11/02/2014 Newsnight


Politicians react to the floods, the RAF plane that costs too much and doesn't work properly, women bishops, and WW2 kamikaze pilots. With Jeremy Paxman.

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The floods are bad, getting worse and could get worse yet. As the


water rises the politicians scramble to avoid accusations of


indifference. The fear is that political fortunes will be made and


lost in the water. Being seen to do nothing is not an option. You see in


them films where people are hanging on by their fingertips, that is us


at the moment. Not a single politician visiting flood victims


can do much more than offer reassurance. What would happen if


they just said, sorry, it is an act of God?


Years behind schedule, way over budget and still not even working


properly, why is Britain spending ?2. Five billion on an unproven new


aircraft? And this:


This is their big day, they prepare for their last flight. Japan seeks


international protected status for the last letters of World War II


kamikaze suicide bombers. We talk to one of them. TRANSLATION: I never


look back with regret. The people who died did so willingly, if they


were force I had would not collect this stuff. They must not be


forgotten. What does a British sailor on the receiving end of


suicide attacks think? It must be serious because prominent


politicians of all parties are slopping around in wellies doing


their best to look ais theive in the face of environmeal conditions which


vividly demonstrate the limit of their powers. The floods even forced


the Prime Minister to hold his first news conference for months today. He


warned there might be worse to come but said money would be no object in


the relief effort. We spent the day in Chertsey, Surrey. So it


continues, swathes of the Thames Valley are now under water. The


second time some residents have been flooded out this year. In the winter


sun the bridge at Chertsey might look picturesques, but roads are


closed off and dozens of houses cut off. Somewhere on the other side of


this vast inland lake are the Parsons family. Where are you? The


other side of the bridge on the south side of the river, they closed


that off. You won't get across Chertsey scam bridge. Not at the


moment. You won't get across that. They called the BBC today to say the


media are ignoring their part of the world. We set out to find them.


River levels here are well above all-time records, the next 48 hours


will be critical. So this is the back garden then? This is the back


garden. There is the other pump, pumping. On our way we run into this


man, in his 70s, working nonstop and still smiling after just an hour's


sleep. Two pumps and dozens of sandbags are now the only things


keeping the River Thames from his kitchen. You see in films where


people are hanging on by their fingertips, that is us at the


moment. We're just hoping we can get through it, that's all. It has been


a very stressful time. We're doing all we can. We have had the fire


brigade come down, the army come down and the police. But we can't do


no more. A few doors down the staff at the local garage are bailing out.


Flooding here has damaged machinery and chased away customers. How much


do you think this will cost the business? Well, apart from the work


we are losing I think this will cost about ?15,000-?20,000 minimum, by


the time we have everything repaired. You better hope you are


insured? That is something we have to look into. Hopefully there should


be something there. At the moment we are looking at quite a bit. Then at


the end of the road two new rivers collide, the current is too much to


wade through, we hitch a lift from a four X four. Best of luck. So we


have just been given a lift across that road which you can't walk down


at the moment. We made it to Doreen's, who we spoke to her on the


phone. This is her daughter's house, they are own house is down here.


Doreen? Hello The house is still dry at the moment, but the river is a


few inches off the electrical supply, if it hits that they will


have to move out. We never knew, we knew we were near the Thames, but we


were told at that point the last time it flooded was 1947. People


will say you have a house next to rave that is the risk you take? That


is fine, we acknowledge, that you know. It is near a river, this is


not just near the river it is the water table and it is coming down


from the mountains and like a snowball effect really. And nobody


expects this really. We head back across the bridge as the river


continues to rise. For some it is too late. In a house backing on to


the river, the Smith family is moving out as the army moves in. We


have kids from 16-8 months old. All stressed in their own way. A series


of new storms are make their way across the Atlantic, the people


living in this part of England will hope to miss the worse worst of it


and hope for cleaner skies. Ronald Regan said the scariest words


were "I'm from the Government and I'm here to help", David Cameron and


others were out to disprove that maxim today.


