Lens of History (48): “Greater” Japan

STEC Archives, Print Document Division
Curator signature: [Classified]
Format:  Print Media – DECLASSIFIED under [REDACTED], [REDACTED]
Special Documents Division – [REDACTED]
Time (if known): Undated – tentatively categorized into pre-war.

Editor’s Note: Excerpt of personal correspondences of [NAME REDACTED] to New Jersey. [NAME REDACTED] served as one of the [ROLE REDACTED] on the NKT beginning 1985. 

My thanks to you and Admiral Yin for taking care of my dear younger sister. She can be rather impetuous, so I consider offers of recompense on my part to be only fair part of responsibility sharing.

You may be surprised to hear that of this specific matter, those least likely to agree with one another are in complete accordance on the principle of the matter. I expect at a minimum some rapid shaking-up of the ruling party, as Her Majesty appear quite furious at the state of affairs down in Narita. Very difficult to blame the matter entirely on your CIA or Communist-leftist-Russian sympathizers when a hundred thousand protesters turn out right under their collective noses.

From my position, I observe the matter with a mixture of concern and curiosity. My own private sympathies to those harmed aside, I wonder at why we – speaking here from the perspective of Japan at large – must choose such an inhumane path to further our own ends. I am not one for national politics; my hands are, after all, considerably full managing our enterprise’ affairs in the Kanto region. Yet for my private persona to have been aware of the situation from its start years ago and for Tokyo to somehow miss it the same…

If we talk only of the specifics, I think most would find the central government’s demands to be quite reasonable. Tokyo is a growing metropolis and long overdue for an airport of substantial size and stature. Nationalizing the project means that thanks to the power of democracy, transparency, and complete, utter, 100% non-coerced voter participation, there is little chance for ambitious politicians to line their own pockets. In any case, failing that, given that Tokyo is the largest city in Japan by far, presenting the matter as a service to the people – moving the airport away from residential neighborhoods to decrease noise and pollution – would surely be well supported.

What we have on hand right now is dozens dead, possibly thousands injured, a fired-up and angry tiny minority (possibly actually now getting support from Russia, well done!), an exhausted, stressed, and morose majority near and around Tokyo, an overworked Ministry of Internal Affairs, an even more overworked National Public Safety Commission, an overworked, underpaid, and low morale police force deployed to the location, displeased corporate leaders wondering why the project hasn’t turned out the way it was advertised, and one very irate Yamato at the top of the proverbial food chain. I would have said maybe the only people happy are the press, but after that blanket ban on unsanctioned coverage out yesterday…

What a price we’ve paid.

Humans are fickle creatures, and I have no doubts that in a few year’s time all this would be quickly forgotten, swept beneath the dustbin of history and never to be resolved unless forced. People throwing rocks at riot police today may very well be flying out of Narita the next. Those farmers willing to accept a deal and move will move; the others will be taken care of in one way or the other. This is how things have always been here in Japan, and I do not expect it to change.

Still, I wonder, why did it have to turn out like this? 

Could this have all been avoided if we – speaking from the perspective of again, “Greater” Japan – treated those involved with even a shred of dignity and respect?

Could we have spared the paltry millions of yen, offered now belatedly ten times the original amount? For you viewing pleasure, if you stand to earn a hundred thousand dollars from this transaction, would … oh, roughly three and a half cents paid out be enough of a concern to you, or would the “spirit” of the matter be enough rationale for a zero-tolerance policy?

Did the Imperial Household itself have to be dragged into the matter when entrapment was attempted on those stubborn peasants, thereby revealing candidly the abuses they had suffered since post-war, being forcefully relocated to some of the worst farmlands Japan had to offer? 

Yamato’s victory here is inevitable. As the airport normalizes and fulfills its initial purpose, I believe those at the root of the grievance can be reasoned with. In due time, I have no doubt that Narita Airport shall become a regular fixture in Tokyo’s illustrious scenery, with this particular chapter either forgotten or quaintly relegated to a footnote in our collective history.

Yet is this really a victory?

I can no longer tell if the resolution of this matter and the price we pay is one we have paid in full, or one that will revisit us for recollection sometimes in the future.