A Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker has raised eyebrows after suggesting Japan should follow a wartime slogan used to justify past global expansion ambitions in its current approach to tax evasion.
Junko Mihara, a House of Councilors member from the ruling party, referred to the slogan hakko ichiu at a meeting of the Upper House Budget Committee on Monday, saying it represented “values Japan has cherished since its founding.”
The term roughly translates as “all the world under one roof.”
During the Sino-Japanese war and World War II, the Japanese government used the slogan to justify its Emperor-centered policies and overseas expansion.
The 50-year-old actress-turned-politician brought up the slogan in the context of taxation on multinational corporations.
Mihara quoted from a 1938 book about the slogan that says world peace can be achieved when strong countries work for weak countries instead of exploiting them.
“I cannot help but think this is the way Japan should behave in the current world of global capitalism,” she said.
When Mihara asked Finance Minister Taro Aso about the slogan, he said it was one of the “mainstream” ideas before and during the war, but that he was “frankly surprised that someone in Ms. Mihara’s generation has that way of thinking.”
Mihara also suggested that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe should propose a “political accord to the entire world” on economic and taxation systems under which nations could help each other “as one family based on the hakko ichiu concept.”
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Tuesday that Mihara’s remarks were made in a context “completely different” from wartime Japan.
“She used the term in the context that international cooperation is necessary to prevent tax evasions,” Suga said.
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