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Nippon Ishin pledges to ‘clarify historical facts’

by Reiji Yoshida

Staff Writer

Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) unveiled a set of policy pledges Thursday for the Upper House election next month, including a promise to push for decentralization of government power and revise the postwar Constitution.

The right-leaning party led by Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto and former Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara also vowed to “clarify historical facts” on the “comfort women” military brothel system and “protect the dignity and honor of Japan and the Japanese people.”

In May, Hashimoto caused a major uproar by saying the comfort woman system was necessary for Japanese forces during the war. Now the party is trying to tone down the controversy for the upcoming campaign.

“We’d like to appeal (to voters) mainly by advocating administrative reforms,” policy chief Hitoshi Asada said at a news conference in Tokyo.

Nippon Ishin retained most of its policy pledges from the December Lower House election, including a promise to reorganize prefectures into larger and more powerful regional states and introducing a system allowing voters to determine the prime minister via a national election.

Nippon Ishin vows to equalize the financial burden in the public medical insurance system, with participants paying according to income instead of age. Under current rules, people aged 70 and older pay much less than younger people.

“We’d like to attach more importance to (young) working generations,” said Hiroshi Nakada, Nippon Ishin’s deputy policy chief.

In its platform adopted in March, Nippon Ishin said it would push for “drastically revising the Occupation Constitution,” which was drawn up by the U.S.-led Allied forces after Japan’s surrender in World War II.

But in its latest pledges, Nippon Ishin, like the Liberal Democratic Party, only said it wants to revise Article 96 and make it easier to get constitutional amendments through the Diet before voters make the final call.

Many pledges lack details on how they would be achieved.

  • Bruce Chatwin

    “drastically revising the Occupation Constitution,”? Like revoking the post-war land reforms? Like revoking women’s suffrage? Like revoking the separation of church (shrine) and state?

  • Michael Craig

    “Clarify historical facts”? They’re far-right ultra-nationalists! Their mindset will never changes! These guys believe that “comfort women” were cheery “bona-fide prostitutes” and they’ll take that to their graves!!

  • LikesJapan

    In a face-saving culture, “protect the dignity and honor of Japan and the Japanese people.” = lying. And that’s ok. Cultures are different, and that doesn’t make them inherently wrong.

    But. What I think these guys don’t understand, and they really, really need to understand this, is that – that works within Japan only. That’s their culture and that’s fine. But on a global stage? Lying is inherently dishonorable. Which means that, in reality, as they try to “defend” Japan’s honor, they’ll actually be defaming and dishonoring themselves internationally.

    I wonder if it’s even within Ishin no Kai’s capability to comprehend that, on a global stage, the ONLY way to “defend” Japan’s honor is to acknowledge the past and demonstrate to the planet how they’ve moved on from that and grown. And, you know, they HAVE moved on from that. They HAVE grown. Why not stand up and take pride in that growth rather than wallow in the prideful mistakes of the past? You have to wonder if the Ishin no Kai people even understand what actually makes Japan a great country.

    If their goal is to spurn the entire planet and reinstate sakoku, that’s fine, I guess. To each his own, you know? But that’s the only way they’re going to be saving any honor, here.

  • Paldo

    Chairman Mao said: lies telling hundred times, thousand times will eventually become truth…….well done Nippon Ishin

  • JTCommentor

    Given the context, “clarify historical facts” to “protect the dignity and honor of Japan and the Japanese people” sounds dangerous.

    Unless of course he means that they will find honor and dignity through admitting their errors, apologising, and living with that scar on their conscience, allowing it to fade with time but never forgetting what happened, and never repeating what led to that happening. In the eyes of most, that would lead to much more dignity and honor of the Japanese people. I truly believe that most Japanese normal people already have this viewpoint, so it would be absolutely wonderful if the politicians (particuarly the loudmouth ones like Hashimoto and Ishihara) reflected their peoples views to the world.

