortunately for Abe, he also did not have to endure a subsequent assassination attempt by a disgruntled right-winger, as Kishi did. For historical/morbid interest, here is the archival raw Pathe footage of Kishi being rushed to the hospital as his assailant is detained. Also bloodsplatter. Pathe camerapeople were really on the ball:

The parallels between Abe and Kishi–their circumstances, their outlooks, and their challenges–are striking and significant. Kishi’s special relationship with the United States—and his pivotal role in shaping the Japan-US military partnership—offer other interesting perspectives on the actions of his grandson.

Kishi was more than the postwar shepherd of the LDP’s alliance with the United States. He had been a key cog in the Imperial war machine and became a vital pillar of American policy in Japan after the war.

Kishi averted prosecution as a war criminal because…well, I will outsource this part of the discussion to a lengthy quote from Sterling and Peggy Seagraves’ Gold Warriors.

In 1956…the Eisenhower administration labored long and hard to install Kishi as head of the…Liberal-Democratic Party and as Japan’s new prime minister. This was the same Kishi who had been a member of the hard core ruling clique in Manchuria with General Tojo Hideki…Kishi had also signed Japan’s Declaration of War against America in December 1941…During World War II he was vice minister of munitions and minister of commerce and industry, actively involved in slave labor…Following Japan’s surrender, he was one of the most prominent indicted war criminals…[pg. 122. Seagraves wrong on a point here: Kishi was accused and detained as a Class A war criminal for “crimes against peace” i.e. plotting war, but never formally indicted]

The Seagraves stipulate that Kishi was sprung from prison thanks to a deal brokered by the Japanese underworld to hand over looted war gold to the U.S. as a massive off-the-books slush fund in return for gentle treatment of Japan’s elite by the occupation. I’m not going to dismiss that allegation. Dig up a copy of Gold Warriors and judge for yourself.

Anyway, Kishi somehow did avoid prosecution and became the core of America’s preferred ruling party in Japan, the LDP. Continuing with the Seagraves’ account (which draws heavily on the writings of Michael Schaller):

For ten years, Kishi was groomed as America’s boy…[The American Council for Japan] worked tirelessly to improve Kishi’s mousy image, tutored him in English, and taught him to love Scotch. To them, Kishi was America’s ‘only bet left in Japan’ [Schaller attributes this quote to John Foster Dulles].

Kishi’s key attraction to the U.S. was, of course, his pro-U.S. tilt. In a piece posted on Chalmers Johnson’s JPRI website, Schaller writes:

Kishi reasserted his loyalty to America’s Cold War strategy, pledging to limit contact with China and, instead, to focus Japanese economic attention on exports to the United States and mutual development of Southeast Asia.

Hmm. Sounds rather…Abe-esque, doesn’t it? Pivoty, perhaps?

Finally, after much struggle and expense, Kishi became Prime Minister in 1957. According to the Seagraves, during his term the CIA paid the LDP $10 million a year from the slush fund, known as the M-Fund, to help it secure its political fortunes.

Then, in order to gain Kishi’s support for the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty—the one referred to above, the one that was so unpopular Kishi was eventually forced to resign—the Seagraves allege that the U.S. government transferred control of the M-Fund to Kishi—personally.

The Seagraves, apparently working off an investigative memorandum by Norbert Schlei (long story) allege Richard Nixon, charged with the task of negotiating the new treaty, gave up the fund in return for unspecified assistance in his unsuccessful presidential run in 1960. I have a hard time wrapping my head around that, but in any case, for whatever reason, it appears that the M-Fund a) did exist and b) control over it did pass from the CIA and into the hands of Kishi and the LDP, kicking off a spectacular and perhaps ongoing carnival of corruption at the highest level of Japanese politics.

The Seagraves allege that Kishi helped himself to 10% of the fund, a not inconsiderable $3 billion in 1960s dollars, and established himself as the LDP’s kingmaker for the rest of his life.

Writing in 1991, Schlei further alleged that, thanks primarily to the energetic activities of bag man & subsequent Prime Minister and trafficker in Lockheed peanuts Kakuei Tanaka (who helped himself to $10 billion dollars from the fund, according to Schlei), the M-Fund had grown to $500 billion.

