2001tamogami

I am afraid that Japan might head in a direction that will tie its hands tighter because of its masochistic view of history that is gripping Japan today. I am concerned that unless someone stops it, Japan might fall in the near future.

Zurui: Tamogami holds no punches in his interview. His view of white nations has been “quietly” discussed at various levels of government and I am extremely curious how this will play out in the Japanese media. I am also very curious curious to hear what he thinks of President-elect Obama and the direction he will take with Japan. I will add additional commentary later!

Tamogami: I have been dismissed from the post of Air Self-Defense Force (ASDF) chief of staff. Since I have acted based on my belief, I have no intention of retracting my series of views. To begin with, I do not understand why I have to be criticized. I said, “Japan was a good country,” and I was told, “You are fired.”

The assertion of the Aso administration and the Liberal Democratic Party was: “In the government’s view, Japan was a bad country. You should not have described Japan as a good country.” I was forced to leave public office because I praised my own country. Is there any country in the world that is as absurd as Japan?

As if to add insult to injury, not only the LDP but also the Democratic Party of Japan fiercely criticized me. They pursued the government’s responsibility, saying, “Why did you make a person who says Japan was a good country the ASDF chief of staff?” The DPJ said: “A person who says Japan was a rotten country should become the top SDF officer.”

Democratic Party of Japan President Ichiro Ozawa wrote a book titled Blueprint for a New Japan, aiming to turn Japan into a normal country. His son was an SDF member, as well. I wonder what has happened to him and his party.After such a ridiculous argument, I was pressed to return my retirement allowance. It annoyed me. After all, I selflessly worked for the country for 41 years, including the National Defense Academy days.

One described the circumstances in which a top SDF officer is allowed to make remarks freely as civilian control in danger. But I have no intention of denying civilian control. I did not leak any military secrets and I did not violate any rules. I simply stated my view on history.

Despite that, lawmakers and media organizations labeled me as a dangerous individual. I became the object of public anger and ridicule and was fired. Freedom of expression is an important right that is guaranteed in Article 21 of the Constitution. If people are not allowed to discuss things freely, that is not a democracy. It’s the same as North Korea.

I am afraid that Japan might head in a direction that will tie its hands tighter because of its masochistic view of history that is gripping Japan today. I am concerned that unless someone stops it, Japan might fall in the near future.

After the end of the war, the victorious nations, including the United States, have pressed upon Japan the Tokyo Tribunal’s view that Japan’s history until then had all been evil, prompting Japan to lose its pride as a state. As a result, important traditional Japanese cultures have been destroyed rapidly. A Japanese-version Cultural Revolution is underway, so to speak. I believe this must be stopped at all costs.

My view is not outlandish. I believe many Japanese people share my view. Yahoo! News conducted an opinion survey on Nov. 4-11, asking: “Is there any problem with the Tamogami statement?” Answers came from 97,084 individuals. Of them, 44,269 people said, “There is no problem,” and 12,412 indicated, “There are hardly any problems.” In other words, 58% of the total said, “There aren’t any problems.”

Furthermore, on TV-Asahi’s “Let’s Discuss until Morning” program at night on Nov. 28, a fierce discussion took place under the theme of the Tamogami issue and the SDF. The program also solicited viewers’ opinions and 497 sent in their views. Of them, 303, or 61%, said, “I can relate to the Tamogami statement.” The Asahi Shimbun has relentlessly attacked me, but over 60% of the people support me.

Of course, I believe a lot of SDF personnel that number 240,000 agree with my view at the bottom of their hearts. Lawmakers and media organizations are alarmed at a possible coup. Such will never happen. In a democracy, it is not allowed to change society with violence, and SDF personnel are perfectly aware of that.

In my essay, I deliberately took up a number of good things Japan had done in the past. Until now, only bad deeds have been trumpeted, so I argued against them that history is not that unilateral.

In fact, Japan was on the invaded side during that period. From around the 15th century, white nations continued to invade colored nations. Japan was not invaded until the last.

