Introduction - A Nation of Zombies
The purpose of this book is to diagnose the pathological effect of the Koizumi administration on Japan and its citizens.
Koizumi Junichiro, Japan's current prime minister, has had the fourth longest incumbency of any prime minister in postwar Japanese history. Inaugurated April 26,2001, Koizumi overwhelmingly ,won a general election on September 11, 2005, and will retain his position as Japan's head of state until at least September 2006. If there is a new administration in fall 2006, it will be a ghost and puppet of the current Koizumi administration. It will preserve the Koizumi system and continue to rule Japan as an ochlocratic state.
Consider these two-figures.
$9 trillion. After his election in 2001, Koizumi abandoned his policy pledge to limit the issuing of new government bonds to less than $270 billion U.S. As a result, the amount of outstanding government loans rose from $3.3 trillion at the end of 2000 to approximately $4.3 trillion by the end of 2004. Also, debt from short-term government securities and public loans is presently at $7.2 trillion. There is a high probability that total debt will exceed $9 trillion with the inclusion of debt from local government agencies. A deficit of this magnitude is equal to roughly two years of Japan's gross domestic product. This will be impossible to pay back no matter what measures the government takes. For this reason, regardless of immediate economic trends, Japan is in a crisis.
$4,800. This is the average monthly income for a Japanese household as announced by the General Affairs Department in 2004. In 2000, before Koizumi was elected, this figure was around $5,100. This means that the average income of the Japanese family has dropped by $300 monthly over the course of Koizumi's four years in office.
From these two figures alone, it is clear that Japan under Koizumi is heading for disaster.
I have lived outside Japan for over forty years. During this period I have traveled many times to Japan to observe its political characteristics and compare them with those of other countries. This is the first time that I have had to stoop to such a low level to describe the government of my native land. Koizumi's policies are so callous toward the actual condition of the Japanese state and its people, that I esteem Japan's political performance to be worse than North Korea or even Namibia. Why has Koizumi's misgovernment been so neglected?
One reason for Koizumi's endurance is that the Japanese media has failed in its watchdog role. Another reason is that the Japanese people, who have personally fallen into a miserable situation, do not realize its gravity. Competent people in the world know Koizumi's how happy-go-lucky approach, and it is not an exaggeration to say that they are appalled. Yet Japanese people themselves do not understand the person they have elected or what he is doing to Japan. I can't help but saying that our ignorance makes me very unsettled.
I visit my country several times each year to gather information and debate Japan's condition with my readers and journalist friends. On recent visits they have asked me when my next diagnosis of Japan was coming out. I have always responded "diagnosing Japan is the work for a professional pathologist."
Many journalists, professional analysts, politicians, bureaucrats, and old acquaintances are among my readers. These people, who conscientiously support Japan, provide me with inside information and also occasionally cooperate and add to my research. I also have many old friends in the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan. These special friends take pride in good coverage and news analysis. They help with homework I request of them when I visit. Their research and conclusions often provide flashes of understanding for me.
For a long time I was thinking who would write the diagnosis. But no person appeared. The Koizumi cabinet has remained in power for more than four years with no serious confrontation. When it struck me that I was the only one who would write it, I began a data file of information a few years ago.
As a professional geologist, I consider myself an earth diagnostician. While this means that I am best at working with Mother Nature, I decided to use my powers of observation to grasp the political problems of Japanese society and diagnose them from a historical point of view.
The following points are considered general knowledge about Koizumi and serve as a short introduction of our current Japanese Prime Minister:
* In spite of his assertion "I will destroy the Liberal Democratic Party [LDP]," Koizumi won the presidential nomination of the LDP and became prime minister with a landslide victory in the April 2001 general election.
In my book Diagnosis of Japanese Catalepsy (1993) I argued that Japan in the early 1990s resembled Japan at the end of the Edo period (1603-1868), when there was a significant climate of xenophobia (joi). I used this historical parallel to give perspective to what I saw as the continuing collapse of the Japanese political system. Looking back on this analysis, I now believe that Japan is at a moment when its collapse has become a reality. As is the present case for Japan, history teaches us that rulers appear in times of political trouble who can manipulate the prevailing mood of the masses' xenophobia. Are the above-mentioned Koizumi examples not clear signs of this?