You will have seen a lot of VIP wellies if you have been anywhere


near the floods this week. There was a time not so long ago when those


living along the Thames Valley or the south west of England could open


their door without bumping into a party leader. Those times are long


gone. Now the politicians have turned up they are getting an


earful. As Sky News captured on camera. What will it take for you to


understand we are seriously in need, do I need to take you right down to


the end where we need people. Do I need to do that, I'm asking you,


what do we we need to do? Politically the water is now the


only game in town, and today in view of worsening weather the Prime


Minister cancelled next week's trip to the Middle East and said money


would be no object to Britain's recovery from the floods. A lesson


learned perhaps from 2007 when, with his own constituency under water he


was in Rwanda. This time round a whistle stop tour of all the worst


affected areas so he could see the damage and the problems firsthand.


Berkshire has, to my calculations, seen at least three politicians in


the last 24 hours. The army has now been moved in to help. There is


anger from locals this may be flash-in-the-pan interest, but they


are British and mostly they are just getting on with things. The quiet


stoicism of the residents, something at odds with the political frenzy we


have seen over the past few days. The prime ministerial time devoted


to these floods has been substantial. David Cameron has been


out and around for some 48 hours now. We hear there are more trips to


come. Politically he knows how sensitive this territory is. He


can't afford to hear dark mummurings of Catriona, the crisis that brought


President Bush to his knees. This image of George Bush staring


down at the devastation shows him detatched from the suffering. It is


the kind of mistake David Cameron can't afford to make. This evening


he gave his first Downing Street press conference for 238 days.


Emily? REPORTER: We have seen a frenzy of political visitations to


the flood plains in the last couple of days. Do you accept you recognise


the seriousness of this problem too late? I think the visits do matter.


We should be co-ordinated with the emergency services so we are not in


any way getting in the way of their work. So I repeated my question, had


he recognised the seriousness of the situation too late? I don't think


so. Because Cobra was stood up straight after Christmas with the


first floods, and I think what has become more and more apparent is the


persistence of this bad weather. Remember weebles wobble but they


don't fall down? That is how the blame game is working so far. Eric


Pickles blames Chris Smith, Owen Patterson blamed Chris Smith, then


the underinvolvement, today the Environment Agency workers were


praised but not their head, Chris Smith. This is not a time for people


to leave their posts but for people to knuckle down and get on with the


important work of running their organisations and departments that


they have do. You don't need a degree in semi-otics to suspect that


long-term that is no ringing endorsement.


The fine line for leaders between showing their involvement, their


concern and making themselves overly, personally associated with


the cause that is produce pictures like this day after day after day.


As a former presidential adviser once said, "never let a certificate


crisis go to waste, but where there is flooding it is all too easy to


get into deep water". With us now is Anne McIntosh the


Conservative Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs


committee. And Ben Bradshaw, the Labour MP and cabinet minister in


Gordon Brown's Government. What do you make of the fact that the


Government is being blamed for a lot of this? I don't think the


Government is being blamed. As the Prime Minister said I think we have


all got to come together. We had flooding, not on this scale last


year. But what those who have been flooded and those who live in fear


of being flooded are wanting to see is everybody to come together. And I


think just praise the volunteers, the emergency service, the military


who are out there. Yes, the Government can give leadership, I


would say the Government have shown leadership throughout. And have now


brought in the military. But it is very difficult to pump the water out


of such a vast area when there is nowhere to pump the water too. To.


That is fair point, it is an act of God? We have had the wettest winter


for a very long time. I welcome the new urgency that the Government


seems to be displaying. I welcome the new language David Cameron


using, that he will give all the money needed. However, I think we


need to judge them on their delivery. We had floods in the south


west a year a we were promised money after that to improve our rail


resilience among other things, that money hasn't materialised. People


are justified in asking those questions, and also about the


overall Government strategy when it comes to flood defence, funding of


flood defence and funding of resilience against climate change.


