The Nippon Kaigi (日本会議, "Japan Conference") is a Japanese nationalist unincorporated association and State Shinto-advocating religious organization that was established in 1997 and has approximately 38,000 members. The group is influential in the legislative and executive branches of the Japanese government through its affiliates. Shinzō Abe, the Prime Minister of Japan, serves as a special advisor to the group's parliamentary league.
|Formation||May 30, 1997|
|Founded at||Tokyo, Japan|
|Merger of||Nihon wo mamoru Kai (1974) and Nihon wo mamoru Kokumin Kaigi (1981)|
|Affiliations||Nippon Kaigi National Lawmakers Friendship Association|
|Slogan||Hokori aru kuni zukuri he (誇りある国づくりへ, "Toward Making a Country With Pride")|
|Mission||Revision of the Constitution of Japan, change the postwar national consciousness based on the Tokyo Tribunal's view of history|
The group describes its aims as to "change the postwar national consciousness based on the Tokyo Tribunal's view of history as a fundamental problem" and to "revise the current Constitution," and sees its mission to promote patriotic education, the revision of the Constitution of Japan, and support for official visits to Yasukuni Shrine.
In the words of Hideaki Kase, an influential member of Nippon Kaigi, "We are dedicated to our conservative cause. We are monarchists. We are for revising the constitution. We are for the glory of the nation." Nippon Kaigi supports revising the Japanese Constitution, especially Article 9 which forbids a standing army.
Nippon Kaigi has described six official goals of the organization as:
- "A beautiful traditional sovereignty for Japan's future" (美しい伝統の国柄を明日の日本へ): Fostering a sense of Japanese unity and social stability, based around the Imperial Household and shared history, culture and traditions of the Japanese people.
- "A new constitution appropriate for the new era" (新しい時代にふさわしい新憲法を): Restoring national defense rights, rectifying the unbalance of rights and obligations, strengthening the emphasis on the family system, and loosening the separation of religion and state.
- "Politics that protect the state's reputation and the people's lives" (国の名誉と国民の命を守る政治を): Addressing the loss of public interest in politics and government by taking a more aggressive stance in historical debates and crisis management.
- "Creating education that fosters a sense of Japanese identity" (日本の感性をはぐくむ教育の創造を): Addressing various problems arising in the Japanese educational system (bullying, prostitution, etc.) and instituting respect for the national flag and anthem, respect for national history, culture and traditions (in the process abandoning "gender-free" education and critical views of Japanese history).
- "Contributing to world peace by strengthening national security" (国の安全を高め世界への平和貢献を): Strengthening Japanese defense power in order to counterbalance China, North Korea and other hostile powers, and remembering Japan's war dead.
- "Friendship with the world tied together by a spirit of co-existence and mutual prosperity" (共生共栄の心でむすぶ世界との友好を): Building friendly relations with foreign countries through social and cultural exchange programs.
Some have claimed that Nippon Kaigi believes that "Japan should be applauded for liberating much of East Asia from Western colonial powers; that the 1946–1948 Tokyo War Crimes tribunals were illegitimate; and that killings by Imperial Japanese troops during the 1937 Nanjing massacre were exaggerated or fabricated". The group vigorously defends Japan's claim in its territorial dispute over the Senkaku Islands with China, and denies that Japan forced the "comfort women" into sexual slavery during World War II. Nippon Kaigi fights against feminism, LGBT rights, and the 1999 Gender Equality Law.
Nippon Kaigi was founded in 1997 through the merger of two groups whose agendas included constitutional revision:
- Nihon wo mamoru Kokumin Kaigi (National Conference to Defend Japan or People's Conference to Protect Japan, founded in 1981) included many veterans of Japan's Imperial Army and Navy, and published its own Constitutional reform draft in 1994. Its predecessor was Gengo Houseika Jitsugen Kokumin Kaigi (National Conference to Implement Regnal Year Legislation, founded in 1978).
- Nihon wo mamoru Kai (Society for the Protection of Japan, founded in 1974), that comprised several Shinto and religious cults.
Yuzo Kabashima, the secretary general of Nippon Kaigi, established a sister organization Nihon Seinen Kyogikai in 1977, which is headquartered in the same building as Nippon Kaigi and acts as the organization's secretariat.