Koizumi's political techniques resemble the methods of an emerging dictator. Koizumi amasses popularity by doing things he is not supposed to be able to do. He uses the fact that he accomplished them as "dressing" to demonstrate his lack of need to rely on others and his avoiding any responsibility. His behavior is actually no different than that of Louis N. Bonaparte III (1808-1873), whose fixation on immediate success at the cost of its consequences caused him to trample on his own promises during the French Second Empire (1854-1870).
I will return to this theme of a ruler being angrily confronted by his people because he has violated his promises. In summary, it is characterized by the postponement of problems and lack of accountability. With the repetition of these two features, the most important problems are forgotten, while making the rest of this ruler's politics an image of magic.
Koizumi condemns all of those who do not follow him as his enemies. He plans for the preservation of his regime despite its hypertrophied state. This became clear to everyone on August 8, 2005, when Koizumi demanded the dissolution of the Lower House after the postal privatization bill was defeated. LDP members of the Diet who voted against the bill were considered traitors to the prime minister by the party secretariat, and were defeated in the general election by Koizumi's candidates (called "hatchet women" by the media).
Prime Minister Koizumi is an all-talk, no-aclion responsibility dodger. The word "persuasion" does not exist in his dictionary, and his only genuine talent is for eloquent kindergarlen-style gimmicks. It would be most appropriate to call him a "mountebank." Yet even a mountebank, whose trade is deception, should have the Japanese values of obligation and feeling if he is Japanese. Koizumi has neither. With neither honor nor pliilosophy, Koizumi is merely "a selfish feudal lord" for whom only the term "Le petit dictateur" fits.
So how did Japanese politics arrive at this horrible mess? Perhaps the underlying reason is that the once equitable distribution of national wealth grew uneven. This caused Japanese people who had a middle-class mentality to begin perceiving themselves as "losers." Meanwhile, the handful of "winners" was able to connect with foreign countries, so that even though Japan internally became a "loser," winners remained under the illusion that Japan was an international model. As a result of this new class alignment, people who once favored international cooperation are now directing xenophobic nationalism. This feeling in turn has propelled the Koizumi's long-term rule.
When I was a graduate student in France, I took a course on fascism in addition to my other courses in my major of structural geology. In that course, I learned about the history, psychology, and pathology of fascists. Compared to Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) and Benito Mussolini (1883-1945), Koizumi seems dwarfish. At best, he is a copycat not even on the level of Jean-Bedel Bokassa (1921 -1996) of the Central African Republic.
A personality who is subservient to the strong but domineering to the weak, Koizumi is so much like the Le Petit Bonapartiste that I wonder if they have the same blood type or astrological sign.
Bokassa yearned to be like Napoleon Bonaparte I and became president of the Central African Republic by a coup d'etat. Calling his country an "empire" instead of a "republic" and awarding himself the title of "emperor," Bokassa was a memorable anachronism who, in one instance, presented the president of France, Valery Giscard d'Estaing, with a large diamond.
Koizumi, in contrast to Bokassa, is only a hereditary Diet member who received a leather coat from President George W. Bush at Camp David. As a return favor to Bush, Koizumi eased the strain of America's financial deficit by purchasing U.S. Treasury Bonds in an amount surpassing Japan's tax revenues by hundreds of billions of dollars. Not only did Koizumi contribute Japan's national wealth to America, he also walked over the Japan's constitution to dispatch Japan's Self-Defense Forces to Iraq. Now, with the support he gained from the so-called "people's vote" in the general election on September 11, 2005, Koizumi is reaching out to destroy both Japan's postal savings and Japan's life insurance system.
My diagnostic method is based on information I have collected through investigative reporting. I also utilize similar historical phenomenon as mirror images for comparing the reality of what is happening in Japan. This addition of historical background gives my analysis a perspective that allows the reader to see current events within a more comparative and comprehensive structure, I have personally gathered most of the information in this book. But I have also relied on the work of predecessors along with the reports given to me by fellow journalists.
At any rate, I have reconstructed the myriad components into a single picture like a jigsaw puzzle. If the reader can use this picture as an anatomical guide to contemporary Japanese society, and if the reader can see by this picture the present health of Japan and the reasons for my diagnosis, I will be grateful.
