Japan: Earth then Moon?
Russia has resigned from its role as “evil empire” and threat to the world, so the U.S. needs a new enemy to justify our billions for defense. The “drug war” is the most promising target, with “terrorism” always a potential. But the focus on Japan as an economic enemy is getting increasing attention in the press. Of course, if our government were logical, they would suggest spending less on defense and more on research for consumer goods, to increase our competitive edge in the economic area. That is the area where Japan is increasing its lead. But if one is identified with the role of policeman to the world, it takes continuing dominance in the military realm. (At the risk of sounding like “Johnny One-Note”, our tenth house Mars conjunct P Atlantis in the Declaration of Independence shows our efforts to make our Personal Will into LAW while our rising Neptune in Virgo shows our role as Puritan Preacher). So Bush is still pushing “star wars,” the “MX,” the stealth bomber, etc., all horrendously expensive and totally useless as far as offering any well being to any human on earth except for the financial profits they bring to their owners.
Our game with Japan is fascinating to watch. Two fairly recent books as well as a slew of articles have offered information and insights into the supposedly inscrutable east. Karel van Wolferen is the author of The Enigma of Japanese Power and Frank Gibney wrote Japan, The Fragile Super-Power. I have very mixed feelings about the efforts of our government to force Japan to open up to our imports. It is true that Japan makes it difficult and sometimes impossible for many of our products to enter their markets. But one of the reasons for these barriers is the protection of their little “Mom and Pop” stores. They have kept their unemployment low partly by encouraging many small shops and producers and middlemen, and by maintaining very high prices on home-grown foods, especially rice, to provide for their farmers. We do the same thing for our big grain producers, sugar beet growers, dairy farmers, etc. If Japan opened the door to our big companies, which is what our government is pushing, the U.S. giants would open discount outlets which could easily undersell the local shops with their very small volume and numerous middlemen who each take a cut on the path to the consumer. Many Japanese consumers would benefit but also unemployment would probably jump dramatically. So I ask myself, do I want our big businesses to get richer at the cost of higher unemployment in Japan? But on the other hand, it is highly unfair for Japan to have access to a mostly open market in the U.S. and to keep their own open only a crack.
Our government, (especially the Republicans), has demonstrated its firm commitment to help the rich get richer. They will probably succeed in opening some doors for our big companies who are already multinationals with branches in many countries. It is far easier to form cartels with a smaller number of players among the producers, so the big companies are likely to continue their expansion and to work quietly with each other to limit the competition which is hard on their profits. In this area, Japan has only partly been “playing the game.” Its big manufacturing, financial and trading companies (which are now among the richest in the world) have formed alliances with big companies in the western hemisphere and in Europe, but they have also kept up a fierce competitive drive in many areas. The recent book A Japan That Can Say No by two Japanese authors, Akio Morita and Shintaro Ishihara, urges the Japanese to stand up to the U.S., to reject the U.S. pressure to open the Japanese markets which they see as attempts to change the Japanese culture. Morita (who now regrets his involvement with the book) is the founder and President of Sony Corporation. He started the company with the equivalent of $500 and it is now a multi-billion dollar business. Sony was the first Japanese company to start the push to export, mainly because they did not have a strong network of distributors in Japan. (They do have connections now and I will say more later about Japanese “networks”.) Sony recently hit the headlines when they bought a major Hollywood studio, Columbia Pictures. Three years earlier, they had bought CBS Records. The Morita-Ishihara book was only published in Japanese but someone (the Pentagon is implicated) translated it into English and passed out copies to our government officials, raising quite a storm. The translation may be inadequate, but the book has fed the fears in the U.S. that although the Japanese failed in their effort to conquer the world with military strength in World War II, they are now on their way to doing it on the economic front.
A common Japanese practice in the past which is still continuing has been to target specific areas and to combine the efforts of government, business and labor to improve their products, spending enormous sums on research and design. They have repeatedly sold their products abroad at a loss or with very small profit margins until they could drive out competitors and dominate a market niche. They have consistently sought to increase market share as a primary goal and sacrificed profits when necessary. They have been aided by the fact that they did not have to pay dividends to their stockholders or fear takeovers by raiders. Much of their outstanding stock is held by associated cooperative businesses. They hold it for its increasing value rather than for dividends, and maintain interdependent relationships for mutual security. It is only since foreign brokerages have been allowed to enter the Japanese stock market and to carry out program trading that the market has acquired some of the volatility which is characteristic of the stock exchanges in other countries. Needless to say, many Japanese are upset by this and would like to return to a system that is closed to outsiders. Of course they still want free access to the markets of London, New York, etc.
