Kyokuyo Company Ltd.
International Directory of Company Histories
3-3-5 Akasaka, Minato-ku Tokyo 107-0052 Japan Telephone: +81 3 5545 0701 Fax: +81 3 5545 0751 Web site: http://www.kyokuyo.co.jp
Public Company Incorporated: 1937 Employees: 1,145 Sales: ¥152.64 billion ($1.45 billion) (2004) Stock Exchanges: Tokyo NAIC: 311712 Fresh and Frozen Seafood Processing; 311412 Frozen Specialty Food Manufacturing
Kyokuyo Company Ltd. is one of Japan's leading seafood products companies. Originally focused on the whaling industry in the 1930s, Kyokuyo has since abandoned that activity in order to transform itself into a full-fledged marine foods company. Kyokuyo's operations include worldwide marine products purchasing and marketing, as well as seafood processing through a global network of more than 220 factories, including seagoing processing facilities. The company also produces food products such as frozen foods and canned seafoods. In addition to its purchasing and processing activities, Kyokuyo remains active in commercial fishing, with a fleet of four tuna seiners. Kyokuyo also has boosted its position in the Japanese sushi market through its partnership with Thailand's Union Frozen Products Co. (UFP). In 2005, that partnership was strengthened with the creation of a joint venture, K&U Enterprise, which began producing sushi for the Japanese and other markets. Kyokuyo is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and is led by Chairman Kiyokazu Fukui.
Kyokuyo's history dated back to the beginnings of the Japanese whaling industry in the early 20th century. Ayukawa rapidly became the center of the country's whaling industry, following the establishment of the first slaughterhouse there in 1906. At the beginning of the next decade, nearly all of the country's major whalers were based in Ayukawa.
By the 1920s, the Japanese whaling fleet had expanded operations to include many of the world's primary whale hunting regions. A number of new companies sprang up, such as Ayukawa Hogei, founded in 1925, as Japan began asserting itself among the world's most active whalers. The new company, like many others in the industry, began focusing on hunting smaller whale species in the early 1930s. This led to further expansion in the Japanese whaling industry, with increasing interests in the northern polar region. Ayukawa Hogei's own expansion into polar whaling led it to change its name, to Kyokuyo Hogei KK (literally, Polar Seas Whaling Ltd.), in 1937.
Although Kyokuyo remained an active whaler through the next decades, by the 1950s the company had begun its transformation into a seafood processor. This process was begun in 1954 when the company launched its own fleet of factory ships, providing onboard fish processing facilities. The company then began fishing and processing salmon and ocean trout in the northern Pacific region.
In the late 1980s, Kyokuyo boosted its international presence with an entry into a number of foreign markets. In the United States, for example, the company set up a number of operations involved in marine products purchasing, fish paste marketing (on the East Coast), and the oversight of a seafood processing company. The company also entered the South American market, notably through the operation of a fish-paste processing vessel. In 1991, the company expanded that business through the creation of a joint venture with fellow Japanese company Mitsui & Co. The joint venture took over Kyokuyo's fish-paste processor, with production levels slated at 6,000 tons per year. By January 1992, the company had expanded its partnership with Mitsui to include another joint venture, together with local partner Harengus, the leading fish-exporter in Argentina, to process surimi for the Japanese market.
Court rules Japan whalers breaking Aust law
ABC News Jan 15, 2008
The Federal Court has ruled that the Japanese whaling fleet is breaking Australian law, and has issued an injunction to stop its activities.
The court says it is satisfied that the Japanese whaling fleet, controlled by Japanese company Kyodo Senpaku Kaisha, has contravened numerous sections of the Environment Protection Act by killing and injuring Antarctic minke and fin whales in the Australian whale sanctuary.
It has ordered that it be restrained from continuing whaling.
Justice James Allsop says the whaling is illegal under Australian environment law which established the sanctuary, and it is done without the Government permission required in the exclusive economic zone.
He says that Australia has jurisdiction in the exclusive economic zone attached to the Antarctic territories, but he noted that Japan does not recognise Australia's Antarctic claim.
Most countries do not recognise the Australian Antarctic claim, which establishes that jurisdiction and Justice Allsop says the claimant, Humane Society International, recognises that there is no practical way for the order to be enforced.
But a representative for the Humane Society, Nicola Beynon, says enforcement is possible.
"The Government has a ship going down to observe the hunt," she said.
"Now that the Federal Court has ordered an injunction that the hunt be stopped, we would expect to issue the ship with the job of doing that."
Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett says he is still considering the decision but says the Government will ensure the law is followed.
"We will have an adequate and comprehensive monitoring in place," Mr Garrett said.
"It will enable us to have every good opportunity to take material and information in the event that we are able to take a case forward, which is what our intention is."
Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith says he is yet to read the decision and will not say whether it is likely to affect Australia's relationship with Japan.
"One of the things that the Government has done in terms of its efforts to bring about an end to Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean, was to formally withdraw the previous government's advice to the Federal Court in respect of the Humane Society case," he said.
"But in the first instance, I'll leave that to my colleague Robert McClelland, the Attorney-General."
The Federal Opposition's environment spokesman Greg Hunt has told Sky News the decision gives the Commonwealth a strong incentive to act on Japanese whaling.
"This provides the unbreakable basis for the Prime Minister to call the Japanese Prime Minister. So Mr Rudd should finally pick up the phone and call Japanese Prime Minister Fukuda and make it clear that not only do we have public support, not only do we have a moral case," he said.
Greens Senator Kerry Nettle has welcomed the Federal Court's ruling, saying the decision sets an international precedent to help stop illegal whaling.
"This now paves the way for the new Government to commence international legal action, it helps to strengthen the case for taking legal action," she said.
"The Greens for a long time have been calling on the Government to take legal action to stop the whaling and the slaughter that is occurring."
A spokesman for the Fisheries Agency of Japan, Mr Hideki Moronuki, has told the ABC he is not in a position to comment on the ruling because Australia's claim to Antarctic waters is not recognised by the international community.
He says the case is a domestic matter for Australia.
JAPAN AND THE SAFFRON REVOLUTION
Eyewitness: Burma from the inside
Japantimes Feb. 10, 2008
Burma's Bloody September came home to people in Japan with the slaying of veteran freelance photojournalist Kenji Nagai on Sept. 27, 2007 in Yangon during a mass demonstration. The video clip showing him being gunned down by a Burmese soldier at point-blank range was repeatedly aired, arousing public anger and forcing the Tokyo authorities to issue a rare condemnation of the Burmese regime.
This was not a warning shot that went astray — anyone can see that the young soldier fired his rifle into Nagai from less than a meter away. In his last moments, as he lay fatally wounded in the street, Nagai raised his camera in what seems to have been an effort to film his assassin, only to slump to the ground. The authorities in Burma — a name preferred by many over the name Myanmar, which was imposed without approval from the nation's elected representatives by the military junta that took over in 1988 — have not returned this video camera or its contents.
Following Nagai's murder, the Japanese government sought an investigation as domestic media pressured it to pursue the matter. However, there has been no credible explanation of why Nagai was killed — and nobody has been held accountable.
The State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) is the new name for the junta that took power in 1988 as the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC). It was responsible for the bloodbath on the streets of Yangon (Rangoon) that targeted student demonstrators, the so-called '88 generation, many of whom were locked up in prison for several years while others fled to the jungles and refugee camps along the Thai border. In 1990, SLORC held elections — but then ignored the results because the people gave the wrong answer, delivering a landslide victory to Aung San Suu Kyi's party, the National League for Democracy (NLD).
Aung San Suu Kyi, now 62, is the daughter of Burma's founding father, Aung San, who was trained by the Japanese in the 1940s to help oust the British. He subsequently turned against the Japanese, realizing that there would be no real independence under Imperial Japan. However, there have ever since been strong emotional ties between Burma's leaders and a powerful Burmese lobby in Japan. As a result, Prime Minister Ne Win, a Japanese-trained military officer who seized power in 1962, maintained close relations with Japan despite a generally xenophobic outlook. Some $3.7 billion of Japanese overseas development aid (ODA) propped up his so-called Burmese Way to Socialism from 1978-88 — a disastrous and erratic set of policies that kept Burma isolated, poor and backward.
Takeshi Kudo, a Burma expert at the Tokyo-based Institute of Developing Economies, says that Japan's blank-check approach to ODA during this period was ineffective, as virtually all the projects were failures and many of the loans went to state-owned enterprises that have gone belly-up.
In Kudo's view, China is now pursuing the same misguided approach to economic assistance in Burma — and it is likely that the Burmese government will again squander vast sums of money and only add to its debts.
Kudo says, "No monitoring is a recipe for disaster."
