9-11: A New Pearl Harbor for the 21st Century
Good afternoon. Thank you for your introduction and for kindly inviting me here today to be your guest speaker for the 210th meeting of the Shimbun Gaku Kenkyu-kai. I am both honored and humbled to be speaking here among my esteemed colleagues in the news field, especially on such a special day in Japan such as Tanabata.
As you’ve heard, my name is Brian Covert. I have been working in the journalism field for more than 20 years, both in Japan and the United States. During the 15 years or more that I have lived in Japan, I worked for three of the former four English-language newspapers in Japan, as well as working as Osaka stringer for United Press International (UPI) news service in Tokyo. It has been my great pleasure to live and work in Japan for these many years.
I and my family had been living in the U.S. temporarily since 2001, and I was living in California on the U.S. west coast on the day the events of 9-11 occurred. My family and I finally decided to move back here to Kansai in January of this year, and I plan to continue my work as an independent journalist in Japan for many more years.
I would like to address the topic today of the events of 11 September 2001, comparing and contrasting them to the events of more than 60 years ago: the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii — which at that time was a U.S. colony, not one of the 50 U.S. states. I would also like to address how our field, the news business, in the U.S. played a role in the events of 9-11 and beyond, up to today.
These days, it is not enough to criticize governments, corporations or other institutions; we must take a long, hard look at how the news media themselves cover wars — and indeed, how the news media “create” wars and perpetuate the myths about them long after the wars are over. In this case, I will be focusing mostly on criticism of the U.S. press.
Pearl Harbor, Myth and Reality
Let us start by taking a look at the lingering myths of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that transpired on 7 December 1941 [8 December, Japan time]. The U.S. news media, and especially Hollywood, have painted a picture of Japan all through World War II as a cruel, unmerciful, almost inhuman enemy.
Historians have, for the most part, stuck to the standard portrait of Pearl Harbor as a “surprise attack.” They have stuck strictly to the line that the clever Japanese military of that time maintained strict radio silence for security reasons, and that the few radio transmissions that were aired by the Japanese military were so cleverly encoded that the U.S. military was never able to crack the code.
Despite the fact that the U.S. itself was a military occupying force on the Hawaiian Islands at that time, the U.S. has always painted itself as the “victim” of the Japanese military bombing of Pearl Harbor — an unprovoked, innocent victim. The Pearl Harbor attack has been referred to ever since then as the “day of infamy.”
It is said that even then-president Franklin Roosevelt, who coined that phrase, had not known a thing in advance of the Pearl Harbor attack. The myth goes that Roosevelt was confronted with a dilemma after the attacks, and that he had no choice but to reluctantly declare war on Japan and bring the U.S. onto the World War II scene. Moreover, Pearl Harbor has always been used as a kind of justification for the most heinous international crimes against humanity ever inflicted on a people: the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Though there have been many debates on the topic in the U.S. and around the world, the myths have stayed the accepted history since that time. That is, until an explosive new book was published in 2001 by a former World War II U.S. military officer, Robert B. Stinnett. The book is titled Day of Deceit: The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor.
You can see by the title that Mr. Stinnett considers 7 December 1941 to be not a “day of infamy” but rather a “day of deceit.” And he offers some fairly convincing evidence of that. Let us take a look at some of that evidence.
Mr. Stinnett had filed a Freedom of Information Act request for documents related to this subject and finally received some of those documents from the U.S. government. From them, he was able to draw a conclusion that the story of Pearl Harbor that has persisted all through the years was exactly that — a cover story.
To summarize, he states that contrary to the myth, Japanese forces had regularly broadcasted encoded radio transmissions during World War II and that the U.S. military had early on been able to break the Japanese codes — including from one former base near to where we were recently living in Humboldt County, northern California. So, the U.S. military knew well what the Japanese military and government was up to in those days.
The most explosive finding by Mr. Stinnett in this book, however, is that, in his words: “FDR knew.” That is to say, President Roosevelt was well aware of the events leading up to Pearl Harbor. And not only was he aware, he approved of an “eight-point memo” that was prepared by the U.S. military and which was designed to provoke Japan into attacking Pearl Harbor so that the U.S. could, in turn, enter World War II with some justification.
