11th Dec 2018

European and Japanese far right to hold Tokyo congress

  • Lanterns at the Yasukuni shrine, home to the souls of 1,068 WW2 war criminals (Photo: Eprouveze)

British National Party leader Nick Griffin may regularly pretend he is taking up the mantle of Winston Churchill, but one has to wonder whether the wartime prime minister would really approve of the upcoming meeting of the BNP and other EU far-right parties in Tokyo organised with Nippon Issuikai, a Japanese extreme right group that denies Empire of Japan atrocities.

Mr Griffin has lately made a habit of quoting the UK's wartime leader, horrifying his descendents, while the party's website front-page bears a thoughtful, hand-on-chin photograph of the BNP leader next to a determined-looking Mr Churchill, presumably taken during World War II, when Britain was in the middle of a death struggle with the Axis powers of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

But this August, the BNP and its friends in the Alliance of European National Movements (AENM), the "europarty" coalition of many of Europe's far-right parties, is to hold a week-long conference in the Japanese capital to discuss "The Future of Nationalist Movements" in partnership with Issuikai, or "Wednesday Society" in Japanese.

The vice-president of France's Front National (FN), MEP Bruno Gollnisch, said of the conference on his website: "This meeting between Japanese and European patriotic movements is a world first."

Issukai is one of the main nationalist or 'new right' groups in the country and views the post-war Japanese government as a puppet of the United States. The group wants to see the emperor return to Kyoto (the old imperial capital), denies the atrocities of the Empire of Japan, including the hundreds of thousands of Chinese civilians killed in the Nanjing Massacre in 1937, and asserts that there is no evidence that during the war Japanese soldiers forced women into sexual slavery.

The group, founded in 1972 by followers of the celebrated but hard-right militarist novelist Yukio Mishima, who committed ritual Seppuku suicide after his failed 1970 attempt at inspiring a coup d'etat by the Japanese Self-Defense Forces, has few members but remains influential in the media, with leader Mitsuhiro Kimura having appeared regularly on TV political chat shows and writing opinion pieces in the Asahi Shimbun daily.

Mr Kimura has long wanted to build an international alliance of far-right parties.

France's FN and Hungary's Jobbik, which won 17 percent in the country's recent general election and maintains a paramilitary wing (itself partly inspired by the fascist-Hungary-era Arrow Cross), Belgium's Flemish separatist Vlaams Belang, Italy's Fiamma Tricolore, Ataka from Bulgaria, Portugal's Partido Nacional Renovador and Svoboda, a Ukrainian group, will also take part in the meeting, to take place between 11 and 18 August.

According to the FN, the conference is to focus on the future of the far right, as well as "lessons that Japan could learn from the experience and achievements of European movements, some of which have made inroads in recent polls, and ways to maintain ties worldwide."

While in Japan, the AENM delegation will make a visit to the Yasukuni shrine, long controversial for visits by politicians to this home to the souls of 1,068 World War II war criminals.

Mr Kimura is on good terms with the French party's Bruno Gollnisch, who speaks fluent Japanese and has been professor of Japanese language and civilisation at the University of Lyons since 1981.

The Issui-kai leader was also once on cordial terms with Uday Hussein, the son of Iraq's late leader, before he was killed in 2003.

FN leader Jean Marie Le Pen for his part has frequently noted his admiration for Japan's highly restrictive immigration policies.

The AENM will send 20 delegates, including Jobbik's Bela Kovacs, who acts as something of an international relations specialist for Hungarian far-right outfit. He too speaks Japanese fluently, as his family had served Hungary's former Communist government in Japan in a diplomatic capacity in his youth.

The European Parliament reports that no request for funding for the trip has been made with the chamber.

The delegation will also include from the BNP Adam Walker due to his working for a bit as a teacher in Japan.

Mr Walker, president of the group's nationalist 'trade union,' Solidarity, and recently appointed the BNP's staff manager, was recently grilled by the UK's General Teaching Council for describing immigrants as "savage animals" and "filth" while working as a technology teacher.

He also runs a martial arts academy.

Anti-semitism 'disturbingly normalised' in Europe

Almost 40 percent of European Jews contemplate leaving their home country because they no longer feel safe, and almost 85 percent say their number one concern in Europe is anti-semitism and racism, according to a new EU survey.

Merkel loyalist AKK wins CDU leadership battle

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, seen as championing similar policies to Angela Merkel, has won the CDU party leadership contest and is thus the frontrunner to become chancellor once Merkel leaves. But a split party will mean challenges.


CDU election - Merkel's big gamble or master move?

As the functions of Christian Democratic Union party leader and chancellor have historically always been held by the same person, the next CDU leader could take over Merkel's main job as well.

EU warns tech giants on Russian fake news

Social media platforms are told to tackle fake accounts and the spread of fake news more effectively before the European elections next May - or face regulation.

Soros' university forced out of Budapest, despite EU pledges

The American university is forced to move to Vienna, as EU institutions fail to curb Hungarian nationalist premier, Viktor Orban's push against academic freedom. "It is a dark day for Europe and a dark day for Hungary," the rector said.

Asylum for Macedonia's ex-PM puts Orban on spot

Authorities in Budapest confirmed the former prime minister of Macedonia, fleeing a jail sentence in his own country, has filed for asylum. Despite Hungary's strict asylum laws, the pro-Kremlin politician was not turned away.

News in Brief

  1. Lead MEP on Morocco resigns position on trade file
  2. EU gives green light to new human rights sanctions
  3. May pulls vote, seeks to renegotiate Brexit 'backstop'
  4. Report: May cancels Tuesday's Brexit vote in parliament
  5. Belgium left with minority government after UN migration pact row
  6. EU court: UK can unilaterally revoke Article 50
  7. UK remains largest arms producer in western Europe
  8. Macron to address French nation in bid to calm tension


EU parliament vote strengthens whistleblower protection

We must not undervalue what a massive step the European Parliament vote represents. The hard work has paid off. We can take a moment to celebrate, but the hard work begins again for finalising strong protection for European whistleblowers.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General

Latest News

  1. EU aviation agreement with Morocco in legal hot water
  2. Anti-semitism 'disturbingly normalised' in Europe
  3. Help consumers take cruelty away from EU's Xmas buffet
  4. EU court adds to knife-edge Brexit drama
  5. France and Germany back Dutch on human rights sanctions
  6. COP24: vital to keep big polluters away from climate policy
  7. EU foot-dragging puts rule of law at risk in Hungary, Poland
  8. Merkel loyalist AKK wins CDU leadership battle

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs
  2. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  3. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  4. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  5. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  6. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  8. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  10. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  12. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us