Questions by Congressman Nakayama at the Diet on March 8, 2013

Questions by Congressman Nakayama at the Diet on March 8, 2013


This write-up is the English translation of the transcription in Japanese made by Twitter Name Annna_In_The_Mountain (@nothing_is_easy)


I have translated into English only the parts which have been very critical and sensitive issues between South Korea and Japan. The following is the URL of the YouTube video clip posted by Congressman Nakayama. The English translation starts from 34.17 of the video.


(Please note that this is not word-for-word translation. I have read between the lines and elicited in English hidden and important messages. Japanese are high context people. Important messages exist between the lines. In order to understand such messages, we have to understand Japanese communication traits rooted in indigenous culture of Japan.)


English Translation by Bill the Samurai (@billabac)


Nakayama: I appreciate that very much.


Let me move on to education issues. There are many issues such as abuses or physical punishments (as regards education in Japan).  I understand that the Education Revitalization Practice Committee of the government has been looking into various things. I personally think that an abuse is unforgivable, and it should not be practiced by any human being. Now NHK is broadcasting “Yae no Sakura (double cherry flower)” on TV, where 10 rules in Aidu Han (during the Edo period: present Fukushima-ken) were introduced. They include a rule not to abuse the weak. I grew up in Satsuma (present Kagoshima-ken), where I was taught not to abuse the weak and not to tell a lie when I was a small boy. These matters have to be taught at home and school well, I think. I will not talk about them anymore today, but I will talk about cases where overseas Japanese children are bullied (by Koreans and Chinese).


Is here the minister of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (“MEXT”) today?




Now Japanese students in overseas countries, especially in the US and Canada, are bashed by Chinese or Korean students for (the fabricated story that) their ancestors were tortured by Japanese ancestors. Japanese students live abroad with such a fear. Have you heard about the story like that?


MEXT Minister Shimomura: I will answer your question. I as Parliamentary Secretary served former MEXT Minister Nakayama, whom I highly respect. During that time, I studied a lot from you. As a consequence, I have been able to become the MEXT minster, for which I thank you very much. My former boss Mr. Nakayama as an opposite party member is now asking me questions. While I feel a kind of fate with you, I will sincerely answer your question.


Many children in our country don’t know much about Japan including Japanese history, culture, traditions, etc. I believe that a true international Japanese person has a solid identity as Japanese. That’s why such a Japanese person can have effective communication with foreigners. When they go to foreign countries, they realize that they know nothing about Japan. So, when they face territorial issues and others, they can’t argue but only listening to complaints and accusations about Japan from Chinese and Koreans. In this situation, I at times wonder if such Japanese students in foreign countries are bright or not, but anyway, through receiving bashing  they realize painfully that they didn't study much about Japan. Since then, they have started to learn things about Japan. I receive advice from many people that Japan should have a proper education system. Therefore, I think what you pointed out is important.


Nakayama: Yes, I remember (what you mentioned) well. When I was appointed Minister of MEXT, I begged Shimomura-san to be appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the MEXT as a team member (big laughter in the hall), because I knew Shimomura-san was concerned about education. Afterwards, you were appointed Vice Chief Cabinet Secretary and you were very active in education revitalization conferences. I am quite impressed with your activities. I hope you keep going on. (big laughter in the hall)


By the way, in South Korea President Park Geun Hye and in China President Xi Jinping will soon take office. I understand that summit conferences are already planned. At that time, I recommend that the Japanese leader should meet North Korea Leader Kim Jong-un to settle the abduction issue. Then, I am sure that they will tell Japanese to look straight at the history for the future. This phrase has been told repeatedly by them.


By taking this opportunity today, I want to suggest to all of you to look into the meaning of “looking straight at history”. The coming April 28th will be marked as the Sovereignty Restoration day, where LDP people will encourage us to study contemporary history. Let me comment on this matter in advance.


In my opinion, the governing of Chosen (“Korea”) and Taiwan by Japan in the past before the end of World War II was different from the colonialism of European countries and the United States of America with the main purpose of exploitation.


Japan built schools, hospitals, roads, railways, etc. (in Taiwan and Korea). For example, in Taiwan, Engineer Hatta Yoichi initiated the gigantic scale irrigation project in Kanan Taishu (Jianán Dàzùn). He passed away on May 8th 1942. On its day every year Taiwanese people have a memorial service to recall the fantastic work promoted by Engineer Hatta. In fact I witnessed such a commemoration ceremony in Taiwan. Japanese did also the similar things in Korea. Those accomplishments are what I want all of you present here to understand. Please take a look at this panel.


On the right side, you can see “Subway in Keijo (present “Seoul”)”. The oldest subway in Tokyo is the Ginza line, which was built between Asakusa and Shibuya in 1939. Next year in 1940, this subway was made in Seoul. Only with this example, you can easily understand that Japanese worked hard to modernize Korea.


 Look at the Korean peninsula map beside the photo and the article. As of 1937, the total length of the railways including national and private reached 5,000 kilo meters. In 1945, the railway was extended by 1000 kilometers additionally.


The photograph below shows the large railway bridge in Korea. This bridge was made in 1899 by us Japanese between Seoul and Incheon. Before then there had been no railway in Korea. So, you can see that Japan made this great railway system in Korea for a short period of time.


The photograph on the left shows Keijo (Seoul) Imperial University. This university was made seven (7) year earlier than Osaka Imperial University, and 15 years earlier than Nagoya Imperial University in fact. At the time when Korea was annexed to Japan (Japan’s Annexation of Korea in 1910), there were only 100 public schools. However, in 1930 there were 1,500 public primary schools, and in 1932 Japan built 4,271 public schools. See this photo. This school is made of steel bar reinforced concrete and bricks. When I entered primary school in 1950, the shabby school was made of wood. What I want to say is that Japanese governed Taiwan and Korea in the same way as Japan. I want you to understand this point.


The women’s school in the lower bottom in this photo would be a cultural asset if it existed in Japan.


I want to ask Vice Premier Aso later, but this is an article of Asahi Shimbun criticizing your speech at the Tokyo University, “changing Korean names to Japanese style was required by Koreans”.


Looking at three high school textbooks on Japanese history, I can see the words, “Korean names were forced to change to Japanese style names”, “Japanese style naming was forcibly demanded”, and the like. In short, the approved school textbooks say “Korean names were forced to change to Japanese style names”.




Please take a look at the left side of this photo. The article says, then Korean Governor General warned that “changing names is left to the free will of Koreans” and “it should not be misunderstood as mandatory”. See the center map in the panel. The words say “a long line of Seoul citizens for changing their names to Japanese style names”.


Well, Vice Premier Aso, when you said that in 2003, perhaps you didn't know this article, did you? What do you think about that now?


Finance Minister Aso: I remember it was perhaps when I was Chairman of the Policy Research Council. I delivered the speech at the May Festival of the Tokyo University. As to this speech, I was told that the relation between South Korea and Japan would be negatively influenced. As far as I remember, later in a press conference, I apologized for making Korean people feel uncomfortable from the standpoint of the Japan-South Korea relations.


Regarding this issue, hearing what you said, if I say something different from what I said before, it may cause another problem, and as one of the second Abe cabinet member, I will refrain from replying to your question.


Nakayama: Well, then, Minister Shimomura. It is a matter of course that the approval of school textbooks will be carried out based on facts. These three school textbooks I have presented have obviously wrong articles. If, for example, a student who takes a university entrance examination is asked to answer yes or no on a question like “Korean name changing to Japanese style naming was mandatory”. Which will be the correct answer?


This is in fact a serious problem. These textbooks should actually be called in.


Or, to the schools which use these text books you may send the list of errata. Can I have your opinion?


Shimomura: Let me answer your question. As you know already, regarding the present textbook approval, it is carried out based on the school curriculum guideline through special academic deliberations at the approval deliberative council, where textbooks submitted for approval are checked by referring to objective academic statements, government opinions, appropriate materials, etc.


As to whether these textbooks are defective, at present in Japanese History Encyclopedia or National History Encyclopedia, the word “forcing” is stated. So, in the textbook approval process, it is taken that they are not considered to be defective. 


Nakayama: The government should take the lead (to rectify the situation). Minister Shimomura, what is wrong is wrong, and should be corrected. All right, let me get to the next point. It has something to do with what Congresswoman Tsujimoto was just saying in the morning. In short it’s about the comfort women issue.



This article which came out in 1992 (by Asahi Shimbun) made us misunderstand that the Japanese military people were involved in this comfort women issue as it says “Material showing the involvement in the comfort place”. However, if you take a closer look at this article, you will find a different explanation. This article actually is a warning to be careful of rogue business people who are involved in recruiting comfort women. What it says is totally the other way round.


Please look at the center in this panel. More than 80 percent of Koreans were elected in the Do (kind of state) Parliament election in those days. The Governors of the first, 6th, 8th, 9th, 10th until 1945 of Chungcheongnam-do were Koreans. The other Dos were same. As to the Daejeon Police Department, the Captain number 2 from the top and the Superior Detective were Koreans. Under this organization, it is unconceivable that the police people forcibly yanked comfort women.


This comfort women issue has been spread to all over the world. In front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, a comfort women statue is built. In New Jersey in the US, the same statue is built. Along the freeway, an advertising board is set up, saying “Japanese made 200,000 Korean Women sex slaves”.


All of them are intolerable disgraces to Japanese. We shall not allow those things to happen.


Supposing 200,000 women were taken away, do you think all the parents just saw them being carted off without doing anything? I never think so. Furthermore, Japanese military men, especially former military men, were most disciplined in the world. They were appreciated by the world people. Japan jumped on the bandwagon of modernization later than then major countries in the world, (so the Japanese military men tried hard to be accepted by the standards of the leading countries in the world). In the basis of their actions there was Bushido. That’s why Japanese military men fought with dignity.


However, they have been this way humiliated. Let me tell you again, it is intolerable that our ancestors have been humiliated. Now I hesitate to ask Prime Minister Abe on this matter, so I won’t request your comments, but I hope that all of us should understand this situation well.


