Sunday, July 5, 2009

Between What Friends?

Why would a conservative nationalist, former Japanese Foreign Ministry official reveal a purported state secret that could undermine confidence in the US-Japan Alliance and the ruling LDP?

If this is a way to encourage a Japanese debate on nuclear weapons or to convince the US to sell Japan F-22, it is sure misguided. In reality, it is part of a convoluted Rightist strategy to repeal Article 9 and create a military independent of the United States.

On June 29th, former Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Ryohei Murata asserted that there is a secret written accord between the Japanese and U.S. governments under which Japan approves port calls and passage through Japanese territorial waters by U.S. warships carrying nuclear weapons. He knows this, because as Administrative Vice Minister, it was his job to explain to the foreign minister the contents of an envelope that briefly outlined the agreement. The foreign minister then briefed the prime minister at his discretion.

A wink, nod, and the back of a napkin, that’s Cold War diplomacy for you.

Murata received the envelope containing the secret document from his predecessor. He said the contents were written in Japanese on a single piece of clerical stationery used in the Foreign Ministry in those days. He made no mention of signatures.

When asked why he is now acknowledging the existence of the secret agreement, Murata indicated that he was disturbed by the lies told in the Diet. "Successive administrative vice foreign ministers have conveyed the contents (of the secret agreement) to successive foreign ministers. But they have said in the Diet that nuclear weapons have not been brought [into Japan]. I think that [secrecy] is inappropriate," Murata said.

More inappropriate are Ambassador Murata’s views on the United States. Yes, ambassador, and it is odd that none of the press reports I have read mention that he was ambassador to the United States 1990-1992 and Germany 1992-94. He is not a fan of Americans and has long expressed these views.

In 1985, he co-authored, Between Friends, a book with two other less than enthusiastic Foreign Ministry supporters of the United States: Hiroshi Kitamura and Hisahiko Okazaki. Kitamura who had numerous posts in the US went on to become ambassador to the UK while Okazaki become ambassador to Thailand and then head of the Okazaki Institute that funded and encouraged all the men and research for the Armitage Report.

Murata wrote, and the others agreed, that Americans are "self-centered" and suffer from a "superiority complex" that makes them always "want to blame their problems on the other guy." He also contended that "it is inevitable for Americans to view with a certain amount of alarm a non-white nation rapidly overtaking them" in economic or technological strength.

In case you think that the Ambassador’s views have softened since 1985, you are mistaken. In a March 2002 article (pp67-69) published by the conservative journal Shokun!, Amb. Murata wrote:

Now with the 21st century starting, what the people of Japan need to do is to think and discuss how their nation can become "an ordinary country." This nation must do this because Japan is still "a country out of the ordinary" in spite of the fact that some 55 years have passed since its defeat in World War II.

Even before the war, Japan had been a country out of the ordinary, though in a different sense, and its defeat in the war brought about a change. But the pendulum of the change swung too far in other direction at that time, turning Japan into a country out of the ordinary in a reversed way. There were two major reasons why that happened.

First, the nation was shocked and shaken up tremendously by its very thorough defeat in the war, which was the first defeat in its history.

Second, the United States successfully emasculated Japan by carrying out large-scale and organized mind-control programs on the people of Japan. For instance, while taking steps to make it look that Japanese themselves chose to do so, the United States pushed on Japan a constitution with provisions that banned itself from having combat capabilities to defend itself -- something unprecedented. The United States asserted all the past acts of Japan were evil in the Tokyo trial [of war criminals] that even had lawyers attending. That was another clever case of effectuating mind-control on people. Censors the United States conducted in various forms, the education system it adopted, and interventions it made in domestic affairs were the additional cases of exercising the mind-control on Japanese people. Indeed, it is impossible to cite all the cases of such mind-control actions here.

Anyway, thus was produced the post-war idiosyncrasy of Japan that can be summarized as follows:

First, Japan has turned into an insensitive country that cannot see whether its rights as a sovereign are infringed or not. It turned into a country that was unable to see its national dignity and pride though it was an independent country.

Second, the people of the nation have come to believe that the exercise of force is something very evil and this thinking has made the nation very cowardly.…

The above along with other statements and memberships (he is an active adviser to the Nippon Foundation and a board member of the Japan Education Regeneration League) places Murata with the likes of Okazaki, Tamogami, and others who are sophisticated strategists working together to use any means to engender mistrust between Japan and the U.S. as well as its neighbors. They want to create the political necessity of aggressive rearmament and an independent, nuclear armed defense force. Murata’s declaration, I believe, must be seen as part of a larger campaign to discredit the U.S.-Japan alliance and the Japanese Constitution.

You can argue that the Japanese people do not agree with their goals or ideas, however, these men do have the ability and resources to create a lot of anxiety and doubt among their fellow citizens as well as Japan's allies and neighbors. These old men measure their success by the discord that they can create--if we allow them.


  1. This is why I look at "Armchair Asia" every day. It is like a parting of the fog, then the sunlight streams and the shadows are painted sharply.
    Fascinating. Informative.
    Thank you!

  2. Can we take the Japanese approach and ignore the problem and hope that the problem goes away when he dies of old age?


If I am unamused, your comment will not be posted.