And that is exactly what I wrote several months ago, after being approached by an important publication based in Okinawa.
When my documentary film about the US bases on Okinawan territory was broadcasted by the South American television network TeleSUR in both Spanish and English, there seemed to be at least some appetite to bring my opinions on the subject to the Japanese public. At one point I was asked to write a 1,200 words essay, placing Japan in the world context, whilst also addressing the grievances of Okinawa.
I did exactly that. And even as I was writing, I knew that the piece would never get used here, because Japanese publications and television stations (in the past I worked for several major media outlets here) are thoroughly servile to Western interests, they are cowardly and toothless. But I wrote anyway, for Okinawan people and to see exactly how, my essay would be “killed”.
A reply arrived several months later. There were three major ‘issues’ that the editor was concerned about. Firstly, the people of Okinawa would surely not like to be considered “victims, on par with North Koreans”. Second, “was I really sure that the Japanese car manufacturers have been corrupting the Indonesian government, paying it not to build public transportation networks, so that cities could be literally flooded with cars and scooters”. Lastly, my piece was a few words over the acceptable length.
Being well versed in Japanese culture, I knew exactly what I was expected to do.
I did exactly the opposite. I insulted the editor, withdrew the piece, and submitted it to NEO. And here it is, below:
If someone would bother watching the 9-hours long masterpiece of Masaki Kobayashi “The Human Condition”, he or she would have no illusions left about the Japanese position in the world.
China, Korea and other Asian nations were occupied and plundered, people massacred, tortured, experimented on, and raped.
The only thing “in defense” of Japan that could be said is that, unlike its Western allies, it experienced colonialist amok for a relatively short time, compared to the centuries and millennia long barbarism and horror with which Europe has been brutalizing the entire Planet.
Japan was always impressed by Germany. It was inspired by Western medicine, arts and technology. Japan’s “elites” have also been deeply influenced by German perceptions of superiority and exceptionalism.
While Germany was committing its first holocausts, those in its colonies of Southwest Africa, Japan was closely watching. In what is now Namibia, the German army exterminated close to 90% percent of the Herero tribes’ people, as well as other minorities. German doctors openly experimented on the local people. Many were decapitated and their heads shipped to the University of Freiburg and to several Berlin hospitals, to prove that African people were inferior. The same doctors later taught Dr. Mengele and other butchers who were conducting experiments on Jews, Roma and other “inferior races” during World War II.
Japan, impressed by Germans more and more, was making its own plans for Asia. Some time later it began performing medical experiments on the Chinese people.
It goes without saying, although it is hardly ever pronounced in the West or in Japan itself, that Japanese imperialist slaughters in Asia were directly influenced and inspired by Western colonialism and racism.
Japan is a good student. It loves everything that comes from abroad; or more precisely, from the West. In many ways, it became almost identical to its master. So much so that during the Apartheid era in South Africa and its colonies, the Japanese people were “elevated” to the status of “honorary whites”. They were the only non-white people who were allowed to attend functions exclusively reserved for the white minority. They were welcomed to live in housing reserved for the rulers. They were finally “accepted”.
Japan fought the war, alongside its fascist allies, it committed crimes against humanity and after it lost, it immediately succumbed to the victors who were, like Germans, mainly white and of European descent.
Instead of Germans and Italians, it now looked up to the Brits, French, Australians, but above all North Americans.
Japan’s fascist industrial complex and the governance system were almost fully preserved by the victorious powers. The worst war criminals were allowed to once again manage the system. The Tokyo Trials were just a farce.
Whatever Japan does, it does well and with legendary precision. Its collaboration with the West during the Korean War was complete, and the grateful colonizers rewarded it. Unlike most of the other colonies, plundered and humiliated, Japan was elevated, allowed to become rich.
Ecstatic, the country began building its capitalist industrial might. There was absolutely no doubt where it had been standing. It joined Western imperialism, first as a junior partner, and later as an equal member of the club; it has been doing all it can to be more Western and more capitalist than its handlers, and ideologically, more dogmatic and fundamentalist.
