To most of the world, Lockheed was a large aerospace corporation that had come to symbolize the U.S. Space Shuttle Program. In Japan, such a definition was not only incidental but inaccurate. In the U.S., Lockheed was a political sports event that surpassed imagination. It was a test of strength Kakuei Tanaka versus Japan. For the Japanese Government, it was a refusal to admit that a single individual had risen above the justice system. For Tanaka, it was the supreme test of his power and a refusal to allow his place in history to be tarnished by an ungrateful nation. For the society, it was an embarrassingly even contest.
Originally, the Lockheed story was a simple one that, like the definition of Lockheed, got lost along the way. It went like this: in the latter half of the 1960s, Japan Airlines (JAL) and All Nippon Airways (ANA) were faced with a ballooning demand for their services. Both companies began to draw up plans to introduce large-body aircraft. ANA, fearing it would lose out to the government-owned JAL, bribed the Transport Minister (Tomisaburo Hashimoto) and Parliamentary Vice Transport Minister (Takayuki Sato). They gleefully obstructed JAL's requests for purchase of large aircraft. The delay gave ANA a chance to catch up and to open bids to foreign producers.
Three major U.S. corporations entered the race, each represented by an elephantine sogo shosha (trading company). McDonald Douglas, through Mitsui, attempted to sell its DC-10; Boeing, through Nissho Iwai, tried to sell its 747; and Lockheed, through Marubeni, wanted to sell its TriStar at $30 million per plane.
In this competition, Lockheed was the dark horse for two reasons. First,
its sogo shosha, Marubeni, didn't carry the same up-front degree
of clout as did the other two. Marubeni was small by comparison. Second,
despite the fact that TriStar was a fine plane, Lockheed had an inferior
track record with large aircraft when viewed against McDonald Douglas
3.Prime Minister's Office
4.ANA (All Nippon Airways)
The story proceeded as Kodama, a secret service agent for Lockheed, advised
Lockheed-Marubeni to make contact with Kenji Osano. Osano pondered the
dilemma for a $200,000 consultant's fee and advised Marubeni to enlist
the Prime Minister's assistance in making a direct appeal to ANA President
Wakasa. Marubeni President, Hiyama, decided that 500 million yen ($7.53
million) would be sufficient incentive for Tanaka's help. Hiyama then
sent Okubo, Marubeni Managing Director, to see A.C. Kotchian, Lockheed
President, about the plan to offer the Prime Minister of Japan a thank-you
gift if he would represent their interest with ANA. Kotchian accepted
the idea and Okubo relayed the consent to Hiyama.
The Prime Minister, having kept his part of the bargain, then pressed Hiyama to pay up. Hiyama and his team went to see Kotchian. Kotchian forwarded the funds to Clutter, Lockheed Tokyo Office Chief. Clutter told Hiyama that the money had arrived and Hiyama dispatched office worker Nomiyama to Lockheed to pick up the money on three separate occasions.
Next Hiyama told Okubo to tell Itoh, to set up the deliveries to Tanaka's
secretary, Enomoto. Four clandestine drops over an eight-month period
January 21, 1974, 2:30 p.m. In the Hotel Okura parking lot, 125 million
yen was passed.
The U.S. media displayed a modicum of surprise at the lack of ethics in the higher circles of foreign nations, while the Japanese press went into shock at the sudden blow suffered to national prestige. Upgrading the society's international reputation had been the prime foreign policy goal since Yoshida. Tanaka was naturally irritated with the unruly wild west structure of American democratic institutions and was particularly annoyed with the use of the word "bribe." Etsuzankai at once rushed to Tanaka's defense, denouncing the whole business as a CIA plot to dislodge their leader from national politics. For the CIA, 1976 had been a very difficult year, but the argument posed by Etsuzankai was so patently ludicrous that it was never taken seriously.