In response to SLORC's military coup in 1988, Japan suspended its ODA, partially due to U.S. pressure, but also because of growing Japanese concerns about human-rights abuses. Then, in 1992, Tokyo adopted an ODA Charter espousing human rights and democracy, and that was first invoked to cut ODA to Burma. Since that time, Japanese ODA has been limited largely to humanitarian and technical assistance, and there have been no new loans. Between 1996 and 2005, Japanese aid slumped to $36.7 million a year, compared with $154.8 million a year during the period 1978-88.
Tokyo's relations with Yangon have grown even frostier since 2006, when Japan supported efforts to place Burma on the U.N. Security Council's agenda, ensuring that the junta would be subject to unwanted international scrutiny.
According to Professor Kei Nemoto of Sophia University in Tokyo, the powerful Japanese employers' association Keidanren is no longer interested in developing economic ties with Burma, citing erratic policymaking and the absence of the rule of law.
In Burma, China has eclipsed Japan. Since 1997, the autocratic Beijing regime has become the leading provider of loans and arms, and a major trading partner. Unsurprisingly, it has not tried to use its leverage to nudge the government to embrace reforms.
This dramatic turnabout from Japan being Burma's closest partner with considerable influence, to estrangement and little influence, puts into perspective Tokyo's meek response to Nagai's slaying.
In the end, Japan merely canceled a $4.7-million manpower-training initiative. Kudo says that the Burmese government was never eager for the project to go forward anyway, because it was opposed to an autonomous training center that would disseminate international knowledge and skills outside its control.
However, Japan still faces a dilemma shared by the international community: How to promote a democratic transition in Burma and alleviate the suffering of the people?
Kudo opposes sanctions, arguing that they hurt ordinary Burmese more than the junta, and do not promote desired reforms. Nemoto supports sanctions, arguing that without pressure there will be no reform.
Nemoto says, "Japan should suspend all ODA immediately and review its humanitarian aid programs. Canceling the manpower project is no improvement at all. It is better to outsource all (Japanese) humanitarian aid projects to international agencies and NGOs."
He also advocates an international effort led by China, India and Russia to reconstruct Burma's health-care system. He believes donors should work with the Burmese government to reconsider priorities that he estimates allocate some 60 percent of the national budget to military-related spending.
According to Nemoto, "If they take 1 percent of the current defense budget and allocate it to health care, they can manage on their own without additional international funding."
Given Burma's more than $2 billion in liquid natural gas export revenues in 2007, he believes it could do much more on its own if it were encouraged to do so.
The Japanese government is divided over how the handle the crisis in Burma. One former ambassador explains that there are some in the Foreign Ministry who favor a "realist" approach based on geostrategic interests. In their view, Japan has "lost" Burma to China by naively emphasizing human rights and democratization. Given Burma's strategic position and valuable natural resources, realists argue that Japan's greatest interest is in stability and the status quo rather than promoting regime change and democracy.
Realists also believe that cultivating good relations with the SPDC makes sense.
Yoichi Yamaguchi, Japan's ambassador to Burma from 1995 until 1998, is a prominent supporter of the junta. Following last September's so-called Saffron Revolution, he staked out an unpopular position by defending the government's actions.
On Oct. 12, 2007, on national television, he repeated SPDC claims that many of the marching Buddhist monks were actually hired hooligans who engaged in violence, provoking a response by the security forces. He complained that the international media was sensationalizing the crackdown and unfairly blackening the SPDC's reputation.
Relying on the Burmese government's version of events, Yamaguchi also suggested that the Burmese government had acted according to the law. In fact, he said that the only major mistake by the government was the colossal waste of money involved in building a new capital in Naypitaw. Then, on Nov. 23 at the Foreign Correspondents' Club in Japan, following a trip to Burma, Yamaguchi took great pains to defend the Burmese government's explanation that Nagai's shooting was accidental, while criticizing the media for irresponsibly conveying inaccurate information critical of the government.
Surprisingly, in a complete turnabout from his TV appearance, he praised the new capital as a symbol of the government's commitment to democracy. He also distributed an article he had written in the progovernment newspaper, The New Light of Myanmar. There, he accused the NLD of hiring troublemakers to join the demonstrations, repeating government accusations that they had provoked the clashes. He went on to argue that Aung San Suu Kyi is unpopular with the people because she criticizes the government.
Nothing could better demonstrate how completely out of touch Yamaguchi is with popular sentiments in Burma, where Aung San Suu Kyi is the revered icon of the democracy movement.