Your own committee did worry about the impact of cuts on the


Environment Agency, isn't that correct? I just think there is a lot


of confusion, and a great deal of obfuscation over what the money is


there for. Everybody understands what money is being spent on


physical flood defences, we are trying to get to the bottom of what


money is being spent on maintenance and revenue. I'm a big fan of


drainage boards in non-flood times, to actually keep the water channels


running smoothly and we have the Slow The Flow Project that has


protected the town of pickering in my own constituency. There is a lot


you can do. This money argument is a hard one for you guys in the


opposition to make, given today that David Cameron said money is no


object? That is great, but let's see the delivery. He has said this


before, we were promised money after last year's floods that was not


delivered in the south west. I'm welcoming what he said today. I


welcome the new urgency, I hope that leads to a complete reassessment of


how we deal with the threats from climate change and the resilience of


the transport infrastructure and floods defences. I think flood


defences were cut significantly when this Government came to power. We


had the major floods of 2007, we have the Pitt Review and we don't


need another public inquiry or review, we need the recommendations


implemented. The point is the flood defences held this time the flood


defences held probably now we will need to see whether they need


substantial repair. It is the day-to-day regular maintenance of


major and minor water courses that can prevent silt forming and banks


being full of vegetation so the water doesn't flow away. What is


clear this time is we have had every type of flooding, we have had


coastal flooding, tidal surges, river flooding, we have now had


ground water flooding in the Thames. Everything is being chucked at us.


It is covering such a large part of the country, it is literally all


hands on deck. Literally all hands on deck? Volunteer, emergency


services and the military. And yet you see the Daily Mail saying money


should be taken away from the Department of International


Development because there is such a shortage of help for people at home?


That is a very popular argument. Can I just say, if you allowed the


drainage boards to keep the money they are currently putting into the


Environment Agency in Somerset, East Anglia and in North Yorkshire, if


they were allowed to do the work themselves, if the Environment


Agency then could do what they are good at which is doing the main


flood defences, then actually I think we would be in a much better


place than what we're currently doing which is not dredging between


floods. It is interesting to hear someone from your party talking


about "if we could do that" and "if we can do the other", the Government


can do it can't they? I'm not trying to enter into a blame culture here.


But dredging was dropped mid-2000s. You could have started it again? The


Government are doing seven pilot schemes tie low the landowners to do


the dredging on their own land. You can do what you like in Government?


This is what we are doing, I believe we can go back to that. It is not


just about dredging, and Anne knows a lot of places dredging wouldn't


work. This is a strategic response to the fragility of our


infrastructure and country as a result of increased extreme weather


events due to climb mat change. Until the Government grasp that we


are not going to have a proper way of addressing the problem. You know


how it look, people see a couple of politicians beginning to score


points off one another over events which neither of them could properly


control? I hope we're not scoring points. I hope that we are trying to


edge towards a serious debate about what we need to do in the long-term


to address some of the problems that have caused what is happening now.


What we have seen today is, as the Prime Minister said, the country and


the party is coming together for the good of those who have been flooded.


What we are talking about is a long-term solution. One of the


reasons that people are slopping around up to their oxters in water


is there hasn't been the money to improve flood defences. This is not


a problem that affects part of the Ministry of Defence. Tonight


Newsnight can reveal that Britain is about to spend ?2. 5 billion buying


some fighter bombers for the Navy, encouraged by the man who used to be


the head of the Royal Navy, and now earns a tidy sum from the company


making the planes. We have more, explain? This is huge


for the Royal Navy, they have pinned their future, to a large measure, on


the future of these two carriers. ?6 bill I don't know-plus to build them


what will -- billion to build them and what will they fly off? They


have really only one choice, this F-35, we were expecting the first


production order to come this week, for various reasons to do with


Government schedule and contractual negotiations it hasn't. We have been


finding out what it will consist of. The F-35, the biggest defence


project. Britain is about to commit itself fully to its first production


aircraft. Along with the capability to land vertically, fly stealthily,


and combine sensors to the latest weapons has come delay, and a


trillion dollar global price tag. In Britain the Royal Navy has pinned


its future on the crane, and the aircraft carriers that will launch


it. There is so much riding on the F-35 for Britain, it is going to


replace the Harrier and the tornado. It is central to the future of the


Royal Navy and the military Aerospace sector of the economy. And


yet, the programme has been plaged by development problems, it is years


later into service, and the eventual cost to the UK is only just becoming


clear. As head of the Navy, Admiral Jonathan Band threatened to resign


if the new aircraft carriers weren't built. Now he's with the F-35's


makers, delighted that his dream is about to be realised. A production


order for the F-35 for me is an exciting moment. We are now by the


end of the decade have a credible carrier air capability which this


country can deploy. Importantly the current debate we have had and we


have seen about whether we're still up for the game in the UK, and


whether we are a serious player, with carrier air we certainly are.


