HOME Apple Town English Version@ Japan Must Take Another Look at All Facets of its Modern History, Including the Kono Statement, Murayama Statement, and Tokyo Trials Historical Viewpoint

Hakubun Shimomura set his sights on politics when he was a fifth-year elementary school student. After working his way through school, he graduated from Waseda University. He became a member of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly and then the House of Representatives, where he is currently serving his fifth term. Shimomura, who is a sworn friend of Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) President Shinzo Abe, was appointed as Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary of the Abe administration. Toshio Motoya spoke with Shimomura - who supported Abe in the September LDP presidential election and helped him become successfully elected amidst difficult circumstances - about what will be essential to the government of the future.

Being motivated to support Shinzo Abe due to a sense of crisis

Motoya Thank you for joining me on Big Talk today. Shinzo Abe, who you supported, was successfully elected in the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) presidential election; itfs his second time serving as president. Congratulations.

Shimomura Thank you very much.

Motoya I am also very happy, because I felt that Japan would not change if Abe did not become president. I immediately sent a congratulatory message after the election. Directly before Abe became prime minister six years ago, I was the vice chairman of the Society for Shinzo Abe as President. He attended a meeting at my home, and we became quite close.

Shimomura Yes, I know.

Motoya Abe and Nobutaka Machimura were candidates in the recent LDP presidential election, and the Machimura faction was split in two. Many people, centered on former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, the original leader of the faction, were telling Abe to hold off. You achieved a great deal by encouraging Abe to make this decision, and helping him be successfully re-elected even amidst these unfavorable conditions.

Shimomura It was a miracle that he was re-elected.

Motoya Ifve heard you have many connections with Abe. Are you contemporaries?

Shimomura Wefre the same age, but he entered politics before I did this is his sixth term, while it is my fifth.

Motoya You have many things in common with Abefs ways of thinking; you are the vice chairman of Creating Japan, the Diet membersf caucus for which Abe serves as chairman. I also view you as a kindred soul. I have spent 21 years conveying my idea of genuine conservatism via my published books and Apple Town, this magazine. I also run the gTrue Interpretations of Modern Historyh essay contest, in which Toshio Tamogami won the Grand Prize, and have opened a private school called the Shoheijuku. Currently, a total of 23 National Diet members, as well as ambassadors to Japan from 26 countries, are participating in the Shoheijuku. For these and other reasons, I welcome the appearance of President Abe.

Shimomura I supported Abe in the recent presidential election because I felt a strong sense of crisis regarding the state of Japan today something I suspect motivates you as well. I thought that Japan will decay, and might even be destroyed, if things continue as they are. I think you are carrying out an information campaign your activities with the Shoheijuku and the essay contest in addition to your business because you feel the same thing. My thoughts are exactly the same.

Motoya Yes, I feel the same way.

Shimomura When Abe became prime minister six years ago, I was appointed as Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary. Five years ago, Abe abandoned his administration, saying that his health was poor. Now, I have been taking action since the end of last year while insisting that Abe should run in this election. Former Prime Minister Mori said this was premature; he thought the LDP should recapture political power, and then Abe should return to the position of prime minister after serving in a series of important cabinet minister positions. However, I felt that the era would not wait that long.

Motoya Now is certainly not the time for taking leisurely actions.

Shimomura Right now, Japan is not functioning as a nation. Last yearfs Great East Japan Earthquake was a divine revelation, showing that Japan will be crushed if things donft change. The members of the National Diet need to be woken up; we need to react to this great disaster in a direct way, and to change this crisis into an opportunity. If not, why is the point of serving in the National Diet?

Motoya I feel the same sense of danger. Recently, China and Korea are displaying unpardonable attitudes.

Shimomura I agree. Due to the current Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) governmentfs defense policy, the Senkaku Islands and Takeshima have been stolen away. Itfs only natural that the National Diet members who are watching wistfully without taking action -are criticized and asked why they are serving in these positions. Itfs at times like this that the National Diet members must stand up. I believed that Abe, who has firm views on the nation, history, and the world, should serve as a leader. Hefs probably the only politician with the ability to make over this country.

Motoya I think so too. However, he abruptly resigned from his previous postc

Shimomura I supported Abe exactly because I believed his past mistakes would make it possible for him to create a good administration. At first, I had no confidence that he could be re-elected. But I thought this is what we had to do based on the sense of crisis I mentioned previously.

Reformations to the government worker system have made enemies of the bureaucrats

Motoya At first it looked like the race would be between Shigeru Ishiba and Nobuteru Ishihara. It didnft seem at all likely that Abe would be re-elected.

Shimomura Yes. Abe went beyond factions to gain support from National Diet members with common ideals. But because of the way he quit in the past, he was not able to gain empathy from LDP members across the country. However, many people were impressed by his sincere statement that he would make over the country by reflecting on past mistakes. This created a major trend, and I think it is why he was able to win the presidential election in the end.

Motoya After his resignation, Abe concentrated on medical treatment for his illness. When he recovered and clearly indicated that he would like to gain political power once again, we had just decided to award Tamogami the Grand Prize in the 1st Annual True Interpretations of Modern History essay contest. I met directly with Abe before the winning essay was announced, and showed it to him. There are high hurdles in place for people who served as prime minister once to gain that position again; they need to make very precise assertions. I asked Abe to become the chairman of the Society for the Establishment of True Interpretations of Modern History, which I founded, and to take on the responsibility for Japan once again. He ended up declining, saying that it would be difficult for him to assume that position.

Shimomura Is that so?

Motoya Afterwards, regime change took place, the earthquake occurred, the incident took place in which a Chinese fishing boat rammed into a patrol boat near the Senkaku Islands, President Lee Myung-bak landed on Takeshima and insulted His Majesty the Emperor, etc. If Japanfs relationships with China, Korea, and other countries had not swiftly worsened under the DPJ administration, perhaps Abe would not have been elected as president once again. I think his candidacy was timed very well.

Shimomura I feel that such actions by China and Korea are a national crisis for Japan. The previous Abe administration advocated for Japan to rid itself of the post-war regime, which involved taking another look at all facets of modern Japanese history, including the Kono Statement, the Murayama Statement, and the historical viewpoint centered on the Tokyo Trials. The 67 years since the end of World War II have been a history of Japanfs destruction. Now is our only chance to remake the country. What we need to that end is true politicians such as Abe, but the timing of his candidacy wasnft chosen for any particular reason.

Motoya Last time, I suspect Abe resigned from the position of prime minister after one year because of pressure from bureaucrats and the United States. gRidding Japan of the postwar regimeh refers to independence from the U.S. Furthermore, Japan is dominated by a network of graduates from the University of Tokyofs Faculty of Law, which is referred to as a gstealth complex.h This stealth complex engages in cooperation with parties spanning from the bureaucrats to the major corporations and mass media. Just like the U.S., these people benefitted from Japanfs defeat in World War II, so the present situation is a comfortable one for them. Ridding Japan of the postwar regime means making an enemy of this stealth complex. I think Abe also met with a great deal of resistance when he began reforming the government worker system.

Shimomura I donft know about pressure from the U.Sc Even if the time comes to revise the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security Between the United States and Japan in order to make Japan a truly independent nation, the Abe administrationfs policy has been one of strengthening the U.S.-Japan alliance. There were two reasons for Prime Minister Abefs resignation halfway through his term. The first was criticism from the mass media, which is steeped in the ideologies of the postwar regime. The media outlets - centered on the Asahi Shimbun and Mainichi Shimbun newspapers - continue to affirm the current situation, based on socialist ways of thinking.

Motoya When Japan was occupied, the U.S. appointed intellectuals with socialist views to the position of media censors. That is the fundamental reason for the bias of the Japanese media.

Shimomura That may be true. But even though the media opposed Japanfs freedom from the postwar regime, it also seems the Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) and Asahi Shimbun painted Abe as an enemy to an unnecessary degree. We must reflect on this, and utilize our reflections in the future. As you have pointed out, another reason for Abefs resignation was the reform of the government worker system. Prohibiting the ggolden parachuteh system would effectively dismantle the Japanese government offices, so as you say the bureaucrats were vehemently opposed to this. The Abe administration was crushed by the media and the government offices.

