08/04/2014 Newsnight


News stories with Jeremy Paxman. Including the culture secretary's constituency, Martin McGuinness and the Queen, the Police Federation, Oscar Pistorius and Japan and militarism.

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the Culture Secretary has been living has been getting thicker.


She's not resigned yet, or been sacked, yet, but the angry voices


are getting louder. Those in favour of fuller accountability say there


is a blindingly obvious independent body staring them in the fashion it


is called "the public". How is it playing out in Maria Miller's


constituency, her cabinet colleague has come here to defend her.


Military bands, Household Cavalry and a fly-past of planes in tight


formation over Windsor Castle. As a former commander of the IRA explains


why he so admired the Queen of England. I was tremenduously


impressed, tremenduously impressed that Queen Elizabeth was prepared to


stand in solemn commemoration for those people who fought against


British rule in Ireland. And that she was prepared to honour the Irish


language in the way she did. We report from Japan on how the micing


power of minia is letting the Prime Minister drive the -- the rising


power of China is letting the Prime Minister drive away business. He


feels by accepting the convention history Japan will be emasculated


and vulnerable to Chinese attacks. Basic stoke Tourist Board is


doubtless bracing itself after the town's MP, Maria Miller, also the


Culture Secretary, called for the focus to be on the town and not her.


It wasn't necessarily her fault that her fellow MPs let her off with the


fraction of the penalty it had been recommended she pay for abuse of the


expenses system, but it was definitely her doing that she took


only 32 seconds to make an apology for what she had done. Increasing


numbers of fellow MPs now say she should resign her post. The key


decision may not be her's at all, but the Prime Minister's. At what


point is it more damaging to keep her than to ditch her? What's all


this doing to public trust in politics and politicians? What do


they think in Basingstoke? Ever get the sense that people wished you


would go away, the Basingstoke Conservative club posts it is open


seven days a week. Today, understandably enough they had


enough of people like me. The other side of town, a hive of activity, or


as much of one you can have with a bunch of chairs, the Labour Club was


getting ready to welcome John Mann, the man who helped kick-start the


whole McMillan Miller investigation. She told the Basingstoke Gazette she


was devastated. The questions over the last 48 hours have raged around


how MPs police themselves? Who scrutinises them? Are the bodies


independent enough? What of the Standards Committee, who should have


the vote there? Today we heard from the lay, nonvoting members of that


committee, their own report suggests undisguised dismay at the hypocrisy


they found. Ed Miliband joined the clamour of voices calling for a new


system. We need to look at reform in this area, we have reformed


ex-tenses and that was the right thing to do, with an independent


body overseeing it. This is part of the system that hasn't been properly


looked at or reformed, we need to look again. Those in favour of full


accountability say there is a blindingly obvious independent body


just staring them in the face, it is called "the public "requests, --


"the public", the electorate, they should be allowed to hold MPs to


account at any part in the parliamentary cycle. It probably


sounds like a no-brainer. We should have the power to do something about


it, if it was one of us we would be banged up. Do you think the public,


the voters have enough power to get rid of an MP if you want to? The


only way to get that is in the constituency. I think she is doing


fair job in Basingstoke, but not for the country. Paul Harvey wants to be


Labour's next MP here, he will take on Maria Miller's 13,000-strong


majority in 2015. All the parties need to get round the table and have


a conversation about how do we repair the trust between Members of


Parliament and the communities they represent. And that starts by giving


power to the people to recall their MPs if they have behaved as badly


and as disgracefully as Maria has done in the eyes of her


constituents. Do you worry you would get the kangaroo court syndrome. We


were speaking to people earlier who said she should go to prison. If


that's what people think, even though they are wrong about the


legality of what she has done, then anything could happen? But democracy


needs to be trusted. You need to have trust in the electorate, if the


electorate are given the power of recall, then you are trusting them


to make a judgment on their local member of parliament. After the


expenses of 2009, crucially before the last election, the three main


parties all promised to clean up politics, offering the biggest


shake-up to democracy for 178 years. The idea was to offer constituents


the chance to recall their MPs, that is remove them through a


by-election, if there was enough support. That was nearly five years


ago, it never happened. The Conservative MP, Zach Goldsmith, a


strong supporter of the recall bill thinks it was fear. It is a fear of


democracy, when I have argued privately and publicly with Nick


Clegg, it is his job to draft this bill. He talks about kangaroo


courts. In recall the only court is the constituency, anyone can take


part, it is just like an election. If nigh view it is an offensive


