I used to have a very idealistic view of Japan.
A ‘unique’ homogeneous society, with all working together for a common good. Low crime rates. A ‘Peace Constitution’. A love of cherry blossoms and all things Zen. The most sexy women in the world.
Astonishing how knowledge aquired through university has changed all that. Cynicism now rules the roost. The likes of Sugimoto, van Wolferen, Kerr and McCormack have seen my cherry-blossom tainted spectacles thrown to the granite floor and ground into a thousand pieces.
I’ve been reading up on the Constitution this weekend. Oooh it makes me hopping mad the way politics and self-interest on the part of those with power has robbed the people of any autonomy. I’m not the only one that feels like this though, as is evident in this superb recasting of the Constitution, brought to us by the group known as ‘Smash the Security Treaty’. It is painful to read, when one finds that one’s assessment of reality matches it word for word.
Chapter 1 The Emperor
The Emperor shall be the symbol of the occupation of Japan and of the stupidity of the Japanese people, deriving his position from the orders of the Occupation Forces.
The Imperial Throne shall be dynastic in accordance with the principle of human inequality necessary to monopoly enterprise. This principle is spelt out in the Imperial House Law passed by intimidation in the Diet.
By his various mumbo-jumbo-like rites and rituals, the Emperor shall give the appearance of legitimacy to whatever is laid down by the body of officials known as the Cabinet. This shall be known as the conduct of matters of state. The Cabinet shall bear the responsibility for these rites and rituals. [Abridged]
Chapter 2 Choice of war
Aspiring sincerely to an international order based on what is determined by the United States government to be just, the Japanese people shall only choose war as the sovereign right of the nation, or the threat or use of force, in accordance with the orders of the United States of America.
In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will be maintained, and they will be called Self-Defense Forces. The right of belligerency of the state shall be subordinate to the government of the United States of America.
The organization and duties of the Self-Defense Forces shall be settled by law, and since the role of the Self-Defense Forces is always to be determined in accordance with the wishes of the government of the United States of America, no further provision about it is made in this constitution.
Chapter 3 Rights and duties of the people
All people are divided into Japanese and non-Japanese. The conditions for being Japanese are to be determined by law.
Japanese people shall enjoy all basic human rights in so far as they do not interfere with the profit-making of monopoly enterprises or with the conduct of government. This provision does not apply to non-Japanese. [Abridged]
All non-Japanese shall not be respected as individuals. So far as their rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are concerned, no legal or other provision shall be made for them save as set out in the Imperial Household Law.
All non-Japanese people shall be discriminated against in political, economic and social relations in accordance with race, creed, sex, social status or family origin or nationality.
As prescribed by the Imperial Household Law, a system of aristocracy, to be called ‘imperial clan’ (kozoku) will be established. Its members shall enjoy the privileges accompanying awards of honour, decoration or distinction. These aristocratic privileges shall be inherited and enjoyed as a permanent right which may not be taken away. [Abridged]
Under the rank and status system, some people will have to be confined as slaves. As distinct from punishment for crime, the drudgery of over-time work and commuting hell shall not be regarded as counter to anyone’s will.
Freedom of thought and conscience shall be recognized within those limits determined by public officials. ‘
Religion based on the rites and rituals performed by the Emperor is compulsory and it shall be given precedence by government. Other religions are free in so far as they do not conflict with this.
Everybody, irrespective of their religion, must participate in the rites of the above religion, i.e. the ceremonies performed by the Emperor, the raising of the ‘Hinomaru flag and kneeling before it, the singing in chorus of the ‘Kimigayo’ anthem in praise of the Emperor. The state and its organs must take appropriate steps to ensure that the people are aware of these duties.
All assembly and organization, and all expression of opinion or publication that has been authorized by the authorities shall be free.
All acts of censorship shall be known henceforth only as editing, and editing shall be required. The freedom of public officials to tap people’s telephones shall be guaranteed.
All people shall have the right to receive an unequal education in accordance with their financial means.
(p.s. Cynicism has yet to take a hold regarding the last of the few idealistic images I referred to at the beginning of this article)