Aeba, one of the leaders of Japan’s right-wing Happiness Realization Party, was accompanied by Yuya Watase, the founder of the Tokyo Tea Party; their interpreter, a Happiness Realization Party official named Yuki Oikawa; and Bob Sparks, their American political consultant. Together, they said, they were on a mission to export American-style conservatism—the gospel of small government, low taxes, and free enterprise—to the Land of the Rising Sun.
The Tokyo Tea Party uses the same slogan as its American counterpart—“Taxed Enough Already”—and even goes by the same name (though I was assured that there was no danger of confusion with the traditional Japanese tea ceremony). Aeba’s Happiness Realization Party, meanwhile, is the political arm of a new-wave religious movement called Happy Science, whose founder claims to be a reincarnation of the Buddha. The Happies, as they are called, envision a Japan that is at once more muscular on the world stage—they propose eliminating the constitutional ban on waging war—and more religious at home. “The best analogy would be the Christian Coalition, Buddhist-style,” Sparks offered helpfully.
Yes, because that’s what the world needs is a newly militaristic evangelical Japan.