Is that status? It is more than status, it is capability. There is a


status, obviously, in having these capabilities. But there is an


operational confidence in having operational confidence in deploying


them, it is the credibility that ownership of that gives you.


Britain's F-35s were first meant to enter service in 2012, that is now


slated for 2018. With 8. 4 million lines of software code, it is the


most sophisticated plane ever made. Last year the Pentagon estimated


that only 2% of that soft care -- software fully met its standards.


The biggest outstanding problem is block 2-B software, vital for


missile, radars and combat systems. Critics in Washington argue it will


never work proper low. . As an air-to-air fighter it is a


target, not a fighter. As an air-to-ground bomber its range and


payload are very modest. So far this aeroplane is not working as


advertised. It is almost a decade behind its initial schedule. Even if


it performs up to all of its performance promise, the design is


so modest it will still be a huge disappointment. The Pentagon and the


manufacturers insist early snags have been solved, and testing


proceeds apace. The aircraft has gone to sea too, part of a plan to


get it into service with the US Marines late next year. But even if


that deadline is met, will the aircraft be capable of much more and


take off and nding. Trying to look at all the mission profiles from the


Navy and marine corp, as well as the British, Italian, Israeli, South


Korean requirement, all these different air forces have their own


say because they put money in. It lip crease the complexity. As for


the price tag, Britain's first four planes will cost $95 million, or ?58


million. The price of buying aircraft with spares and an initial


manufacturers service package is much higher. The Pentagon estimate


is $253 million, or ?154 million per plane. We can reveal that Britain


will pay about ?2. 5 billion for the first 14 aircraft, the initial


support package and maintenance ma sillties for the -- facilities, for


the future fleet. Little wonder that a cost-minded Defence Secretary is


moving gingerly, ordering the first 14. Or that the planes' champions


insist that an eventual buy of 48, suggested by MoD, just isn't enough.


If we are going to continue to have one aircraft carrier available. 24/7


and 365. And put as much capability as that deck size will give u 48


aeroplanes won't be enough. My estimation is we will buy well north


of that. The squadron is meant to be in play in 2018 and operational on


the carrier in 2020. That may be achievable. But to get a fully


functioning aircraft with the whole array of RAF weapons working on it


will take longer. That could be a decade from now, even on the more


optimistic projections that we have been given. Political and industrial


logic him -- militates in favour of committing now. For the F-35 will


sustain thousands of high-tech UK jobs. But some other partners are


still delaying, waiting for costs to come down and the plane to meet its


performance targets. The combat systems are not mature. If you look


at Australia and Canada, long-term partners in the F-35 programme, both


deciding to go for an interim buy, in the case of Australia, F-18


super-hornet, to keep them tidied over through the capability gap, and


then intend to purchase F-35 probably ten years down the line. So


far Britain has only pledged to buy one third of the F-35s it once said


it wanted. This country's commitment remains tentative, due to worries


about cost and performance. But with orders expected any day, it is a


commitment about to become irrevocable.


Have we got this straight Mark, this country is paying ?2. 5 billion for


handful of planes which have not yet been properly proved and promoted to


us, to man we paid an Admiral's society and now works for the


manufacturers. Is that right? They have got themselves into the


position where this is the only aircraft they can put on these huge


ships, they are committed to the huge ships. The ?2. 5 billion


includes quite a lot more than 14 planes. Certain long lead items for


other aircraft, maintenance spares and all the rest of it. This will be


extremely important aircraft and expensive, and you wonder about the


political courage that would need to happen to send them into battle with


the limited weapon fix. Is there a concern about how this will look?


There is a concern, they have considered the wider ramifications.


The have been bitter interservice battles over the years about the


carriers and aircraft. I put earlier today to the Defence Secretary the


point that it could be hard to justify this in a time of austerity.


Yes, this is an expensive aeroplane, we knew it would be an expensive


aeroplane, it comes an incredible capability. The world's most


sophisticated aircraft, with stealth capability. Able to penetrate enemy


defences without with very little radar signature. It makes it a verse


style piece of equipment. It will provide a back bone to our air


forces, including our carrier projection for many years to come.