According to Mr. Stinnett’s research, the eight-point memo was initially drawn up by U.S. Navy Lt. Commander Arthur McCollum, an expert on Japan, on 7 October 1940. President Roosevelt reportedly read it through and immediately approved it the next day. As Mr. Stinnett notes, “FDR knew” — and he knew about the plan more than one year before the events of Pearl Harbor took place in 1941.
This eight-point plan was, in effect, a blueprint for war — a war in which reportedly 80 percent of Americans were against the U.S. entering at that time. It was a blueprint for provoking an enemy’s attack so strongly and so dramatically that the American public would have no choice but to support the U.S. military after that.
I have been able to download a copy of this “eight-point memo” from the Internet and will be happy to pass it around for your perusal while I am speaking. Most of you will probably be hearing and seeing this for the first time, as this is an important piece of evidence that has been hidden from public view until just a few years ago.
The original memo is titled “Estimate of the Situation in the Pacific and Recommendations for Action by the United States.” The eight points of action that were recommended by the U.S. military to the U.S. government were, and I quote:
A. Make an arrangement with Britain for the use of British bases in the Pacific, particularly Singapore.
B. Make an arrangement with Holland for the use of base facilities and acquisition of supplies in the Dutch East Indies.
C. Give all possible aid to the Chinese government of Chiang Kai-Shek.
D. Send a division of long-range heavy cruisers to the Orient, Philippines, or Singapore.
E. Send two divisions of submarines to the Orient.
F. Keep the main strength of the U.S. fleet now in the Pacific in the vicinity of the Hawaiian Islands.
G. Insist that the Dutch refuse to grant Japanese demands for undue economic concessions, particularly oil.
H. Completely embargo all U.S. trade with Japan, in collaboration with a similar embargo imposed by the British Empire.
And Lt. Commander McCollum added immediately after that in the memo: “If by these means Japan could be led to commit an overt act of war, so much the better. At all events we must be fully prepared to accept the threat of war.”
And that is exactly what happened one year later. The majority of the U.S. public was hesitant about going to war, but the U.S. military apparently saw provoking Japan into attacking the U.S. as a unique opportunity not to be missed. And the rest, as they say, is history.
The idea that Japan was provoked by the U.S. into attacking Pearl Harbor is also covered a bit by historian Howard Zinn in his most excellent book A People’s History of the United States. Professor Zinn records U.S. history in this book not from the U.S. government’s point of view but from the citizens’ point of view. This book was first published in 1980 but remains a bestseller up to today.
Professor Zinn notes that the U.S. had long supported Japan’s presence in China without any complaint. But with the Japanese government’s takeover of Chinese resources and especially the tin, rubber and oil markets of Southeast Asia, the U.S. angrily responded with a total embargo against Japan on scrap iron and oil. Professor Zinn notes that it was well understood by the U.S. that such acts would force Japan to respond militarily, as it did indeed do in December 1941.
Other ‘Pearl Harbors’ in U.S. History
In looking back on such acts of provocation by the U.S. as a means of going to war, we are forced to ask ourselves: Is this the first time? And the answer, of course, is no, it is not the first time. In fact, as we all know, the United States has a long history of capitalizing on or even “creating” acts of war, and then declaring war itself on its new enemy. Let us look at a few examples throughout American history:
• 1846: Killing of U.S. scouts by the Mexican cavalry, leading the U.S. into the Mexican-American War
• 1898: Sinking of the battleship USS Maine in Cuba’s Havana harbor, leading the U.S. into the Spanish-American War
• 1915: Sinking of the ocean liner Lusitania, leading the U.S. into World War I
• 1941: Attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, leading the U.S. into World War II
• 1964: Gulf of Tonkin incident, leading the U.S. much more deeply into the Vietnam War
• 2001: 11 September terrorist attacks in New York, leading the U.S. into wars in Afghanistan and Iraq
Blueprint for 21st Century ‘Pearl Harbor’
This now brings us up to date to the events of 11 September 2001. Let’s look at a few of the reasons why I compare 9-11 with the events of 60 years earlier at Pearl Harbor.
The first reason that must exist for any provocation of war to become reality is some kind of blueprint — a blueprint for war. The “eight-point action plan” created in 1940 was, as Mr. Stinnett correctly points out in his book, a blueprint for the U.S. entry into World War II.