The big Japanese companies have also been aided by the willingness of their business executives to accept salaries which are not a lot higher than their employees in contrast to our top executives who command astronomical salaries, bonuses and perks. This may be a minor part of the cost of doing business but it does cut the amount needed to stay in business and it helps avoid adversarial employees. Japanese companies have also been helped by consistently lower interest rates. Our “borrow and spend” habits which keep our interest rates high to persuade people to buy our bonds to finance our escalating debt are perfectly matched by the Japanese “save and produce” habits. So they buy our government bonds which pay two to three times as much interest as their own savings banks and we spend the borrowed money on their products to keep their unemployment low. Unless we improve our productivity through new technology or other gains in efficiency, we are likely to see a steady erosion of the living standards of our average and especially of our unskilled workers. Higher interest payments leave less to spend on daily needs or desires. In the meantime, the average Japanese continues to pay very high prices for daily needs. Housing, clothes, food, etc. are higher in Tokyo than in almost any other city in the world.
We have several possible horoscopes for Japan which may help us anticipate coming issues and their timing though it is rarely possible to guess the details. The Japanese Constitution was modeled after the U.S. Constitution, after we forced unconditional surrender on them with two atom bombs. It went into effect at zero A.M. on May 3, 1947 and is calculated for their capital, Tokyo. Their return to complete independence was official on April 28, 1952, as a result of a treaty signed in San Francisco, California on September 8, 1951. Two possible charts for April 28 include one calculated for zero A.M., the beginning of the day, and one for an official ceremony held at 10:30 P.M. that evening. I have not had time to check the charts against events since 1952, to see if one works better than the other. Japan’s modern Stock Market opened for business in Tokyo at 9 A.M. on May 16, 1949. All times are 9 hours later than UT (Greenwich). One other interesting chart is for their first attempt to send a rocket to the Moon. It was launched from their space port at Uchinoura, Japan on January 24, 1990 at 8:46 P.M. The coordinates are 31 N 16 and 131 E 5. We could also do a chart for the country under Akihito, their new ceremonial ruler since the death of Hirohito, but the Emperor’s role is so limited, it seems rather pointless. He is a focus for much emotion but has no political or economic power. However, since he is a kind of figurehead for the country, those who have the time or interest might want to keep his chart on file. He was born in Tokyo on December 23, 1933 at 6:39 A.M.
I have never seen a chart which did not have a mixture of stress and harmony aspects, so the Japanese charts obviously have both. But on balance, they show remarkably positive potentials for the future. The chart for the Constitution has actually just finished a stressful aspect with P Mars crossing the IC. The aspect marked the death of Hirohito and accession of Akihito and was nearing the end of the one degree orb when the control of the Upper House of the Parliament was lost by the Liberal Democratic Party for the first time in many years. The potential for tension involving the legislative branch of the government was also suggested by P Mars in a trioctile to natal Juno just at the edge of the eleventh house. In a horoscope of a country, the ninth house symbolizes the judiciary, the tenth house the executive branch, and the eleventh house the legislature. P Mars ended the aspects before the February 18, 1990 election and the Liberal Democrats were able to keep a secure majority in the Lower House of the Parliament which is the more powerful of the two Houses. The Liberal Democrats are a conservative party and they have remained in power for over 25 years, almost all of the time since the Constitution took effect in 1947. Several other political parties are small and mostly ineffective. The Socialist Party (which is headed by a woman named Doi) actually edged out the Liberal Democrats in the Upper House in 1989 as a result of an ethics backlash, but though they gained some seats in the 1990 election, most people doubt that they will be able to wield much influence. Takaka Doi was born in Kobe, Japan on November 30, 1928, but I do not have a birth time for her. Her asteroids are not very impressive, which would support the idea that her Party is not going to gain much additional power. Doi does have P America going over her south lunar node for years and P Asia on her natal Sun.