Canadian journalist Benjamin Fulford has confronted the Japanese establishment with The Yakuza Recession, The Iron Kleptocracy, and The Day Japan Came Crashing Down, there books that summarize the maladministration by the Japanese government that has continued for over a decade. Unfortunately, most Japanese journalists and scholars are unfocused even though they live in Japan. They have been idling time away and not producing the social criticism required to surpass Fulford's trilogy. As a challenge to Fulford's trilogy, my diagnosis hopes to provide insight into Japan's predicament. Japan needs ventilation to overcome its stifled present atmosphere of debate.
I have written many books diagnosing Japan, but those books only addressed the clinical history of Japan from the burst of Japan's economic bubble until the beginning of the long-term recession. In order to comprehend Japan's current health condition, it is necessary to understand the course Japan has taken in the past. With this in mind, I will briefly trace the recent economic and political history of Japan.
The failure of postwar Japan began in 1970 with the administration of Tanaka Kakuei (1918-1993), a self-made populist politician with a background in the construction industry. During Tanaka's tenure as prime minister, Japan experienced a frenzied construction boom and excessive land development. This failure by Tanaka's administration was symbolized by the phenomenon of Japan becoming corrupt and anarchic like prewar Shanghai. Few people were aware of this problem. Most Japanese people envisioned endless progressive success. Shallow panegyrics such as Ezra Vogel's Japan as No. 1 were written for a decade in which Japanese people were inflated with pride.
Looking back, the Japanese can say that those were the good old days. When the Lockheed Scandal brought trouble to Japan and the downfall of Tanaka Kakuei, journalism still possessed critical faculties. Discussion in the Diet consisted of honest questions and the search for truth. Japan upheld decency as a nation ruled by law, where students actually read books, and Japanese had hope in their eyes.
The 1980s signaled the onset of Japan's decline. Japanese people became caught up in a phenomenon known us "zai-tech" (the accumulation of profitable technology assets) and gradually assumed an arrogant attitude. As greed spread, the basis of society's values separated from humility and sincerity, and truth and pretense became confused. Prime Ministers Nakasone Yasuhiro (1918- ) and Takeshita Noboru (1924-2000). who ruled in this decade of yakuza politics and casino economics, represented nationalist patrimonial circles and had strong ties to the underworld. Because of Nakasone and Takeshita's cureless policies, Japan, a country with very few natural resources, wasted much but not all of its energy supply. The beginning. of Japan's catastrophe was accompanied by pain but not death. Even with the burst of the Japanese economic bubble in 1989, Japan's diagnosis was only the start of catalepsy, a medical condition in which the victim lacks environmental awareness but has a normal exterior appearance.
In the 1990s Japan's condition grew progressively worse, Journalism became corrupt and its brainpowers withered. With the media's loss of critical faculties, politics departed from accountability. After the abandonment of principle, modern Japan, which was supposed to be characterized by reason, began its meltdown. Japanese society went from inferior to rotten, and there was fear that Japan might return to the Stone Age.
As the end of the century approached and Hashimoto Ryutarro became prime minister, Japan's physical mutation became noticeable. Moreover, with the increasing appearance of coexisting syndromes, the practice of selecting the prime minister behind closed doors set in, giving rise to the administrations of Obuchi Keizo (1937-2000), Mori Yoshiro, and now Koizumi.
I fear Koizumi will proceed until the death of Japan, for in the name of "reform" he is causing more and more social devastation. With his dissolution of the Lower House after the rejection of the postal system privatization bill, Koizumi has gone as far as destroying the framework of Diet politics and Japan's democratic system.
Today Japan is a country controlled by zombies. In the transition from decay to death, normal people cannot really live and only zombies flourish. In such conditions as Japan now faces, citizens, unaware that they are being controlled by zombies, carry on with a restless, alienated feeling. Because this situation is a tragedy, we must know precisely what zombies are. What exactly is a "zombie"?
