Aozora-kai (archive)
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After World War II, the Occupation forces under General MacArthur overturned most Japanese institutions, initially to destroy their war-making capability but later to build a new ally. The first few years consisted of extensive scrap-and-build changes to the Japanese government, economy, society, educational system and just about everything else. In addition to losing the guidance of their Emperor as a god, the Japanese people also lost the majority of the social underpinnings of their daily lives.

Because so few of the Occupation troops, the vast majority of whom were American, knew anything at all about the Japanese people or culture, there were many cases where American systems were introduced wholesale, even when a perfectly satisfactory Japanese method already existed. They were not necessarily bad for the Japanese society, but they did serve to alienate the post-War generation from their elders. In many ways, the Japanese were Americanized.With the deterioration of US-Russian relations and the growing strength of the Communists in China by about 1948, America was forced to begin building Japan as an ally in East Asia. It came to be recognized as a key strategic base for Allied (again, primarily American) forces in Asia, and American policy (military and economic) worked to ensure that Japan would remain a cooperative ally in the future.With the Communist victory in China in 1949 and the outbreak of hostilities in Korea the following year, Japan became vital to the UN forces — and America.One sign of the changing times was a law that could forbid strikes for reasons other than economic reasons, enacted in 1948. In 1949 the Trade Union Act was revised, restricting political activity and reinstating "purge" regulation to control communists. It has been estimated that about 20,000 people were dismissed from government, teaching or industrial jobs between 1945 and 1950 for "communist tendencies".

In 1950 the Japanese Constitution was also modified to permit the formation of a 75,000-strong National Police Reserve, a paramilitary force in charge of internal security (this later became the JSDF).

More quietly, however, Japan had also been restructuring its national government, gradually regaining control from Occupation forces and beginning, once again, to do things its own way.

The Ministry for International Trade and Industry (MITI) was established in 1949 to promote exports, assure that essential machinery and technology could be imported efficiently, and develop domestic industry. The Japanese government felt the need for a Ministry to establish, implement and guide national policy on industrial development and exports (much less emphasis on imports), and with the strong agreement of major Japanese manufacturing groups such as Sumitomo, Mitsue, Mitsuboshi and Hidachi, the new Ministry was formed rapidly. Perhaps too rapidly: key personnel slots were filled from leading firms in the private sector, in many cases, bringing together a diverse range of goals and making it difficult to determine national policy that was, in fact, in the best interests of the nation.

Birth of the Aozora-Kai

As is so common with powerful government organizations, a host of new committees were created to investigate, discuss, formulate and implement policy. In addition to groups appearing in the budget and organizational table, there were also many ad hoc groups that came into existence to address specific needs, especially between different sections or departments within MITI. One of these was the Aozora-Kai (Blue Sky Association). It was created in 1950, almost immediately after MITI itself, and basically it only waited that long because that's how it took for personnel assignments and the initial organization to settle out. On paper it is a long-range, inter-departmental think-tank dealing with the future of Japan. Topics discussed have included long-range technology development themes (technologies not expected to be developed for decades or more), issues of policy conflict with other nations (for example, the underlying reasons for the trade conflict in steel between Japan and the US), development and maintenance of key technologies (the Japanese semiconductor industry), and a number of related but not immediately obvious fields, such as changes in Japanese society and their effects on national strength, the education system and its effects on molding future citizens, and so on.(Among other things, they also prepared position papers on things like where and how to develop nuclear weapons capabilities, how to handle Unit 731 technology left over from WW2, the effects of a military annexation of Taiwan, and concealment of advanced Japanese combat and espionage capabilities.)

That was their official status, and for those official goals a number of people were authorized to participate in a number of Aozora-Kai projects over the years.

The group, however, had its own agenda as well. As an ad-hoc group, albeit with official cognizance and support, the Aozora-Kai was responsible for preparing background or advisory reports for policy-makers. The trouble in the Japanese post-War government, however, was that making policy became an increasingly political game, with national development objectives assigned a secondary priority after political ones. To the planners of the Aozora-Kai, this was intolerable.

Selected as they were for a commitment to the continued growth and development of Japan, and with a background of personal sacrifice formed through the Second World War, they were disillusioned when idea after idea was neglected or modified for political considerations, gutting it of meaning.

The "hard core" leaders of the group met privately a number of times, and after several months of pussy-footing to discover each other's feelings, they agreed that active measures were needed to protect and preserve the nation.

Instead of merely advising, they would now implement policy themselves.

Growth and a Mission

The first step was getting clout. Fortunately, the group included a number of established and high-level MITI people already, and an active effort was made to find, evaluate and recruit fresh blood. Gradually people were also promoted within MITI, opening up new possibilities and providing new power. Old ties from pre-War Japan were also critical, providing communication channels with Mitsuboshi and Hidachi, both of whom participated in a large number of state-of-the-art technology R&D projects with MITI funding, and coincidentally happened to be Kuromaku members. As the Aozora-Kai spread its tentacles into corporate Japan, these firms were quick to note the scent of money in the air, and moved to absorb as much of it as possible. In a remarkably short time, the Kuromaku (at least, Mitsuboshi and Mitsue) was aware of the situation, and recognized a kindred soul in the Aozora-Kai: a group perfectly willing to sacrifice the general public to achieve its goals.

A number of new projects were developed and launched to the mutual satisfaction of the Kuromaku and the Aozora-Kai (which knows remarkably little about the Mythos, although they have noted that their partners do have access to some rather unusual capabilities…).In 1963 (the year that John F. Kennedy is shot in Dallas, Texas, and the American government supported a coup to topple Ngo Dnh Diem, prime minister of South Vietnam), the leader of the Aozora-kai, a former Imperial Army major named Takefuji Ninzaburo, was accepted as a member of the Kuromaku. He is still in effective (but unofficial) charge of the Aozora-Kai and a member of the Kuromaku, although he is quite old (born 1920).

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