After the story blew up, Tanaka, now ex-Prime Minister, through Enomoto, quickly and quietly tried to return the money, but it was simply too late. Marubeni wanted nothing more to do with it. The bureaucracy Tanaka had learned to manipulate so skillfully suddenly turned on him and once again the Tokyo Prosecutors Office had a chance at him.
Kotchian had given his testimony on February 6, 1976, and for the next decade, Tanaka lived in a fish bowl that perhaps only the Emperor could identify with. His home and outside office were under constant surveillance by a small army of media personnel. Hana and Tanaka were held virtual prisoners at Mejiro. Tanaka seldom left the place, rarely attended his job at the Diet, and preferred to run his share of the Japanese political world by phone. Perhaps this media-created situation, more than anything else, gave him, in the eyes of some, a hardened Kuromaku image. Right or wrong, black or white, Tanaka had little choice but to conduct most of his business from the shadows of Mejiro.
Twelve days after the Kotchian testimony in the United States, Lockheed II The Circus, began:
Kasahara's death marked a turning point for Tanaka. By law, a dead man's deposition was useless as in-court evidence. Tanaka was officially indicted on August 16 and secured bail at 200 million yen ($2.46 million) on August 17. After this, the Lockheed case became increasingly complex. It was divided into four separate procedures: the Marubeni trial involving Tanaka, Enomoto, Hiyama, Itoh, Okubo, Nomiyama and Itoh's driver, Katsuhiro Matsuoka; the ANA trial involving Wakasa, Watanabe and former Transport Minister Hashimoto; the Kodama trial; and the Kenji Osano trial. Osano wasn't indicted until January 21, 1977, and his case concerned only perjury. As this chronology clearly demonstrates, the Lockheed case was a journalist's dream every week a new story for the front page, the whole process inching toward a giant climax. While 1977 didn't offer much on Tanaka, except speculation, he did have to make his first appearance in court on January 27.
The Tokyo District Prosecutor's Office was far from all powerful. It
was the lowest level in the judiciary with no big names and a lot of beginners.
Up to that point they had done a good job, and by January 27, 1977, they
were feeling very self-confident. Tanaka, on this day, showed up to face
them. He was very humble, offering a tearful apology for damaging the
honor of the Prime Ministership followed by an emotional denial of all
charges. That is what was said, but it was the unsaid that made everyone
sit up and take notice. Tanaka had come to court with an ex-Supreme Court
Justice as his attorney, supported by a who's who cast of former public
prosecutors. Behind the humble voice, Tanaka had arrived in the court
house with an awesome display of his power. There was no mistaking the
silent message, to the prosecutors, the judges and the nation Tanaka had
come to fight, not to apologize.
The following year, 1978, also had a fairly empty slate, though in December the Lower Court, over the vehement objections of the Defense, adopted the American depositions as evidence. To the Defense this was unprecedented foul play, because it was evidence taken under immunity from prosecution; such a courtesy given foreigners in testimony against a Japanese citizen defied the homogeneous nature of social ethics. It was unpatriotic!
In 1979, things went from bad to worse for Tanaka. In particular, three revelations hurt his defense. First, Okubo seemed to lose his fight, testifying that "money was something against my clear conscience." Then Hiyama revealed that indeed Lockheed had promised to give Tanaka the money. Finally, the Marubeni group showed that they had no real interest in protecting Tanaka, arguing that they were just a go-between.
In 1980, it was revealed that Kenji Osano had covered a 368 million -yen debt ($3.2 million) for a Chiba Dietman. This was a unique paradox. Osano had been successful in liberating 500 million yen ($ 4.4 million) from American-based Lockheed and adding the funds to the Japanese economy. In reverse, LDP Dietman Koichi Hamada had flown to Las Vegas in October, 1972 and blown about $1.5 million (370 million yen) on gambling, wine, women and song. Osano went to his rescue and picked up the tab, putting $1.5 million back in the American economy.
At last, in 1981, things began to break open. The Tanaka camp came up
with a surprise witness, Takashi Shimizu, a chauffeur attached to the
Prime Minister's office who, during Tanaka's tenure, was assigned to Enomoto.
