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Famed director Miyazaki calls Abe’s move to revise Constitution ‘despicable’

by

Staff Writer

Famed director Hayao Miyazaki made a rare public appearance Monday in Tokyo, but the one-hour news conference may not have satisfied fans of his magical animation: The subject wasn’t movies but politics.

Responding to questions from reporters, Miyazaki bashed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s moves to build a new U.S. military base in Okinawa Prefecture, revise the pacifist post-war Constitution and reactivate nuclear power plants that have been idled in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima crisis.

“I believe Prime Minister Abe wishes to leave his name in history as a great man who revised the Constitution and its interpretation, which I think is despicable,” Miyazaki said at a news conference at his studio in Tokyo hosted by the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan.

The news conference was live-streamed over the Internet to general viewers.

Miyazaki attended the news conference as a representative of a fund to support Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga’s campaign against Abe’s plan to build a military base in Nago, northern Okinawa, to take over the functions of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Ginowan, central Okinawa.

The fund, set up in May, had raised ¥385.7 million in donations as of July 8. Miyazaki is one of its eight representatives.

He said he hopes that foreign journalists attending the news conference will report that a majority of Okinawans are opposed to the Futenma relocation plan.

Miyazaki suggested the new military base should be built outside Okinawa, which saw fierce ground battles in World War II and was under U.S. control until 1972.

Miyazaki did not deliver a speech during the news conference, but simply answered questions from foreign journalists who sought his opinions on various political issues.

He argued that Japan should apologize in a straightforward manner for its wartime aggression in China, while both Tokyo and Beijing should stop engaging in political games over the history issue.

“(Japan’s) war of aggression into China is definitely something we should not have done. I believe (Japan) should clearly say that (the country) inflicted enormous damage on China and express deep remorse over it,” he said.

However, when asked if he would be willing to create a movie to share views on Japan’s aggression in the 1930s and ’40s with other Asian nations, Miyazaki indicated he wouldn’t.

“I think it’s better to create an animated movie that has something to do with a history over hundreds of thousands of years, rather than a history over these 100 or 200 years,” he said.

Miyazaki said he is currently working with computer graphics staff on a short animated film to be shown at his museum in Mitaka, western Tokyo. The main character of the film is a small hairy caterpillar living on a small green leaf.

Some of his noted works explore themes such as the power and beauty of nature, and the sins of humans for destroying it.

Miyazaki confessed that he dislikes “American culture” and the “American lifestyle” based on mass production and mass consumption. That American culture has deeply influenced Japan, he said.

“I have lived with a feeling that civilization based on mass consumption will come to an end someday,” he said.

He was also asked if Japan should operate nuclear power plants. Miyazaki immediately said “no.”

“Operating nuclear power plants in this country, which has so many volcanoes and sees earthquakes so often, is simply out of the question,” he said.

Miyazaki said he believes Mount Fuji will erupt someday and tsunami may devastate Tokyo and its surrounding area, including his home.

  • zer0_0zor0

    Bravo to Miyazaki-san!

    He could have been even bolder and commented on the missionary zeal Obama has shown in his “America is all in” pivot to Asia.

    America is certainly all in (and all over) Okinawa, with Abe serving as America’s front-man after the CIA-controlled media helped get rid of Hatoyama (and his sympathetic stance to the plight of the Okinawans)…

    • Clickonthewhatnow

      Not being a Japanese citizen myself, I think that any planned changes to the Constitution should be put to a referendum. I disagree with them myself, but even though I live here, it’s not my country. It’s a choice that should be made by the people, though, and not by the latest in Japan’s… somewhat lacking PMs. Gotta give Abe some credit, though, he managed to push through an extension of term based on “realizing Abenomics” when really what he meant is “I have no competition at this time, may as well get while the getting’s good”.

      • http://www.dadsarmy.co.uk/ GMainwaring

        Not being a Japanese citizen myself, I think that any planned changes to the Constitution should be put to a referendum.

        They would be, they have to be, that is what the Constitution says must happen:

        2/3 of all members of each of the houses of the Diet must vote for the proposed amendment. Currently the ruling coalition only has a 2/3 majority in the House of Representatives, and that is a coalition majority, LDP does not have a majority on its own. The coalition is 27 votes shy of a majority in the House of Councillors, and honestly I don’t see any way they can get those 27 votes from any other party – there just are not enough pols in the House of Councillors who are from parties that are for amending the Constitution and who could also work with the LDP/Komeito coalition.

        After that, a national referendum must be held, and a simple majority of all votes cast must be for the proposed amendment. In the present climate, this is as unrealistic as getting an amendment through the Diet.

        Which is why Abe is pushing for a new “interpretation” of what the Constitution means as concerns collective self-defence. Constitutional amendment is an impossibility for Abe, and those who say “Abe will change the Constitution” are showing their ignorance of the realities involved. Abe wants to do so, but he cannot.

      • Clickonthewhatnow

        Well, good, then. I guess we’ll see how many of the people I know actually mean it when they say Abe is no good. :P

  • marie sissi

    this man can(t stop being more & more fabulous ! love from Morocco Miyazaki san :)

  • Starviking

    “I believe Prime Minister Abe wishes to leave his name in history as a great man who revised the Constitution and its interpretation, which I think is despicable.”

    Well, if there were realistic suggestions from the other side on how to deal with the devastating situation of Japan failing to help an allied ship under attack, I’d live to hear them.

    What could happen in such a case? In the long term, possibly a break down in the US-Japan alliance, leading to a need to expand Japan’s military forces significantly. Mr Miyazaki probably wouldn’t want that.

    Miyazaki suggested the new military base should be built outside Okinawa, which saw fierce ground battles in World War II and was under U.S. control until 1972.

    Has he done an analysis of the needs of the Futenma replacement base? It needs to be close to the South China Sea, which means Okinawa.

    He was also asked if Japan should operate nuclear power plants. Miyazaki immediately said “no.”

    “Operating nuclear power plants in this country, which has so many volcanoes and sees earthquakes so often, is simply out of the question,” he said.

    Well? Please expand Mr Miyazaki, instead of being a populist parrot. If that is your viewpoint on NPPs, surely we need to do away with large dams, evacuate large areas of the country, and have a long term plan to relocate the Japanese population overseas.

  • Philip Gregory

    Hillarious. He doesn’t like “American Culture” or the “American Lifestyle” yet he has no problem using electricity, modern film-making technology, Western conveniences such as air conditioners, etc. – all which came from America. Yeah, good call Miyazaki. Typical ignorant, close-minded Japanese thinking. Very disappointed in this guy. Apparently, although he is a great film-maker, he’s not a great thinker. If he actually followed his own pompous ideals, he’d be living in the woods in a hut. Let’s see him do that, and then I’ll believe that he’s committed to avoiding the “American lifestyle”.

    • Antisadism

      Well he IS 74 years old. But the American Culture thing is incredibly vague, you can be a critic of American culture but still enjoy it’s technology. Although he is incredibly stubborn to the point where he dislikes CGI animation or Ipads or anything new age. But regardless of his vague statements on America, you seem to be ignoring the other aspects of his mind.

      Not all smart people are universally smart, even the smartest of people can be dumb in some areas. Miyazaki is still very right about destructive consumption that threatens to destroy the ecosystem, he is right about Japan’s flippant nature to war crimes, and is right about being disgusted by the US invasion of Iraq. But everyone has their blind spots and he is a 74 year old man who has very much distanced himself from technology.

    • DrHanibalLecter

      Do you really want to tell us that the only choice a person has in this world is between being a monkey and a half monkey?

  • http://www.dadsarmy.co.uk/ GMainwaring

    Miyazaki confessed that he dislikes “American culture” and the “American lifestyle” based on mass production and mass consumption.

    Hayao Miyazaki is one of the people most responsible for mass consumption of mass-produced garbage in Japan. I can smell the hypocrisy from here.

  • J.P. Bunny

    Mass consumption and mass production are bad? Those two terms seem to describe any Ghibli store. Rather doubt the products sold are hand made.

  • wittlemidget

    Since Iceland is very volcanic and exploits this for geothermal power, would it be feasible economically, or would it cost too much due to complications, for Japan to follow suit?

  • Pique Ewe

    Wise words of an enlightened being. Bravo, Miyazaki-san.
    I usually find at least a few things to quibble with in any article.
    Not this one. Not one syllable out of place or unjust or misinformed.
    He is a jewel of the entire world, which should listen carefully.
    Perhaps it will when too late. Perhaps it never will.
    Or perhaps it will listen but shrug it off, can’t be bothered to ponder

    In our modern world, we are bombarded by propagandas from every which direction, and have been brainwashed by many entities from birth, East and West, North and South. To see such a person as Miyazaki-san emerge once in a while to speak his mind is proof to me that no matter what the circumstance we need not give in to the prevailing winds and keep ourselves objective and humble before this thing called Truth, inevitable and immanent.

    We need not cooperate with the forces of absurdity. There are many Miyazakis around the world taking heart today that they are not alone in resisting and keeping to their sacred truths. Everything has a limit. All things have an expiration date. Nature is unpredictable and indifferent to human wishes. Let us be more mindful of the Past and more respectful to Nature and a lot more critical of each our own Governments, who often seek short term gains over long term needs, dire needs.

    I am a Korean, and deeply concerned over the fate of our LIVING JEWEL of an island, Jeju-do. It is in serious danger. Our successive governments have SOLD IT and its future to greed and foreign interests. It is nothing less than an econological disaster AND NO ONE IS LISTENING TO US pleading and praying and screaming in agony. Once gone, all the lovely creatures and habitats of Jeju island will be gone FOR GOOD. FOR-EVER. UNRECLAMABLE. FINITO.

    What the HELL is all I can say, really.
    Hell is of our own making. Look all around you.
    Why are we so idiotic and blind? Over and over again?

  • timefox

    Valley of the wind has been invaded by Torumekia ? Although the country’s wind was almost unarmed , and was invaded by military power Torumekia ?

    Towards the fantasy Ironically and realistic .

    Referred to as ” East Asia if the demilitarized zone Okinawa is peace ,” but he’s completely ignorant about the basic of China’s ambitions and international politics . Stupidity of what he say what about the security of East Asia , Prime Minister Abe is the same as talking about fabrication techniques of animation .