An animated video released by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party that attempts to explain the need for the security bills currently being debated by the Diet has spawned a scathing parody that attempts to shoot holes in the ruling coalition’s argument for the legislation.
Despite being uploaded a week after the LDP’s video first appeared, thanks to social media it is now on track to overtake the original in number of views. As of Tuesday afternoon, it had garnered almost 149,000 views, compared to nearly 160,000 for the original.
The new video, uploaded to YouTube on Thursday by an anonymous user under the screen name Akari chan, dubs over the original voices to present at times humorous counterarguments to the government line.
Just seconds into the parody Akari, the high school-age character asking the questions, blasts the original video’s setting, in which a wise older man voiced by ex-Ground Self-Defense Force colonel and current LDP Upper House lawmaker Masahisa Sato, approaches a young girl on a train. The video blasts the scenario as both “sexist and unbelievable.”
From then on, the video consists of machine-gun-style quips and criticisms that call into question many of the original video’s claims, including one section where Akari slams the LDP for its framing of the collective self-defense argument.
“Recently, as I’m sure you know, we have been unable to say that the environment surrounding Japan is safe,” Sato’s character, the mustached captain, says.
“Actually, missiles are even pointed at our country. Did you know that?” he asks.
The response is a blast of verbal righteousness.
“You want to say China, don’t you. Why don’t you just come out and say it,” Akari says. “What’s more, you’re saying this as if it’s some new development. But missiles have on average been pointed at us since the Cold War. That hasn’t changed.”
“Why are you fanning the flames of crisis?” she asks.
“If missiles are actually fired at us, we can respond with the individual right to self-defense, don’t you think?” the character continues. “The issue you’re trying to ram through the Diet, collective self-defense, isn’t even relevant.”
Later on, the video also slams the LDP for cherry-picking its statistics, including one scene where it discusses the recent uptick in fighter jets scrambled near the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.
While the original video compares statistics from 10 years ago, the parody questions why those post-Cold War figures were used, since they represent some of the lowest recorded.
And in a statement tinged with anger over recent news about leaks of confidential pension information, the video also takes the government to task for focusing on the bills instead of more immediate issues.
“If you have time to talk about cyberattacks (as justification for passing the security bills), why don’t you first do something about the pension leaks?” Akari asks.
As the video nears its end, the female character raises an issue in the original video that some viewers have criticized on social media.
In the original, Akari raises a question about the possibility of military conscription under the new legislation.
But as the train arrives at Akari’s destination, the nearly 5-minute video conspicuously cuts off, just as the captain stammers to address the issue.
In the parody, Akari raises hackles over what she labels an “economic military conscription system.”
Japan, she says, is a great power, but some people are slipping into poverty. Young people want to go to college, but cannot afford to. Then, she says, in steps the Self-Defense Forces, offering a decent job that beats the alternatives.
“This way, you can have people voluntarily joining the military. It’s like what the United States does,” Akari claims.
Despite examples of protest like this online and throughout the country, media reports say the ruling coalition is likely to railroad the bills through the Lower House this Thursday or Friday.