Japan Conference (Nippon Kaigi, 日本会議) is a powerful conservative organization described by New York Times as “largest nationalist organization, which rejects postwar pacifism, embraces the imperial system and defends Japan’s past wars in Asia.” In addition, Japan Conference opposes policies aimed at promoting gender equality as the organization views them as a threat against traditional Japanese families. Many leaders of Japan Conference, including Shiro Takahashi, Hideaki Kase, and Yoshiko Sakurai are also active in comfort women denial.
Japan Conference has an affiliated parliamentary caucus within the parliament (Nippon Kaigi Kokkai Giin Kondan Kai, 日本会議国会議員懇談会) with hundreds of members, mostly from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. In 2014, 15 out of 19 members of the administration of Shinzo Abe were members of the Japan Conference caucus including Deputy Prime Minister (and former Prime Minister) Taro Aso (麻生太郎), Minister of Internal Affairs and Communication Sanae Takaichi (高市早苗), and Cabinet Minister Yoshihide Suga (菅義偉) in addition to Abe himself.
Japan Education Rebirth Institute (Nippon Kyoiku Saisei Kiko, 日本教育再生機構) is a right-wing Japanese group promoting revisionist history and civil textbooks that do not mention the comfort women system and other atrocities committed by the Japanese military while offering narratives glorifying Japanese expansionism. It was founded by Hidetsugu Yagi (八木秀次) after he and others left the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform due to an internal division. Board members include Shiro Takahashi and others who are affiliated with the powerful Japan Conference. As of 2018, the Institute’s website disappeared, and it is unclear whether the Institute still remains active.
Japan Family Value Society (FAVS, 家族の絆を守る会) is a conservative Japanese group dedicated to preserving “traditional Japanese families” through opposition to legislations aimed at improving the status of women such as anti-discrimination policies and legalized abortion. The organization also calls on Japan to withdraw from the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
At the founding in 2007, FAVS was part of the network of Japan Conference with Japan Conference’s Akiko Okamoto (岡本明子) as the Secretary General, although the organization appears to be less prominent under the leadership of Kiyoshi Hosoya today.
Under Okamoto, FAVS was one of the first Japanese right-wing groups to participate in the United Nations processes as an NGO along with “family values” and anti-abortion groups from around the world as a member of the World Congress of Families. More recently under Hosoya, FAVS focuses on comfort women denial at the United Nations level in collaboration with Global Alliance for Historical Truth, of which Hosoya is a board member, Alliance for Truth about Comfort Women, and Nadeshiko Action. It is unclear how much ties the organization maintains with the Japan Conference now.
Japan First Party (日本第一党) is a far-right political party founded in 2016 by Makoto Sakurai, the founder and former president of Zaitokukai. In addition to a host of far-right causes including the development of nuclear arsenal and hardline military stance toward neighbors China, South Korea, and North Korea, the party calls for the repeal of Kono Statement (1993), Japan-ROK Agreement (2015), and other reconciliatory positions on comfort women as well as severing diplomatic ties with South Korea.
Japan Institute for National Fundamentals (国家基本問題研究所) is a conservative think tank founded and led by Yoshiko Sakurai. The Institute has close ties to Japan Conference, and many of its board members, advisors, and fellows are members come from Japan Conference and/or textbook reform movement. Its priorities include a revision of the pacifist clauses of Japan’s constitution, continued use of nuclear power, and comfort women denial.
Affiliated individuals include, in addition to Sakurai:
- Tadae Takubo (田久保忠衛), Japan Conference
- Shintaro Ishihara (石原慎太郎), fmr Tokyo governor
- Takashi Ito (伊藤隆), Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform
- Taro Yayama (屋山太郎), Nippon Foundation, Society to Improve Textbooks
- Kazuo Ijiri (井尻千男), Japan Conference, Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform
- Shohei Umezawa (梅澤昇平)
- Masato Ushio (潮匡人), Japan Education Rebirth Institute
- Koichi Sugiyama (すぎやまこういち), Committee for Historical Facts, Society to Improve Textbooks
- Tsutomu Nishioka (西岡力)
- Akira Momochi (百地章), Japan Conference
- Yuzou Kabashima (椛島有三), Japan Conference
Japan Mahoroba Station (JMS, 日本まほろば支援局), also known as Japan Mahoroba Support Agency is an online group founded in 2014 by New York-based Kaoli Koyasu to foster “better understanding of Japanese society and culture” starting among Japanese people. It promotes nationalistic views on Japan’s history and culture, including comfort women denial.
Mahoroba Station has co-sponsored various right-wing and comfort women denier events in the U.S., including Texas Night in NYC (2015), Texas Night in NYC (2016), and the Nadeshiko Action panel at the UN Commission on the Status of Women NGO Parallel Events (2016).
Japan NGO Coalition against Racial Discrimination (JNCRD) is a fake human rights coalition comprised of far-right organizations that share nationalist, historical revisionist, and anti-indigenous philosophies. It was founded in 2018 to defend Japan against what they perceive as unfounded criticisms of its human rights records at the 10th and 11th periodic review of Japan by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD).
Members of the NGO Coalition include:
JNCRD should not be confused with the NGO Network for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination Japan (ERD-Net) which is a coalition of actual human rights groups.
Japan Policy Institute (日本政策研究センター) is a nationalist think tank founded by Tetsuo Ito, a board member of Japan Conference. It is described in Japanese media as a right-wing “brain” of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration. JPI’s focus areas include comfort women denial, history, and anti-feminism.
Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform (新しい歴史教科書をつくる会) is a Japanese nationalist group founded by Nobukatsu Fujioka (藤岡信勝) in 1996, mainly in response to the inclusion of the comfort women history in Japanese history textbooks in the early to mid-1990s.
After a series of in-fighting and schisms among conservative intellectuals throughout 1990s and 2000s, more mainstream conservative leaders (especially those affiliate with Japan Conference) left the organization to form the Society to Improve Textbooks (教科書改善の会), leaving Fujioka and his followers behind. Fujioka’s group continues to publish textbooks, but it has been less successful than the splinter group in getting its textbooks adapted by schools. Both groups’ textbooks are similar in their nationalist (and often revisionist) tendencies, but Fujioka and his group have been more vocal in comfort women denial and criticisms of Abe administration’s handling of the issue.