9-11 also had its own blueprint for war, too. The first step was to create an organization that would draw up the blueprint. Such a group was created in the form of the “Project for the New American Century” (PNAC) created in 1997 during the Clinton administration. The PNAC was essentially a think-tank of well-known figures on the extreme-right known as neo-conservatives, or “neo-cons”. (Some people in the U.S. jokingly refer to this group of “neo-cons” as “neo-convicts” instead.)
This group of ultra-rightist ideologues — “crazies” as one former CIA employee has described them in the media — was composed of many political extremists who would go on to enter the inner circle of the George W. Bush administration, including vice president Dick Cheney, defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld and deputy defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz.
In September 2000, with the U.S. presidential election just two months away, the PNAC drafted its manifesto: a 90-page report titled “Rebuilding America’s Defenses — Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century”.
The report called for the complete U.S. military domination of the world. It seeks to do so by transforming America’s conventional military into a new military that will be bigger and stronger than the world has ever before seen. It called for total U.S. military domination of global missile defenses, outer space, and cyberspace as well. In other words, the complete and total U.S. control of the entire universe as we know it.
Well, this is quite an ambitious fantasy, isn’t it? But as we can see from Hollywood movies, Americans are good at, if nothing else, creating fantasy from fact.
It was no secret that the right-wing of the U.S. viewed the Clinton administration as being weak in military affairs, and these extreme rightists strongly disapproved of the direction that the U.S. and the world was going. Though Clinton was far from being a true liberal in the real meaning of the word, these ultra-rightist, mostly Christian fundamentalist, persons took it upon themselves to change the direction of the U.S. by any means necessary.
In Chapter V of this document, titled “Creating Tomorrow’s Dominant Force,” the PNAC notes on page 51, under the section of “Control of space and cyberspace”:
Much as control of the high seas — and the protection of international commerce — defined global powers in the past, so will control of the new “international commons” be a key to world power in the future. An America incapable of protecting its interests or that of its allies in space or the “infosphere” will find it difficult to exert global political leadership.
Clearly, what we have here is the U.S. boldly stating that it intends to control both inner space and outer space — again, basically the entire universe as we know it. Nestled into this page is also a sentence on how to best achieve that transformation of total domination by the USA:
Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event — like a new Pearl Harbor.
It is just one sentence tucked inside this massive report, but this one sentence is a small key that unlocks a much wider understanding of the future direction the U.S. would take.
By the time this report was two months old in November 2000, the U.S. presidential election was soon to be decided and the victory hinged on the state of Florida, which as you all know, was coincidentally governed by Jeb Bush, brother of presidential candidate George W. Bush.
Before, during and after the controversial election-deciding process of 2000, one journalist — Greg Palast, an American independent journalist working for the BBC in London — got the scoop that all other mainstream U.S. journalists missed: that the state of Florida, under Jeb Bush, had illegally deleted from voter rolls tens of thousands of names of African American voters and others likely to vote for the Democratic Party. Not surprisingly, the state of Florida and the U.S. Supreme Court on 12 December 2000 selected George W. Bush to be the next president. That election was corrupted from start to finish.
And the PNAC report, “Rebuilding America’s Defenses,” was only three months old at that point. Now it was time for the ultra-rightists to put their plan into action.
Two Pearl Harbors, 1941 and 2001
Just as it took almost exactly one year for the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor to occur from the time the “eight-point memo” was approved by President Roosevelt in December 1940, so did the 9-11 attacks take almost exactly one year from the time the PNAC’s report was first released back in September 2000. They were two blueprints, 60 years apart, yet having several things in common:
(1) Both led the U.S. into war, despite perceived or real public opposition
(2) Both created a resurgence of patriotism in U.S. citizens
(3) Both resulted in the severe curtailing of citizens’ rights in the name of “security”
(4) Both led to vastly increased profits for the U.S. military-industrial complex
(5) Both led to the use of nuclear-based weaponry against enemies [atomic bombs and depleted uranium weapons, respectively]
(6) Both led to targeting of specific racial and ethnic groups: in 1941, Japanese Americans; in 2001, Arab Americans and Muslims
(7) Both would help to portray the U.S. as a “victim” of an enemy surprise attack
(8) Both would require the compliance or cooperation of the U.S. mainstream news media
It is worth noting that there was another ominous “Pearl Harbor” reference by a prominent official. In 1999, the U.S. Congress created the “Commission to Assess United States National Security, Space Management, and Organization” with the aim of pushing for the U.S. to create an undefeatable “space force” to supplement and coordinate with America’s already dominant air, land and sea forces.