The links between the United States and the LDP–which Abe now, of course, heads–are long, deep, and dark, and designed to survive the vagaries of national elections. Abe is a key custodian of that relationship.

Again, Kishi was rather Abe-esque in ramming through an unpopular security bill that above all else pleased the United States enormously.

As to the geopolitical implications of the 1960 security treaty, it permitted the US a massive and permanent military presence in a state that, along other political axes, was increasingly a “normal” sovereign state i.e. a state that was in danger of wandering off in pursuit of an independent or non-aligned foreign policy. This was not a trivial concern in the 1950s, when Japanese public opinion was largely pacifist, leaning toward a non-aligned foreign policy, and not particularly interested in signing on as America’s Cold War partner in Asia.

Per Schaller, Uncle Sam was pretty pleased with Kishi’s work, and his determination to push the massively unpopular treaty through the Diet:

During the next 18 months Kishi collaborated closely with Ambassador MacArthur in revising the security treat. The U.S. agreed to scrap many of the most unpopular elements of the 1951 pact in return for the right to retain air, naval, repair, and logistic facilities in Japan–along with a secret protocol preserving the right to move nuclear weapons “through” Japan. The importance of these bases, and those in Okinawa, became abundantly clear during the Vietnam war.

Given the current rumpus over media “normalization” of Donald Trump, it is interesting to consider how the U.S. press treated a guy who had literally signed a declaration of war against the United States:

In January 1960, Prime Minister Kishi flew to Washington to sign a revised mutual security treaty. President Eisenhower welcomed him warmly and the America press lavished effusive praise on the visitor, barely mentioning the demonstrations against him and the treaty when he left Tokyo. Time magazine graced its January 25, 1960 cover with a portrait of a smiling Kishi against a background of humming industry. The prime minister’s “134 pound body,”, Time noted, “packed pride, power and passion–a perfect embodiment of his country’s amazing resurgence.” Newsweek trumpeted the arrival of a “Friendly, Savy [sic], Salemsan from Japan.” The revised treaty, along with the ubiquitous Sony transistor radios shipped to America, Newsweek explained, symbolized the U.S. alliance with the “economic powerhouse of Asia.”

Time1101600125_400 Here’s that Time cover:

America was on hand to encourage Japanese re-militarization even to levels that were then, and have remained for half a century, politically unattainable. A fascinating webpage at MIT commemorating Hamaya Hiroshi’s photojournalism of the “Anpo” opposition movement to the Treaty tells us:

[T]he preamble to the treaty voiced the “expectation” that Japan would assume more responsibility for its own defense, meaning in effect that article nine of the constitution would have to be amended or worked around. At the time of the signing, American officials foresaw Japan creating an army of 325,000 to 350,000 within three years. [emphasis added]

For perspective, 50 years later, the JSF still has not gotten there. As of 2015, JSF claimed 247,000 active and 56,000 reserve personnel.

Here’s another family portrait that’s too good to pass up: Kishi in 1957 with his two grandchildren in American rootin’ tootin’ Injun garb he brought back from his trip to Washington. Shinzo Abe’s on the right.


Abe recapitulated his grandfather’s close ties to the United States, specifically to the yippy-ki-yay neo-con anti-China wing of the Republican Party. It is little remembered except, I suppose, by me, Dick Cheney, and the Hudson Institute (where Cheney major-domo Scooter Libby still holds a sinecure and Abe speaks on occasion) that Abe, in his first, doomed prime ministership, endorsed Cheney’s strategy of a “Asia Democratic Security Diamond” (Japan, India, Australia, and the United States) a.k.a. China containment structure at the time it (and Vice President Cheney) were very unpopular inside the Bush White House.

Now, of course, Abe’s Japan is a mainstay of the U.S. pivot to Asia and, as I discuss in my Asia Times article, the keeper of the TPP flame even though it’s been doused for now in the United States and many of the other signatory countries.