A second chauffeur! The Defense railed the Prosecution for missing this
witness. Shimizu testified that that Enomoto was with him during the so-called
money drops. To back this up he produced a driver's log to prove Enomoto
couldn't have been with Itoh collecting the cardboard boxes. In further
support, the Tanaka team mobilized an array of influential politicians
to verify Enomoto's whereabouts.
The Defense naturally cried breach of ethical legal practice but it did little good in court. The nation's Justice Minister, Seisuke Okuno, went so far as to call the use of Mieko's testimony "against humanity." Coming from a political appointee, the comment was inappropriate, but it had little effect on the Lower Court. From here on out, Tanaka's case only grew weaker:
The hearings finally came to a conclusion on Wednesday, December 22, 1982. In the entire process, Tanaka had spoken only once, at the very beginning. On this day he would speak again.
At 3:00 a.m., people began to form a line outside the courthouse. The
line swelled to five hundred by nine o'clock. Only fifty-two tickets were
to be given out. The Metropolitan Police Department dispatched 130 special
agents to cover the area. Major networks and newspapers sent out more
than one hundred newsmen to cover the event. They followed Tanaka
from Mejiro to the court building where he arrived in his dark blue Chrysler
limousine, flanked by two identical Chryslers, at exactly 9:38 a.m.
In addition to all this, everybody in the ANA trial was found guilty
as were Osano and Kodama's secretary. Kodama himself had fallen ill and
his trial was postponed. Shimizu's testimony was reduced to a farce. The
Prosecution, over six years, had drawn a clean line of money flow from
Lockheed California to Enomoto, and insofar as Tanaka and Enomoto were
the only two sticking together, directly to Tanaka by inference. All defendants
with the single exception of Tanaka had admitted to something. The public
attorneys had even traced some of the Lockheed money to seventeen different
Dietmen whom Tanaka supported.
For the Defense, summation was delayed until May 11. During the interim, on February 7, Enomoto confessed on television to receiving the money. Tanaka had the best legal brains money could buy, but in the end the best they could do was to display their ability to drag out the trial in coordination with Tanaka's various political timetables. Almost pathetically, the Defense used its last opportunity to suggest that Tanaka was innocent by hinting that Marubeni had pocketed the money. It was as if the Defense had attended an entirely different trial over the last six years. For three days, the Defense stumbled on, arguing that:
When October 12 arrived, the whole nation was worked up to a feverish
pitch. The nation's televisions and radios were on, seventeen helicopters
were launched to cover Tanaka's drive from Mejiro to the courthouse, 450
special police were dispatched, 1500 news personnel descended on the two
vital locations and 4,000 people lined up for the fifty-two available
court galley seats. Live coverage began at 7:00 a.m.; the Tanaka Chrysler
motorcade left Mejiro and arrived at the courthouse shortly after 9:30
Judge Okada delivered a 55,000-character ruling, resulting in a declaration of guilt to all defendants. Okada admonished Tanaka for damaging the reputation of the nation and "forfeiting the people's trust in public offices." Tanaka was batting a thousand percent with the Tokyo District Court. The first time, in 1948, he only got six months. This time the judge threw the book at him he was given a sentence of four years with a 500-million-yen fine ($4.4 million). The judge ironically cut one year from the Prosecution's demand, this for Tanaka's outstanding record of public service. Significantly, the Defense had not won a single contention the judge, having adopted the Prosecution's argument in total. Okubo, Hiyama, Itoh and Eomoto also were found guilty. At the start, Lockheed had sixteen defendants; all but Kodama were found guilty (Kodama only escaped because of ill health). After spending five hours in the courthous, bail was posted and Tanaka reemerged. He quickly reorganized his Defense Counsel for the upcoming Appellate Hearing, keeping Katsuyoshi Shinzeki as chairman. In the first trial, Tanaka had only ten lawyers, in the next there were eighteen.
