Japan Politics

In 1960 Japan was ruled by the conservative LDP.

Nabuski Kitchie ran the LDP, aman who had been jailed as a war criminal during the occupation. His comebackcan be attributed to his pre-war contacts in big business. Kitchie believed tosurvive Japans economy had to grow. I order to do so Japan’s businesses hadto be disciplined. Kitchie gave directives to the ministry to pass on to theheads of big business. These directives were much like orders from a general.Some Japanese people began to rebel against the growing central control thenation was taking.

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They feared that democracy was being overridden for the sakeof economic prosperity. Other groups began to voice opinions regarding thedirection they felt Japan should move in. There were many forces pulling atJapan, political demonstrations, walkouts and strikes in Japans largestindustries. This was a time of crisis in modern Japanese history. The Japanesehad signed a treaty with the United States, which scattered military bases andnuclear weapons throughout Japan.

Fearing the United States would use Japan as abattleground for the Cold War, they were against the renewing of the treaty.Kitchie however, believed with the Americans responsible for their nationalsecurity, they could use their resources to build their economy. Kitchie metwith President Eisenhower and assured him the treaty would be passed by the timeof his visit to Japan. Fearing the protests could affect the passing of thetreaty Kitchie used his power in nefarious ways to insure the passing of thetreaty. As a final attempt to stop the passing of the treaty, the Socialistpoliticians tried to barricade the speaker in his chambers to prevent the vote.Kitchie sent in troops to escort the speaker to the Diet Chamber to proceed withthe vote.

Because there were no Socialists in the Chamber at the time of thevote the treaty was ratified. Upon hearing the news, Japanese students attackedthe government in a huge protest. During this protest a student was killed. Dueto the anti-American theme of the time President Eisenhower cancelled his visitto Japan. Kitchie was completely embarrassed and resigned just five days afterthe treaty was ratified. Labor unions became a thorn in the side of bigbusiness.

Despite legal agreements between the unions and business to thecontrary 1200 workers were laid off. Picket lines made national attention aftera man in line was stabbed. To further complicate national matters, a right wingfanatic assassinated Umajio Asanuma, the leader of the Socialist Party at thepodium of the Diet Chamber. This forced Japan to realize that they had to unitethe people to insure economic growth. To bring unity to Japan enters abureaucrat Ikeda Hayato. At this time big business and the government were onthe same team. MITI, Ministry of International Trade and Industry, was theprimary Japanese government agency charged with the formulation and execution ofindustrial policy (Pacific Century, page 257).

MITI decided Japans future wasdependent on electronics. Supported by the government, the Japanese were able toinvent new products. The government let big business form kaitsu, grouping ofbanks, manufacturers and distributors. These kaitsu would violate anti-trustlaws in the United States, but worked for Japans economy. Japanese companiesshared technology and resources to accelerate the economy. Japanese productsentered the American markets, and began to affect American companies.

Japanconcentrated on technological advantages and low prices, where the United Statesconcentrated on customer service; as a result Americans lost jobs. Between 1985and 1992 the United States spent over 30 billion dollars on military bases todefend Japan. During that same period Japanese companies spent more than onehundred billion buying American businesses and real estate. They went on to buyover 41 million dollars of the United States growing debt.

They are 120 millionpeople working in harmony for the sole purpose of building economic power forJapan Inc., which have succeeded in making Japan a world economic power.Politics