In January 2001, just one month after Bush was selected to be president by the U.S. Supreme Court, the commission’s chairman, Donald Rumsfeld, who had been working in the private sector, released its report to the public. It included this passage:
History is replete with instances in which warning signs were ignored and change resisted until an external, “improbable” event forced resistant bureaucracies to take action. The question is whether the US will be wise enough to act responsibly and soon enough to reduce US space vulnerability. Or whether, as in the past, a disabling attack against the country and its people — a “Space Pearl Harbor” — will be the only event able to galvanize the nation and cause the US Government to act.
The “Second Rumsfeld Commission,” as the commission was commonly called then, announced that reference to a possible “Space Pearl Harbor” on 11 January 2001, eight months to the day before 9-11 occurred in September of that year.
Media Perpetuating the Myth
Let us take a look now at the role the U.S. news media played in perpetuating the myth of 9-11.
Christopher Whitcomb, a former FBI agent, said this in a speech to American university students in October 2002: “You cannot have terrorism without the media.” I wonder now if Mr. Whitcomb realizes just how accurate his statement has become: “You cannot have terrorism without the media.” Can any of us here imagine a world of terrorism without the media? Think about it.
In the United States immediately following the attacks of 9-11, it was the U.S. news media who first drew the public analogies between the myth of Pearl Harbor and 9-11:
Tom Brokaw, a popular news announcer for the NBC television network, reporting on 11 September 2001, said, “This was the most serious attack on the United States since Pearl Harbor.” This same Mr. Brokaw would go on to issue what has since become one of the more outrageous statements by someone in the U.S. media: On 19 March 2003, as the U.S. was invading Iraq, Brokaw said on air, and I quote here word for word: “One of the things that we don’t want to do is to destroy the infrastructure of Iraq because in a few days we’re going to own that country.”
On 11 September 2001, the nationwide newspaper USA Today published a front-page headline that read: “America recovering from ‘the second Pearl Harbor’.”
The words “infamy” or “day of infamy” or other similar terms appeared in many news U.S. stories as well, borrowing the famous words President Roosevelt had used in his declaration of war speech the day following the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941.
“Day of Infamy” was the title of a Time magazine special issue about the 9-11 attacks. On the last page of that issue, under the headline “The Case for Rage and Retribution,” one Time writer wrote: “A day cannot live in infamy without the nourishment of rage. Let’s have rage.”
The Honolulu Advertiser newspaper’s top story the day after 9-11 read: “Surprise act of war invokes specter of other day of infamy.” So, 9-11 became the “new” day of infamy and Pearl Harbor became the old, “other” day of infamy. The U.S. news media were already rewriting history one day after 9-11.
As I mentioned, I was staying in California when the 9-11 attacks happened on the east coast of the U.S.
Ironically, the first news I received about 9-11 was not from the rabid U.S. news media but rather from a journalist friend in Fukuoka, Japan. I had just gotten up that day and hadn’t yet turned on the TV or radio, when I got a phone call from an old Mainichi Shimbun colleague, a photographer now working in Fukuoka for RKB Mainichi Broadcasting. His voice sounded frantic and nervous: “Are you all right? Are you sure you’re all right?” I assured him I was fine. He told me the U.S. was under enemy attack. I hadn’t heard about it yet; in California, people usually get the news at their own leisurely pace.
I soon turned on the TV and saw the dramatic images of what had happened in New York. That day and the days that followed, I thought American journalism had truly died. Everywhere were stars-and-stripes flag symbols, with headlines cheering on the U.S. to attack someone — anyone.
Media Calls for Revenge
There is an excellent media watch group based in New York called “Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting” or FAIR. They publish this magazine here, which I will pass around, called Extra!, and they also produce a weekly radio program on mistakes found in U.S. media coverage. FAIR consistently does excellent studies and research of media bias in the U.S. On 17 September 2001, less than a week after 9-11, FAIR issued a report noting how the U.S. news media as a whole was pushing the American public toward retaliation.