It is, however, simplistic to characterize Kishi (or Abe) simply as a collaborator doing America’s bidding in Japan. Understanding, appreciating, and exploiting the undeniable reality of American power after it has crushed his nation doesn’t necessarily imply a repudiation of national dreams, nationalism, or for that matter even anti-American national ideology.

Kishi was a defiant scion of a samurai family and Japanese imperialist who rejected the idea of Japan as a pacifist ward of the United States. In Kishi’s eyes, the 1960 treaty was a blow against American occupation. In his own words:

Under the old security treaty, America was the overwhelmingly dominant party. Since Japan did nothing for its own defense, the US military was essentially occupying the whole of Japan, even though the Allied occupation was officially over. As long as that situation persisted, Japan-US relations could not be said to rest on a rational foundation. That’s why a change was absolutely necessary.

With this perspective, Kishi’s success in winning control over the M-Fund looks like another step in his quest for Japanese national and military self-determination.

Presumably President Eisenhower needed to be told something to explain the alienation of the M-Fund billions and the official reason, interestingly enough, according to Schlei was the need for Japan to have direct and expeditious access to black funding to evade constitutional restrictions “in case of war”:

[T]he ostensible reason for ceding control of the Fund to Japan was Japan’s need for an emergency source of funds in the event that war should break out. In such an eventuality, Japan would be especially vulnerable because its constitutional prohibition on military force would severely hamper financial preparation for defense. In order to make the Fund and even better source of defense funds in time of need, the Japanese negotiatiors agreed that after the Fund was released to Japanese control, they would add substantially to the amount of the Fund.

In other words, it seems that with Japan not ready to revise the constitution as a reciprocal treaty and become a formal full-fledged security partner, Kishi sold the United States on the idea of obtaining control over a huge pile of black money (which he may have regarded as rightfully Japan’s in the first place) so he would be able to develop Japan’s military capabilities “off the books”.

By his lights, then, Kishi was fighting a two-front war against domestic pacifism and American hegemony, and restoring Japanese independence as a nation and, potentially, as a security power in the process.

Abe sees himself as heir to that struggle, according to an article in Japan Times:

Amending the Constitution was Kishi’s long-standing political aim. His grandson, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, now views it as his to complete…Kishi believed that early Allied Occupation policy was aimed at snuffing out the patriotism of the Japanese people…Abe appears to bear similar resentment toward the Constitution, although as prime minister he is unlikely to express this publicly.


In this context, it’s good to understand Abe’s core political and personal identity as a historical revisionist, i.e. a member of the robust right-wing contingent in Japanese politics that believes the key precipitating factor in the Pacific War was a US act of aggression, the economic blockade, and that Japan subsequently was unfairly subjected to “victor’s justice” and imposition of the onerous pacifist constitution…and unjust persecution of patriots like his grandfather.

I wrote at length about Japanese historical revisionism concerning World War II over at Japan Focus, particularly in the context of revisionists’ love for Indian jurist Radhabinod Pal, who wrote a massive dissent to the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal decision—the Tribunal that would have tried and sentenced Kishi if he had not been somehow plucked from Sugamo Prison.

The Pal dissent is a cornerstone of the Abe’s narrative of the injustice meted out to Japan’s leaders, as can be seen from this Telegraph report of the aftermath of the LDP’s victory at the polls in 2012:

“The view of that great war was not formed by the Japanese themselves, but rather by the victorious Allies, and it is by their judgment only that [Japanese] were condemned,” Mr Abe told a meeting of the House of Representatives Budget Committee on Tuesday.

In his previous short-lived spell as prime minister, for 12 months from September 2006, Mr Abe said that the 28 Japanese military and political leaders charged with Class-A war crimes are “not war criminals under the laws of Japan.”

2007082460801501_601425g Prime Minister Abe made a pilgrimage to Kolkata in 2007 to meet with Pal’s son and receive two pictures of Pal with Kishi. The photos were taken in 1966, when Pal journeyed to Tokyo to receive Japan’s highest civilian order, ‘The First Order of Sacred Treasure’.

Here’s a picture of Abe’s meeting in Kolkata.

Abe Pal

According to The Hindu:

“The people of Japan love Radhabinod Pal [1886-1967] and still hold him in the highest esteem,” Mr. Abe reportedly told the son of the lone member of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East to have found not guilty all those accused in the famous Tokyo War Crimes Trial (1946-48).