While Senior General Than Shwe and the SPDC are widely reviled, the Lady, as she is known, commands popular admiration and carries the hopes of the nation.
Yet Ambassador Yamaguchi asks, "Isn't it a task the international community should undertake as the very first step to stop tarnishing the image of Myanmar by making Aung San Suu Kyi a leading actress and the government a villain?"
In terms of tarnishing the nation's image, one wonders what she has done that could remotely compare with killing and torturing monks.
Order Of The Illuminati - New World Order
Seeking Alpha Mrach 19, 2008
Nearly 200 years ago - The founder of the Roth-Child - banking empire said - Give me control over a Nations economy - and I care not who writes the laws !!!!!
Rev. Sun Myung Moon (The Moonies), and the Unification Church
For those few of you who are not familiar with the Rev. Moon, in the 60s both he and his Unification Church were universally regarded as a dangerous cult. The abuse his followers suffered at the hands of their mind manipulating master is indeed very well established.
His claims include stating that Christ failed His mission, and that Moon himself is the "new messiah" who is come to fulfill the mission of God. He also claims that it is his mission to 'unite the world through uniting religious forces'. But would it shock you to know that nearly all the big name Christian evangelicals have extremely strong ties to him?
One such Church leader and internationally recognized evangelical Christian, Jerry Falwell, readily admits that he accepted 2.5 million dollars from Moon in 1994 in order to bail out his Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. This was funneled through a Moon organization known as the 'Womens Federation for World Peace' which has been chaired by Beverly LaHaye, Wife of Timothy LaHaye, who is the popular co-author of the "Left Behind" Christian fictional book series and a well known evangelical Christian. The Womens Federation for World Peace paid 3.5 million to the Christian Heritage Foundation, which in turn bought Falwell's $73 million debt, and then frankly wrote it off. The Heritage Foundation then seems to have paid themselves a fee of one million dollars for their trouble.
Falwell is not the only evangelical reported to have accepted money from Rev. Moon. Other notable speakers for Moon's organizations and affairs receiving as much as $80,000 to $150,000 have included Ralph Reed, Beverly LaHaye, Gary Bauer, and Robert Schuller, well known for his "Crystal Cathedral" in Southern California and "Hour of Power" 'positive-thinking' television ministry.
Unification Church - New World - Delusion
Most of Moon's money comes from Japan. For almost 20 years there have been consistent reports that one of Moon's most important financial supporters and advisors is Ryoichi Sasakawa. In 1969, Moon and Sasakawa, together, formed the Freedom Leadership Foundation (FLF), which lobbied the U.S. for a hawkish position in Vietnam. One of Sasakawa's favorite projects for the Moon organization was Win Over Communism (WOC), which was a fund raiser for the Unification Church. Sasakawa. was the WOC's chairman. Sasakawa. is clearly one of the richest men in Japan. Much of his money comes from the Japanese motorboat racing industry. Since it was legalized in Japan, it has become a $14 billion sport. Sasakawa. describes himself as "the world's richest Fascist".
In addition to his riches, according to author Walter Pat Choate, "for more than half a century Sasakawa. has been one of the primary political brokers inside Japan". Choate claims that Sasakawa is part of Japan's attempts to influence America's politics and policies. "Many of Sasakawa's and Moon's operations parallel each other. They operate in the same way, giving away money, a great deal of attention to media and media organizations which operate across national borders, and the maintenance of a very right wing conservative focus," states Choate.
According to Choate, Sasakawa's political activities go back 50 years, when he formed one of the most radical and Fascist parties inside Japan. "He was one of those individual business leaders who was calling for war with the United States in the months preceding the attack on Pearl Harbor," claims Choate. In 1931, Sasakawa. formed the
, a militarist political movement, and according to a U.S. Counter Intelligence Corps report after World War Two, Sasakawa. was "one of the most active Fascist organizers prior to the war." He was later imprisoned for plotting the assassination of a former Premier. In 1939, Sasakawa. even flew to Rome in one of his own aircraft to meet personally with Benito Mussolini to help arrange the Axis alliance between Italy, Germany and Japan. Sasakawa organized Japan's black shirts patterned after Mussolini's.
Ten months before the outbreak of World War Two, Sasakawa. toured the South Pacific in a flying boat. There still exist letters which he wrote to his close friend Admiral Yamamoto, the architect of the Pearl Harbor attack, and it was Sasakawa. who was virtually Yamamoto's only political contact to the far right wing in Japan.
