Things to think about now

Yasunori Tamaki
Director of Executive Producer, Office of 2021

There’s a lot of noise about justice, and I’m constantly thinking about what kind of stance we should take on this issue, and your attitude is really inspiring and instructive. I asked him what he was thinking about, someone who influenced me to take the stance I’m taking now.


Yasunori Tamaki
Former general editor of Walker.Editorial board member of the Nippon IR Business Report.Director of the Institute for Archaeological Research in Kyoto.Member of the Osaka Prefecture Japan World Exposition Commemorative Park Operation Council.Organizer of the Tokyo Cultural Resources Conference.Observer of the International Organization for Cultural and Urban Development.
Graduated from Doshisha University.Reporter for the Sankei Shimbun Kobe Bureau, Osaka Social Affairs Department (in charge of the Investigation Division 1 of the Osaka Prefectural Police Headquarters)〜Editor of a monthly women's magazine at Fukutake Shoten (now Benesse)〜General Editor in Chief from four magazines at KADOKAWA~present post.


<This article has been translated using DeepL so there may be inconsistencies with the translation due to this.>

Basically, it doesn’t change where people stand


Both the Great East Japan Earthquake and the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake had a large part to do with the region, but this time, it felt like the whole world was involved.


Whenever these emergencies occur, we have to rethink the situation. This time, there was confusion due to the fact that there had never been a situation in which the government could interfere with an individual’s code of conduct. Because that had never happened before, there was an overwhelming voice that basically said don’t regulate that kind of thing.

When it came, there was no legal basis for it at all, and as a result, nothing could be done about it. It’s not that Abe is alone in the scope of what the law says he can do now, it’s more just that he’s doing it based on the legal basis of what the bureaucrats can do. There’s nothing fluffy or haphazard about it. In the extreme, even if it were a constitutional democratic government, it would be handled in a similar way.


I think so.


What’s different from other countries is that the emergency regulations are vague, and there’s very little that can be done, and we can’t do it without a legal basis.

Rather, they’re strictly adhering to them. So that’s what happens when you legally adhere to it, not fluff. I understand that there are a lot of people who want to call it fluffy. That’s just an emotional argument.


I think we tend to be emotional about things other than politics as well, don’t we, from the way we use social networking sites?


No matter what the subject matter is, people’s position is basically the same. That’s why at the time of the Great East Japan Earthquake, then-Democratic Party of Japan Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who was in power at the time, was being ragged on.That’s when the term “goyo-gakusya” came up. You were desperately trying to beat them. It is a little better than that time, but the technical committee is still called a goyo-gakusya, even in this case of Corona.

They are probably the same people saying the same thing. There are many false rumors about the Great East Japan Earthquake, and there are many great people who have said things about the disaster that have now been completely denied.

But they haven’t regretted a single thing, they haven’t apologized for anything, and the people who did that are now doing the same thing with the corona. That’s why he is doing to Shinzo Abe of the LDP what he did to Naoto Kan of the Democratic Party of Japan. In that sense, I don’t think people have changed (laughs).


I agree. That’s what I think. Some people only come out at times like this, right?

The Problem with Old Media

But what I think is that the role played by social networking sites at times like that was significant at the time of the Great East Japan Earthquake, wasn’t it? At that time, in a sense, Twitter attracted a lot of attention for its significance. Social networking sites are becoming more and more powerful now, but in fact, old media still has some kind of power as a spark for social media.

Speaking of problems with old media, there was a newspaper that fabricated a story about Yoshida, the director of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, at the time of the Great East Japan Earthquake. Of course, they apologized at the time. But if you look at the editorial policy after that, it’s not like they changed their minds fundamentally. As for the old media itself, I think the media that fomented the war before the war and the media that are now fomenting various things in various forms are the same in the end, even though the right and the left are reversed.

As someone who was in a newspaper myself, of course, the dangers of the media, which I originally had, have sadly not changed at all, and the dangers of the media have always been on hold.

This time around, the anomalies that were particularly prominent in the wide-screen shows have led quite a few people to discuss them, as expected. Some people talk about whether post-war Japan is over or not, but the biggest case left over from post-war Japan, and that is the media. How will the media themselves open up the next phase? But I think this is true not only for Japan, but also for media all over the world. It’s not that Japan is lagging behind.

It’s not that Japan is behind. It’s just that I got the impression that the corona disaster was analyzed with great precision. That’s why the corona disaster must be turned into a turning point, and in a sense I think the media has entered the final phase of the problems we have left behind.


As I have always said to Mr. Mochizuki, I am anti-Justice. I believe that “justice” is the greatest evil in the world, so I cannot tolerate a scale of values. What I originally studied was philosophy, and philosophy is just the study of existence and existence itself, so there is no fixed scale of right and wrong.

That’s one of the reasons I studied philosophy, but I have a very strong aversion to attaching values to it. So what I end up with is an individualistic view of who I am, and then there is “freedom”.

In the end, there are things that are legally or morally unacceptable, and there are things that are morally acceptable or unacceptable, but for me, the most important thing is the freedom to have all of that in mind.

I believe that freedom inside should be overwhelmingly free. Therefore, there is nothing more important than protecting freedom. In order to protect our freedom, I think it’s worth using democracy, which is just a tool of one of them. Isn’t that what democracy is all about?


That’s right.


