Syllabus of the Address to the European Ambassadors
23rd October 2007.
Ladies and gentlemen! Thank you very much for honoring me with this opportunity to speak to you.
I studied at Oxford from 1969 to 1971. But it was so long ago that my English has become very poor. Nevertheless, I will try to express myself in English today in order to save time on interpretation.
First, let me tell you a little about my family. I was born in 1941. My father was born in 1907 and died in 1977. So this year is the centenary of my fatherfs birth and the 30th anniversary of his death. We had an commemorative event a couple of weeks ago, an account of which, written by a famous journalist, Mr. Takao Iwami, appeared in the Mainichi Shimbun a few days ago. I have brought a copy here.
My fatherfs family was just an ordinary shopkeeper in a rural area of Japan. He would not have been able to continue his education, if his elder sister had not given him a chance to study in Seoul, where she lived after her marriage. He saw the harsh colonial rule in his secondary school days there, and this experience undoubtedly steered him into a career in politics.
After he studied at the Tokyo College of Commerce , now Hitotsubashi University, he devoted himself to the struggle against the military rule and the landownersf harsh exploitation, which caused him to be sentenced to prison for 2 years and 8 months. He was released in 1940, and I was born the following year.
My father took his family to China, and worked on construction sites as a supervisor. He worked hard with the colonial officials and the red army officers.
After coming back to Japan, he was elected to the House of Councillors in 1950 as a member of the Socialist Party, who called themselves the Social Democratic Party of Japan in English. He later served as the Secretary General and tried several times to become the Chairman of the Party but failed. He launched the Structural Reform politics, but the Party did not adopt it.
He tried to establish a new political party and quit the Socialist Party in 1977, but died 2 months later, on my birthday. I was serving as an associate judge at that time, but I abandoned my judicial career and succeeded him. And so I am a second generation politician. But my father was frustrated in the middle of his struggle, and now we are getting quite near to achieving his idea. So, for us, two successive generations have been needed to achieve our objectives.
I used to belong to the Democratic Party faction, which seems to me to be the result of what my father and I pursued all our lives. Of course other members give different accounts, which I am ready to admit.
You already know the result of the last regular election of the House of Councillors. We got the majority in the House, and I was elected President unanimously. But, following the convention, I have given up my party affiliation and now I am an independent in the House.
But, of course, I still share the political hopes of the Democratic Party. I confess that I feel sympathy with the goals of the party, but of course I cannot act in accordance with the party line. Fairness and impartiality are the necessary virtues of the President of the House.
Well, I have not said anything about current Japanese politics, but if you have any questions I will do my best to answer them.
Thank you for your kind attention.