Motoya That structure still hasnft changed, so Abe will probably be pressured if he becomes prime minister, more so than he will be as LDP president. I have a proposal to make. If you try to deal with each problem individually, the media will make an issue of each one. For that reason, I think they should be resolved all at once. Abe should not follow the Kono and Murayama Statements; rather, he should declare that the Nanking Massacre did not take place and the issue of comfort women does not exist. He should fully negate the Tokyo Trials historical viewpoint, and should also visit Yasukuni Shrine. Because he lost political power and then gained it a second time, Abe should wipe the slate clean and announce that he is making a fresh start. In this way he could gain the support of the citizens, and the media could no longer criticize him.

Shimomura That certainly sounds logical. I have also insisted that the LDPfs loss of political power should be taken as an opportunity; if we gained control once again, there would be no need to do things that were in line with past policy. We should continue policy that is good, and reset policy that needs to be revised. I believe that would be the way to rid Japan of the postwar regime. The media might confront us on these things, but Japan simply must become free of the postwar systems, consciousness, and Tokyo Trials historical viewpoint in order to make over Japan into a new country. The administrations after Abe have also worked on the reform of the government worker system, and reformation is taking place gradually. With this much progress, it will be more difficult for the bureaucrats to destroy the administration.

Motoya Another thing that has changed since Abefs previous term as prime minister is the promulgation of information technologies (IT). The number of people who read newspapers is decreasing, while the number of people read news and share their views online is growing. The online public opinion has great power. After Tamogami won the Grand Prize in the 1st Annual True Interpretations of Modern History contest, he was dismissed from his post of Air Self-Defense Force chief of staff. Most of the media outlets bashed him, but many people on the Internet supported him. Even now, he gives many successful lectures. Right now there is a great deal of support for Abe online. If nothing is ventured, nothing is gained; Abe must start by declaring everything he thinks about the future of Japan, without fearing backlash from the media, China, Korea, or the U.S.

Shimomura I agree.

Motoya Japan must also re-think its relationship with the U.S. The U.S.-Japan alliance was of utmost importance until the Cold War. The U.S. won the Cold War by expending a great deal of blood, effort, and money, but gained no economic benefits such as compensation after its victory. Conversely, during this time Japan accomplished significant economic growth, profiting while others were fighting. The U.S. didnft want to be defeated economically after winning the war, so after the end of the Cold War was the beginning of economic war between the U.S. and Japan. The U.S. has continued supporting its own economy in ways such as using Echelon to collect all sorts of information and leak it to corporations.

Shimomura We must think in a multi-faceted way. We need to construct a good relationship with the U.S., but we must also strengthen our relationships with China and other Asian countries.

Motoya We both hope for Japan to have an equal relationship with the U.S. in the future. However, this will be extremely difficult underneath the current constitution. Yet there are high barriers in place to reforming the constitution. Because it was created in an unjust way while Japan was occupied, I think the only way is to abolish the constitution and create a new one.

Shimomura I donft think thatfs very realistic. Japanfs constitution hasnft been amended once since the end of World War II, and is currently known as the oldest in the world. Whether itfs a good thing or not, we have defended the current constitution for a period of 67 years; abolishing it would be the equivalent of negating these 67 years of postwar history. I think we should first amend Article 96, revise the item about a concurring vote of two-thirds or more, and make it possible for Japanese people to amend the constitution themselves. This would change the awareness of the citizens as well.

Motoya I think the U.S. made it difficult to amend the Constitution of Japan so that it couldnft become an independent nation. The U.S. thoroughly brainwashed the Japanese people to believe that Japan was a bad country so Japan wouldnft become a major power once again and make the U.S. take responsibility for dropping the atomic bombs. One facet of this was implanting the Tokyo Trials-centered historical viewpoint.

Shimomura Fundamentally, freedom from the postwar regime means discarding the Tokyo Trials historical viewpoint. Right now, citizens are being made to think about what statehood means through territorial issues with our neighboring countries. A countryfs fundamental elements are its territory, citizens, and sovereignty, but Japan has neglected these things in the postwar era. Thatfs how Japan has found itself in the circumstances of today.

Motoya I agree entirely. Ridding Japan of the postwar regime should involve breaking free from brainwashing.

The atmosphere of the world was changed by Tamogamifs essay

Shimomura The Japan Youth Research Institute conducted an awareness survey of junior high and high school students in Japan, the U.S., China, and Korea. The results were astounding; the percentage of junior high school students who said, gI think Ifm a bad personh was 56.0% in Japan - much higher than the U.S. (14.2%), China (11.1%) or Korea (41.7%). What type of education makes so many children lose confidence in themselves- People have come to think that they, and their country, are bad through a masochistic view of history. I think the Japan of today is exactly the emotionally defeated country that the U.S. hoped for right after the war.

Motoya The effects of education are exhibited after time passes, rather like a time bomb. Sixty-seven years ago, the U.S. deftly made sure that Japan would not head down the path to recovery. Diminishing the branches of the Imperial family was one facet of this; as a result, the Imperial system is facing an existential crisis.

Shimomura Right now is the worst situation.

Motoya The atmosphere of society was becoming continually more leftist, but I feel like it has been changing. This is shown by the empathy Tamogami received from many people, as well as the great support that Abe has been given recently.

Shimomura As China and Korea are acting willfully, increasing numbers of people are wondering whether Japan is okay as it is.

Motoya I once held a dialogue with Richard Armitage, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State under George W. Bush. When speaking with American leaders, I feel the U.S. no longer wishes for Japan to be brainwashed. For that reason, we should remove each brainwashing device that was set like a time bomb, and should revive Japan to its true state while still placing importance on our relationship with the U.S. The most vital part of this is the Constitution of Japan. I expect great things of Abe, and think he could undertake these tasks.

Shimomura Once we recapture political power through a general election, we intend to construct a genuinely conservative administration. Such an administration has only existed for around three years after the war.

Motoya I will provide all the support I can.

Shimomura Thank you very much. Incidentally, Ifve heard that your father passed away when you were in your second year of junior high school. I also lost my father at age nine. I graduated from high school and college while receiving scholarships and delivering newspapers. My parents and relatives were not politicians, but from my fifth year of elementary school I began to think that the purpose of politics is to improve the world. Up until today, I have worked to realize that desire.

Motoya I am a businessman, and I believe corporations that only seek to maximize sales and profits will eventually be crushed. If we donft make the country into a good one, my own company will not become good either. Based on this thinking, I publish books and magazines, hold the essay contest, and have opened my private school.

Shimomura The Japanese spirit involves wanting to do something for the world. After March 11, Paul Blustein, a former Tokyo correspondent for the Washington Post, wrote about the interviews he held in the areas affected by the disaster. He said the elderly people who were the victims of the disaster were thankful for receiving onigiri (rice balls) from volunteers, but rather than being given things, they wanted to somehow contribute to society. He thought that was the Japanese spirit.

Motoya The Japanese spirit still remains. After the disaster no riots or looting took place; I think that could only happen in Japan.

Shimomura I agree. We need to place importance on the desire of doing things for the sake of the world, and to further promote this way of thinking. If not, Japan will become a country full of people on public assistance - a fourth- or fifth-tier Asian country. People should work, not receive an allowance. We need to increase the number of employed people while also thinking about how our citizens can have pride in their own country. I believe thatfs the job required of politicians today.

Motoya Good luck! At the end of the interview, I always ask for a gword for the youth.h

Shimomura I believe Japan possesses the potential to be revived in the future. Both you and I have made our way without depending on anybody else. There are many opportunities for everybody; Japan is a country in which endless possibilities are opened for people who work hard. I will do my best in order to protect this.

Motoya I hope that young people will pursue large dreams. In my graduation essay from elementary school, I said that I wanted to become gpresident of the worldh when I grew up (laughs). I donft think that dream will be realized.

Shimomura Thatfs a large dream! (Laughs) Maybe you havenft achieved it, but I think many of your other dreams have come true.

Motoya Thank you very much for joining me today.

Hakubun Shimomura
Born in 1954 in Gunma Prefecture. Graduated from Waseda Universityfs School of Education in 1979. From 1989, Shimomura served two terms in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly. Afterwards, he was elected for the first time to the House of Representatives in 1996; he is currently in his fifth term. Shimomura has also served in a number of positions including Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary; Parliamentary Secretary for Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology; and Parliamentary Secretary for Justice. He is currently Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Shadow Cabinet. His published works include Hakubun Shimomurafs Theory of Founding an Education-focused Country.

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