While Tanaka's legal standing was salvageable, his social standing came very much into question. Following his conviction, every major news organ in the country turned indignant. His status had reversed from innocent until proven guilty, to guilty until proven innocent. Everybody who was anybody got on his case; everyone, that is, but Justice Minister Akira Hatano (a Tanaka crony). Hatano summed up the situation most colorfully, "Tanaka is being lynched," adding "Looking for honesty in a politician is like shopping for fish at a green-grocers." The Minister's cynicism wasn't the kind of thing the media wanted to hear, especially from the nation's chief lawmaker.
From a journalistic point of view, the Tanaka conviction humiliated society
and stood as an historical disgrace, in part because Tanaka was the first
head of state to face prison and beyond that because he was still an active
member of the House of Representatives, the most active member, in fact.
So much for a graceful and calm conclusion to the "Tanaka Problem,"
as it was called locally. Tanaka's refusal to give up his little red-gold,
imperial, chrysanthemum shaped Dietman's badge or to relinquish his allotted
four-by-four-meter office space in Nagatacho (Japan's version of Washington's
Pennsylvania Avenue), created an image problem for the LDP in general
and for Prime Minister Nakasone in particular. It is said that misfortune
comes in bunches, and for Nakasone this was all too true. He only had
eight months left to dissolve the Lower House and call a national election
before members' terms officially expired. (The Prime Minister has the
power to dissolve the House at any given time). Nicknamed "Tanakasone,"
the Prime Minister had every reason to fear that his political career
and place in history were as dependent on the Tokyo District Court's final
judgment as were Tanaka's. For himself and the party the best he could
do was to delay a national election to the very last day in the hope that
public displeasure over the LDP's inability to control Tanaka would subside.
But this was not to be.
Overnight, the usually disorganized opposition parties united with the
non-mainstream factions of the LDP and on the day following Tanaka's conviction
they tried to ram through the Rules Committee and the LDP Executive Council
a nine-month-old resolution recommending that Tanaka be censured from
the House. In patented style, the Council preferred to deal with the troublesome
issue by breaking it down into its component parts and studying it for
awhile. Insolence breeds insolence. On October 14, the anti-Tanaka coalition
began a boycott of all but emergency Diet business (disaster relief).
Nakasone's Government came to a dead halt cleanly divided as follows:
Nakasone, acting on the political assumption that tax cuts always win
votes, tried to counter by introducing "tax cut legislation,"
hoping that it would be enough to entice the rebellious representatives
back to their jobs. The opposition groups didn't take the bait and refused
to discuss anything except the Tanaka problem. To make matters worse,
Tanaka decided that he wanted an early election.
Harmony, faithfulness, effort, credibility and sincerity, according to a study by Sumitomo Life Insurance, are the soul of the nation. At the opening of the Lockheed trial, Tanaka had lived up to these creeds by sincerely apologizing for damaging the Prime Ministership. What's more, he had made a credible effort to keep "harmony" and had demonstrated party "faithfulness" when he resigned as chief executive and then later resigned from the LDP altogether. To surrender his parliamentary seat at that point would have constituted one sacrifice too many. After all, he had a constituency that was very dependent upon him. Tanaka, at least on paper, as an "Independent" Dietman, owed nothing to the party. Conversely, the party owed him.
For forty-seven days, Tanaka brought the nation to its knees. Neither he nor the opposition would give an inch. Both wanted an early election but wanted it for opposite reasons. Finally Nakasone, outgunned, 349 to 149, caved in. On November 28, seven months ahead of schedule, Nakasone dissolved the Lower House and called a general election. The "Tanaka problem" was now up to the nation's 84.5 million registered voters.
During his Anten period, as the next three charts will show, Tanaka had built an awesome power base. He had the numbers and was at his pinnacle. This upcoming election, unlike any other, could be characterized simply as Tanaka versus Japan.
|© Steven Hunziker.|