When I initially tried to define "zombie," I opted for mathematical terminology, placing "understanding" on the highest dimension while putting zombie on the lowest. But this abstract scheme gave no precise meaning, so I decided to look the word up in a few dictionaries. At first, "zombie" wasn't in any of the regular dictionaries I checked. Upon careful thought about where I might find it, I searched the Spiritualism Research Dictionary, where I found the following definition:
Zombie: Of Haitian origin. Magic or black magic that has the power to revive dead people or make them sleepwalk.
Reading this made me think, "Now I'm convinced." With this explanation, the revival of the lame duck LDP with the birth of the Koizumi administration in 2001 was clearly an example of black magic. To make this "zombie" metaphor more sociologically sound, I also checked "zombie" in my Japanese-American Colloquialisms Dictionary, and received "living dead" for a definition. There was also this information:
The original English meaning comes from a voodoo ritual curse and describes a dead person who has been brought into un-life. The word later became slang and came to signify any person who is mentally similar to a dead person. "Zombie" can also be used to mean "lazy."
In any case, Japan's political climate has recently been filled with a strange air. Have zombies invaded Japan? Social order has been totally lost, and everyone is writhing, screaming, and roaming about!
In addition to zombies, Walpurgis Night also comes to mind when I think about recent Japanese politics. Walpurgis Night is a legendary festival that takes place yearly on the eve of the first of May on Mt. Broken, a lofty peak in the Hartz mountain range in north central Germany. It is said that on Walpurgis Night, witches riding bull mountain goats, broomsticks, and pokers gather on Mt, Broken to feast with the devil. Goethe (1749-1832) magnificently depicts this scene in his tragic poem Faust:
The wind is hushed, the stars die,
The shrieks of crazed witches echo through the mountains and valleys below, while the frenzy gives way to an orgy.
Walpurgis Night is a dead-on metaphor for the Koizumi boom. First there is the bizarre death of Obuchi Keizo. Then a backroom deal produces the Mori cabinet. Next the Mori cabinet falls after historically low approval ratings. Suddenly the LDP rises from the dead and appears as a stray crow. Finally this stray crow -the Koizumi administration - destroys its own nest. If this string of events doesn't appropriately portray the chaos on Walpurgis Night, what does?
Introduction - A Nation of Zombies
Part 1. From the Cellar to the Witch's Kitchen
Chapter 2- Hidden History
Part II. Evening at Forest and Cavern
Chapter 4- A Chronicle of Zombies
Part III. Walpurgis Night
Chapter 6- Reform with Sanctuary
Chapter 7- Drunken Diplomacy
Part IV. A Dismal Day at the Dungeon
About the author
When Japan is observed from abroad, things that are not seen domestically become readily apparent. Long ago an expression was created to depict this phenomenon of distance giving perspective: "a bystander's vantage point is a view from eight eyes." This expression implies that people who have a distant view can see the mistakes that people directly involved cannot.
In the world of mathematics, manipulating derivatives corresponds to the dimensional jump and change. This is the secret to understanding many problems in mathematics.
In the introduction to my second book Age of Oil Starvation (Simul Press, February 1974), I wrote the following:
"The conservative politics that has long persisted since the end of World War II is becoming fascistic. Ultra-nationalistic politicians are concentrating around despots and conspiring in a financial world that is again controlled by zaibatsu [prewar financial cliques]. Japan s one hundred million people are again being sucked into tragedy...There are only two methods far correctly evaluating the current proceedings. Either one looks across time for historical incidents in the past, or one spatially distances oneself from the Japanese archipelago and focuses on Japan. Geology is the science of lime and space. As a geologist who deals with the earth s history, I am interested in how the time period I am living in will be comprehended in the future. Because I want to be more removed from the activities that could surround me, I am observing Japan from the other side of the Pacific Ocean. These ominous signs of fascism cause me serious despair. "
When I wrote this, Japan was experiencing social disorder as a result of the oil shock. Koizumi Junichiro had been a Diet member for only one year. It is an interesting coincidence that my first book. The Oil Crisis and Japanese Fates (Simul Press, April 1973), was published six months prior to the 1973 oil crisis and became a national best seller in Japan due to its timely prediction of that global political event.