In an interesting sidebar concerning the theme of Abe’s apparent fetish with anniversaries that kicked off this piece, there’s this:

“The Prime Minister told me that the new generation in Japan knew little about my father but they might have got to learn of him after a documentary on him shot by a government agency was telecast in that country on August 14,” Mr. Pal said.

“The day of the telecast marked the 62nd anniversary of the Japanese Army deciding that far too many innocent lives had been lost on the two occasions atom bombs were dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9 [in 1945] to fight on in the Second World War. A day later the Japanese surrendered,” Mr. Pal recalled.

Finally, to understand Abe’s relationship with his American patron, consider this concluding remark by Schaller:

In 1960, as soon as the new treaty became effective, the United States withdrew its support from Kishi–who now seemed like damaged goods.

I would think that Abe has internalized the lessons of how to please the United States through an anti-China tilt and cooperation with the US military.

But he probably also remembers that the United States, though it protected, promoted, and enriched his grandfather, ultimately abandoned him.

When America turns away, Japan has to be ready to stand up.

With the election of Donald Trump, that day has approached with alarming speed. But Abe has devoted his political life to preparing for it.

(Republished from China Matters by permission of author or representative)
• Category: History • Tags: Donald Trump, Japan, Nobosuke Kishi, Shinzo Abe 
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  1. Philippic says:

    The M-Fund? It’s an old allegation that the fund is the primary mover of policy in Japan.

    $500 billion? Really? A confirmed value or an aggregation of various small pieces of corruption over decades?

    Look up the history of Ah Loo and ask why Norbert Schlei tried to use his influence to do better than she did.

    Given Schlei’s history in business, it’s much more likely that one of his partners set him up in a play to take over the partnership.

    The story is convoluted, but JPRI is a hopelessly conflicted site that went with a desired story and damn all conflicting evidence.

  2. Anon • Disclaimer says:

    Can Japanese nation be saved politically when it is dying demographically, culturally, sexually, socially, and morally?

    Japanese don’t have babies.

    Japanese culture is Pokemon and video games.

    Japanese women despise the men and wanna have babies with foreign men.
    Once globalism hit Japan, Japanese women all think, “our men inferior, we need better men.”

    Japanese economic elites have COME APART from the masses. Japanese corporations want cheap labor from other nations. And since Japanese look down on ‘dirty, dangerous, and demeaning’ jobs, they look down on labor. Japanese only want ‘clean’ jobs and think manual/menial jobs should be handled by non-Japanese. As in Germany, the non-natives will take over entire cities.

    And Japanese morality is totally debased. It’s a society run amok on pornified everything. Even comic books people read in subways are pornish. And a news article says 1 out of 200 Japanese women have been in porn. What kind of parents does Japan have?

    Also, kids grow up with comics and videogames and have no connection to the past, heritage, and history. They are just like dummies in the West.

    Japan is finished along with Korea and Taiwan.

    China and maybe Vietnam will be the last East Asian nations standing.
    But Vietnam might fall too because it is turning into such a whore of the US.

    • LOL: Marcus
  3. Philippic says:

    You’re writing about Japan in the 1990s more than you are the 2010s.

    There’s a lot more to Japan than the fevered writings of Debito Arudou,

  4. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Ahh another Japan expert that has read a few articles about them online.

    Japan has indeed experienced stagnation in their economy, due to stupidly promoting a Keynesian Export oriented economy that kept the Yen weak to promote exports.

    This flawed monetary policy left the Japanese economy stagnant. There weren’t enough jobs for the young people, so the young delayed getting married and having kids just like is happening European and American youth (not counting blacks and Mexicans).

    Once the old economic order is destroyed and Japan is free to operate their own monetary policy and yes their own military policy, I think their economy will recover and their population growth will rebound.

    FYI the period before Japan reached their peak in the 80’s saw a very large increase in Japanese population growth. This is because their economy was growing and people felt more confident to have kids younger. It is rediculous to think that Japans population will reach 0 or that Germanys population will reach 0.