Japan used to frustrate the progressive Indonesian, President Ahmed Sukarno, and the most influential Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mahathir bin Mohamad (who held the post between 1981 and 2003) who often begged Japan to “return to Asia”.
Japan did not want to return anywhere. It has been cozy with what it perceived as its membership of the “elite club”. Just as it learned from the Europeans, it put its self-interests well above morality, solidarity and humanism.
Political pirouettes, Machiavellian manipulation of information related to its past and present, became almost identical to the information control and propaganda practiced in the West.
Economic terrorism suddenly had no boundaries. Just to illustrate, the Japanese car industry is directly corrupting the governments of Indonesia, demanding that no public transportation is built in the fourth most populous nation on Earth. As a result, hundreds of millions of people are being paralyzed by traffic jams, and dying from pollution-related illnesses. The infrastructure on Java Island has almost totally collapsed. But as long as people there are forced to buy Japanese cars and scooters, Japan does not even blink.
Japan has also turned itself into an “indoctrination post” for the young and ambitious students from all corners of Asia. Countless Japanese universities have been offering “scholarships”, effectively brainwashing and “neutralizing” talented men and women from poor and potentially rebellious nations. Most of them are taught “communications”, “education” and “development”; or basically, how to say nothing and how not to rebel about anything. They are being patiently instructed on how not to stand up against the Empire and savage capitalism, or more precisely, how to behave exactly how Japan does. “Join the elites, enjoy a good life and keep philosophy and morals out of this!”
Japan is hosting some of the deadliest military bases on earth – those on Okinawa Island.
During my filming there, for the South American television network TeleSUR, I saw, first hand, Japanese imperialism at work: the great Okinawan culture had been restrained, social benefits provided in exchange for obedience, and all ethical and internationalist messages related to the bases were muted.
But Okinawans know, and many are horrified by what is going on, but unable to change anything.
This is where World War III may start! This is where the West is provoking both China (actually an old historical ally of Okinawa) and North Korea (now Okinawa’s fellow victim) from.
Years ago, I was told by a Chinese diplomat: “If the West attacks us, we will not, most likely, retaliate against Washington or London. We will retaliate against Japan, because its territory is where the attack would come from”. Most likely but paradoxically, the retaliation would be against the islands of Okinawa that is actually “hosting” the bases.
Many Okinawans understand the danger and of course they are totally against the war. But Tokyo ignores their demands to close down the bases. The current administration is becoming increasingly bellicose, anti-Chinese, anti-DPRK and embarrassingly pro-Western.
The Prime Minister likes to pose as a Japanese patriot. But Shinzō Abe is actually a collaborator, not a patriot. And it is not because he is a “right-winger” (Mishima, no matter how controversial his legacy is, was also a right-winger, but without any doubt a true Japanese patriot). He does not serve the interests of Japan, but those of the West, of the Empire that defeated, bombed to the ground, and occupied Japan some 70 years ago; the Empire responsible for tens of millions of lost lives, all over Asia.
The recent changes in the law allowing the deployment of Japanese troops from the “Self Defense Force” abroad, is nothing new. Japan has already been paying for several wars, producing military technology for the Empire, provoking its neighbors; it has been doing it for many years and decades.
Just as during WWII, Japan is now, once again a greatly trusted and respected member of the Fascist alliance. It is arming itself to the teeth, and it is even considering changing its peaceful constitution. The players have changed, but the essence remains the same. It just feels like Japan is harboring strong and spontaneous dispositions to always be part of Western imperialist pacts.
Of course all is done in the name of self-defense, and with some lofty slogans like “freedom”, “democracy” and “peace” being tossed around. Impulses behind the deeds are much more sinister: racism towards all fellow Asian nations, aggressive ‘exceptionalism’ (learned and adopted from Europe and North America), as well as submissive servitude towards the West. That is the world in which we are living. To Paraphrase the great Indian thinker Arundhati Roy – “now black is called white and war is called peace”. Or at least in the West and in Japan they are!
Andre Vltchek is philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist, he’s a creator of Vltchek’s World an a dedicated Twitter user, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”