During this time the chauvinistic and hawkish politicians Fukuda Takeo and Nakasone Yasuhiro were aiming to rule the nation. I was very worried about their intentions. Today, thirty years later, the deep current of ultra-nationalistic political sentiment that has been present throughout modem Japan has surfaced in the Koizumi administration. Repeated political scandals, along with Japan's long depression and social malaise, are the main reason that this sentiment has emerged.
Japanese journalists and scholars should be writing about or chronicling this dangerous movement now at a critical time while it is unfolding. Two years ago, I started collecting the information which has become the basis of this book. Japanese-style fascism thrives off of popular delusions and political hysteria. It has now reached an abnormal level with the populism of the crowds' madness.
During the publishing of the Japanese edition of this book, I was filled with envy by American journalist David Halberstam, who wrote The Best and the Brightest during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. At the same time that the erroneous decision by America to fight the Vietnam War was bearing its sorrowful fruit, Halberstam made an incisive critique of the young government officials who led America's mistaken foray into British-style imperialism. Halberstam was careful to note that many of these young men had been Rhodes scholars, who are considered to be America's most promising youth. The selection committee for Rhodes scholars insists that four strict requirements be fulfilled by winners:
* Literary and scholastic attainments
In contrast to America's Rhodes scholar-politicians, the politicians I discuss in this book are from second or third-generation political families who studied abroad only to add luster to their resumes. These politicians neither had the qualification nor the motivation to learn seriously. They didn't get any credit from the classes that they took as mere attendees. Some of these students, like Aso Taro, read only comic books. Japanese students who study abroad during the Meiji period one hundred years ago were probably Japan's best and brightest. But recent students, and especially the sons of politicians, are regretfully the worst and the stupidest, due to their spoiled upbringing and their failure to apply themselves wholly and resolutely to their studies and in the efforts to train their minds.
The Japanese edition of this book was mostly completed by the beginning of summer 2005. After reading the initial draft, my editor in Japan said, "Your sentences are long and too complicated, and you describe difficult topics in difficult language, so the message you labor to convey doesn't get to the reader... Leave it to me." My editor proceeded to cut about twenty percent of the original manuscript. The rest was published in Japan at the end of October 2005.
A majority of my observations on international relations and pathologies in Japanese politics were omitted from the Japanese edition to avoid potential conflicts with Japanese readers. As a result, the main themes in this book became the diagnosis of Japan's illness and the direct problem from a depletion of human resource resulting from the decline in educational cultivation.
I have modified the English edition of this book with an eye to the needs of the English-speaking reader. First of all, I asked Mr. Scott Wilbur, a young and bright scholar of political science and Japan, to directly translate the original Japanese text into English. I restored my historical analysis and reasoning, along with definitions and semantics based upon concepts from many other people's works. The end result is that the English edition is quite different than the Japanese edition; the Japanese editor's objective was to successfully target a larger market.
During the editing stage Scott and I had many conferences during which we discussed how to format the English edition for readers who might have less knowledge of Japanese history and culture. Several specific subjects were removed because they were felt to be of interest only to the Japanese reader. I would also like to express my thanks to Mr. Thomas Allen, my friend and attorney who read and checked the flow of the English edition, and to my daughter, Remie Fujiwara, for providing her professional information in both the chapter on psychoanalysis and psychopaths and the final proofing stages of this book.
The appearance of immature and untrained Koizumi children has ravaged Japan's political scene. The genuine practice of proper governmental policy has been completely forgotten and in its place Japan has now been left with the theatrical discord of Zombie Politics awaiting the daybreak after Walpurgis Night.
At the time when I was writing the Afterthoughts for the Japanese edition of this book, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita tragically struck America's Gulf Coast. Before the might of Katrina and Rita, people ran this way and that. Viewers witnessed a scene where things central to the American way of life - the home and property - were abandoned and where life itself became the most important value. Through this tragedy, we saw the true identity of America's hegemony and its mistaken politics.
In closing this book, I would like to recall a bit of wisdom from the Spanish sage Baltasar Gracian (1601-1658). During the first half of the seventeenth century, Spain was in a similar place to today's world in its social corruption, disintegration, natural disasters, hypocrisy, moral ruin, and political dishonesties.
"Do not take lightly the smallest problem that crosses your path, for it never comes singly, but in battalions..... "