    Shrinking populations in these countries is part of a cyclical economic cycle.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  5. Philippic says:

    Wow! You instantly know all about me from absolutely no evidence.

    Most of Japan’s problems haven’t stemmed from monetary policy. Fiscal policy has been contractionary for nearly 3 decades. Ministry of Finance policy has been to try to limit bond issuance.

    And the marriage problems? Read Shukan Bunshun, Shukan Shinchou, and a number of other Japanese weekly magazines. It’s a lot more cultural in origin than economic.

    It’s a fallacy to automatically assume that the Japanese have no agency, and that whites have all the power.

    Indeed, the article we’re both responding to rejects that assumption.

    Plus, I suggest that a look at population brackets in Japan is warranted. The low point came from 1992-2001, and the 0-14 brackets is quite larger than the 15-24 bracket.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  6. There is sometimes confusion about what Class-A war criminals in WWII Japan actually were. Here’s an explanation.

    From the article:

    In your recent posts about the Yasukuni shrine, the inclusion of WWII era Japanese Class-A war criminals is mentioned with no explanation of the term “Class-A”. I’ve noticed that this is common in news articles about Yasukuni in recent decades, though in your article you do note that the war criminal trials in Japan held by the Allies were at least somewhat controversial as to their basis in law and morality.

    It is almost natural for the casual reader (or writer of articles) to assume that “Class-A” in this context simply means the worst kind of war criminal, a sort of Japanese equivalent of an Adolf Eichmann, Heinrich Himmler, Amon Goeth or some such.

    As you likely know, “Class-A War Criminal” had a very specific meaning in the context of the Tokyo trials. “Class-A” war crimes were defined as “crimes against peace”. Crimes against humanity, such as genocide or the Nanking massacre were “Class-C” crimes while the more usual war crimes, such as shooting helpless prisoners, were “Class-B” war crimes.

    The 25 Japanese officials tried for Class-A war crimes were tried for plotting and waging war, i.e. crimes against peace. Some of them were tried additionally for Class-B and Class-C crimes, and all those multiply convicted were executed.

    But at least two of those charged with Class-A crimes resumed civilian life, in the Japanese cabinet in the 1950s and as the CEO of Nissan, respectively.

    In 1929, Japan signed (but did not ratify) the Kellogg-Briand Pact formally titled the “General Treaty for the Renunciation of War as an Instrument of National Policy”. The treaty made declaration of aggressive war illegal, but not prosecutable by other signatories to the treaty. “Declaration” was the weasel word in the treaty, which many nations, including Japan took full advantage of in the years to come.

    And it was on this basis that the Class-A charges were prosecuted in the 1946 Tokyo trials. Except for the Imperial Family and the Showa Emperor, Hirohito, who were protected by Douglas MacArthur, this meant that practically the entire Japanese cabinet that had anything to do with the conduct of war was thus indicted.

    I think it would help if a brief note were made in the article about the terminology. I’m not suggesting moral or legal exoneration of these individuals but context matters. The term “Class-A” plays straight into the hands of the Chinese Government which has its own questionable agenda in kicking up a protest about Yasukuni every year. I would have thought that it is the inclusion of the Class-C criminals that would be more morally disturbing to non-Japanese victims of the war, though in the case of China and Korea at least, the Buddhist value commonplace in Japan, of letting go of the grudge against the sinner (not the sin) after his death, is not exactly unknown or alien. Quite the opposite.

  7. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Monetary policy drives culture. Just like in America where a Federal Reserve has backstopped all the recessions we would have faced and penalized savers in favor of those who consume, monetary policy drives culture.

    The majority of Japans problems stems from its flawed and outdated monetary policy. You are dead wrong that its policy has been contractionary, Japan has basically been on the Trump plan where they spend trillions on infrastructure. The problem with Japan though, is they pursued a monetary policy that kept the Yen weak to support exports. They did this to support their large export companies at the expense of their middle class.

