Nippon Kaigi, established in 1997, is widely regarded as Japan’s largest nationalist organization. According to its website, its basic tenets are the following:
－ We inherit the traditions and culture that have been nurtured by our timeless history, and aspire to the ascendance of a healthy national spirit.
－ We maintain the glory and the self-reliance and the independence of the nation, and seek the construction of a prosperous and orderly society where all members of the nation obtain their [rightful] places.
－ We strive for harmony between humanity and nature, and contribute to the realization of a world of mutual existence and co-prosperity where each culture is mutually respected.
More specifically, Nippon Kaigi believes that we, that is, yours truly and other Japanese, should return to the traditional sense of unity focused on the Imperial Household. It believes that we should adopt a new constitution that reflects our national ethos that has been nurtured throughout our history. It rejects the “apology” diplomacy that unilaterally condemns ourselves over the last world war and seeks to achieve a true conservative politics. In education, it seeks history education that transmits our proud history, tradition and culture and education of the sensibilities that enables the recovery of our pristine virtues. It seeks to improve national security and contribute to world peace by, among other things, nurturing the people’s sense of reverence towards those who died in the war. Finally, it seeks world friendship.
It is chaired by Tōru Miyoshi, an 80 year old former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. It has seven, mostly even older, advisors (ninety and up; one of them is actually dead), four of who are Shintō priests and one the previous head of the powerful Tendai Buddhist Sect. The other two are ex-CEOs of Bridgestone Tires and Fujitsū. Its six vice chairmen are mostly secular (only one Shintō priest), and even includes one 90 year old women, a former politician and singer of mainly children’s songs. Its fifty-five representative committee members include younger names, some of which might be recognizable to casual observers of the Japanese scene, such as Shintarō Ishihara, Tokyo Governor and man who can say no, Hiroo Onoda, the former intelligence officer who held out in the Philippines jungles for 29 years after the war ended, and Kishō Kurokawa, the world-famous architect and urban planner (also dead). It has two auditors, a president, and two managing directors to actually run things, but they are of no interest to you.
What could be of interest to you is Nippon Kaigi’s sister organization, the Nippon Kaigi Giin Kondankai, the bipartisan (mainly LDP, but some DPJ as well) association of Diet members who support the goals of this organization. Its members numbered 235 as of 2005 July. It passed a resolution in 2005 November on the following points:
－ Imperial succession is an important matter of state, and should be subordinated to careful deliberation and acceptance by the people. (This point is a negative reaction to the recommendation in a report commissioned by Prime Minister Koizumi that females should also be allowed to succeed to the throne.)
－ We support the visit of the Prime Minister to the Yasukuni Shrine and oppose the construction of a national facility for mourning. (No explanation needed here.)
－ We oppose the human rights protection bill that may invite oppression of speech and human rights. (This concern was heightened by the fact that non-Japanese citizens who may have “prejudiced tendencies” could be selected to serve as human rights protection committee members.)
The Giin Kondankai is headed by Takeo Hiranuma, the still highly influential Post Office privatization castoff, with Shōichi Nakagawa as his regent. (Fukushirō Nukaga is the deputy.) But it is in the list of members that you will find names that will make your eyes pop out. For, according to Wikipedia, among its members are:
Yasuo Fukuda, Sadakazu Tanigaki.
Every nation has its own narrative, and its denizens are entitled to seek to mold it to their liking. In this particular case, I see nothing in a nation that allows such political and social discourse to develop that is any more alarming than a nation that demands schoolchildren, citizen and non- alike, to pledge allegiance to a Republic under one God. Or a nation that has crossed arms in the last 60 years with most of its neighbors (Japan being one of the few exceptions). But feel free to disagree.