Let’s see the next panel. As the article says, comfort women were not forcibly taken away by military (or police) people. Only one article was made by Donga Daily and the others were by Asahi Shimbun. According to the articles, you can see “Koreans abducted girls of good families, and sold them to Manchuria”, “They were Japanese girls at the ages of 17, 19 and 20”, etc.


The other articles say, as you can see, “girls of farming families are cheated”, “divulge bawdy houses”, and the like. We can see that the police did right jobs clearly. We can’t find out that Japanese did something wrong though checking (articles) very hard.


I was very poor before the war ended. So, I knew that there were many poor girls who had to work as comfort women, for whom I have great sympathy. However, the fabricated story that only Korean women were yanked to be comfort women should be rectified. In the morning, Congresswoman Kiyomoto (Tsujimoto) presented the resolutions and motions on the comfort women in some countries. How can I say, but I really think Koreans are amazingly persistent or obstinate. However, these fabricated stories have spread partly because of LDP. (You said it!)


LDP has been historically taking such unreasonable accusations with low postures without objections, because Koreans promised not to pursue the issue if Japan apologized. In short, LDP has been fooled. Now the Abe administration has to undertake such heavy burdens. You must realize that LDP is responsible for the issue.


Japanese have a very delicate cultural trait to care people subtly. We simply believe that people can understand each other without many words. Japanese don’t continue to criticize a person if he or she apologizes sincerely. We are taught not to cheat people. However, Koreans say, “a person who is cheated is more blamed than a crook” or “Keep telling the same lie more than 100 times, it will be a truth”. We must not forget that. In that sense, in order to survive on the globe, we will also look into such a double standard.


Well, let me put it this way. I won’t require Mr. Prime Minister to answer my question.


I may be running out of time soon but let me tell you. We have been taught that the war in the past was a war of aggression. However, Supreme Commander of Allied Forces Douglas MacArthur who conducted Tokyo Tribunal of War Criminals said at the Senate Conference in 1951 that Japan was enclosed by the US thereby losing the supply routes of natural resources, and therefore “the purpose in going to war was largely dictated by security.*” This is how he denied the war of aggression by Japan.

(* References:  Chiune Sugihara and Japan's Foreign MinistryU.S. Leadership, History, and Bilateral Relations in Northeast AsiaPhilosophical Faith and the Future of Humanity, Japan Voice Network, et al)

Now in Tokyo, former Governor Ishihara instructed schools to use this phrase of MacArthur as a supplementary textbook material. MEXT Minister Shimomura whom I highly respect, would you please distribute this material to all public schools in Japan?


Shimomura: In preparation for your question, I have obtained the book “From Edo To Tokyo” as pointed out by you today. This supplementary textbook is made especially by the Tokyo Education Committee. It will be meaningful if superior educational materials like this one made locally are utilized in other areas.


Under the circumstances, MEXT intends to share information through conferences held by persons in charge of each prefectural educational committee, and superior supplementary textbook materials will be recommended to share in all Japan.


Nakayama: Thank you very much for your positive reply. Since I am running out of time, (let me tell you just briefly). I understand it is difficult to check what kinds of textbooks our children use now. So, this is my idea. Prime Minister Abe and late NAKAGAWA Shoichi set up the “Association of Contemplating Japan’s Future and History Education” in 1997. Congressman Furuya also joined it. When Mr. Nakagawa just saw his daughter’s textbook, he was surprised with the content. He thought that it had to be changed. So, he formed the School Textbook Discussion Federation, thereby having erased words like Comfort Women in textbooks of the Junior High Schools. It was really good, I think. This is a suggestion to MEXT Minister. Would you please upload all present textbooks already approved to your website?


 Further, China and South Korea have been giving very radical anti-Japan education to their children. Many people from the China have been coming to Japan. We should know what kind of education they received in China. So, their textbooks used in China and South Korea should also be uploaded to your website. What do you think about that?


Shimomura: As you pointed out, it is important that MEXT provides information regarding textbooks used at schools to Japanese people widely so that Japanese will understand them well, and we will put your idea into practice.


However, it will be a little difficult for MEXT to upload textbooks used in foreign countries to our website in terms of copyrights, political standpoints, or diplomatic standpoints. I will be glad if other ministries or private sectors including you may look into it.  


Nakayama: Well, then I may have to approach the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (laughter in the hall). This will be the last question. Please see this map of the Senkaku Islands.


This map is already uploaded to the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) but the lower map in this panel isn’t uploaded yet. This was issued by Taiwan. I want it to be uploaded to the website of MOFA because it clearly says that Senkakus are the territory of Japan.


I have more questions to be honest, but time is up now. We the Japan Ishin Party tackle education issues seriously. I request an intensive deliberation opportunity. At that instance, as I mentioned already, I want Asahi Shimbun people in question be present. This is my request to the chairman.


Chairman: We will discuss it at a meeting of the board of administration.


Nakayama: Thank you very much (applauds)


Chairman: This concludes the questions of Mr. Matsuno, Mr. Matsunami, Mr. Matsuda and Mr. Nakayama.


Posted 18th March 2013 by William Matsushima