    A weak currency can only support so many middle class jobs, and a lot of Japanese can only support a middle class lifestyle by working themselves to death. Keep in mind Japan is very expensive to live in, so a lot of youth are nihilistic since they see no way for them. If this sounds somewhat familiar, its because this is the same path America is being led to. Rising asset prices mean its more expensive to live in cities where the jobs are at, our politicians will try to stimulate the economy through spending on infrastructure which won’t work. Eventually the dollar will lose value and the young here will find it very hard to start a family. That won’t stop blacks and Mexicans from having kids, but those who don’t want to be on welfare will find it hard to start a family moving forward.

    A lot of “Alt-Right” posters here rely on lazy analysis and fail to connect cause and effect. People like you only look for simple sound bites they can easily digest and parrot to others. How do you think Japan reached a population of 100 million in the first place dum dum? As their economy grew explosively post WW2 they had an enourmous population boom. So their culture did not stop them from having a lot of kids and having large families back then.

    • Replies: @Philippic
    , @peterike
  8. Jason Liu says:

    I don’t mind Japan being a “normal” nation in terms of military, but the downside is they would have to use anti-Chinese rhetoric to justify that spending to the public. A better way of going about it is to first re-align with China, after which their military normalization would be seen as less of a threat to the region.

  9. Philippic says:

    Feedback loops are incredibly complex, But monetary policy has far less of an effect on culture than do government regulations and fiscal policy.

    Japan’s monetary policy has fluctuated wildly since the late 1980s/early 1990s and the policy of the Kuroda years. The main cultural trends have been consistent to a great extent.

    Honestly, similarities between the US millennial culture and Japan’s shinjinrui culture of the late 1980s can easily be seen. The commercial drive that influenced workers during the izanagi boom wasn’t there in Japan: I’m not really in a position to comment on the United States–I’ve worked in finance in Japan since the early 1980s.

    For further reading, I suggest the BOJ’s tankan reports and Morgan Stanley’s analyses of fiscal policy in Japan.

    Please do not assume that everyone who has difficulties with Chalmers Johnson and the revisionists is unfamiliar with Japan. JPRI was inhabited by many people with slight contact with Japan, and when told that they were factually incorrect by people living in Japan, insults and purposeful misunderstanding were the result. The Dead Fukuzawa Society mailing list at Yahoogroups was notable for this behavior, and Chalmers Johnson was in his element imitating Doctor Smith from Lost in Space with alliterative insults.

  10. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Priss, what kind of parents did you have?

  11. Anon • Disclaimer says:

    Trump is like 007 who got married.

    Good thing too.

    I though 007 fooled around too much.

  12. Che Guava says:

    Good article, Peter!

    I added some further info. on points you made (not in disagreement), but hit the wrong button, maybe post again tomorrow, but by then the volume of posts will be so great as to make it pointless.

    I will mention one that I hadn’t typed in in the first place, just amusing. There is a hill not far from my flat, 10 or 15 min. by bicycle, most of the main road is one-way. The one-way direction is switched twice a day.

    Older taxi drivers and older bar staff from the area tell me that this system was originally set up by order of Kakuei Tanaka, because he was a fan of the small geisha district there, and the switches in directions eased his coming and going.

    I laughed the first time I heard the driver’s explanation (not that I disbelieved it), but am sure it is true, having asked several other older drivers and people running bars there since.

  13. peterike says:

    Monetary policy drives culture

    Lolz! Sure it does.

    There is nothing wrong with Japan. There is nothing wrong with a Japan with a decreasing population: there are too many people on those islands as it is. And there were still a million babies born last year. Perhaps they will inherit a nation that is less crowded and far more pleasant as a result.

    Japan entered WWII with about 54 MILLION fewer people than they have today. And what a weak, flaccid nation they were at the time, right? Imagine if the US had stayed at around 150 million total population. A paradise! Instead we have a crowded, burgeoning Blade Runner landscape. But we can haz GDP growth!

    What’s wrong is seeing everything in economic terms. WHO CARES if GDP is growing. Do people have food on their table? Are the streets safe at night? Is there a reasonable amount of leisure time? That’s pretty much what most people want and care about, at least those who aren’t globalist nation wreckers.

    I’m so sick to death of you growth-at-all-costs, “moar babies” nitwits. The single most important thing that Japan has to do is keep its population 95%+ JAPANESE. If they do that, all will be well.