In a democracy, the people, not the king or the emperor or the emperor, are the main actors in the government. The way it works is that you can elect the president directly, or you can have an indirect democracy, like electing the prime minister, and both are done through elections.

So the hashtag is super anti-democratic, and trying to push it through with a hashtag that’s gathered on a social network is not democracy. It’s not democracy to say, “There are 2 million hashtags,” or “That’s good.

No, no, no, it’s possible if the hashtag is defined in the law and incorporated into it, but it’s clearly not democracy to do something with it just because a hashtag gets buzzed. That’s why democracy is messy. The reason it’s troublesome is because it’s designed to be troublesome so that it can’t get out of control. That’s what democracy is. So democracy itself has no value because it’s just a tool and a methodology.

To me, freedom is a value. It’s not a good or bad, up or down thing, but it’s something I want to protect as an identity within myself. I don’t understand why people think democracy has any meaning.


But looking at this situation in many ways, a lot of people tend to feel like if something happens in the end, if it’s a good opinion with strong words, it’s good. I felt that very much when I was looking at social media.


One thing I’ve always really disliked is the phrase “Rebellion is Reasonable, Revolution is Innocent” from the days of Mao Zedong. In short, it is fine to rebel as long as you have reason to do so. It doesn’t matter what you do in a revolution, you are not guilty of it. This was the slogan of the Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution. No word has ever made such a mockery of the individual.

It’s the kind of talk you do when you want to push through what you think is righteousness without going through elections or debate or anything like that. People who seemingly think they are democratic or something like that tend to do that. I am righteous. So it’s right. So it’s not logic.


It’s a lot, I think it’s very much a lot.


It’s very scary and I hate this one so much.


That kind of tendency comes up online, especially when it’s a corona disaster like this.


You gush. You have an extremely low tolerance for people.


I think many people have a narrow power of tolerance.


I don’t think it matters, though. If you look at my tweets, you can see that I don’t have much of an “ah-ha” attitude towards people in that sense, whether they are good or bad, or what they do. But when people bring up social norms and say something is good or bad instead of their own opinion, I want to deny it to the core.

That’s why I originally didn’t want to tweet about that kind of thing, but in the end, I had no choice but to tweet about the Great East Japan Earthquake and the recent corona disaster. If you don’t go around complaining bitterly, people who think they’re right will already keep doing it.


They keep doing it, don’t they?


When they’re in denial, they’re quick to forget that and move the goalposts and do it all over again. I don’t know how much sense that makes, but I’m sending out a message that even people like me hav’nt to go with the flow on that thing.


That’s really true, isn’t it? On the other hand, I sometimes think it’s nice that those people have a strong heart (laughs). I think they’re doing it with a narrower vision.


It’s amazing how much we feel like we’re forming a party. We’re a group of highly conscious people who think we’re doing the right thing. This is similar to a salon, isn’t it? It may look like the opposite in terms of atmosphere, but it’s actually the same structure.


In the end, that’s a story that’s come up all the time in the world and in the history of the past, so people haven’t changed after all.

Don’t give in to the “should” argument

What was very important this time was that, unlike the time of the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster, the doctors at the meeting were all extremely strong and outgoing, even Mr. Iwata, who was the most powerful, and almost all of the main members were extremely logical and strong in their thinking. They also had a sense of humor.

The researchers in the field of infectious diseases were almost completely consistent. They were all united in their efforts to develop a convincing logic with various variations. Conversely, I think it’s significant that a powerful opposition to such smells, image building and impression manipulation was formed. It was also important to have a researcher-loving editor such as Buzzfeed’s Naoko Iwanaga.

This has exposed quite a few people who were developing their opinions on the “not guilty of counterrevolution” in order to achieve their own easy justice.


This was certainly more pronounced than at the time of the Great East Japan Earthquake.


I think the world is gradually moving on.


I think the way of learning will change in the future. I think the important thing for social networking sites is to create a system in which people don’t fall into the category of “not guilty of anti-reasonable revolution”.


The person who is playing a major role this time is Shaoko Egawa. I think she’s more of a spearhead in criticizing the Abe administration. She never wavered from her logic. She can’t tolerate unscientific things like the recent editorial from the goyos, or the PCR test, or anything else. That’s a given. She doesn’t change her reporting or the way she expresses herself because of her principles, and that’s what made her stand out this time.

But that’s the way it should be, isn’t it? The people who don’t do that are so wrapped up in their own ideas that they don’t care about the science and the evidence.

Forcing sources of information is the opposite of what I’m talking about. Each person has to do as much as they can, and if some people are fooled, I don’t blame them. I’m sure there are a lot of things I’m wrong about, though, so I think it’s extremely difficult to make a “should” argument that we should have this kind of literacy because this is the right thing to do. I don’t normally contribute to such “should” arguments.

I would like to spread the word that these experts are providing this kind of evidence and these kinds of research results. I would like to offer my opinion on this. However, the decision is left to each of us to make.

There were times when it wasn’t such a big problem that I didn’t dare to speak out, but since the coronation disaster has had such a huge impact on us, I’ve done my best to draw a line in support of that kind of communication (even though it’s not that influential) to the extent that I can.

If some people can get the message across, that’s fine, too. Even if people don’t get the message, I’ll do what I want to do, as much as I want to.

Edit & Text:Daisaku Mochizuki
Photo:Katsumi Hirabayashi