Here are just a few clear examples of “media revenge” cited in FAIR’s excellent report:
The New York Post newspaper on 12 September 2001, the day after 9-11, published these words: “The response to this unimaginable 21st-century Pearl Harbor should be as simple as it is swift — kill the bastards. A gunshot between the eyes, blow them to smithereens, poison them if you have to. As for cities or countries that host these worms, bomb them into basketball courts.”
Here is what the editor of the National Review, a right-wing magazine in the U.S., told the Washington Post newspaper two days later, on 13 September 2001: “America roused to a righteous anger has always been a force for good. States that have been supporting if not Osama bin Laden, people like him, need to feel pain. If we flatten part of Damascus or Tehran or whatever it takes, that is part of the solution.”
And here is another quote, this from Ms. Ann Coulter, a popular syndicated columnist in the U.S., on 13 September 2001: “This is no time to be precious about locating the exact individuals directly involved in this particular terrorist attack. …We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren’t punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That’s war. And this is war.”
This same Ms. Coulter, by the way, is also famous in the U.S. for often saying that anybody in the U.S. who happens to disagree with the U.S. government is a “traitor” and should be “executed.” She is one of the most popular political writers and commentators in the U.S.
In comparing 9-11 to the myths of Pearl Harbor, the U.S. news media also was quick to compare the bumbling George W. Bush to the more eloquent Franklin Roosevelt — though they are on opposite ends of the U.S. political spectrum. There were countless comparisons in the U.S. news media between Bush Jr. and Roosevelt following 9-11, too many to go into here now. But suffice it to say, the U.S. news media were more than ready to do their part to help perpetuate a new “Day of Infamy” for the 21st century.
Homemade Media Heroes
I think also that it is very dangerous for us journalists to make so-called “heroes” out of ordinary human beings. That is how the U.S. military personnel who died at Pearl Harbor in 1941 have been viewed — as heroes — though they were there only doing their jobs as soldiers and sailors (on an illegally occupied island). The many thousands of U.S. citizens who happened to be at the World Trade Center on that fateful day in 2001 were also labeled as “heroes” by American society.
Speaking personally, following the events of 9-11, while I was living in California, the local press reported that one of the passengers aboard Flight 93, which was said to be hijacked then crashed in the U.S. midwest region on 9-11, was a local man who lived and worked in that same area of northern California where I did. Instantly, the tributes began pouring forth from the local news media about how that local man must have been one of the brave passengers who valiantly overpowered the hijackers before the plane went down. “How can the local news media possibly know that he was the one?” I thought. “All of the passengers died on that flight — including the eulogized man himself.”
My wife, who was then in Japan, called me around that same time and told me that the Japanese news media were reporting the same, almost identical story about a Japanese man who happened to be on that same Flight 93! But how did the Japanese news media know that the Japanese passenger was the main “hero”? I realized then that any country or state or city that had a citizen from its area on that Flight 93 was probably claiming that their local citizen was “the hero” on that flight.
There are countless other points to talk about concerning the events of 9-11, though I have covered only a few of them here today.
However, before I close, I would like to recommend to you a controversial new book I have just finished reading, titled The New Pearl Harbor — Disturbing Questions about the Bush Administration and 9/11. It was written by Mr. David Ray Griffin, a theology professor in the U.S. Rather than investigating the event himself, the author instead compiles investigations into 9-11 that have been made by other journalists, writers or citizens around the world. There are lots of surprises in this book that I hadn’t heard about, lots of small unsolved pieces of the larger mystery. Now that I’ve read this book, I look at the events of 9-11 less as a so-called “accident” and more like something that was allowed to happen.
It took more than 60 years for the historical evidence to emerge that shows that the Pearl Harbor attack by Japanese forces was no unprovoked accident. Let us hope that our field — journalism — will be able to reveal the hidden history of 9-11 much sooner than that.
The Solution: Media Democracy
In my speech today, I’ve talked about some historical comparisons between 9-11 and Pearl Harbor, and lots of problems with the U.S. news media. In my closing remarks I’d like to speak a bit about the solution to the problems plaguing the U.S. news media. We can find such a solution in what is called the “media democracy” (or open media) movement in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world today. It offers us great hope, I think, in changing the news media for the better in Japan, the U.S. and countries around the globe.
