Islamic Culture Forum 2- 28 February 1975-Islamic Culture Society (JAPAN)

An Advice to the Japanese Businessmen
 Abu Bakr Morimoto

Last April l was invited by one of the top organizations of the Japanese businessmen to give a talk about the theme: The Religion of Islam. To an audience of about 50 top business leaders of Japan l tried to explain the Principles of Islam for nearly two hours. That l was called to give a talk about Islam by a representative economic organization is an ample proof of growing interest in Islam among the economic world of Japan. After explaining the outlines of Islam as a religion, l emphasized in my talk the need for their understanding of how the People of the Muslim World including the oil producing Arab countries think about resources and what they expect of the Japanese enterprises as we11 as the government in relation to commerce and trade between Japan and the resources supplying countries. This is an impertinent question because relation between Japan and these countries has become extremely close today.

As l felt that l need not repeat here the whole text of my talk because its theme is well-known to our readers, l simply give the concluding remarks of my talk. Before that, l also like to put here a brief introduction of the condition of Japanese economy so that our readers also may have some glimpses of the reality in Japan.
A brief outline of the Japanese economic condition

It is a wel1-known fact that with the defeat of Japan in World War II thirty years ago, almost all its cities were in ruins and all the industries destroyed. Immediately after the War, those were the days when the Japanese people having no food to eat, no clothes to wear and no place to take shelter, were in the state of total collapse. No body knew when this country would revive.

However, even in those days of pro-stration the Japanese people endured the trials and tribulations, repaired the destroyed industrial facilities, built their shelters by collecting whatever materials they could find and started production by sheer urge for existence. The revival of this nation was helped by the American relief aids, and with the adoption of principles of peace through the new war-renouncing constitution,* the people started their new life under a democratic system.

In this way, after fifteen years of toils the Japanese People, finally, barely found the way of life, established a system of education and society, and saw the rays of hopes and aspirations of the future. Thereafter with the rapid growth of production, export trade also grew in a high pace and Japan fast became a strong member in the comity of nations.

During the second half of 1960's, as a result of technological innovations, industrial production expanded rapidly bringing about a high-rate economic growth, thus making Japanfs GNP (Gross National Product) the second largest in the free world after U.S.A. in 1972. Internally also the people's life was some-what stabilized. Both cities and farming villages were reconstructed and modernized. 0n the other side of the picture, high rate of economic growth gave birth to various difficult problems which have been afflicting the people. Among these problems, the most serious ones were the problems of concentration of population in the urban areas, destruction of nature, pollution and the recent stagnation.

Looking carefully at the back of the Japanese economic growth, we must recognize the numerous inhospitable conditions. 0ne such condition is the fact that Japan is an island country complete1y surrounded by sea and has an extremely big population of over 100 million people. There is extreme dearth of natural resources of its own. Under such circumstances, the country has built up an industrial society whose base of existence mostly depended on the supply of raw materials from abroad on the one hand and on the benefits from its export trade with foreign countries on the other. Therefore, the prosperity of Japan has to be achieved absolutely on the principle of mutual prosperity with the developing countries like those of South East Asia, the Middle East, Africa and
others, not depending on the socalled advanced countries of Europe and America alone. It is a plain fact that the prosperity of Japan cannot be one-sided-1y a]lowed to grow at the expense of other countries.

But it must be acknowledged that, unfortunately, the prosperity of Japan has not so far been achieved along the line of these principles. The Japanese enterprises, in the name of revival and prosperity of their country, set out across the earth in search for raw materials to feed their industries, manufactured finished products, and exported them to every corner of the globe, all for their own profit. As a result, they have earned the notorious name of geconomic animalh and hatred of the people of the developing countries.

Where are the roots of such state of things in Japan? One is the freedom of religion, the impact of the provision in the Japanese Constitution that no Government or government¥run organization shall participate in any kind of religious activity or propagation. It means that this provision of the Japanese Constitution has wiped out the conception of religion and God from the life and mind of the children by prohibiting religious education at all the government educational institutions.––

