Since I released the last column entitled “You and Your Wife” and described what problem the on-going political scandal around the House of ABE exposes, a lot of both Japanese and foreign readers kindly pay great attention to it. Astonishingly, the latter even began to discuss whether we should pick up the issue on the indirect involvement of Ms. Akie ABE, the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo ABE’s wife, in the distorted purchase of a former state real property by the private school called “MORITOMO GAKUEN“ located in Osaka. Some foreign readers argued it’s not appropriate to highlight such a “private” instead of political achievements of the ABE administration so far. Unfortunately, I don’t personally support such a pseudo-argument, while I’m fully aware of a significant fact in the Japanese modern history that obviously stands behind the shining couple “Shinzo and Akie ABE”.
In 1955, young mothers in Japan totally shocked to hear a series of babies suddenly died for an unknown reason particularly in the western part of the country. This was exactly the very beginning of the tragedy called “Morinaga Arsenic Baby Formula Affair”. For almost 15 years, the esteemed group company “MORINAGA” never accepted the accusation that its baby formula produced in a plant in the Tokushima Prefecture mistakenly included arsenic, which is extremely hazardous and harmful to human health. All through the 1960s, MORINAGA’s products were publicly criticized, and consumers’ protest organizations harshly appealed to the Japanese public opinion that the Japanese consumers shouldn’t buy the company group’s products.
From my viewpoint, it seems ridiculous that the Japanese mass media don’t even touch upon this historical fact in the context of the current political scandal around “MORITOMO GAKUEN”. The First Lady of Japan, Akie ABE was born as a daughter in the Family of MATSUZAKI, one of the legendary owner families in the Morinaga Group Company. As she got married with Shinzo ABE in 1987, the “Morinaga Arsenic Baby Formula Affair” was never forgotten in the Japanese society. It’s quite obvious that the marriage itself was partly based on political motivation of the group company, which was continuously criticized due to a social crime against its consumers. The group company “MORINAGA” continuously needed unbroken ties with the political establishment, while the Family of ABE, a part of the Japanese political legend in the context of post-war conservatism, urgently needed a huge amount of money to acquire the position of the Japanese Prime Minister.
Even though the majority of the Japanese nation seems not to remember the affairs anymore, the victims’ organization “HIKARI-NO-KAI” still keeps on fighting against social discrimination and appropriate compensation. In this mean, the “Morinaga Arsenic Baby Formula Affair” never dies forever.
To avoid any misunderstanding in the readership, I’d like to take this opportunity to underline I personally know Akie ABE and highly respect her as a new type of social activists for the better world. Having said that, I assume that her enthusiastic attitudes in social activities is closely related with her memory of the shadow history of the above-shown affair. It seems that she’s been trying to compensate for social justice by walking around in the country. If she really does so and wants to keep on doing so, it’s high time for her to officially show up in the Japanese Diet to tell the truth in terms of the “MORITOMO GAKUEN” to the public. It’s not her husband’s ambition but her own family legacy that now matters. As one of the great fans of the First Lady, I want to urge her to accept my recommendation immediately. Unless she won’t change her position, we’ll soon be reminded of the following proverb: The history always repeats itself. For the first time, as a tragedy. But as a comedy for the second time. Stay tuned.