Another prominent Japanese war criminal who became an important member and supporter of the Moon organization was Yoshio Kodama. Having become an ultra-nationalist, terrorist leader in Japan at the age of 15, Kodama joined scores of secret societies with names like Blood Brotherhood, Holy War Execution League, Federation of Radical Patriotic Workers, and Capital Rise Asia Academy. He made his living working for those murderous groups. These yakuza armies were bankrolled by and served the interests of wealthy industrials, the police and the Army. They broke up labor unions, "protected" factories and offices, and assassinated opposition leaders. Having participated in a failed plot to assassinate, in one stroke, all the most powerful men in Japan, Kodama ended up in prison for attempted assassination and other terrorist acts.
So why are the American People - Going to these Evangelical churchs?????
TIME Aug. 26, 1974
Back in 1964, former Japanese Premier Nobusuke Kishi needed a big favor: a guarantee that his brother Eisaku Sato would succeed ailing Hayato Ikeda as Premier. So Kishi paid a secret visit to a Tokyo businessman who obligingly made a few telephone calls to his friends. As a result, Sato's opponent hastily withdrew from the race, and Sato went on to become Japan's Premier for an unprecedented eight years.
The tale illustrates the astonishing behind-the-scenes influence wielded by Ryoichi Sasakawa, 75, the most powerful remaining member of a vanishing breed of Japanese kingmakers known as kuromaku. The word translates literally as black curtain,* but the closest equivalent in American slang of the power it connotes is godfather. Through his enormous fortune (his real estate holdings alone are estimated at $71.4 million) and the huge store of giri (moral obligations) he has accumulated over the years by dispensing favors and finances, Sasakawa has a puissance that any American influence peddler would envy.
The son of a sake brewer, Sasakawa made a fortune before he was 30 by speculating in Osaka's grain and stock markets. He also was—and is—a dedicated right-wing superpatriot who decries the social changes that are moving Japan away from traditional manners and mores. In traditional fashion, he likes to boast of his conquest of more than 500 women, ranging from "a distant relative of Emperor Taisho to almost all the top geisha." His unbridled admiration for Benito Mussolini —"the perfect fascist and dictator" —lingers to this day. Indeed, Sasakawa sometimes boasts that he is the "world's wealthiest fascist."
In 1931 Sasakawa established the fascist Nationalist Masses Party and was elected to the lower house of the Diet during World War II, a political fling that landed him in Tokyo's Sugamo Prison for three years while U.S. officials tried unsuccessfully to prosecute him as a war criminal. Protesting his innocence, Sasakawa hired a big brass band to blast martial songs as he strode proudly into the clink. Behind bars, he became fast friends with Kishi and other imprisoned Japanese officials who later returned to power. He also got the idea of how to increase his fortune when an American guard threw a copy of LIFE into his cell. In it, he saw an advertisement for a motorboat.
After the U.S. gave up its attempt to prosecute him, Sasakawa fast-talked the government into letting him set up a series of motorboat races on which the public could legally bet. The races proved to be a big hit and also provided more cash with which Sasakawa could pile up giri. As head of the monopoly that controls the races even today, Sasakawa dispenses 3% of ticket sales ($105 million this year) to favored causes, including charities and research into shipbuilding technology. He has been most generous, though, to Japan's martial arts societies, bragging that he commands a "personal army" of millions of karate and judo experts who "might even volunteer to risk their lives once I order them to."
Tokyo Harbor. For a man of such wealth, Sasakawa lives modestly. He commutes to his office in downtown Tokyo in a black Mercedes-Benz from a house that is badly in need of repair. Although his power is not widely known, his flamboyant public appearances have brought him a degree of notoriety. A few weeks ago, he dedicated a $14.2 million maritime museum, built in the shape of a 60,000-ton ocean liner and moored in the Tokyo harbor. He attended the ceremony wearing an enormous nautical cap, T shirt and swimming trunks, to the consternation of the guests, including Prince Hitachi, the second son of Emperor Hirohito.
In recent years, as younger politicians have come to the fore, the power of the kuromaku has slipped. And in fact Sasakawa claims to have little personal involvement in politics these days, but he still knows how to operate behind a black curtain. Rumor has it that Kakuei Tanaka became Premier against strong opposition—after the godfather-san made a few calls on his behalf.