The foremost condition that sustained the rapid growth of the Japanese industrial products in recent times was the eenergy revolution,f that is the sudden shift of the source of energy from coal and hydraulic powers to petroleum. But production of oil in Japan is almost nil, so it has had to depend on the supply from other countries for 99.7“of its requirements. And 81“of its oil imports is from the countries of the Middle East.
In the Middle East War that broke out in October 1973, the Arab oil producing countries succeeded in gaining advantage in the war by using their on as a weapon, But the consumer countries who depended on the supply of oil from the Middle East received a great blow and since then the world economy has been under constant strain of the oil shock. It goes without saying that Japan which has been dependent upon the Middle East countries for the most part of its oil requirements received its first ever blow of this kind. Therefore, the whole Japanese economy, even the minutest part of the people's life, felt the strain. That the political and the business world of Japan was thrown into a great bewilderment is still fresh in the memory, The Government dispatched special envoys to the oil producting countries for urging the governments to relax the severity of oil-cut. At the same time, the business world also made energetic efforts to convince the oil producers so as not to brand them as enemies, through various proposals of cooperation. The Government made a turn from its traditional pro-American diplomatic stance and declared a pro-Arab policy. But the fact that such an abrupt gesture can not change the real nature of things so easily was clearly understood. However, the superficial close relations between Japan and the Arab countries, and the demand and the supply of on went on smoothly except for the question of price spiral of oil.

But the problem of natural resources in the whole world, including the oil crisis, is not a matter to be solved by a single country's economic or diplomatic postures. Similarly, natural resources cannot be permitted to be misused for the benefits of only some particular enterprises as well as for national egotism. Forgetting God, the businessmen and their families should squander sources for the greed of their own profit, for special privileges, for luxury, is a sin of first degree and an act against God.

When a large percentage of the 3700 million people on earth are starving or in the borderline of starvation, some other people scatter money on leisure, gamble, luxury and the like. They never turn their face toward the poor, toward the needy. But they cannot escape the wrath of God who shows no partiality to anyone.

A call to the Japanese business leaders

Gentlemen, even though about one and a-half years have passed after the oil shock, almost all the countries of the world including Japan have been swept by the waves of depression and are still suffering today. 0n the other hand, during the same period the oil producing countries of the Middle East have grown very rich with their oil dollars from the greatly increased oil prices and have attained a dominating position in the world economy. Now many countries including Japan are trying to establish closer relations with the oil producing countries of the Middle East, looking for these dollars. But this approach to the Arabs and other oil producing countries must be accompanied by a mutual trust and cooperation. Only calculation of self-interest will certainly bring about minus results.

Gentlemen, now I am going to recite a verse from the Holy Quran, the holy book of Islam. This goes like this:
Hearken: To Allah belongs whatever in the heavens and in the earth. A11ah knows well what condition you are in. 0n the day when they will be returned unto Him, He will inform them of that which they did. Allah knows everything full well.
(Quran: XXIV-64)

This verse of the Holy Quran means that everything in the cosmos belongs to Allah, and everything is maintained by the sovereign Power of A11ah. When man uses somethPg belonging to God, he must use it in God's way, that is, in the way that God has chosen. If we think carefully, we can understand the meaning quite well. For example, oil that had been preserved in the earth for millions of years is the property of A11ah. There is no reason that we, the human generation of the 20th century should waste out this wealth of Allah for the greed of man. Man does not know the mystery of the universe. He also forgot that the world of Allah has no limit, and has engaged himself in the squandering of natural resources which are the wealth of God, just for his own avarice and pleasure. But God knows everything. Surely, He will punish the wrong doers who have misused His wealth.

It is a matter of great wonder that most part of oil resources in the whole world lies in the Muslim World. The Muslims believe that this is a gift from God to them. Therefore, while buying oil from them, it must be considered that the payment is not just for the price of the oil, but also a payment due to Allah. And this payment to Allah means performing one's duty to God which is the teaching of Islam.

– Article 9. Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign light of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.
In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The fight of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.

– –Article 20. Freedom of religion is guaranteed to all. No religious organization shall receive any privileges from the State, nor exercise any political authority.
No person shall be compelled to take part in any religious act, celebration, rite or practice.
The State and its organs shall refrain from religious education or any other religious activity.

 Note: The Japanese Governmentfs statistics on religion published in 1972 revealed the fact that there are more people believing in religions in Japan than the actual population of the country. According to this statistics, there were 178,573,952 adherents of various religions in 1972 whereas the actual population of Japan in 1974 was 109,750,000. How come! This is a very puzzling phenomenon of the Japanese religions which is difficult to understand on the part of the foreigners. Let us examine the religious statistics.
Religion ------------Number of adherents
l, Shintoism(the inherited 84,717,081
Japanese natural religion
symbolized by Shrine)
2. Buddhism(introduced 83,646,509
from the Continent in
the 6th century A.D.)
3. Christianity(introduced 884,512
in the 16th century, then
banned and revived in the
19th century)
Also among these conventional religions, various new religions ale included.