Nippon Kaigi


The Nippon Kaigi (日本会議, "Japan Conference")[10] is Japan’s largest ultranationalist,[11][12][13] far-right[14] non-governmental organization and lobby.[15] It was established in 1997 and has approximately 40,000 members.[10][16][17] The group is influential in the legislative and executive branches of the Japanese government through its affiliates.[16][18] Former Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, LDP politician, serves as a special advisor to the group's parliamentary league.[10] Although the official membership is 40,000, it is unofficially affiliated with grassroots lawmakers and local politicians across the country.[19]

Nippon Kaigi
日本会議
FormationMay 30, 1997; 24 years ago (1997-05-30)
FounderKoichi Tsukamoto
Founded atTokyo, Japan
Merger ofNihon wo mamoru Kai (日本を守る会, 1974) and Gengo Houseika Jitsugen Kokumin Kaigi (元号法制化実現国民会議, 1978)
Legal statusActive
Purpose
HeadquartersTokyo
Location
Membership
40,000
Official language
Japanese
Chairman
Tadae Takubo
Secretary General
Yuzo Kabashima
Honorary Chairman
Toru Miyoshi
Adviser
Koichiro Ishii
Michihisa Kitashirakawa
Naotake Takatsukasa
Key people
Iwao Ando
AffiliationsNippon Kaigi National Lawmakers Friendship Association
Websitewww.nipponkaigi.org

The group describes its aims as to "change the postwar national consciousness based on the Tokyo Tribunal's view of history as a fundamental problem" and to "revise the current Constitution";[20] it sees its mission to promote patriotic education, the revision of the Constitution of Japan, and support for official visits to Yasukuni Shrine and a nationalist interpretation of State Shinto.[21][22][23][24]

In the words of Hideaki Kase, an influential member of Nippon Kaigi, "We are dedicated to our conservative cause. We are monarchists. We are for revising the constitution. We are for the glory of the nation."[25] Nippon Kaigi supports revising the Japanese Constitution, especially Article 9 which forbids a standing army.[26]

Objectives


Nippon Kaigi has described six official goals of the organization as:[27]

  1. "A beautiful traditional sovereignty for Japan's future" (美しい伝統の国柄を明日の日本へ): Fostering a sense of Japanese unity and social stability, based around the Imperial Household and shared history, culture, and traditions of the Japanese people.
  2. "A new constitution appropriate for the new era" (新しい時代にふさわしい新憲法を): Restoring national defense rights, rectifying the imbalance of rights and obligations, strengthening the emphasis on the family system, and loosening the separation of religion and state.
  3. "Politics that protect the state's reputation and the people's lives" (国の名誉と国民の命を守る政治を): Addressing the loss of public interest in politics and government by taking a more aggressive stance in historical debates and crisis management.
  4. "Creating education that fosters a sense of Japanese identity" (日本の感性をはぐくむ教育の創造を): Addressing various problems arising in the Japanese educational system (bullying, prostitution, etc.) and instituting respect for the national flag and anthem of Japan, and for national history, culture, and traditions (in the process abandoning "gender-free" education and critical views of Japanese history).
  5. "Contributing to world peace by strengthening national security" (国の安全を高め世界への平和貢献を): Strengthening Japanese defense power in order to counterbalance China, North Korea, and other hostile powers, and remembering Japan's war dead.
  6. "Friendship with the world tied together by a spirit of co-existence and mutual prosperity" (共生共栄の心でむすぶ世界との友好を): Building friendly relations with foreign countries through social and cultural exchange programs.

Some have claimed that Nippon Kaigi believes that "Japan should be applauded for liberating much of East Asia from Western colonial powers; that the 1946–1948 Tokyo War Crimes tribunals were illegitimate; and that killings by Imperial Japanese troops during the 1937 Nanjing Massacre were exaggerated or fabricated".[Note 1][16][28] The group vigorously defends Japan's claim in its territorial dispute over the Senkaku Islands with China, and denies that Japan forced the "comfort women" during World War II.[16] Nippon Kaigi is opposed to feminism, LGBT rights, and the 1999 Gender Equality Law.[26]

History


Nippon Kaigi was founded in 1997 through the merger of two groups whose agendas included constitutional revision:

  • Nihon wo mamoru Kokumin Kaigi (National Conference to Defend Japan or National Conference to Protect Japan, founded in 1981) included many veterans of Japan's Imperial Army and Navy, and published its own Constitutional reform draft in 1994. Its predecessor was Gengo Houseika Jitsugen Kokumin Kaigi (National Conference to Implement Regnal Year Legislation, founded in 1978).
  • Nihon wo mamoru Kai (Society for the Protection of Japan, founded in 1974), that comprised several Shinto and religious cults.[20][29][30]

The founding President was Koichi Tsukamoto, the founder of Japanese clothier Wacoal.[17]

Yuzo Kabashima, the secretary general of Nippon Kaigi, established a sister organization Nihon Seinen Kyogikai in 1977, which is headquartered in the same building as Nippon Kaigi and acts as the organization's secretariat.[31]

Organisation and membership


Nippon Kaigi claims 40,000 individual members, 47 prefectural chapters, and about 230 local chapters.[32] The organization's website lists the members depending on their seniority in the organization headed by a President seconded by Vice Presidents and a pool of "advisors", including Shinto priests leading key shrines, some of them belonging to the Imperial family.

Following the 2014 reshuffle, 15 of the 18 of Third Abe Cabinet members, including the Prime Minister himself (as 'special adviser'), were members of Nippon Kaigi.[33] As of October 2014, the group claimed 289 of the 480 Japanese National Diet members. Among the members, former members, and affiliated are countless lawmakers, many ministers and a few prime ministers including Tarō Asō, Shinzō Abe, and Yoshihide Suga. Abe's brother Nobuo Kishi is also a member of the Nippon Kaigi group in the Diet.[33] Its former chairman, Toru Miyoshi, was the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Japan.[16]

After campaigning actively for LDP candidates in July 2016, Nippon Kaigi campaigned for constitutional revisionism in September 2016.[34]

Presidency


List of presidents
Year Name Period Time in office
1997 Koichi Tsukamoto 1997–1998 1 year
1998 Kosaku Inaba 1998–2001 3 years
2001 Toru Miyoshi 2001–2015 14 years
(honorary president)
2015 Tadae Takubo 2015–present 5–6 years

Criticism


Journalist Norimitsu Onishi says that the organization promotes a revival of the fundamentals of the Empire of Japan;[35] Tamotsu Sugano, the author of the bestselling exposé on the group, "Research on Nippon Kaigi" (日本会議の研究) describes them as a democratic movement in method but intent on turning back sexual equality, restoring patriarchal values, and returning Japan to a pre-war constitution—neither democratic nor modern,[36] and they are consolidated in anti-leftism and in misogyny.[37] On 6 January 2017, sale of the book was banned by a district court for defamation[38][39] pending removal of the offending portion; a revised digital edition continued to be sold.[40] Sales resumed that March when the court allowed a revised edition with 36 characters deleted to appear.[41]

Muneo Narusawa, the editor of Shūkan Kin'yōbi (Weekly Friday) says that, in parallel with historical revisionism, the organization often highlights historical facts that convey Japan as a victim such as the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki or the North Korean abductions of Japanese citizens. Education minister Hakubun Shimomura, the secretary general of the Discussion Group of Nippon Kaigi Diet Members (Nippon Kaigi kokkai giin kondankai, 日本会議国会議員懇談会), argues for patriotic education and opposes a "masochistic view of history".[42][43]

See also


Notes


References


  • Shibuichi Daiki; "Japan Conference (Nippon Kaigi): an Elusive Conglomerate"; East Asia, Vol. 34 (2017), Nr. 3, S. 1–18
  • Tawara Yoshifumi; "What is the Aim of Nippon Kaigi, the Ultra-Right Organization that Supports Japan’s Abe Administration?"; Japan Focus, Volume 15 (2017), Issue 21, Number 1 (Volltext)
  • Tawara Yoshifumi; 日本会議の全貌: 知られざる巨大組織の実態 [Outlook of Nippon Kaigi: Actual Situation of Unknown Big Organization]; T. 2016 (Kadensha); ISBN 9784763407818
  • Yamaguchi Tomomi; in: Shūkan Kin'yōbi, Narusawa Mueno ed., 日本会議と神社本庁[Nippon Kaigi and Association of Shinto Shrines]Tokyo 2016 (Kin'yōbi); ISBN 9784865720105
  1. "Nippon Kaigi: The ultra-nationalistic group trying to restore the might of the Japanese Empire". ABC News. 8 July 2020. Retrieved 3 December 2015. Nippon Kaigi, or Japan Conference, is an ultra-right-wing lobby group reshaping Japanese politics.
  2. "Abe's cabinet reshuffle". East Asia Forum. 14 September 2019. Abe also rewarded right-wing politicians who are close to him — so-called ‘ideological friends’ who are being increasingly pushed to the forefront of his administration — such as LDP Executive Acting Secretary-General Koichi Hagiuda who was appointed Education Minister. As a member of the ultranationalist Nippon Kaigi (Japan Conference), which seeks to promote patriotic education, he can be considered ‘reliable’ as the government’s policy leader on national education.
  3. "Japanese minister becomes first in two years to visit Tokyo's controversial Yasukuni Shrine". South China Morning Post. 17 October 2019. Retrieved 5 June 2020. Eto is serving in his first cabinet position and is a member of the ultranationalist Nippon Kaigi organisation, whose aims are to revise the “national consciousness” surrounding the prosecution of Japan’s war criminals and to change the nation’s pacifist constitution implemented after the war. The group also promotes “patriotic education”.
  4. Michal Kolmas, ed. (2019). National Identity and Japanese Revisionism. Routledge. ISBN 9781351334396. ... and foreign policy are rightwing revisionists organized in groups such as the ultranationalist Nippon Kaigi ...
  5. Ugo Dessì, ed. (2013). Japanese Religions and Globalization. Routledge. p. 146. ISBN 9780415811705.
  6. "In rare move, court suspends publication of best-seller on Abe-linked conservative lobby group". The Japan Times. Kyodo. 7 January 2017. Retrieved 5 June 2020. A Tokyo court has ordered a publisher to suspend publication of a best-selling nonfiction book detailing links between the conservative Japan Conference (Nippon Kaigi) lobby and a religious group, saying it contains defamatory information.
  7. Newsham, Grant (19 July 2016). "Japan's conservative Nippon Kaigi lobby: Worth worrying about?". Asia Times. Tokyo. Retrieved 5 June 2020. TOKYO–The recent spate of western media articles on Nippon Kaigi – a conservative Japanese lobbying group (and somewhat akin to a “Political Action Committee” in America) associated with Prime Minister Abe — suggests Japan is heading for a police state, and soon afterwards will be looking overseas for somewhere to invade.
  8. White, Stanley; Kajimoto, Tetsushi (12 March 2018). "Japan PM, finance minister under fire over suspected cover-up of cronyism". Reuters. Tokyo. Retrieved 5 June 2020. Also removed was a reference to ties by Abe and Aso to a conservative lobby group, Nippon Kaigi.
  9. Yul Sohn, T. J. Pempel, ed. (2018). Japan and Asia's Contested Order: The Interplay of Security, Economics, and Identity. Springer Science+Business Media. p. 148. ISBN 9789811302565. the reactionary group Nippon Kaigi (Japan Conference)—has been waging war over its shared past with China and South Korea on battlegrounds ranging from Yasukuni Shrine to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
  10. Right side up, 6 June 2015, The Economist.
  11. "Japan emperor greets at celebration hosted by conservatives". ABC News. 8 July 2020. Retrieved 9 November 2019. Abe's key ultra-conservative supporter, Nippon Kaigi, or Japan Conference, was among the organizers Saturday.
  12. "Ultra-nationalist school linked to Japanese PM accused of hate speech". The Guardian. 8 July 2020. Retrieved 15 March 2017. Abe and Kagoike, who has indicated he will resign as principal, both belong to an ultra-conservative lobby group whose members include more than a dozen cabinet ministers.