Another of the current aspects in the Constitution horoscope which fits the recent changes is the P Sun conjunct P Uranus. The Sun-Uranus aspect started in early 1986 and it will end in the summer of 1990, to be followed by P Sun in a quincunx to Jupiter. P Mars will begin an opposition to P Jupiter in the spring of 1990. Both aspects are associated with change, especially when fire planets are involved. The prominence of government ethics as an issue fits the tenth house placement of Jupiter along with the south lunar node in Sagittarius. P Jupiter will soon end its long opposition to Vesta, but its quincunx to Uranus will continue. No country is immune to scandals in high places but few other countries have what the west considers bribery and vote buying so firmly built into the system. Periodically, “money politics” becomes too blatant even for the Japanese system, and there is a national uproar. 1974 was one of those times, when the Lockheed bribery case was exposed in the U.S. and a Japanese Prime Minister was forced to resign. In 1989, the “Recruit” scandal forced the resignation of Takeshita and then a sex scandal unseated Uno. The current Prime Minister, Kaifu, was not a strong leader but was picked because he had no known associations with scandal.
Everything that I have read about the Japanese system points out the primary role played by relationships. Van Wolferen writes that most of the large Japanese firms belong, with varying degrees of closeness, to conglomerates. The six colossal conglomerates are Mitsui, Mitsubishi, Sumitomo, Fuyo, Sanwa and Dai-ichi Kangyo Bank. The conglomerates contain highly diversified industrial companies that are clustered around their own banks, together with real-estate agencies, insurance firms and trading houses. The entire structure is tied together by interlocking directorates which hold 60% to 70% of the stock shares that are never sold so takeovers are impossible. There are also hierarchically ordered systems of subsidiaries, suppliers, subcontractors and distributors associated with major manufacturers. There may be hundreds of companies in some of the corporate groups with interdependent relationships linking them. A recent proposed joint venture between West Germany’s Daimler-Benz and Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation may offer new competition in the civil aircraft business. According to The Economist magazine, the Mitsubishi Conglomerate is an informal grouping of about 160 companies. Almost everywhere, the rich are getting richer and the big are getting bigger.
The Japanese Constitution is supposedly similar to the U.S., but the actual operation is uniquely Japanese. The big players are the Bureaucrats who actually run the government; the Politicians whose main job is to get re-elected which takes being effective in getting benefits for their constituents (“pork-barrel” projects in U.S. terms); and the Business Leaders whose main goal is to expand Japanese economic power in the world and to maintain full employment at home. All action is facilitated by “gifts” and obligations. To reach the higher levels in any of the big three areas, it is almost necessary to have graduated from Tokyo University. Fellow classmates have to assist each other. The system is obviously too complex to describe in a short article. If any of our readers want to explore it more fully, I suggest reading the books mentioned above. In essence, the moral code permits what the west considers bribery, collusion, favoritism, the use of insider information to gain wealth and power, etc. All of these actions happen in the west, but they are less open and accepted. Still, even in Japan, when the acts become too blatant, there can be a backlash though the leaders forced to resign from the position of Prime Minister are often re-elected by their loyal constituents so they remain in the government. Basically, each interlocked “group” favors and protects its own but there is intense rivalry between the groups with each on guard to see that no other group gains too much power. The one area they agree on is the goal of increasing economic power in the world primarily through increased market share, but there is no easy way to change this basic goal or the system, so the country runs the risk of increasing alienation from other nations who resent the Japanese system which accepts few of the products of others. As Business Week pointed out after the February 18, 1990 election kept the Liberal Democrats in power in the Lower House, to win the election the Party had to promise small shopkeepers they would not reform Japan’s retail laws, farmers they would continue to shut out rice imports, and to recoup the estimated $1 billion dollar cost of the campaign, contributions will be needed from the big businesses who favor protectionism. So the U.S. and Japan may well be heading into an intensified struggle when Kaifu fails to deliver the contradictory promises made to Bush in the U.S. and to the Japanese at home. The present and coming aspects to Japan’s tenth house Jupiter can thus be read as the issues involving ethics in the government and also as tension with foreign countries, another Jupiter principle. Dealing with foreigners has been a problem with Japan through much of its history.