How worried are you that this thing might not work as advertised, it


might take longer to get it works? I'm not worried. I have looked at


this report and I have looked at last year's report and previous


years report These reports have to be understood in context. This is a


complex project and identifying issues in the development of the


aircraft that in the overwhelming majority of cases are already well


known about, well established and for which mitigation or resolution


strategies are already under way. Will it enter service as a fully


combat-capable aircraft. We understand many of the most capable


weapons the RAF has will not be integrated on to the aircraft by


2018, even 2020? Well by 2020, when we expect to declare an initial


operating capability, we will have a comprehensive weapons fit. Now I


can't tell you at the moment, because we're still in negotiation


and this requires agreement of partners across the project, whether


for all purposes we will at that stage be using specific UK weapons


or whether for some functions we may be using US weapons to be replaced


at later stage in the aircraft's development by dedicated UK weapons.


But the capabilities will be there, delivered by one or other of the


weapons systems. When you look at the risks involved, isn't there an


argument for waiting. Now you would like me to wait to order the jets


for the carrier, so that you can then run a headline that says


carriers have no jets to fly off them. I'm very clear that we have


invested, the British taxpayer has investmented over ?6 -- invested


over ?6 billion in aircraft carriers. My job is to get the


aircraft flying and operating from them, as quickly as we can so that


this huge additional capability that we will have with these carriers and


Joint Strike Fighter can be available and deployable as soon as


possible. T decade's long soap opera in which the Church of England


decides whether women are capable of spiritual leadership, one of the


rare examples of a soap opera continuing in production year after


year, despite the fact that audiences are falling through the


floor, staged a new episode today. The end is at last in sight,


apparently. Sooner than many had predicted too. For a vote in the C


of E General Synod will half the time the church has to spend


consulting on whether having a pair of breasts disables you from having


being a bishop. The first female bishop could be appointed by the end


of the year. I'm joined by Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Chaplain to


Parliament, andly thely thely the, director of the evangelical group


Reform and member of the General Synod. Is that a fair assessment? I


don't think I would say open opera, but I will let you have your day. It


could be by the end of the year? I believe in miracles, who knows. Do


you think it will be by the end of the year? It could do, but we have


to wait for the diocese to vote, we have to wait for Synod to vote, I


wouldn't like to put a bet on it. It has stopped the opponents dragging


this out interminably, hasn't it? I don't think the opponents have been


dragging it out interminably, I think there has been a desire for a


very long time for us to find a solution, which means the Church of


England can remain a broad church that it has always been. It has been


square pegs and round holes, which just does not fit together. And it


has been going on for a very, very long time. Perhaps the end is nigh.


The reality is the diocese spends a long time, already, discussing it,


42 out of 44 dieies said -- diocese, said "yes". Even the two that didn't


say "yes", the majority of people did want it. So you know, I'm


delighted that we are finding a way through in this process to make it


possible. Are you going to give up the ghost now? Absolutely not, the


really important thing to remember is this is about theological


conviction. It is about, for me I represent part of the church that's


growing, we certainly don't see falling numbers, we are seeing our


congregations growing, we are having to start new congregations in new


churches, I don't think we are going anywhere. Aren't you a bit bored


with the way the Church of England is just obsessed with sex and gender


issues? I don't think the Church of England is obsessed by those things,


personally we're onesed by Jesus Christ, you may only get us on to


Newsnight to talk about sex and gender but we preach Christ week in


week out. You genuinely see your congregations increasing?


Absolutely, fantastic. The churches I represent, 30% of them have


planted a new congregation or church in ten years. I don't belong to


boxes that says I'm this tradition or that tradition, and I'm also


seeing growth, the spirit is moving, is it really is moving. And I just


think we have spent an enormous amount of time debating this issue,


and it is about time that we move on to more important things. How much


damage did the vote last time against women bishops do, do you


think? Huge damage. The church looked absolutely ridiculous. It


really did. It looked ridiculous, it looked irrelevant, I hope that we


can redeem ourselves. How do you explain the fact that congregations


seem to be growing where this doctrine of not having women Clergy


and bishops is preached? Well, my experience in many places in this


country and elsewhere is that very often the leadership of the church


is the one that pushes this and the people in the congregation are not


necessarily in tune with what the message is there, in terms of as she


says we're preaching Jesus, but in terms of not having women in


leadership it is not always the congregation that is pushing it. I


think that is incredibly patronising tone to be hones. We are very


lay-led in our church, certainly there are people within our church.