No one raises any questions today about such brutal history of white nations’ invasions of Asia. Only Japan’s advance onto the Korean Peninsula and Chinese mainland has been the subject of criticism.

White nations exploited Asia for many years, whereas Japan endeavored for the development of Asia. For instance, Japan built many schools in Manchuria, the Korean Peninsula and Taiwan. We left behind significant improvements to the infrastructure that affects everyday life — roads, power plants, water supply, etc. Before the war, there were nine imperial universities. We established Keijo Imperial University, the sixth, in Seoul in 1924, and Taipei Imperial University, the seventh, in Taipei in 1928. Osaka Imperial University was eighth and Nagoya Imperial University was ninth. The Japanese government built imperial universities in Korea and Taiwan even before Osaka and Nagoya out of consideration for the colonies. Such is totally inconceivable under control by white nations.

That is why leaders of Asian nations at times have expressed their appreciation, saying that because Japan had fought with such countries as the United States and Britain, they have now become able to talk to them as equals.

Clash with Chinese Lt. Gen. over historical issues

I have repeatedly expressed such a view. I have introduced it in my contribution to an SDF journal and discussed it in my speeches, as well.

In addition to within the SDF, I have openly expressed my stock argument toward China. In June 2004, I visited Beijing as the leader of a Joint Staff College training team. During the visit, I had an opportunity to interview for about 30 minutes Lt. Gen. Fan Changlong, the No. 2 officer of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army general staff section. For the first 10 minutes, Lt. Gen. Fan eloquently criticized the Imperial Japanese Army’s brutal acts.

Feeling such was unbearable, I cut in: “I do not think the Japanese Army did bad things toward China. Assaults and murder occur even in peacetime.” A portrait of President Ziang Zemin was on the wall, so I also told Lt. Gen. Fan that President Ziang was unpopular in Japan because during his visit to Japan in 1998, he extensively traveled in the country and criticized Japan by touching on its responsibility for past events.

I did not plan to dampen the previous venue of exchanges by broaching the historical issue during my courtesy call on the Chinese military leader. But at that time, the other side first just talked on and on about the history issue, so I could not just bowed my head and come back, saying, “You are right.”

Because Japan has turned a deaf ear to such an argument, China brazenly keeps beating a dead horse. I don’t think that is good for the future of relations between the countries.

In any case, my rebuttal seemed quite upset the Chinese side. Many Chinese officers did not show up at the party we hosted at the Beijing Hotel before leaving China. They all said, “Something came up.” The visit to China planned for the following year was called off.

Incidentally, the debated between Lt. Gen. Fan and me was officially reported to Tokyo in detail via a cable from the Japanese Embassy in Beijing. The Foreign Ministry, the Defense Ministry, the Prime Minister’s Office, and everyone else became aware of the event, but I was not punished in any way. That was not all. Some in the Defense Ministry even praised me for what I did.

My view has always been the same and consistent. I don’t understand why I have to be beaten up this time around.

Japan forced to purchase U.S.-made equipment for prices twice as high

Now, I am going to discuss what I think about the United States.

It has already been 63 years since the end of war, but Japan, as a defeated nation, still acts in accordance with the wishes of the United States. National defense is a prime example of that.

The Cold War ended over a dozen years ago, but the United States still plays a main role in the defense of Japan. There are many U.S. bases in Japan and U.S. troops are stationed there.

And the SDF purchases major defense equipment from the United States. It can hardly be said that they are sold at fair prices. From my experience, I can honestly say that Japan has been ripped off quite a bit. There is a possibility that Japan has bought aircrafts of the same model at prices higher than those to other countries. In other words, the United States has siphoned off Japanese taxpayers’ money unfairly.

As far as the ASDF is concerned, it has purchased the F-104 (400 million yen apiece), F-4 (2 billion yen), F-15 (10 billion yen), and F-22 (50 billion yen; U.S. Congress has yet to approve) in chronological order. The price jumped five times every time new model came along. The United States also overcharged for a variety of other weapons, sometimes twice higher.

