Conservatism spans the globe, as evidenced, again, at CPAC. One booth, in particular, caught my eye: the Japanese Conservative Union (JCU). It proclaims its mission statement as “Spread Liberty and Prosperity to Asia and the World through Japan-US Partnership.”
I asked Ryoseki (Ryan) Go about his organization and its presence at CPAC. He explained,
“We created the JCU in April of last year. We are trying to create a conservative movement in Japan. We are also creating a joint think tank with ACU.” The purpose of that think tank, officially launched at CPAC, is “to develop a strategy to deter China’s aggressive behavior in east Asia.”
Go also mentioned two major events that would take place at CPAC: a JCU reception later that day and a speech by Chairman Jikido (Jay) Aeba on the main stage of CPAC on Saturday.
Alliance Against Terrorism & Rogue States
In his speech, Chairman Aeba addressed the U.S.-Japan alliance. As reported in the American Conservative, Aeba “argued … that although the alliance was created to counter the Soviet Union, it must evolve to meet today’s threats. Namely: terrorism, encroachment from China, and rogue states like North Korea.”
Ryan Go echoed those very same sentiments during our exclusive interview. Terrorism and foreign aggression are of particular interest to the JCU. He explained, “Our biggest concern is China’s military development and also North Korea’s nuclear development.” He added, “Those are two big issues which threaten Japan’s independence.” (Indeed, the global impact of those aggressors cannot be overstated.)
As a consequence, Japan needs “to develop a stronger defense so that we can counter those outside threats. We have to defend Japan – that’s our main goal.” He reiterated, “Our main concern is national defense.”
JCU’s struggle against Japan’s own peace movement and impulses for appeasement necessarily brought to mind pre-World War II Neville Chamberlain and America’s present-day “War Is Not The Answer” crowd (which includes the Obama administration and both remaining Democrat presidential contenders).
Go affirmed, “Right now, in Japan, we have a very big liberal movement which calls for total peace with complete disarmament. They are involved in protests and they dominate the media and education.” Sound familiar?
Personally, it was a delight talking with Ryan. We shared not just security, political, and cultural interests but also personal experiences. When I told Ryan that I was stationed in Misawa in 1979, he recognized the city from northern Japan. When I mentioned having gone through Yokohama, his eyes lit up. Yokohama is his hometown. Strangers united with common interests and a love of liberty.
I remember the Japanese people being very welcoming to Americans living in their midst. After thanking Ryan with what little Japanese I recall, “domo arigato gozaimasu,” Ryan graciously complimented my less-than-perfect accent.
Japan and America have enjoyed a special relationship for over seven decades. It would behoove both nations to build upon our foundation of shared values and interests with renewed vigor to overcome emerging threats which endanger all of us.