Lay-led but not female-led. Why isn't she fit to be a bishop, she


looks perfectly respectable? Not female-led. We have male and female


leaders within our church. You do? But the final incumbent is a man.


This is part of the, one of the nonsenses of the legislation that we


have been looking at today, is that the canon also say that the women


bishops are fathers in God, we can't change that. And personally I find


it very difficult, Rose you can be many things, but I can't see you


being a father? I think we're playing with words there, I really.


Do I think, and I think that is irrelevant, we're all made in God's


image, both male and female, if we're made in God's image then God


is part of who we are, we are part of God. So that's not a problem for


me. It really isn't a problem what people call me. I think God created


us male and female and wonderfully, it is typical of the Church of


England that just as the rest of society is recognising that men and


women have different gifts and bring different things to the table and


need to be used in different ways, the Church of England is flannel in


the 60s burning bras and trying to be feminist. The church has always


recognised that we come to the table with different roles, we are not


trying to be men, we're not, I'm actually disturbed by what you have


just said, it doesn't make any sense. I think the church is trying


to live in this world, not in the past. We're going to leave it there.


Thank you very much. There is a real spat going on in the Far East


between Japan and China. The Japanese are trying to get a


collection of letters from kamikaze pilot, included on a register of


documents vital to history, with a cultural organisation. The register


already includes such things as the diary of Anne Frank, and the Chinese


believe that for Japan to try to get letters from suicide bombers


included is to try to beautify aggression. Before we talk about it


we report from Tokyo. What exactly are the kamikaze letters? What do


they contain, and why are they so important that Japan wants them to


be world heritage status? To try to find out I will see the man who


started the letter collection, and who himself survived not one but two


kamikaze missions. For thieves us who grew up after the war -- those


of us who grew up after the war it is hard to comprehend the kamikaze,


it has become synonymous with irrational and terrifying. They were


formed in the last months of the war. Most of the pilots were between


17-20 years old. Their job was simple, to slam their planes into as


many allied ships as possible and to halt the invasion of Japan. (Greets


in Japanese) This man was 19 when recruited into the special attack


squadrons. Today the cheerful 89-year-old looks nothing like a


fanatic. Why did he volunteer to die? TRANSLATION: Common sense says


you only have one life, so why would you want to give it away like that?


But at the same time all of us wanted to volunteer. You have to


remember that was the time when we were being attacked by the American.


Japan needed us to be warriors, to stop the invasion. Our minds were


cement we had no -- were set, we had no doubts. On his first mission his


engine broke down and he was forced to ditch. The second was called off


because of bat weather. And so unlike so many of his comrades he


survived. When you look back at all the people who died, doesn't it feel


like a wasterades he survived. When you look back at all the people who


died, doesn't it feel like a waste? TRANSLATION: I never look back with


regret, the people who died did so willingly, that is why I collect


because they were not forced. I have committed my life to maintaining


their memory. In the late 1970s they began collecting letters and photos


from the families of kamikaze pilots across Japan. Many like this one


expressed pride in the coming sacrifice.


But others expressed clear doubt. One young Lieutenant wrote:


Close to an old airfield near his house in central Japan we came


across this memorial to the kamikaze who flew from here. The names of


those who died are carved on the back of the stone. There are dozens


of memorials like this scattered across Japan. When I first came


across one of these kamikaze memorials in Japan, I was taken


aback. It felt like a shrine to fanaticism, to blind loyalty to the


Emperor. So To some on the far right of politics in Japan the kamikaze


are held up assen ideal of manhood. That is why the issue is potent


today. To most Japanese it is not about glorifying Japan as military


past, it is more about rembering the young men who sacrificed their


livesselflessly to -- selflessly to defend their nation. The issue today


is not what the men did many years a it is the inability of many in


Japan, including at the highest levels of Government, to examine Hon


least that dark episode in Japanese history. Giving the kamikaze letters


world heritage status help that process or hinder it?