The most popular of the independent news media programs in the U.S. these days is called “Democracy Now!” hosted in New York by Ms. Amy Goodman on the Pacifica radio network. It started out as a small radio program but has since grown exponentially to be broadcast on radio and cable TV stations across North America and beyond. “Democracy Now!” is said to be the largest public media collaboration of its kind in the U.S. At the same time, it seems that most of the American public has not heard much about the existence of “Democracy Now!” — especially among those people who tend to get their news from mainstream press coverage. But steadily, “Democracy Now!” is growing and its broadcasts are reaching more and more audiences all the time.
For us here in Japan, “Democracy Now!” is available for viewing on the Internet for free. I encourage you to watch an episode or two for yourself and take a look at the what the future of the “open media movement” will be. Ms. Goodman, the show’s host, has recently published a popular book, which I have brought with me here, and I am happy to pass it around for your perusal.
I’ve been talking lately with a few independent journalists and citizens who are active in various fields here in Japan about the possibility of creating a new, independent news program or organization in Japan similar to what FAIR, “Democracy Now!” and others are doing around the world. I think that it will take many years to accomplish, but I do firmly believe that the “media democracy” or open media movement will take firm hold here in Japan in the coming years. When that happens, I want to be right on the frontlines of that development.
I’ve spent some time observing and analyzing why and how the open media movement has succeeded in various places around the globe. I’ve come to the conclusion that the success of such independent media is due to the active participation of two groups of people: women and youths. These are two groups that are more or less shut out of the mainstream media dialogue, both inside and outside the news companies, but there can be no success unless they are both involved in the frontlines of the new media movement. That is because women often contribute a different and fresher perspective from the male-dominated news media we all work in. And youths bring to this new movement a vital energy and enthusiasm needed to drive the engine of the movement and help sustain it. As far as I’ve analyzed, those two groups are the key ingredients for a true media transformation in the new century.
Citizens themselves in many countries are taking a more active role in the coverage of news and the criticizing of news and shaping of news themselves because more and more of them have no trust in what the mainstream media tells them anymore. That is a harsh reality that we as journalists have to face. Though I love journalism more than any other profession, I find such citizen criticism and action to be a healthy thing for the news media. We all know that sensational media coverage of trivial issues often gets out of control — while coverage of issues important to people’s lives seem to get less and less space in the news. So, it’s good that citizens themselves are learning how to take the news media literally into their own hands.
My own thinking is that to transform the news media in a positive way, there has to be both “inside pressure” and “outside pressure” working together. Journalists inside media companies can work with people outside media companies to put constant, continual pressure on editors, boards of directors and even advertisers to make the news media more balanced, fair, accurate, informative and relevant to people’s daily lives. This is already happening in many parts of the world, and I do think that it will happen in Japan as well. At least, I am ready to work hard in doing my own small part to see that this becomes a reality in this country in the years to come.
In closing, let us remember that while the news media love to compare the drama of Pearl Harbor to the dramatic events of 9-11, they are comparing only the Hollywood version, only the myths, which I have talked about here today. Those myths are very weak. The facts and truth about the two events, 60 years apart, have much more in common: Governments all over the world routinely have used, and still do use, so-called “surprise attacks” to arouse their citizens to rage and into war. It has happened before in the world, and it will undoubtedly happen again somewhere in the world — possibly in Japan in the future.
When such events do happen, I feel strongly that it’s the responsibility and obligation of journalists to investigate the government and military deeply for all the unseen, underground connections — not feed the public on war rhetoric, as the U.S. press has done. We journalists here in Japan should wisely use the U.S. news media as a model of what journalism should not become here in Japan and around the world. The former head of the BBC in England, Mr. Greg Dyke, has publicly said the same thing. I wholeheartedly agree with him.
I have always been of the firm conviction that journalism, when done for the right reasons and in the correct manner, not only serves a most important function in a democracy but can also change the world in many positive ways. I still think so, and I look forward to putting my convictions forward with lots of hard work in the coming years here in Japan.
I understand that now we will open the floor for questions and answers. I deeply appreciate your kind attention to my long talk.
Thank you very much.