Aspects in the Constitution horoscope also fit their issues around the handling of power and money. Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Mars, Sun and the fifth house are all involved. The fixed planets, signs, and houses rule money, investment and return on investment. P Uranus continues a long octile to Saturn in Leo in the house of partnership or competition, while P Chiron squares Saturn. P Pluto also maintains a long square to the Sun and an opposition to the East Point. These aspects can be read as pointers to financial competition but other, harmonious aspects suggest that the competition is likely to be successful. The P true nodes of the Moon hold a long sextile-trine to Saturn. P Vesta is trining Neptune and will move into a trine to the Moon. P Venus is on the mean north lunar node, approaching the true node and the sextile to Saturn. A few years down the road, P Venus will trine Neptune and the Moon and will sextile natal Venus and Ceres. All of these aspects look like financial success. The P Ascendant, East Point and Antivertex are all moving toward Aries where they will be sextile-trine the nodes and trine Saturn, forming a grand trine in fire signs. P Pallas is trine the MC and slowly moving toward a trine to P Jupiter. P Mercury is sextile P Mars. P Sun is sextile P Ceres. When I look at some of the stress-filled charts of other countries, it looks to me as if Japan will continue to grow in economic might.
Turning to the opening of the modern Japanese Stock Exchange, I was interested to note the strong aspects to P Mars which fit the present volatile movements. Though the market dropped briefly in the crash of October 1987, for the most part the Japanese market has gone only one way for years—up. Westerners have kept predicting a crash, and were anticipating it if the Socialist Party won the February 18, 1990 elections. They did not win the majority, but the market (which had been dropping since early 1990) immediately after the election lost over 6,000 points in less than a month. As we go to press, the Nikkei equivalent to our DOW has lost what it gained in about the last one and a half years. Most experts seem to think that it is now near its bottom, having experienced a needed correction of a “speculative bubble.”
P Mars is frequently involved in market action, more often than not in price increases fed by over-confidence. Mars has had many progressed aspects in recent years, including a semisextile to natal Mars, a conjunction to the Antivertex, and an octile to the Ascendant, all representing essentially the same principle—personal action and change. Shortly after the election, P Mars ended a quincunx to natal Moon and an octile-trioctile to the true lunar nodes, aspects which had lasted for some years when the market was booming. It is approaching a trine to P Neptune but natally they were quincunx so the aspect could mark continued stress connected with faith. The aspect which most closely timed the beginning of the major fall of the market was the P Moon octile to natal Mars which started right after the election. Though the aspect supported the likelihood of more change I would not have been sure which way it would go. It could have marked a new rise in prices in view of the tendency of Mars to indicate over-confidence and rash action. The main reason being given for the falling prices of the stocks is the fall in the value of the yen and the rise in interest rates including the fear that they will be raised again. When interest rates are high, people leave their money in the bank to draw interest rather than buy stocks with it. It will be interesting to see what the market does when P Moon reaches the conjunction to Uranus in early April this year. The fall of 1990 will bring a progressed New Moon, an aspect that usually indicates a new beginning. P MC reaches the natal Sun in the summer of 1990, an aspect that often marks a period of prominence and power. But 1991 will bring P Ascendant to Saturn, a more challenging pointer to a time of feedback. If the action has been proper, Ascendant-Saturn can mark an increase in personal power very similar to the MC-Sun aspect. Saturn and the MC are the same principle as are Leo and the Sun, but the planet is always the most important factor in a combination so Sun conjunctions are more often triumphant while Saturn conjunctions are often a report card that calls for more study. The prices of stock shares may have to settle for a more realistic price even if the country continues to be financially successful. In view of the involvement of both MC and Saturn along with the progressed New Moon in a fairly short period of time, it seems likely that Japan will be making some real structural changes in their handling of the market. Whatever happens, the U.S. will undoubtedly be involved. P Sun will reach natal asteroid America and P Venus will reach P America in late April to May, 1990.
I mentioned the Moon in my title for this article. The March 3, 1990 issue of Science News has a delightful article on the Japanese launch of a mission to the Moon on January 24, 1990. Japan was the third country to attempt the feat. The article describes the special fascination that the Moon holds for the Japanese. Many stood in line as long as 12 hours to get a brief glimpse of a piece of rock brought back from the Moon by the Apollo 11 astronauts. One woman who went through the whole U.S. stadium-sized pavilion without raising her eyes told the author that she had traveled 1,600 kilometers from the northern island of Hokkaido just to be in the presence of a piece of the Moon. She said that she looked forward to describing the encounter to her children.