thing to say about one's constituents, it is reveal ago


terror of the mob or the voter. Under his proposal if around 20% of


constituents signed a petition over an eight-week period it would


trigger a referendum into whether the MP would step down, 50% in


favour would trigger a by-election. It is a long way from the


Government's own draft bill, which needs the agreement, of you guessed


a Select Committee. Why not take it to the electorate, that is an


independent body? There are huge difficulties with the called pure


recall approach and that is would for instance members of the public


be able to decide simply that they did not like their member of


parliament? Would they be able just to decide for instance that on an


issue of conscience, whether it was an issue abortion or euthanasia,


whether they had a fundamental objection. But voters are already


speaking, a petition calling for Maria Miller to pay back ?45,000 or


step down has more than 170,000 signatures. Tonight it is reported


the Government has tried to shut others like it down. As another MP


came forward to repent her financial errors, this time with a fulsome


apology, the air is starting to feel thick with the sense there may be


more to come. With us now is the Conservative MP


and leader of the House of Commons. In 2009 David Cameron said that in


the matter of MPs' expenses the key thing was does it pass the smell


test, do you think Maria Miller does pass the smell test? I think what we


have clearly seen is one of those cases which relates to prior to


2009. Frankly, of course, she was accused of obtaining a financial


benefit by having her parents in her home, paid for by expenses. That


complaint wasn't upheld, the principal complaints weren't upheld.


You think she does pass the smell test? The important thing about 2009


is we legislated for a new and independent system for the scrutiny


of MPs' expenses. It is very important. I asked you a very simple


question, does it pass the smell test? There was no dishonesty so it


does pass it. The complaint against her was not upheld. What was


identified were overpayments that she has repaid and the issue of


course, very much a House of Commons issue, that she hadn't co-operated


as fully and freely as the committee and the commissioner wanted. She


afollow poll guised to the -- apologised to the House for that.


Was a 32-second apology adequate? She made the adequate asked for. Was


it adequate? She made the apology asked for. If you look back there


have been previous apologies that have also been literally what was


asked for, she made the apology asked for. The apology you make in a


personal statement is one agreed with the Madam Speaker. He stopped


her making a longer one did he? It wouldn't be appropriate for her to


elaborate. It was right for her to make the apology that was asked for.


When she says in this article for the voters of Basingstoke today that


she's devastated by what's happened, what is she devastated about? I


think she was very unhappy that it turned out she had claimed more than


she was entitled to. Because she didn't think she had and it came out


in the course of inquiries into this that she had claimed more than she


really ought to have done. And she was, I think. She was devastated to


discover she had done something wrong? I know her and she believed


all the way through this, remember the Legg Inquiry, back in 2009, she


and others were looked into by Sir Thomas Legg, she believed she had


complied fully. If you look at the report the Standards Committee took


the view that what she had claimed in relation to which was her main


home and so on was actually reasonable in the light of the rules


at the time. As leader of the House of Commons, you obviously think the


Standards Committee is important? Certainly. Do you think therefore it


acceptable that MPs don't bother to turn up for its meetings? No and I


think they should be there. Does that pass the smell test? They need


to do their job. And they completely understand that. They have not been


doing it? In one case. Three lay members said today that very often


they were too busy to be concerned about standards? They have delivered


on their responsibility in a number of cases in recent months. There are


11 MPs on that committee, one meeting only one MP turned up? That


is acceptable is it? No, I'm not saying it is. That doesn't pass the


smell test either? It has lay members on it now. Good thing too


because the MPs don't turn up? They should be there and that is clear, I


make no bones about that. They haven't been doing it? But that is


their responsibility in the committee to do this thing. It is


slightly your responsibility too? Actually, no, not directly. You are


the Leader of the House? Absolutely, MPs don't give enough of a monkeys


to turn up to the committee that regulates their behaviour? We have


put lay members on that committee and the members are responsible for


delivering on their responsibility. They have delivered a whole series


of reports on their responsibility. Can the lay members vote? No. And


nor do they need to vote. What are they doing on the committee? They


participate directly in all the decisions of the committee. If they


dissented they could publish a dissenting opinion and that would be


a veto. They have more power than simply having a vote. Now MPs are


too busy to be concerned about standards? That is not true. They do


say that? I have read it. So have I. They recognise that MPs are busy.


