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03 May 2012

Book "Memoir of a Trustbuster: A Lifelong Adventure with Japan

A story of an American economist named Eleanor M. Hadley who contributed to Japan's post-war democratization, especially in the field of redistribution of wealth of the nation.

She visited Japan before the war between the two nations started. She was an exchange student and studied Japanese. During the war, she studied economics in Harvard. After the war she was hired by US Occupational force, so called G.H.Q.

The book described her life experience in Japan. She toured Japan and witnessed severe poverty in rural areas. In those days poor peasant families had to sell their children to prostitutes, Geisha or servant house to earn living.

After second world war, what she was involved in was dismantling of Zaibatsu (Corporate conglamour) such as Mitsubishi, Sumitomo, Mitsui, and Yasuda. She, her colleagues and her superiors thought that was best way to rebuild Japan's economy. Pre-war time Japan was much like Plutonomy. Small portion of the population dominated most of the wealth. Dismantling of Zaibatsu was to hike tax on the rich and dissolve their share-holding companies to re-allocate the wealth to number of people in the country.

The below is photo of former residence of Mitsubishi Zaibatsu family.


It was like "Gone with the wind" for the family. Actually their residence was even occupied by the Yankees. They lost huge part of their asset by post-war economic reform. They did protest that but G.H.Q. actually did it with her advice.

Interesting thing is that kind of reform was even objected within G.H.Q. because this type of reform was more like communism. Forcibly taking away wealth from the rich, did not match with US free market economy ideology.

She and her colleagues were later dismissed from public office on suspicion of communist activity and treason. Her name was cleared 20 years later.

Thanks to G.H.Q's reform, Japan has become relatively egalitarian society among advanced nations. Ironically the U.S. at present has become plutonomy society. That is why "Occupy Wall Street" movement occurred. Only top 5% of the population dominates 60% of the nation's total wealth. Top 400 richest households wealth is equivalent to that of bottom half of the population.

The rich can do anything they want in the world's most democratic nation because they finance President, Senators, and Congressmen. They can even control media to shut down unfavourable information for them to manipulate mass-population. 

Recent Micheal Moore's film described how plutonomic American society is and in contrast the film showed President Roosevelt's proposal of Second Bill of Rights during second world war.

The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the Nation;

The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

The right of every family to a decent home;

The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

The right to a good education.


All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.

Micheal Moore said it did not come to realization in the U.S. because Roosevelt died before the war ended. In fact Japan acquired the above rights. They are written in Japan's post war constitution.

Article 25. All people shall have the right to maintain the minimum standards of wholesome and cultured living.
In all spheres of life, the State shall use its endeavors for the promotion and extension of social welfare and security, and of public health.

Article 26. All people shall have the right to receive an equal education correspondent to their ability, as provided by law.
All people shall be obligated to have all boys and girls under their protection receive ordinary education as provided for by law. Such compulsory education shall be free.

Is it because of G.H. Q. people including Ms. Hadley?

If so, we should be thankful to her and the U.S.

I recently come up with the idea of my new novel. The title would be "Second Bill of Rights." The main character is a son of Japan's notable Zaibatsu family. Before the war he met a brilliant young American woman who was an exchange student like Ms. Hadley in Tokyo. He and she became good friends discussing arts, culture, politics and economical system of Japan, U.S. and rest of the world.

After the war, his family ruined. They saw each other again in Tokyo, this time she was a G.H.Q's economist. But the two got deeper relationship than pre-war time.

Doesn't it sound interesting?