Japan’s project is almost purely an experiment in engineering research. The spacecraft which was launched is called Hiten and it carries only one instrument, a micrometeoroid detector which was chosen because it was light and simple in design. The main passenger on the Hiten is another smaller craft which is to be launched into orbit around the Moon while the Hiten circles it about eight times in the one-year lifetime of its mission. The small craft will be named if it is successfully put into orbit around the Moon. In effect, if the maneuver works, Japan will have presented Earth’s Moon with a Moon of its own. In the March 3 Science News article, Eberhart writes “Apart from the technological feat, the event will echo a familiar Japanese custom—the offering of a gift from visitor to host—that might well inspire haiku of its own.” p. 138.
Japan has also built a spacecraft called Geotail which will be launched by NASA in 1992 into an orbit which will take it beyond the Moon but also periodically through Earth’s magnetic tail. The Japanese are also designing a larger rocket which it is hoped will handle about three times the 200 kilogram mass of Hiten. A satellite is scheduled for completion in early 1995 that is to link electronically with ground-based antennas on several continents to produce what will amount to a single antenna with an effective aperture larger than the Earth itself. Other projects being considered include a return to the Moon, sampling the tail of a comet, and Japan’s first mission to Venus. Eberhart concludes his article with the comment that though the Japanese talk of missions to other planets, the Moon is held with a special affection. “In one of those ambiguities so common in the Japanese language, Hiten—which translates roughly as ‘sky flight’ or ‘flying in heaven’—is also the name of a Buddhist deity of music. The double meaning, Uesugi observes, evokes ‘something like playing music in heaven.’“ p. 139.
The horoscope for Japan’s “reach for the Moon,” has many positive aspects which suggest continued success in their ventures into space. The MC is closely sextile-trine the lunar nodes. Vesta in Aquarius in the sixth house fits the technologically advanced work and it has a trine to the Tokyo MC and Ceres as well as a sextile to Mars which is on the Galactic Center. The Moon in its own house is closely conjunct Uranus and more widely conjunct Mercury and Neptune with all of them trine the Virgo Ascendant and East Point. Saturn and Venus are also in Capricorn, with Saturn exactly trine the Tokyo Ascendant, pointing to both pleasure and material success. Their fifth house position along with the Sun in Aquarius suggests power and prominence. The Sun is conjunct the Vertex within one degree, an additional indication of public recognition. Pluto and Juno (which is very like Pluto) are in Pluto’s sign in the third house of general communication and the media. They square the nodes but are sextile the Ascendant and trine Chiron in the tenth house. Jupiter is also in the tenth house in a quincunx to the Sun, which suggests that Japan’s space ventures are likely to keep moving in new directions.
As usual, the asteroids are mind-blowing. As usual, only one-degree orbs are listed. I only know of one U.S. astronaut of Japanese descent—Onizuka who was killed in the Challenger explosion. The Japanese launched Hiten with Onizuka exactly on the MC. Other people and mythical figures who were noted for long distance travels were also on the angles or in prominent positions in the chart. Herodotus was on the Ascendant. He is the well-known historian who wandered about the ancient world and wrote about it. Heliocentric Heyerdahl was on the IC and Geocentric Heyerdahl was on Mars. Heyerdahl is also famous for his travels and writing. Gilgamesh is also on the IC, a mythical hero who is an earlier version of Hercules with his adventures and battles. Michel (French version of Mikhail) is also on the IC but that can be interpreted as the potential competition between Russia and Japan. Both may be seeking payloads for their rival rockets in time. The asteroid Russia is also conjunct Mars to reinforce the point. Galahad, who journeyed in search of the Holy Grail, is on Baikonur where the Russian spacecraft are launched, which is on the true lunar node, while Washington is on the mean lunar node. Nippon (Japan) is in the tenth house sextile the East Point. America in the first house in Libra is conjunct Achilles. Clearly, we have a mixed relationship with Japan which fits the Libra sign of partnership in the house of Aries. We swing uneasily between cooperation and competition, in building aircraft or launching spacecraft. Many other asteroids could be mentioned. Photographica was on the Descendant, and there will be plenty of pictures. Atlantis, our high-tech asteroid, is on Diana, a Moon Goddess, and both are on the midpoint of Ascendant/MC. Urania trines Mars. Einstein is on Saturn. Fuji, Japan’s sacred mountain, trines Pallas. Atami, named for a harbor near Tokyo, is on the Ascendant and on Daedalus who did quite a bit of flying with his wings of wax. His son Icarus was not so successful. Asteroids for China and Germany also have conjunctions, and those countries are also likely to be part of the competition in space. These are exciting times, and Japan is likely to go on playing a major role in the show.