Groups like Mr. Nishimura’s Society for the Restoration of Sovereignty, which has just a handful of core members, have recently made it their mission to counter international criticism of practices like whaling and dolphin hunting. In countless rallies, the society’s members have argued that the hunts are time-honored Japanese traditions that must be protected from Western condemnation, and “The Cove” is now their No. 1 target.
Public fear of the far right stems from bouts of violence over the years that, while isolated, are deeply etched into the national psyche. There was the 1960 assassination of a socialist lawmaker, Inejiro Asanuma, by a sword-wielding right-wing sympathizer, for example, and the attack a year later on the president of Chuokoron, the publisher of a magazine that printed a satire about the royal family.
In 2006, a rightist burned down the house of a member of Parliament after he criticized Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s visits to the Yasukuni shrine. The same year, a right-wing group hurled a firebomb at the offices of The Nikkei, a leading daily newspaper, after it published reports on the emperor’s views of the shrine.
It is time for Reason to do a “criticize the Japanese royal family” day?