If there were no punishment for rape, we would all be rapists. We do not become (rapists) because there is the deterrent of punishment.
(Nishimura Shingo, quoted in
The Japan Times, 20 Oct. 1999:1)
This statement, made in 1999 by then Vice Defence Minister Nishimura Shingo, provoked strong protests in Japan and among neighbouring countries not because the reference to all men being potential rapists was offensive but because he was drawing an analogy with nuclear weapons, arguing that Japan should consider possessing them for their deterrence value. Of more critical concern to this book are Nishimura's assumptions regarding masculinity, the nature of male sexuality and the power of law.
Nishimura is not the only prominent figure in Japan to have drawn public analogies between masculinity and rape. In 1984 Miura Shumon, former Director-General of Japan's Agency for Cultural Affairs, observed that: 'although it is shameful for a gentleman to rape a woman, it is also shameful for a man not to have the physical strength necessary to rape a woman' (Miura Shumon, quoted in Brickman 1986:38).
The following year, in another interview Miura stated:
It would be better if rapists would choose unchaste women as their victims. Those women would probably take such incidents as lightly as tumbling down in a puddle … They might even be proud of themselves, believing they were raped because of their charm.
(Miura Shumon, quoted in Brickman 1986:38)
In June 2003 at a population seminar, Ota Seiichi, Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Diet member and former head of the Management and Coordination Agency, stated that men who gang rape are more virile and therefore more 'normal' than weak men who lack the courage to marry. His comment was made as news was beginning to break on a story of gang rapes organised by elite university students' social clubs