An unwelcome visit from the uyoku
NEWSTATESMAN 26 February 2001
David McNeill, on radio in Japan, dared to mention the 1937 Nanking massacre. The consequences, he suggests, should concern us all
In a country teeming with exotica for the jaded westerner, there is little to beat Japan's extreme right wing for weirdness. Countless bemused foreigners have been entertained for years by the sight of semi-militarised black vans, emblazoned with love poems to Nippon, noisily ferrying their shaven-headed cargo of ultra-patriots through the streets of central Tokyo.
Talk to people, and nine out of ten will dismiss it as harmless posturing, a fringe pantomime that adds colour to the city's rich tapestry. But the uyoku, as they are known, take themselves seriously and, as I recently found out when they paid me a visit, we should take them seriously, too.
My wife and I host a weekly talk show on local radio in western Tokyo. My role is the exotic gaijin foil to her motormouth main personality, and the show tries to take a jaundiced, opinionated approach to the clash of east v west. In December, we talked briefly about a trip we had made a year earlier to Nanking in China, the site of a notorious massacre by the Japanese imperial army at the end of 1937. Walking through the museum in Nanking that commemorates the incident, reading the testimonies of hundreds of Chinese and non-Chinese survivors, looking at countless photographs of corpses - and indeed their bones, some of which lie beneath the museum site - it is impossible to deny what happened. And we said so.
Now, you might think this would pass as fair comment, part of the daily conversational hurly-burly of the media, the oxygen of democracy and all the rest of it. You would be wrong. Thirty minutes after the show was broadcast, three members of a local "political group" arrived at the studio and asked to see the management. One, clearly the leader, would not have looked out of place on a family shopping trip, with his khaki pants and neatly trimmed hair, but the other two were straight out of the yakuza textbook - designer tracksuits, punch perms and gimlet-eyed stares.
The station director, Oki-san, came rushing into the studio with a look of mild shock. After exchanging name cards, everyone sat down, and the leader, speaking softly and politely, explained his displeasure. The Nanking massacre had not been "officially announced" (koshiki happyo) by the government, so we shouldn't have mentioned it, he said. If we were going to use the radio to talk about communist countries, why didn't we tell our listeners that Japan had exported thousands of tonnes of rice to help famine-stricken North Korea, he asked. Was our radio station communist? Oki-san carefully noted these points on a writing pad before escorting the visitors to the elevator, bowing and thanking them for their visit. No voices had been raised; no names were called. The only thing they left behind was a faint air of menace.
Two days later, the senior station manager called a meeting. He apologised for taking our time and explained that, from now on, he would be very grateful if we would not discuss political issues on the radio. He apologised again. If someone sent in a fax or an e-mail giving their opinions, it was fine to read it out over the air but not to give our own opinions. He said we would need to apologise on air for the Nanking comment. If we didn't, the men and their friends would drive their gaisensha (trucks equipped with loudspeakers) outside our sponsors (two ramen restaurants, a bar and a couple of real-estate agents) and harass them until they withdrew their support. Violence was unlikely, but he couldn't rule it out. He apologised again for asking us to apologise. He handed us a statement that the station had prepared for us to read on the next show. It said that we humbly apologised for the "inappropriate comments" we had made the previous week.
We scooped up our jaws from the floor and headed home. The station's management had gone along with the uyoku's suggestions and upped the ante, outcensoring the censors by requesting an end to all political discussion. While we argued over the next couple of days about whether to call the station's bluff and commit broadcasting hara-kiri, about a dozen faxes arrived at the studio in response to our comments, all pleading with us to stick it out. We decided to read out some of the faxes - only one of which referred specifically to Nanking - and not to read the station's apology.
Our storm in a small Japanese teacup died down soon enough, but it illustrated the role of extreme rightists in policing and setting limits on public discussion in this country.
I am not the first person to discover this, nor to point it out. Honda Katsuichi, one of the first Japanese journalists to investigate Nanking - and who still rarely ventures out in public without some disguise, for fear of reprisals - Masayuki Takagi, Karel van Wolferen and others have all said the same thing. But I may be one of the few gaijin to experience it directly, and I wanted to know: who are these people, what do they want, and what kinds of things get a dedicated Japanese ultra-rightist reaching for the keys to his gaisensha? Here is what I found.
