Most influential right-wing pressure group in Japan

Finance Minister Taro Aso (left) and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are both special advisers to Nippon Kaigi's parliamentary league.
Finance Minister Taro Aso (left) and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are both special advisers to Nippon Kaigi's parliamentary league.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

The roll call for Japan's most influential right-wing pressure group, Nippon Kaigi, which marks its 20th anniversary this month, is a who's who of the country's prominent politicians, academics, bureaucrats and businessmen.

About 40 per cent of Diet lawmakers are members of Nippon Kaigi, which translates as the Japan Conference and was founded from the merger of two similarly aligned organisations.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his deputy, Finance Minister Taro Aso, are special advisers to the lobby's parliamentary league.

The group is chaired by international politics emeritus professor Tadae Takubo of Kyorin University in Tokyo. He took over the position from former Supreme Court Chief Justice Toru Miyoshi, who had been in charge for 14 years.

Among the group's goals are normalising education and compiling historical textbooks, and supporting peacekeeping operations by the military Self-Defence Forces.

It also advocates a new Constitution "based on a national philosophy founded in beautiful tradition", to replace one that keeps Japan's "legs and hands bound".

It says: "Today, Japan has many problems including confused politics, a decaying education system, a missing sense of crisis management, and a future that will be blighted with many difficulties.

"So as to protect and convey a beautiful Japan, Nippon Kaigi will form its operations on the basis of creating a proud country."

The group firmly believes that Japan is to be applauded for its role in liberating Asia from Western colonialists.

It also says that issues such as the Nanjing Massacre and "comfort women", a euphemism for women forced into the sex trade, have been grossly exaggerated, and that the Tokyo War Crimes Trial was illegitimate.

Denouncing what it terms "humiliating apology diplomacy", Nippon Kaigi says this has brought about a loss of pride and patriotism among a younger generation of Japanese.

When asked last year about the group's position on Japan's war aggressions and crushing defeat, Professor Takubo said: "For all countries that have gone to war, each one will have a different view of history. If you want to call that revisionism, I'm all right with that."

Walter Sim

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 02, 2017, with the headline 'Most influential right-wing pressure group in Japan'. Subscribe