【PART 5】 The Last Mystery Voluntary slavish obedience and its historical origin
Perhaps you’re feeling utterly disconsolate after reading the last chapter, especially the part about the enemy state clauses. I was quite shocked too when I found out the truth at first. However, after further research into the history, I immediately noticed that it is unnecessary to have such a bleak outlook. This is because the primary cause of the challenge Japan is facing lies in the cognitive distortion that the Japanese created for themselves (in short, the “voluntary slavish obedience”). If we can sort out the issues and make a fresh start, there are infinite possibilities for the future of Japan.
I’d especially like to reach out to the young readers of this book. The state of “postwar Japan” will reach an end in the not-so-distant future. Just think about it. Prime ministers are invariably doing things that are the complete opposite of what was written in their manifesto. They’ve promised to spend everything on social security, after which they raise taxes for citizens and cut taxes for big corporations. In order to save money, they’ve turned a blind eye to children who were exposed to radiation. No one has taken responsibility for the worst nuclear power plant accident in human history, and then they try to resume operations without any remorse. The Prime Minister has reinterpreted the Constitution arbitrarily. There is no way such a state should continue.
The Japanese government is about to construct a vast foreign military base on one of their very own beaches, acclaimed to be one of the most beautiful in the world, using their own taxes. If the Japanese simply pause briefly to realize how absurd this is, the situation could change greatly.
As the system of postwar Japan nears its end, a process to gain democracy will undoubtedly begin somewhere. This will be a true democracy, a system chosen by the people. It will replace the “bestowed democracy” (that does not actually exist at all), which is a system imposed by another. In other words, there will be a step-by-step process to build a proper law-governed state, by establishing a new Constitution to protect the rights of its citizens. Putting it that way makes it sound like we were born in a period with worthwhile things to do.
As for the actual application of enemy state clauses to Japan, it’s not at all legitimate under international law. It’s merely a cover for the U.S., which had decided to legitimize the current unfair situation, using tricks and gimmicks in clauses hidden from the world to turn Japan into a potential military base. If we create a new form of statehood, and discuss things openly and squarely, who then could make such statements as “You have no human rights because you’re an enemy state,” or “The military occupation of Okinawa and the U.S. Forces’ control of the airspace above Tokyo will stay this way forever”?
So, to start from the beginning: Chapter 17 of the UN Charter, containing Article 107, is entitled “Transitional Security Agreements.” On June 26, 1945, when this Charter was signed, the war between Japan and the Allies was still ongoing. These articles were written on the assumption that they were temporally, to be in place until the war ended and the UN could start functioning as was imagined at its conception. As was the case with the military bases in Okinawa, they were supposed to be transitional measures. Nonetheless, both of these have continued illegally until now, 70 years after the war.
What on earth caused such a situation? This is the last mystery that I’m covering in this book. In short, there are two answers to this question: First, the Japanese themselves, in the course of history, came to wish for the stationing of U.S. Forces. Second, the Showa Emperor’s opinion had enormous influence in these matters.
【1】 The light and shadow of the Showa Emperor
Until now, what I’ve covered about the Showa Emperor has centered on his “brilliant” aspects. In the harsh situation after the war, he deftly noticed the changing global circumstances, such as the start of the Cold War, and adopted the daring military and diplomatic policy of slavish obedience to the U.S. Consequently, Japan was able to spring from being a defeated country of World War II (the very bottom) to become a victor of the Cold War (and the second largest economy in the world). Undeniably the security system based on the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty and constructed by the Showa Emperor was an extremely lucky thing for many citizens, as if they had all won a lottery. I myself was born in mainland Japan in the 1960s. So perhaps I’m part of the generation that financially benefited the most.
Moreover, the policy adopted by the U.S. officials to use the Emperor as a symbol of peace, I mentioned on PART 3 was not based on a complete fiction. It was true that the Showa Emperor had been a prominent part of the moderates, keeping an arm’s-length relationship with the extreme military. The U.S. Department of State had arrived at the same conclusion about the Emperor as well.
However brilliant the Emperor’s strategy, though, where there is light, there must be shadow. The Showa Emperor was of course a single person, but he was also the state itself. As the whole state of Japan based on the imperial system reached the brink of collapse with the defeat in the war, it shed many things as it tried desperately to survive. A mixture of good and bad is inevitable. I think there is light and shadow — or good and bad — in the Showa Emperor that goes beyond his personal level.
I’ve already exceeded the number of pages planned for this book, so I’ll write as concisely as I can about the two remaining “rules of the Security Treaty Village” and the two “Emperor’s messages” to illustrate his shadowy parts.