The best estimates are that there are more than 100,000 members of far-right groups in Japan, belonging to almost 1,000 groups throughout the country, 800 of which are affiliated through an organisation called
the Zen Nihon Aikokusha Dantai Kaigi, or the All-Japan Conference of Patriotic Associations
. The exact number is clouded in controversy because there is overlap with yakuza gangsters. From the 1960s onward, after the Political Fund Regulation Law prohibited extortion, many yakuza groups transformed themselves into right-wing political organisations; political groups were allowed to raise money and claim preferential tax treatment as long as they presented income and expenditure statements to the Ministry of Home Affairs. Ideologically, both uyoku and yakuza see themselves to some extent as patriots and defenders of traditional codes of honour.
Besides Nanking, the current list of ultra-right taboos includes the so-called comfort women, or sex slaves, forced into prostitution by the army during the Second World War, and Unit 731, the army laboratory in wartime Manchuria that experimented with chemical weapons on live Chinese prisoners. Yoshihisa Yoshida, a physics professor at Sagami Women's University and a national consultant on a Unit 731 exhibition held in 1998, was hounded for two weeks by a convoy of vans after his name was publicly linked to the issue. "They drove round and round my university screaming at me to come out," he says. "I thought it would never end." War veterans who come forward to tell their stories can also expect the attention of right-wingers. Shiro Azuma, who served for four years in China and kept a detailed diary that he subsequently published, tells stories of threats and intimidation. So does Yoshio Shinozuka, a member of Unit 731 who agreed to testify in the current lawsuit brought by 100 surviving Chinese victims.
The uyoku reserve their greatest firepower for any attempt to degrade the ultimate national symbol, the emperor, and, ultimately, they hope to restore his prewar authority. The mayor of Nagasaki, Hitoshi Motojima, a mild-mannered Christian, was threatened for months by right-wingers, egged on by academics and a handful of senior politicians, for suggesting that Emperor Hirohito bore some responsibility for the war. He was eventually shot in the back (he survived) in January 1990, but not before 3.8 million people had signed a petition supporting what he said.
Isolated cases of extreme political violence are a feature of life in many advanced countries, but the Japanese version has several distinct characteristics. First is the sheer number of attacks, thousands of them, from low-key intimidation of the type we experienced at the radio station to high-profile assassinations of political figures.
The second major difference is the relationship of the violence to people in power. The common view of the people who cause this mayhem, even among the "serious" nationalist right, is that they are low-life thugs, but the lowlifes can always take comfort from pronouncements by pillars of the establishment. Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori's recent slip, that Japan was a "divine nation centred on the emperor", is only the latest example of how apparently extreme-rightist posturing, such as calls for the restoration of the emperor's powers and denials of well-documented war crimes, finds echoes in the very furthest reaches of Japan's dim political corridors.
There are well-documented ties between ultra-right figures and Japan's most senior politicians, who have used them to harass and attack the left. The most famous of them all, Nobusuke Kishi, found time to be prime minister and mix with some of the most notorious right-wing and yakuza figures in Japan. Last year's resignation by the chief cabinet secretary, Hidenao Nakagawa, after he was accused of consorting with the boss of an ultra-right organisation, is part of a long and venerable political tradition here.
The most important result of years of dedicated service by right-wingers in the establishment and on the fringe alike may have been, in the words of Ivan P Hall, the author of Cartels of the Mind: Japan's intellectual closed shop, to have shifted the centre of debate, and of political consensus in this country, well to the right. One would have thought that as the uyoku survey the current Japanese political landscape, they would be quite happy with their lot. The Hinomaru, or rising-sun flag, once the dividing symbol of left and right, flutters across the nation's schoolyards; and the Kimigayo, the national anthem, is belted out by lungs too young to remember the battles fought over it, both having been officially recognised in August 1999. The uyoku's arch-enemy, the Communist Party (whose chairman, Kenji Miyamoto, they attempted to assassinate in 1973), has swung to the right since the collapse of the USSR.
Four weeks after the uyoku's fateful visit to our studio, I showed Oki-san my research. I thought about Al Pacino's line in the movie The Insider to his CBS boss who had crumbled under corporate pressure: "Are you a media man or a businessman?" But in the end, I simply asked him if his kids knew about Nanking. "They study it at school," he said, "so I'm sure they do." Later, at home, I had a look at a current Japanese history textbook: Nihonshi. The Nanking massacre is not mentioned. The Nanking "Incident" is, as a footnote on page 234 to a one-sentence report that the Japanese army captured Nanking after fierce resistance. The footnote reads: Konotoki, nihonhei wa hisentouin wo fukumu tasuu no chugokujin wo satsugai shi, haisengo, tokyosaibande ookiina mondai tonatta (Nanking Jiken). My translation of this: "During this time, the Japanese army killed many Chinese, including non- combatants, something that became an important issue at the Tokyo war crimes court after Japan's defeat (the Nanking Incident)."
