February 26 of 1936 a coup d’etat was attempted by a radical nationalist group
of the Imperial Japanese Army. Tokyo
was put under the martial law. Though the plot was cracked down, police
investigated and arrested not only socialists but also liberalists. Labor
unions as well as workers’ parties were incorporated into imperial-nationalist
organizations, the Imperial Rule Assistance Association and the
government-sponsored national workers’ organization, Sampo.
CAPITALIST CRISIS EMERGES TODAY
does not conquer the world today in the same way as before. Similarity is,
however, is perceived; a rise of populism. The economic depression led to fascism
in the 1930s, while capitalist crisis following the Lehman Shock has attained
to rightwing populism. A parallel is found.
the name of renovation
cannot but forget experiences of the February 26 incident. Workers and peasants
suffered from the economic impasse and seriously poor harvest years, while
capital owners enjoyed enormous wealth brought about by the military demands. Peasants
were exhausted profoundly. Many of soldiers in the army came from this social class
and dissatisfactions saturated inside the military on the social gaps between the
rich and the poor. Fascism infiltrated easily into the military in the name of
renovation, which instigated hatred against rich people and government
officials connected with the former.
insurgent group assaulted the official residence of Prime Minister and the
Tokyo Metropolitan Police stations, killing government leaders, including Finance
Minister Takahashi Korekiyo, and injuring others. The group was led by imperial
officers. The February 26 coup was culmination of the social trends. But this acme
was one of the peaks. The government and the military authority quelled the coup,
but later a real fascist system was completed on the basis of the Zaibatsu
groups, or big financial circles, and ‘innovative’ bureaucrats.
July 7, 1937, the following year, the Japanese troops provoked armed clashes at
the Marco Polo
Bridge in the suburbs of Beijing, China.
Afterwards Japan invaded China militarily
on a full scale.
December of the same year members of legalized leftist organizations and trade
union leaders were arrested in the campaigns against the Popular Front.
Liberalists, too, lost the right to say. A dark era lasted until August 15,
Japan the established
authorities absorbed rapidly-growing fascist forces, while in Germany the
established capitalist authorities were forced to surrender to fascist forces.
One more different point was a fact that movements led by workers’ parties in Japan could not
develop efficient anti-fascist mass movements. Rather the major organizations
fell into line with fascists.
the general elections held just before the February 26 incident workers’
parties had gained 21 seats in the national assembly, which was a record high,
four times bigger than the previous number. In the elections held in April of
the following year, 1937, these parties obtained 38 seats. But the majority of members
had sided with the ‘innovative’ fascist faction, in which dissatisfactions were
targeted at the Zaibatsu groups and the established political parties. Concerning
the February 26 coup, these parties announced to ‘stop frivolous criticisms’
(the statement of the Social Mass Party), while liberalists harshly condemned.
political parties rapidly grew to be nationalist parties in both nominal and
real terms, following the beginning of aggression war against China in 1937.
let’s look at the situation today. Unlike in Europe,
rightist populism has not emerged. The Abe government has maintained its
authority for long time, integrating rightwing forces, including the Japan Conference.
Mass movements led by leftists against austerity measures are inactive, being
different from the European popular movements. People are sunk in anxieties
about social gaps and poverty, cheated by the government’s money politics.
Opposition political parties are not successful in presenting a bold
countermeasure to redistribute wealth.
social rights are not materialized. That shows Japanese people have not yet
overcome lack of democratic principles. Under these circumstances another
February 26 might be produced politically by casting a new actor to replace
with Prime Minister Abe when his tenure ends.