At one time, the ASDF had a plan to procure air-to-air missiles for its fighters. Washington begrudged selling the kind of missiles Japan wanted. As a result, a Japanese maker independently developed similar missiles, and Washington all of a sudden expressed its willingness to sell the kind of missiles to Tokyo for prices much cheaper than those produced domestically.

In 2000, when I was serving as the deputy chief of staff for logistics, the ASDF had a plan to introduce the Link-16, the latest model of the strategic data link system, to the Patriot (ground-to-air missile system). Japan needed to purchase its terminal equipment from the United States. In the process of negotiations, the United States raised the price of a set of terminal equipment from 100 million yen to over 200 million yen.

I lodged a protest with a senior U.S. Air Force Department official, who happened to be in Japan around that time. Three weeks after his return to the United States, the price dropped to the original level. The United States has taken advantage of Japan’s weak position.

In the world of equipment, there is something called the black box, which must be unfamiliar to civilians. It signifies the technical information not disclosed to Japan when procuring equipment from the United States.

Software codes correspond to the black box. Such black boxes are on the rise. Preventing the outflow of technology is Washington’s official position. I think that is its public stance; its true intention is to siphon money from Japan.

That is because if a glitch occurs in a part concerning the black box, only the United States would be able to fix it. Weapons also require maintenance, and for that, Japan has to place orders to U.S. corporations semi-permanently. Simply put, the more the black box grows, the more the United States can rake in money.

Reason why the abduction issue has not been resolved

I am not anti-American; I like the United States. To begin with, a state pursues its national interests. It is natural for the United States to make every effort to sell its products to other countries, including its allies.

The problem lies in Japan. Japanese people are too good-natured. They are good-natured and masochistic. I believe such a country is rare in the world.

A good country cannot be a victor in the international political scene. The world is filled with black-hearted people. Good people are destined to be used by black-hearted people.

For example, why has the issue of Japanese nationals abducted by the North not been resolved? Let’s say many U.S. citizens were abducted by the North. Would the North take the cold and overbearing attitude toward the United States, in the same way with Japan?

I can say this with confident that if it was with the United States, the abduction issue would have been resolved a long ago. That is because America’s military power is a threat to the North. With just a hint at an air strike by the United States, the North is certain to respond to a call for talks.

Japan’s attitude is poles apart from that of the United States. Japan’s hands are tied because of its own constitution prohibiting the use of force. This encourages the North to use the abduction issue to apply pressure on Japan.

Japan has created a national army enormously lacking in attack capability in the name of an exclusively defense-oriented policy of the postwar period. In order to conduct decent talks with the North, Japan needs at least to deploy air-to-ground missiles and ship-to-ground missiles to strike enemy territories.

Japan has become such a good-natured country in the postwar period solely because of America’s Japan policy. Japan has been transformed into a country convenient for the United States.

As was just discussed, Japan is now under the protection of America’s great military power, but we must keep in mind that the United States take action based on its own national interests. For instance, if the United States finds it more beneficial to team up with China, it would abandon Japan overnight.

During my stay in the United States this summer, I asked a high-ranking U.S. military officer: “If Japan and China clash over the Senkaku Islands, would the United States attack China as Japan’s ally?

As expected, the officer offered an ambiguous answer.

If China continues to build up its military buildup at the current pace, the Chinese ministry would surpass the SDF in five to ten years. The military gains strength in promotion to the money spent on it.

The alliance with the United States allows Japan to be under America’s umbrella and to be on America’s coattails in the international political scene, so I think the alliance with that country is useful to Japan. Even so, I believe a country should be defended by its own people. In other words, we need to strengthen the SDF and U.S. force in Japan must leave the country gradually. I believe that’s the way Japan should be. Without the withdrawal of the U.S. military, Japan cannot be called a truly independent country. [To be continued]

Source (Shukan Gendai, pg. 16-21, 12/20/08)