  • http://ameblo.jp/cluttered-talk/ Michiko

    Both men I don’t need most to be any of our representations for good, there’s always anyone at least better than these two.
    We have no reason to choose such disgusting degrading people to be ones able to make decisions regarding our future or destiny.
    There requires ordinary, respectful, good relationship with neighboring countries, not an intent of justifying ourselves or fulfilling our fame.
    I don’t want such “dignity and honor of Japan” at all if which is not available to get along with neighbors, why are we going to take back such things even though we’re not sure if it’s existed in the first place.
    Paying respect and getting along with neighbors, would be necessary most, leave such dignity or honor, which is not for eat, or use.

  • robertwgordonesq

    Let the first nation step up that is truly respecting the rights and
    dignity of the global community and show itself as a model of cooperation, non-interference, and true benevolence. When that nation appears, then we will have a yard stick by which to measure Japanese Nationalists. Until then, folk just need to be quiet and condemn their own respective countries.

    Can Japan be that true, international model? Perhaps. But let them come to that decision on their own and not via Japan-bashing campaigns (e.g., anti-whaling, anti-dolphin hunting, alleged “lost decades”, efforts to change Japan’s stockholder vs. stakeholder corporate culture (e.g., Daniel Loeb’s targeting of SONY), war time prostitution issues, the Senkakus and the like). Such bashing only serves to rouse and justify more Japanese Nationalist sentiments and also minimize the crimes of other nations.

    Is there anything wrong with Nationalists valuing a Japanese identity?
    Should the world morph into a homogenous hodge-podge of consumer and materialist culture centered on the cultural hegemony and financial religion of the West?

    When Japan entered Korea and China (1910, 1930’s) imposing Japanese ways, naturally Korean and Chinese Nationalism was the result. However, no one seems to condemn *that* kind of Nationalism.

    Only when the Japanese practice it, do they catch flack. So before condemning the Japanese Nationalist, look at the outside forces that may be fostering their Nationalism and first evaluate if those outside forces are right or wrong.

    When the West sought to impose itself on Japan during the time of Commodore Perry, wasn’t Nationalism a natural reaction to strengthen the Japanese self-identity in light of so many foreign powers seeking to exploit Japan?

    Or should Japan simply have rolled over and allowed itself to be ruled and cajoled by foreign powers? Who would respect a people who would allow another country to walk over them? Why should Japan accept such treatment?

    Unfortunately, the leaders of Japan copied the exploitation playbook of the West (since, after all, it was a viable working model at the time) and took the path of expansion, colonization, and exploitation. However, many allegedly Christian nations took that path long before Japan. Why then should we condemn a non-Christian nation for wanting to follow suit?

    Wanting to revise the Constitution is a natural sentiment. A
    constitution should be “by the people”, in this case, by the Japanese
    people. However, the present constitution is really “by General
    MacArthur” and pretty much imposed on Japan under duress.

    How can that be a Constitution “by the Japanese people”? Sure, the ideal to renounce war is an awesome ideal, but allow the Japanese people to reach that conclusion on their own. That would be a mark of true legitimacy.

    War time prostitution is not admirable. However, it is understandable. In the book “The Comfort Women” by George Hicks (1994), it is explained that the practice of organized military prostitution from the Roman Empire, to the British, Spanish, German, New Zealand armies, etc. was in “…maintaining order, controlling venereal disease, and preventing desertion…forestalling the danger of rape among civilian populations…” (pp. 29-32). The book also explains the Japanese Army’s possible mind set toward “comfort stations” that had not such system been in place, 1) the Japanese army would have been ravaged with debilitating sexually transmitted diseases (based on their experience from World War I) and 2) a belief that lack of sex made soldiers more accident prone thus jeopardizing the war effort. (pp. 32-35). It also helped prevent more ravenous incursions into civilian populations of soldiers seeking sex.

    Does that make it right? No, but it does make it understandable as a practical measure. You can’t condemn it as morally wrong, without condemning war in general as morally wrong or without condemning European incursions into Asia as morally wrong as well. They are all on the same continuum of exploitation. Singling out only Japan on this continuum fosters an air of dishonesty which only spurs Nationalists to counter with their own spin on history.

    Again, let the first nation step up that truly respects the rights and dignity of the global community and show itself as a model of cooperation, non-interference, and true benevolence. When that nation appears, then we will have a yard stick by which to measure Japanese Nationalists. Until
    then, folk just need to be quiet and condemn their own respective countries of their own failings, deceptions, and expansionist exploitations.