2A) ANTISOCIAL: UNHEALTHY ALLEGIANCES
It is noteworthy that, in another part of its website, SG-eye blasts Gakkai members for pirating domain names that should belong to Nichiren Shoshu, and here has a link to "Daisaku Ikeda.com," which is an anti-SGI site.
It is also noteworthy that the content of this page — and of others — is almost exclusively provided by Craig Bratcher, owner and operator of Cebunet.
Thus, SG-eye is almost exclusively a Cebunet subsidiary.
A large portion of the articles Mr. Bratcher has posted have to do with Japanese politics through the late Nineties.
Japan's government has been essentially one-party rule since the end of World War II. The party is the LDP (Liberal Democratic Party); there have always been a number of minority parties, but until 1993 none had been able to form a coalition strong enough to move the LDP out.
The Soka Gakkai entered politics in 1956, running a few candidates in local elections. The 2nd President, Josei Toda, saw this as a natural evolution, because Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism is a philosophy meant to be practiced in daily life, which would eventually have influence in every field of human endeavor, including politics. Further, the Soka Gakkai had suffered intense persecution at the hands of the government before and during the war; Mr. Toda hoped that the participation of Gakkai members in the government would ensure that religious freedom would never be abrogated again.
In the early Sixties, the various Gakkai politicians formally organized the Komeito, or Clean Government Party. At first it was organizationally part of the Soka Gakkai. Ties between the two were formally severed in 1970 — though most Gakkai-member voters still vote for Komeito candidates
By the early Nineties, the Komeito was the third largest party in Japan. And in 1993, it combined with a couple of other minority parties to form a coalition that briefly ousted the LDP from control of the government.
The Komeito has always been a "threat", as a vocal minority, to the entrenched LDP. So have other parties. That there is some negative press, concerning the Komeito or anyone else, is (unfortunately) normal in the political world. And more so in Japan than in the United States.
A person familiar with Japanese journalistic practices has written on the Internet:
I am sure you are not aware of the “kisha club” (journalists’ clubs). In Japan, if you don’t play along with the official news sources, especially the Government sources, you are frozen out of the game. This extends ESPECIALLY to foreign journalists, which depend on the kisha clubs for assistance. . . .Imagine such a system, where journalists had to print only what the government wants, in America: we would never have heard of Watergate, or My Lai, or the political fundraising abuses. Worse, the party in power could easily use the media to malign its opposition, or even individuals whose reputations it wanted to ruin. The absolute independence of the press, its freedom to investigate and report facts, are taken for granted in a country where we expect to hear facts, and nothing but. As Louis Pulitzer said, the three most important things for a reporter to remember are: “Accuracy, accuracy, accuracy.”
But as we have seen, speculation is a fine substitute for fact in the tabloids quoted by SG-eye. In contrast, while covering the Watergate story for The Washington Post, Woodward and Bernstein were not allowed by their editor to print any allegation that had not been confirmed by at least two independent sources — “independent” meaning the sources had both come upon the same information without consulting each other (one hadn’t heard it from the other). No responsible journalist would write something like “Mr. X was seen within a mile of the murder scene, so it’s likely he is guilty.” But such speculation, innuendo, and leaps of logic are common in the Japanese tabloids.
So the Japanese press can be a) biased and b) beholden to the government — which, for most of Japanese post-war history, has meant the LDP. By using the press, the LDP has been able to shoot at its opponents — including Komeito and its major base of support, the Soka Gakkai — with little or no danger of return fire.
Two things happened in the mid-Nineties which unleashed a volley of extreme intensity: the Komeito became a very major threat, as part of the coalition, to the authority of the LDP; and the Aum Shinrikyo gassed a Tokyo subway.
The gas attack was an open invitation to the Komeito’s political opponents. People now had reason to fear shady religious groups, a religious group was backing one of the LDP’s main opponents — therefore, the LDP should characterize that religious group as “shady”, and there you go! Sagging support for the Komeito. That was the goal, anyway.
Note that most of the Komeito-related articles found on Cebunet are from that period. One of the most pernicious is a series (including three in a row on the website, from the Japan Times, Honolulu Star Bulletin, and “Victims of the Soka Gakkai Association”) have to do with the Nobuhira rape charges.
Two pertinent facts Mr. Bratcher neglected to include: the charge of rape put forth by Ms. Nobuhira — and a number of related charges brought by her and her husband — have been thrown out of court with the comment, from the presiding judge, that they were “an abuse” of the right to sue, and that their purpose was nothing but to tarnish Mr. Ikeda’s reputation.
In light of that, their inclusion on a website, with inflammatory headlines such as “Soka Gakkai Leader Accused of Rape,” and with no hint at all that the charge was found to be spurious and malicious, constitutes the worst form of lying; it allows the reader to believe something the author knows is not true, and it allows the author to say he is just reporting what others have written — “not responsible for external content”.
Also, the news of the charges was broadcast widely by the LDP. The LDP has since apologized to Mr. Ikeda and the Soka Gakkai, saying it regretted taking part in untruths.
April 21, 1998 Mainichi ShimbunDespite knowing this and knowing of the complete dismissal of all extraneous charges brought by the Nobuhiras — Nichiren Shoshu/Cebunet/SG-eye leaves the charges on their websites, and Mr. Bratcher continues to post them to ARBN.
Since 1999, the LDP has sought the co-operation of the Komeito and, coincidentally, the proliferation of such stories in the tabloids slowed to a crawl. There are a number of more recent stories on Cebunet, but for the most part they were engendered by the recent volatility of the Japanese political landscape caused by Prime Minister Mori’s waning popularity. These articles do little more than acknowledge that there is a Komeito; Mr. Bratcher’s intent in including them, I guess, is to scare Americans into the belief that the Soka Gakkai has designs on world domination.
Which, by the way, Mr. Bratcher might really believe. He has done the kindness of sharing some of his worldview with ARBN:
> SOCIETY We have become a World SocietyBratcher has, evidently, defended himself against charges of tax evasion by insisting that Indiana is a sovereign state not subject to federal laws. He has also posted to ARBN an essay in which he maintains that SGI President Ikeda and then-UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros Ghali were working together to replace the U.S. Constitution with the United Nations Charter.
So we’ll be skimming most of the items on Cebunet related to the political situation in Japan; they are by and large irrelevant in the present climate there. Likewise, we’ll skip the rape articles, but for a different reason; these can be disposed on in one sentence. They have been shown to be untrue, and Mr. Bratcher knows they are not true.
More rebuttal of SG-eye: