On July 2, an animated video titled “Teach Me, Captain Mustache!” was posted on YouTube by Liberal Democratic Party. The video was created to explain the national security legislation recently debated in Parliament. When the video was posted, the legislation was being debated in the Lower House. However, on July 15 it was forced to a vote, in defiance of the opposition parties. It is now being debated in the Upper House. Approximately 60% of Japanese citizens oppose the security legislation. Responding to this strong opposition, Prime Minister Abe said that he would continue to try to explain the legislation.
In addition to the YouTube video, Abe appeared on an LDP Internet broadcast called “Cafe Sta” on five separate days in July, up until a few days before the vote.
Prime Minister Abe Appears LDP Broadcast
By making an animated video for YouTube, and appearing on Internet programs, Abe seems to be making an attempt to increase the public’s understanding of the legislation and gain support from younger generations, who are avid Internet users. During the video, a mustachioed officer, who is meant to represent MP Masahisa Sato, explains the security legislation to a female student, Akari-chan who he bumped into while riding on the metro. MP Sato was a member of the Japanese Self Defense Forces before he became an MP. He gained the nickname “Captain Mustache” while he was serving in Iraq in 2004 as an officer in the Self Defense Forces, which was working to reconstruct Iraq after the Iraq war. At the time, he started growing a mustache in order to be blend in and be accepted by the Muslim community there.
ヒゲの隊長 means Captain Mustache
The conversations between MP Sato and Akari-chan are in Japanese, but Akari-chan uses a handful of English phrases — “nice timing,” “number one,” and “see you” — during the conversation.
Teach Me. Captain Mustache! can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YzSHNlSs9g
Transcript of Teach Me. Captain Mustache!
MP Sato: Wow. Are you Akari-chan?
Akari-chan: Hello, Captain Mustache! This is nice timing [said in English]!
MP Sato: What do you mean by “nice timing”?
Akari-chan: It is nice timing because you are the number 1 [said in English] person that I wanted to meet at the moment! Captain, because I have so many many many many questions that I would like to ask you.
“こんなに” indicates that she has lots of questions.
MP Sato: Wow, that’s a big deal!
Akari-chan: Well. I will ask you directly: will Japan be dragged into any wars?
MP Sato: No, it won’t. You seem to be sincerely worried. And, it is an important question. Those of us in government are thinking about this very seriously.
Akari-chan: On news shows, people are talking about the “peace-and-security-something” law.
平和安全法制：Peace and Security Legislation
MP Sato: That’s Peace and Security Legislation. The goal of this law is to protect the lives of Japanese citizens, as well as preserve their peaceful way of life. As you know, the international situation around Japan is, unfortunately, unsafe.
Akari-chan: Yes. I’m really worried.
MP Sato: Did you know that there is actually a country that has aimed its missiles at Japan? What if they were to fire those missiles?
Akari-chan: Uh. Would they fire towards us? Impossible. Impossible.
MP Sato: I understand how you feel. We would all like to protect our country. But, you know about the troubles brewing in the Senkaku Islands, right?
MP Sato: The number of times that the Self Defense Forces has had to scramble its jet fighters has increased by seven fold since ten years ago. These deployments are needed to protect the our country’s territory.
7倍 :seven times larger
MP Sato: In addition, North Korea has conducted several nuclear weapons tests. Moreover, the risks of terrorism and cyber attacks are very serious today. We are exposed to various threats.
Akari-chan: Oh dear! It’s quite dangerous.
MP Sato: The problem is that, with existing laws, we cannot adequately deal with unsafe situations, because they have gaps. For example, even when a US ship is carrying Japanese citizens evacuating from a war-torn country, Japan cannot assist in protecting that US ship. And, if a US warship were to try to destroy a missile launched toward Japan, and the US warship was attacked, Japan would not be able to assist.
This is strange, because if the warship fails to destroy the missile, then it would end up hitting Japan.
Akari-chan: Wow. Scary.
スキマを防ぐ：Fill the gaps.
MP Sato: Therefore, in order to protect the lives of Japanese citizens, it’s important to examine these gaps [in the law] and fill those gaps so that we can work together to protect Japan. If we do this, our ability to deter attacks will be strengthened, and war will be prevented. This is the purpose of the Peace and Security Legislation.
Akari-chan: If food gets stuck between the gaps of one’s teeth, then there will be dental cavity.
What is “deterrence”? I hear this term often.
MP Sato: It is the ability of a country to prevent other countries from attacking it. When deterrence is enhanced, then war is less likely to occur.
Akari-chan: Then all we need is deterrence, right?
MP Sato: It’s not that simple. It’s also important to make preparations on many fronts. We will strengthen our alliance with the US. Also, it will be important for us to deepen the trust with our friends in Asia, and all over the world.
In particular, it’s important for our country to fulfill its responsibility as a member of international community. Nowadays, no country can protect itself on its own. Therefore, it’s important for Japan to contribute to the international community and become a reliable member of it.
Many countries are working hard to ensure the peace and security of international community. Japan should broaden its capacity to contribute to international humanitarian missions, and thus play its part.
Akari-chan: I would like Self Defense Forces to work hard.
MP Sato: We tend to see this issue as somebody else’s issue, but this is not only relevant to politicians and to the Self Defense Forces. The most important thing for Japan is that everybody understands the issue properly and becomes interested in the issue.
Akari-chan: I will try to do so, as well. By the way, are we really not being dragged into war?
MP Sato: That will not happen. Conscription will never be possible, because…
Akari-chan: Ah. We have arrived [at my stop] so soon. I wanted to hear more. Let’s talk about it next time, Captain Mustache.
MP Sato: Haha, but please be easy on me!
Akari-chan: See you [said in English].
The video, “教えて！ヒゲの隊長” can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YzSHNlSs9g