Not a denial, I'm sure we can all agree. But it doesn't exactly brim over with tortured remorse either, does it?
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices - 2000
U.S. DEPARTMENT of STATE February 23, 2001
RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:
a. Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing
The police and military were responsible for some extrajudicial killings.
On January 8, police killed 3 persons while attempting to evict 400 landless peasants from a ranch that they had taken over. Nine policemen were injured during the incident.
In December in Itakyry, police shot and killed 10 men suspected of robbing an armored vehicle. One of the suspects, slightly wounded but alive when the police transported him to a local medical center, was dead upon arrival, with eight bullet holes in his body. At year's end the police were conducting an investigation.
No further information was available regarding the disposition of extrajudicial killings from previous years, including the following cases: Jose "Coco" Villar, whom police killed in June 1999; Guillermo Jara Ramirez, whom antinarcotics police killed in July 1999; and Fernando Aristides Gutierrez and Marcial Torres, recruits killed during their military service.
At least eight recruits died in questionable circumstances during the year, including 14-year-old Pedro Centurion, whom the military allegedly conscripted into service with false documents at 13 years of age against his wishes. In September he was shot and killed; the military claimed that he shot himself by accident. It was discovered later that Centurion was in fact an Argentine citizen. Human rights monitors, including a support group for families of military recruits, report that 104 recruits, most of whom were underage, were killed or died in accidents since 1989 while fulfilling their mandatory military service. Although military law requires that recruits be at least 18 years of age to serve in the armed forces (or 17 in the year of their 18th birthday), only an estimated 20 percent of those serving during the year met that requirement, and over 30 percent were 15 or younger.
In November the Government proposed an agreement to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) regarding the deaths of 14-year-old military recruits Cristian Nunez and Marcelino Gomez. Military officers abandoned the two boys in the inhospitable Chaco region during a training exercise in 1998. According to the agreement, the Government accepted responsibility for the deaths of the boys.
The March 1999 assassination of Vice President Luis Maria Argana, which has been attributed widely to allies of then-president Raul Cubas Grau, led to political protests in which the police and civilian supporters of President Cubas fired on student demonstrators, killing 7 and injuring over 100. The Gonzalez Macchi Government made little progress in bringing those responsible to justice. Three suspects were convicted in the assassination; others remained at large. The authorities charged and imprisoned a number of suspects for the shootings of demonstrators in the plaza following the assassination, but the courts have not convicted any of them, and few have been released from confinement. As a result, many of those charged remain in legal limbo, with their political rights limited, although their involvement with the crimes never has been confirmed.
Former army commander Lino Oviedo, who played a prominent role in the downfall of the Cubas Government in 1999, and whose whereabouts were unknown after he fled Argentina (where he had received asylum) in December 1999, was arrested in Brazil in June and remains in prison in Brasilia. Several extradition requests for Oviedo are at various stages in the Brazilian justice system. He faces charges stemming from his alleged involvement in the March 1999 killing of Vice President Argana and seven antigovernment protesters. Two individuals with long criminal records, suspected of having participated in the Argana assassination and who were imprisoned in a federal police facility in downtown Buenos Aires, escaped from the jail in September. In November the authorities captured one of them in Ciudad del Este; at year's end he awaited trial in Asuncion. The other was thought to be hiding in Brazil.
Authoritarian regimes ruled the country until 1989, when dictator Alfredo Stroessner was overthrown by General Andres Rodriguez, who was elected President later that year. In 1996 an appellate court affirmed the convictions for human rights abuses of five Stroessner-era officials (
former police Investigations Director Pastor Coronel
and police officers Lucilo Benitez Santacruz, Agustin Belotto Youga, Camilo Almada Morel, and Juan Aniceto Martinez). Pastor Coronel died in detention in September.
The 1998 arrest of former Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet in the United Kingdom and his subsequent return to Chile drew renewed attention to extrajudicial killings and other abuses that occurred in Paraguay under the Stroessner regime. There were renewed allegations that Stroessner cooperated in Operation Condor, a regional plan to eliminate leftists. One human rights activist who was a political prisoner during that time has filed cases with Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon, who was preparing the case against Pinochet, and has provided him with documents from Paraguayan archives that he claims implicate General Stroessner in Operation Condor. There was no progress during the year on Operation Condor cases.