We have have a sailor from the ships attacked by the kamikaze, and


Yuichiro Nakajma, whose father was one of the kamikaze pilots. What was


it like? You didn't face them unless you are a gunner on the weather


decks. You were aboard the ship in your place of action. Your action


stations. Which could be anywhere in the ship. And suddenly you heard on


the pipe that kamikazes were in the area. The next thing you knew the


guns were opening up and they were firing to shoot kamikazes, or hit


them near enough to blow them off course. And then suddenly a big bang


and they hit the ship. What did you imagine the pilot of such a plane


was like? You couldn't imagine it. You could understand what they were


doing, they were fanatics, and you know, that's all there was to it.


You couldn't understand or I couldn't, as an ordinary person.


They just had the guts to do it. Would you say your father was a


fanatic? I wouldn't say so, I think he had very little choice. Japan was


entering a desperate phase in the war. It was clearly obvious to those


in command that the situation wasn't favourable. So as a military tactic,


I think it was the wrong one to take. But they took the decision and


educated their men in the way that they wanted to, so that they could


justify these suicide missions as a valid means of attack. You better


just explain how it was that your father is a kamikaze pilot and


survived the war? He had been drafted from university, he had


orders to prepare his aircraft, wait for command to take off with his


squadron, on the tarmac, and the base commander in the meantime sent


up a reconnaissance mission to see where the American fleet had come to


in relation to Tokyo Bay. This aircraft had a faulty radio, but the


commander had no other choice because there was no other aircraft


to send. He told the engineer to fix the radio on board, the radio


couldn't be fixed because neither radio communication came back nor


the careful itself, it was found shot down after a few days. As a


result my father's commander couldn't issue an order for my


father to fly, which is how he found out that he wasn't going to go on


this mission. We were just, they were young men? They were young men.


Executing a desperate tactic in extreme circumstances? Japan by then


knew they were losing the war. And they began to get more and more


desperate and those were the sort of things that were happening in


greater numbers. Some of the planes, the kamikaze planes had a job to


fly, but once they got off they could easily hit the ship if they


weren't blown off or shot down before they got to it. Once you come


to that realisation though, that these were just young men, called up


to fly these planes, country in desperate circumstances, and


according to some of those letters we saw there, these men thought they


were dying for their country. Does it make you feel differently about


them? Not me personally. Why not? I couldn't, just couldn't understand


how they could do it. The same thing is happening today with these


children they are dressing-up and making them into bombs and they are


walking into buildings in the Middle East. That's the sort of thing that


they were doing. How do those children get to be like that, they


know they are a bomb, they know they are going to be decimated and go


off. These were extreme circumstances, you must have thought


about this quite a bit. How do you answer a question like this,


transferring it to Japan. Well I guess for desperate situations call


for desperate measures. I'm in no way justifying the Imperial Army.


You have said you thought it was completely wrong, you have said


that. That raises the question whether it is appropriate these last


letters from these kamikaze pilots do have the status on the UNESCO


register? They represent the outpouring of humanity by these


pilots who knew their fate and the next day two or three days time.


They will be perishing in the sea. I think it is a great record, in no


way, as you said, it is not a glorification of the war effort at


all. It is more a record of what they felt in the last days of their


lives, their love for their family, their belief that unless they did


this terrible things may happen to those remaining in Japan. Therefore


this was their mission. However wrong that mission might be. This is


what they have been taught to believe in. And they were there,


many case, without any choice. That is all for tonight. Spare a thought


before you go for what is left of the rolling news anchorman who asked


the actor, Samuel L Jackson, about the car advicement he had filmed --


advertisment he had filmed. The piece was made by another black


actor, Lawrence Fishburn. This is a short extract of what happened. I'm


not Lawrence Fishburn. That was my fault I know that. We don't all


lookalike, we may be all black and famous we all don't lookalike. There


is more than one black guy doing a commercial. There is it is, no


question about that. I'm the "what's in your wallet" black guy, he's the


"credit card black guy", Morgan Freeman is the other guy. You won't


confuse him. I have never done a McDonalds and Kentucky Fried Chicken


advert. I know that is surprising! The


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