    • Agree: Alfa158, utu
    • Replies: @Che Guava
    , @Che Guava
  14. woodNfish says:

    Japan, Europe, Israel and Korea are all rich sovereign nations that can provide for their own defense. We don’t need to be doing it for them and it does nothing for our self-defense. Bring our military home.

  15. Che Guava says:

    There are many foolish posts on this thread. Many others are from commentors whose posts I generally like, but they are making some valid points.

    Japan entered WWII with about 54 MILLION fewer people than they have today.

    The wartime propaganda slogan was 100 million under one roof. You overstate the difference, but you made me think and check. I was always thinking (as do most historians and educated people), the hundred million was literal. If including Taiwanese and Korean people, maybe it made 100 million. The ethnic Chinese in the former were mainly keen supporters of the empire.

    I was always assuming that the hundred million was literally true just from the home islands, this is the general presentation in Japanese.

    Thanks peterike for something to think about and to finding more about.

  16. Che Guava says:

    BTW, I am also agreeing with your

    Perhaps they will inherit a nation that is less crowded and far more pleasant as a result.


    Do people have food on their table? Are the streets safe at night? Is there a reasonable amount of leisure time? That’s pretty much what most people want and care about, at least those who aren’t globalist nation wreckers.

    Very good comments.

  17. Rehmat says:

    I hope Abe remembers how Japanese were put in the US and Canadian Auschwitz camps during the WWII…..

    • Replies: @OutWest
  18. OutWest says:

    This was only after a worrisome attack by a Japanese American in the Hawaiian Islands. And it was only with regard to coastal areas where an attack was feared.

    I went to school with displaced Japanese near Chicago. They weren’t incarcerated. Such relocation wasn’t necessary but the oppression was rather minor in the context of war.

    • Replies: @Rehmat
  19. I would think that Abe has internalized the lessons of how to please the United States through an anti-China tilt and cooperation with the US military.

    Today, November 21, 2106 the first train loaded with containers of building materials left the port of Tianjin, near Beijing, for Europe (Minsk). The return trip will include lumber, etc. Meanwhile the US is busy tilting with Abe.

  20. Rehmat says:

    “And Japanese morality is totally debased.”

    Only a morally creep Israeli Jew can say that, right??

    Last month, the Organized Jewry propagandist media (The Jewish Daily Forward, NYT, WP, IB Times, People Com., etc.) mourned the death of prince Mikasa, an uncle of the country’s current emperor Akihito, at the age 100.

    Prince Mikasa served in the military during World War II. After graduating from military college, the prince was posted to Nanjing, China, as an officer in the Imperial Japanese Army under a pseudonym in 1943.

    Later, he studied ancient Oriental history and taught at universities, including Tokyo Woman’s Christian University and the Tokyo University of the Arts.

    Israeli professor Ben Ami Shillony (Hebrew University, occupied Jerusalem), in book, The Jews and the Japanese, claims that Mikasa was a scholar of Judaism and a great friend of the Zionist entity.

    US-born Israeli Zionist rabbi Israel Goldstein (d. 1986), one of the founders of Jewish Brandeis University who met prince Mikasa in 1959 in Tokyo lauded the prince in his memoirs, as country’s most popular member of the royal family due to his socialist views and his humble living style.

    According to rabbi Goldstein, the prince was impressed by Jewish values while studying Christianity.

    “Out of a desire to understand Christianity, and this desire had led him to study the origins of the Christian faith and its Bible basis, the Old Testament,” said Goldstein.

  21. denk says:

    And the Winner of the US Election is…..


  22. OutWest says:

    I doubt that the pilot of the downed Zero and his Japanese-American turncoat cohort were in on the plot.

  23. denk says:

    Is Japan the America’s Pit Bull or Lap Dog… …or Dog in the Manger?

    *Jp is an ATM machine that requires no pin number* ! [1]



  24. Anonymous [AKA "Jean-Guy"] says:

    He didn’t speak that much about economy rather than cultural and moral issues. And what he said made sense. This is something that has become more than a fact. And it’s not just from reading a few articles online. Learn how to read please.

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