Chapter 6   Glossary

Diet: The Japanese parliament.

 

Japan, Inc.: The perception of Japan as a monolith of business and government working in tandem; a widely shared perception in the 1980s.

 

Keiretsu: (kay reh tsoo) Japanese corporate alliances typically affiliated with a bank and a trading company. The member companies own significant parts of each other.

 

LDP: Liberal Democratic Party. Formed in 3955, the LDP and its predecessors have held power in Japan almost continuously since the end of the war. A conservative party, the LDP is supported by the powerful farm lobby and big business.

 

Lifetime Employment: A system most prevalent in Japan to 1990 which treats employees as human capital, rather than as business expenses. For example, when a job is eliminated, the employee is not fired. Instead, the employee is retrained for another position within the same company. However, this system only applies to the largest corporations, and primarily to male white-collar workers. Other workers "pay" for the lifetime employment of others by being underpaid and expendable.

 

Maekawa Report: (mah eh caw wah) A report released by the Advisory Group on Economic Structural Adjustment in April 1986. Named for Maekawa Hamhiko, the group's chairman, the report advocated changing Japan's economic structure to better harmonize with that of the world economy. These are the report's five proposals:  Stimulate domestic demand; Change industrial structure to contribute to world harmony; Improve access to Japanese markets and stimulate imports; Stabilize international exchange rates and liberalize international financial markets; Contribute internationally at a level appropriate to Japan's status.  The government accepted these proposal and then-Prime Minister Nakasone headed a Task Force on Economic Structural Adjustment to implement these recommendations. Progress was incremental however, and many of the reforms remained only partially realized.

 

MITI: The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) whose name has since changed to Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). The government agency that promoted cooperative planning between business and government in Japan’s high growth period. Widely regarded, both domestically and internationally, as the basic promoter of a highly successful policy of expanding Japanese business interests in the world free market, MITI’s direct influence over businesses declined somewhat after the 1970s.

 

Nakasone Yasuhiro: (nah caw so neh yah sue he roe) Bom 1915. Elected to the House of Representatives in 1947. His unusual political style kept him in the spotlight rather than the sidelines. Head of his own faction in the LDP, Nakasone became prime minister in 1982. He held that post for a surprisingly long time in Japanese politics – 5 years – before he was finally forced to resign. His successor was Takeshita Noboru. Nakasone was a key player in the Recruit scandal of the late 1980s which rocked the LDP. He resigned from the LDP and his own faction in May 1989,but he retained his seat in the Diet and was reelected later that year.

 

Non-Nuclear Policy: Japan's non-nuclear policy is as follows:1. Reliance on the US nuclear umbrella for protection.2 The three non-nuclear principles (see below).3. Promotion of world-wide disarmament.4. Peaceful development of nuclear energy.This policy has allowed Japan to take a stance in world affairs independent of the arms race.

 

Non-Nuclear Principles: These are the non-nuclear principles of Japan: 1. No Japanese production of nuclear weapons. 2. No possession of nuclear weapons by the Japanese govemment. 3. No introduction of nuclear weapons into Japanese territory.

 

SDPJ; Acronym for the Social Democratic Patty of Japan. Formerly known as the Japan Socialist Party (JSP); also known as the socialists.

 

Self Defense Forces: Although Article Nine of the 1947 Constitution forbids Japan from making war as a means to resolve international conflicts, it does not expressly forbid self defense. It is from this point of view that Japan has created its Self Defense Forces .Starting with the MacArthur-ordered establishment of a National Police Reserve in 1950, Japan's defensive capability has grown, partly in response to Cold War tensions (particularly those in Korea), and partly in response to American urging (primarily by John Foster Dulles, US Secretary of State from 1953 to 1959). In 1954, the Self Defense Forces Law was enacted, and the Self Defense Forces (SDF) acquired their present name. The SDF may be mobilized in the event of threat or attack from abroad, civil unrest, threat to Japanese airspace or territorial waters, and in response to natural disasters. Uniformed members of the SDF are permitted to bear arms.In 1976, Japanese lawmakers instituted a policy to limit defense spending to 1% of the GNP. However, defense spending broke the 1% "barrier" in the 1980s, causing domestic furor. (Still, defense spending came nowhere near 2% of Japan's GNP.) There are those who argue that the very existence of the SDF is illegal, as the establishment of armed forces is forbidden by Article Nine. However, the existence of the SDF is a fact, and there is general acceptance by the Japanese people of the validity of the SDF.

 

Shinkansen: (sheen kahn sehn) Literally, "new trunk line"; the bullet train. A system of super-express passenger trains which connects major Japanese cities, overlaid on top of the existing train system. Used primarily for travel, not freight transport. It became a symbol of Japan's late 20th century  resurgence.

 

Yasukuni Shrine: (yah sue coo knee) Literally, "peaceful country shrine;" also interpreted "shrine for the repose of the nation." A Shinto shrine in the Tokyo area which memorializes all who died in Japanese civil and foreign wars since 1853. Founded in 1869, Yasukuni was initially dedicated to those who died to restore the emperor. In the 1930s, it became a center for "state Shinto/ an amalgamation of traditional Shinto beliefs, patriotism, and militarism. Since the mid-1950s, various conservative groups (including the LDP) have tried to reinstate official support for Yasukuni; however, strong opposition has prevented such support.The Yasukuni Shrine is a political hotbed. Then-Prime Minister Ohira Masayoshi made a "private visit" to the shrine in 1979, just months after major war criminals had been enshrined there. Nakasone Yasuhiro paid an official visit to Yasukuni in 1986, while serving as prime minister. Both events caused uproars, both in Japan and abroad. More recently, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi visited the Shrine five times over five years and Prime Minister Abe's visit was similarly controversial.

 

Yoshida Doctrine: (yo she dah) The term used by some analysts to describe a policy developed by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshida Shigeru, which defined rehabilitation of the Japanese economy as a primary goal- It also advocated a non-military, pacifist role for Japan in international politics, and aflowed for US military bases in Japan to provide security.

 

Yoshida Shigeru: (she geh roo) 1878-1967. Yoshida entered the Foreign Ministry in 1906. He had a distinguished career as a diplomat, serving in various posts around the world. He retired in 1935, but was reinstated to serve as ambassador to Great Britain, his highest post. After being recalled to Japan in 1938, Yoshida held no further official positions.Since Yoshida had been relatively uninvolved in politics during WWII, Occupation authorities allowed him to serve in the postwar government. He became foreign minister in 1945. Yoshida set up a crucial meeting between the Showa Emperor and MacArthur, after which MacArthur. endorsed both the Japanese imperial system and the current monarch.In April 1946, Yoshida became prime minister. He held that post until October 1954, except a period from May 1947 to October 1948, which was the only time during the early postwar period that the LDP (or its predecessors) did not rule.

Yoshida regarded Japan's return to sovereignty as his greatest achievement. This was attained with the signing of the San Francisco Peace Treaty in September 1951. The treaty gave Japan the leeway it needed to rebuild its economy.Dissent within Japan led to Yoshida's resignation in October 1954. Nonetheless, many of Yoshida's policies remained in force, contributing to Japan's postwar success. He enjoyed the status of a respected elder statesman until his death in 1967. 

 

Zoku: A "policy tribe" whose members in the Japanese Diet regularly receive campaign contributions from the industry they are supposed to monitor and regulate. There is a zoku for nearly every major industry group in Japan.