Nippon Kaigi claims 35,000 individual members, 47 prefectural chapters, and about 230 local chapters. The organization's website lists the members depending on their seniority in an organization headed by a President seconded by Vice Presidents and a pool of "advisors", actually eminent Shinto priests leading key shrines, some of them belonging to the Imperial family.
Following the 2014 reshuffle of Third Abe Cabinet, 15 of the 18 cabinet members, including the Prime Minister himself, were members of Nippon Kaigi. Most of them (63% of the extended 97-member Abe administration and nearly 90% of its 18 cabinet ministers) also belong to the Shinto Association of Spiritual Leadership Diet Members' Caucus advocating State Shinto.
As of October 2014, the group claims 289 of the 480 Japanese National Diet members, and 15 of the 19 government members. Among the members, former members, and affiliated are countless lawmakers, many ministers and a few prime ministers including Tarō Asō and Shinzō Abe. Abe's brother Nobuo Kishi is also a member of the Nippon Kaigi group in the Diet. Its chairman, Toru Miyoshi, is the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Japan.
After campaigning actively for LDP candidates in July 2016, Nippon Kaigi will campaign for constitutional revisionism in September 2016.
|Year||Name||Period||Time in office|
|1997||Koichi Tsukamoto||1997–1998||1 year|
|1998||Kosaku Inaba||1998–2001||3 years|
|2001||Toru Miyoshi||2001 – 2015||14 years|
|2015||Tadae Takubo||2015 – present||2 years, 9 months and 20 days|
Norimitsu Onishi considers that the organization promotes a revival of the fundamentals of the Empire of Japan; Tamotsu Sugano, the author of the bestselling expose on the group, "Research on Nippon Kaigi" (日本会議の研究) describes them as a democratic movement in method but intent on turning back sexual equality, restoring patriarchal values, and returning Japan to a pre-war constitution—neither democratic nor modern, and they are consolidated in left-phobia and in misogyny. On January 6 2017 sale of the book was banned by a district court for defamation pending removal of the offending portion; a revised digital edition continued to be sold Sales resumed that March when the court allowed a revised edition with 36 characters deleted to appear.
Muneo Narusawa, the editor of Weekly Friday considers that, in parallel with historical revisionism, the organization often highlights historical facts that convey Japan as a victim such as the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki or the North Korean abductions of Japanese citizens. Education minister Hakubun Shimomura, the secretary general of the Discussion Group of Nippon Kaigi Diet Members (Nippon Kaigi kokkai giin kondankai – 日本会議国会議員懇談会), argues for patriotic education and opposes a "masochistic view of history".
- Right side up, Jun 6th 2015, The Economist.
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- about Nippon Kaigi (Japanese)
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- 日本会議とは(in Japanese)
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- .Pushed by conservatives, 19 assemblies pass statements urging constitutional revision Asahi Shimbun Aug 1, 2014
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- "PUSHING REVISION: Nippon Kaigi sent staffers to help struggling LDP candidates" – Asahi Simbun 20160905
- N. Onishi – New York Times, December 17, 2006, Japan Rightists Fan Fury Over North Korea Abductions
- Tamotsu Sugano (2016-05-01). 日本会議の研究 [Research on Nippon Kaigi]. Fusosha. p. 297.
- "安倍政権を支える右翼組織「日本会議」の行動原理（上）" [Behavioral principle of Nippon Kaigi – a right-wing organization supports Abe's cabinet (1)]. Diamond Online . 2016-05-20.
- "「日本会議の研究」販売差し止め 地裁が扶桑社に命令" ["Research on Nippon Kaigi" banned of sales, District court ordered Fusosha]. Asahi Shimbun. January 6, 2017.
- "In rare move, court suspends publication of best-seller on Abe-linked conservative lobby group". The Japan Times. 2017-01-07.
- Shizuoka Shimbun staff (2017-01-11). "「日本会議の研究」修正版販売へ 差し止め決定受け扶桑社". Shizuoka Shimbun.
- Shizuoka Shimbun staff (2017-01-11). "日本会議本、出版認める 東京地裁、判断を一転" [District court allowed sales to Fusosha]. Shizuoka Shimbun.
- Muneo Narusawa, "Abe Shinzo: Japan’s New Prime Minister a Far-Right Denier of History", The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol 11, Issue 1, No. 1, January 14, 2013
- The Economist of Britain on Jan. 5, 2013. Cited in: William L. Brooks (2013), Will history again trip up Prime Minister Shinzo Abe? The Asahi Shimbun, May 07, 2013