  13. "Tokyo's new governor defies more than glass ceiling". Deutsche Welle. 8 July 2020. Retrieved 2 August 2016. In 2008, she made an unsuccessful run at the LDP's chairmanship. Following her defeat, she worked to build an internal party network and became involved in a revisionist group of lawmakers that serves as the mouthpiece of the ultraconservative Nippon Kaigi ("Japan Conference") movement.
  14. Nippon Kaigi: Empire, Contradiction, and Japan’s Future Archived 12 September 2018 at the Wayback Machine. Asia-Pacific Journal. Author – Sachie Mizohata. Published 1 November 2016. Retrieved 12 January 2020.
  15. Norihiro Kato (12 September 2014). "Tea Party Politics in Japan". New York Times. Archived from the original on 7 July 2019.
  16. 国民運動の歩み « 日本会議(in Japanese)
  17. Matthew Penney, Abe Cabinet – An Ideological Breakdown, The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus. 28 January 2013
  18. Yoshio Sugimoto, ed. (2020). An Introduction to Japanese Society. Cambridge University Press. p. 242. ISBN 9781108724746. Nippon Kaigi Parts of the Japanese establishment have ties with a large far-right voluntary organization, Nippon Kaigi (Japan Conference), whose ranks include grassroots members across the nation as well as national and local politicians ...
  19. "The Quest for Japan's New Constitution: An Analysis of Visions and Constitutional Reform Proposals 1980–2009" p.75 (Christian G. Winkler, Routledge Contemporary Japan Series, 2011)
  20. Mullins, Mark R. (2012). The Neo-Nationalist Response to the Aum Crisis, Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 39 (1), 110–112
  21. about Nippon Kaigi (Japanese)
  22. Rightist ministers make up 80% of Abe Cabinet, Japan Press Weekly – 5 January 2012
  23. Daiki Shibuichi (2008). Japan's History Textbook Controversy, Electronic Journal of Contemporary Japanese Studies, Discussion Paper 4
  24. "By Linda Sieg". www.oneindia.com. 15 June 2006.
  25. "Politics and pitfalls of Japan Ethnography" – page 66 – Routledge (18 June 2009) – Edited by Jennifer Robertson
  26. "日本会議がめざすもの « 日本会議". www.nipponkaigi.org. Retrieved 20 July 2016.(in Japanese)
  27. Chanlett-Avery, Emma; Cooper, William H.; Manyin, Mark E.; Rinehart, Ian E. (23 February 2014). "Japan–U.S. Relations: Issues for Congress" (PDF). Congressional Research Service.
  28. 日本会議とは (in Japanese)
  29. "Japan's History Textbook Controversy – Social Movements and Governments in East Asia, 1982–2006" – Daiki Shibuichi – 4 March 2008 – ejcjs
  30. Mizohata, Sachie (1 November 2016). "Nippon Kaigi: Empire, Contradiction, and Japan's Future". The Asia Pacific Journal: Japan Focus. Retrieved 30 November 2016.
  31. .Pushed by conservatives, 19 assemblies pass statements urging constitutional revision Archived 29 October 2014 at the Wayback Machine Asahi Shimbun 1 August 2014
  32. "Abe’s reshuffle promotes right-wingers" (Korea Joongang Daily – 2014/09/05)
  33. "PUSHING REVISION: Nippon Kaigi sent staffers to help struggling LDP candidates" – Asahi Simbun 20160905
  34. N. Onishi – New York Times, 17 December 2006, Japan Rightists Fan Fury Over North Korea Abductions
  35. Tamotsu Sugano (1 May 2016). 日本会議の研究 [Research on Nippon Kaigi]. Fusosha. p. 297.
  36. "安倍政権を支える右翼組織「日本会議」の行動原理(上)" [Behavioral principle of Nippon Kaigi – a right-wing organization supports Abe's cabinet (1)]. Diamond Online. 20 May 2016.
  37. "「日本会議の研究」販売差し止め 地裁が扶桑社に命令" ["Research on Nippon Kaigi" banned of sales, District court ordered Fusosha]. Asahi Shimbun. 6 January 2017.
  38. "In rare move, court suspends publication of best-seller on Abe-linked conservative lobby group". The Japan Times. 7 January 2017.
  39. Shizuoka Shimbun staff (11 January 2017). "「日本会議の研究」修正版販売へ 差し止め決定受け扶桑社". Shizuoka Shimbun.
  40. Shizuoka Shimbun staff (11 January 2017). "日本会議本、出版認める 東京地裁、判断を一転" [District court allowed sales to Fusosha]. Shizuoka Shimbun.
  41. Muneo Narusawa, "Abe Shinzo: Japan's New Prime Minister a Far-Right Denier of History", The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol 11, Issue 1, No. 1, 14 January 2013
  42. The Economist of Britain on 5 January 2013. Cited in: William L. Brooks (2013), Will history again trip up Prime Minister Shinzo Abe? The Asahi Shimbun, 7 May 2013