Prominent Japanese YouTube blogger claims Kishida is giving in to terrorism on Family Federation issue
Tokyo, 15th November 2023 – Published as an article in the Japanese newspaper Sekai Nippo. Republished with permission. Translated from Japanese. Original article
– How do you see the request for the dissolution of the Family Federation? Interview with YouTuber Hirohiko Mitsuma
The Kishida administration has “given in to terrorism”
by Seisaku Morita
The Kishida administration has requested Tokyo District Court to order the dissolution of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (formerly the Unification Church). While a public opinion poll shows that 80% of the people support this, there is a YouTuber who is harshly criticical of the Kishida administration’s response. It is Hirohiko Mitsuma (38). Why does he continue to send out messages in defense of the religious organisation, at the same time as the existing media such as newspapers and television continue to criticize the same organisation after the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe? We asked Hirohiko Mitsuma. (Interviewer: Seisaku Morita, Photo: Liisa Takezawa)
Hirohiko Mitsuma was born in Chiba Prefecture in February 1985. His original specialty was ancient Chinese history. Recently, he has been distributing reviews of current affairs that he is personally interested in on YouTube and other platforms. Graduated from the Department of Chinese Studies (now the Department of Chinese Literature) at Daito Bunka University [Tokyo / Saitama] and completed the doctoral course. His Youtube Channel URL
– The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology has issued a request for an order to disband the former Unification Church. How do you see this?
It all boils down to the words: “capitulation to terrorism”. To begin with, the bashing of the former Unification Church following the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last summer, was a witch-hunt. It began with talk of feeling sorry for defendant Tetsuya Yamagami (whose mother, a member of the religious organisation, is said to have made a large donation). However, the organisation has refunded 50 million yen to the Yamagami defendant’s family in instalments since 2005. In other words, this is evidence that the religious organisation has become healthier at this stage.
However, somehow the story has moved in the direction of the religious organisation being at fault because defendant Yamagami had a grudge against it. The request for a dissolution order has undoubtedly achieved one of Yamagami’s goals. The threat of terrorism is gone, so it can only be described as ‘giving in to terrorism’.
Journalist Eito Suzuki (a leading critic of the religious organisation) often refers to the “straw man argument”. In fact, the story of Yamagami is itself a straw man argument. The terrorism case was replaced by a story of hatred towards the former Unification Church. It was wrong from the start.
– Even though it was terrorism, the issue was shifted, and they ended up requesting a dissolution order.
Completely shifted. In the immediate aftermath of the incident, the religious organisation was bashed by internet influencers, commentators, and politicians. It was also labeled a “cult”. Public opinion was then stirred up, saying that it must be disbanded. It is natural to assume that the agitators had a political objective.
– What is its political purpose?
As many commentators have already pointed out, I see it as the breakdown of the Abe faction of the LDP and the destruction of the Abe line. If we look at the situation in which the Abe faction has hardly functioned since the assassination of Shinzo Abe, at least they have succeeded in suppressing the Abe faction.
Thirty percent of the Liberal Democratic Party’s support base is rock-solid conservatives. The Abe faction is basically supported by this conservative group. The reason Japan’s conservatives are so strong is because the Abe faction has a stable political foundation.
It is true that members of the former Unification Church, who are said to have had a relationship with former Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi (Abe’s grandfather), have acted in a practical way on behalf of many conservatives, albeit to realize their own ideas. There is no doubt that it was one of the vote-gathering and support bases of the conservative wing of the Liberal Democratic Party, and it is easy to predict how the political balance will change if this support base is attacked.
Used to suppress the Abe faction
– How has the Liberal Democratic Party changed since Abe’s assassination?
The administration in Japan and the Democratic Party administration in the United States are extremely incompatible. However, when he was prime minister, Mr. Abe elicited a statement from President Obama that the Senkaku Islands [disputed group of uninhabited small islands between Japan and Taiwan] were subject to the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty (2014). Abe also delivered a speech at a joint session of both houses of the US Congress (2015).
The greatness of Shinzo Abe’s political skills is that he was able to achieve the goals of his conservative politics at a time with a Democratic administration in the United States, in a situation in which the US-Japan alliance tends to be in a state of flux. Furthermore, in the latter half of the 2010s, based on the relationship of trust with then-President Trump, Abe undoubtedly played a role as a mediator on a global level. Domestically, the economic policy Abenomics produced results.
The Kishida administration made a major shift in the conservative line laid down by Shinzo Abe with the Act on Promoting Understanding of LGBT Issues. The Abe faction was completely suppressed, and the bill was passed almost unanimously in June this year. In the process, U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel interfered in the country’s internal affairs, but the Biden administration did not stop him.
It is an undeniable fact that the political influence of conservatives has declined significantly after the LDP declared that it has severed ties with the religious organisation due to the bashing of the former Unification Church.
– Prime Minister Kishida is praised by some conservatives as continuing the Abe line when it comes to strengthening defense capabilities.
He has proposed an increase in defense spending, but unlike Mr. Abe, who advocated issuing national bonds, he says he will respond by increasing taxes. Officially, the government appears to be continuing Abe’s policy, but raising taxes would likely damage the nation’s strength.
Moreover, US President Biden made a statement that could be taken to mean that he himself had persuaded Japan to increase its defense spending Although he later denied it, it cannot be ruled out that there was a push from the Democratic Party here as well. In this case, it must be said that Japan is bending to the will of the Democratic Party of the United States.
The policies that the US Democratic Party administration – which has taken advantage of the tense situation vis-à-vis China – is trying to impose. To put in a worse way, I would say that the policies are being introduced directly into Japan in areas that have nothing to do with the situation vis-à-vis China. This is the biggest difference from the Abe administration.
Featured image above: Hirohiko Mitsuma. Photo: Liisa Takezawa. Published with permission.
“Kishida Administration Giving in to Terrorism” – text: Seisaku Morita, Japanese journalist.
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