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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 September 24 - 30  > Pro-Yasukuni lineup features Aso Cabinet
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2008 September 24 - 30 [POLITICS]

Pro-Yasukuni lineup features Aso Cabinet

September 25, 2008
Prime Minister Aso Taro once headed the parliamentarian group affiliated with the pro-Yasukuni rightist association Nippon-kaigi (Japan Conference). He now serves as its special counselor.

The 19-member Aso Cabinet includes 10 members of the Nihon-kaigi Dietmembers’ League, including six board members.

When Aso became the league’s president in October 2000, he publicly stated, “The postwar Japanese system has its roots in the U.S. occupation policy. It has weakened the state and denied history, thus continuing to deprive the Japanese people of pride.”

An advocate of a reactionary revision of the Constitution, Aso once stated, “Discussions should be oriented to the establishment of a Constitution that is based on the history and traditions of Japan, and has an imprint of the Japanese.”

In a political document entitled “Long live Yasukuni Shrine,” which he drew up when he sought the Liberal Democratic Party presidency in 2006, he said, “May His Highness the Emperor personally worship at Yasukuni Shrine.”

Taking the lead in attacking history textbooks

Nakagawa Shoichi, the finance minister and state minister in charge of financial services, and Nakasone Hirofumi, the education minister, are acting presidents of the league.

Ishiba Shigeru, the agriculture minister, is the league’s adviser.

Justice Minister Mori Eisuke and Construction and Transport Minister Nakayama Nariaki are vice presidents of the league. Nakayama is also the president of Parliamentarian Association to Think about Japan’s Future and History Education, the organization which spearheaded attacks against history textbooks.

The Aso Cabinet also includes prominent advocates of constitutional revision.

Nakasone is the deputy secretary general of the Parliamentarian League for a New Constitution.

Hatoyama Kunio, internal affairs and communications minister, is the League’s vice president. Last year, as justice minister, he came under fire for his remark that “the Japanese people are called upon to rewrite their own Constitution.”

The new cabinet’s most senior ministers are leaders of the Parliamentarian League for Constitutional Revision. This reminds us of the lineup of the Abe Cabinet.

The Aso Cabinet also includes a number of members who campaigned for the adverse revision of the Fundamental Law of Education.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Kawamura Takeo was the education minister at the time of the Koizumi Cabinet.

Foreign Minister Nakasone Hirofumi, Financial Services Minister Nakagawa Shoichi, and State Minister in Charge of Economic and Fiscal Policy Yosano Kaoru are former board members of the Council for the Promotion of Revision of the Fundamental Law of Education. The group was established under the initiative of the parliamentary wing of Nippon Kaigi.

Newly-appointed Minister of Education Shionoya Ryu has advocated the revision of both the Constitution and the Fundamental Law of Education on his website.

All supporters of U.S. ‘wars on terror’

The Aso Cabinet retains the system for Japan to actively support the U.S. “war on terrorism.”

New Defense Minister Hamada Yasukazu, former head of the LDP National Defense Division, played a key role in drafting a permanent law to dispatch Japan’s Self-Defense Forces abroad (at the LDP National Defense Division’s defense policy exploratory subcommittee) in cooperation with then Defense Minister Ishiba Shigeru. The draft not only calls for the SDF to be deployed on an as needed-basis, it also states that SDF missions abroad should be expanded and that rules should be eased to allow SDF members to use arms during missions in other countries. Hamada is also a member of a ruling parties’ project team on the permanent law, which began its activities during the ordinary Diet session.

In the LDP presidential campaign, Aso said, “We should make a permanent law to immediately respond to possible acts of terrorism.”

The Aso Cabinet defies public opinion by bringing anew the pro-Yasukuni approaches into politics and by strengthening the attempt to adversely revise the Constitution. This will inevitably increase antagonisms between the cabinet’s position and calls for peace in Japan and the rest of Asia.
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