MPs are too busy to spend much time on standards? They and I know and we


have discussed with the lay members the responsibility is on the


Standards Committee and other members to meet those standards,


that is our job and we will do that. But if they are not even turning up?


Let me be clear about a number of things. Firstly, the expenses


system, it wasn't covered in the package, since May 2010 is


administered by an independent authority, IPSA, that is completely


separate, now and for the future the expenses of Members of Parliament is


governed independently, regulated, enforced, overpayments can be


reclaimed, fines can be levied. That is all completely independent, we


are dealing now with issues relating to t past. Before 2009 before the


legislation came in. I hope there are few cases. The responsibility of


the Standards Committee has changed, we have got independent members. We


have an independent commissioner for standards. We have a process by


which those independent members can make sure that where standards of


conduct may not have been met it is independently investigated and there


is an independent voice in the final report. You have read this report


from the lay members of the Standards Committee? Yes I have. And


you will recall in it that they also say there should be a re-think of


the standards expected of MPs? Well, they say. Will there be such a


thing? I hope we will do this and the Standards Committee will work


across the House and beyond in order, with the public I hope, and


they will look at rewriting the Code of Conduct. That is what they want


to. Do they want to bring what they regard it into a more modern format


and in line with the principles of public life asset out. Why should it


be changed? The code of Conduct should be simpler and related more


to the conduct in public life set butt out by the standards in public


life committee. If you look at this particular case you are looking at a


report. Maria Miller couldn't understand it apparently? The rules


are very complicated and it doesn't help. This woman is a cabinet member


and she can't understand the rules? Well the commissioner of standards


and the Standards Committee themselves differed about the


interpretation of the rules. What do you think this is doing to public


trust in politicians? I don't think it helps. It is all right to laugh,


but give credit where credit is due. Of course it doesn't help! In this


parliament we have since May 2010 an independent system for the


regulation of MPs' expenses, including enforcement and compliance


with that. We have lay members on the Standards Committee and frankly


no report from the Standards Committee would really pass muster


if it didn't have the agreement of the lay members. They have


effectively a veto on that. We have an independent commissioner for


standards. So actually from the public's point of view they should


have more confidence, and the issues I think will become much more


straight forward as time goes on. You have just said this isn't


helping at all, is it? Of course it isn't helping. Betty Boothroyd says


the honourable thing for Maria Miller to do is resign. We knew it


was a discredited system, it was complex, difficult, didn't meet any


of the standards we currently expect. But this is an investigation


that went back into 2006/07 and those years before the new system.


Is she going to resign? I don't think so, I hope not. She enjoys the


full confidence of the Government does she? From my point of view, I


think she's a good Culture Secretary, just think in the last


few weeks we have actually had for example just the other day the first


same-sex marriages, she was the minister in the Government


responsible for seeing through an important piece of social


legislation. So she enjoys the full confidence of the Government? The


Prime Minister is responsible always responsible for determining who is


there are a Government at any one time. It is the Prime Minister's


prerogative to decide whether a minister has his confidence at any


time. And as far as you are aware, does she enjoy that confidence?


Absolutely. The Prime Minister like all of us will have had an


opportunity to look. Until she gets to be too much of a liability I


suppose? He would have had an opportunity to look at that report


and say, as I looked at it, and said it doesn't disclose dishonesty, she


may not have co-operated with the committee as she should have, and


she has apologised, but no more dishonesty on the expenses. How long


will she be Culture Secretary? I think that is an reasonable question


to ask. Fair enough. The Irish President had a jolly nice-sounding


dinner tonight, beef with wild mushrooms and watercress puree,


baked onions stuffed with Parmesan and bulgar wheat. What wasn't most


remarkable was the food but the setting. You he was dining with the


Queen, the first Irish President to do so. In the tortured relationship


between these two countries it marks a new and more hopeful chapter in a


story that has at times been distinguished by its lack of hope.


It has never been an easy relationship, British rule in


Ireland ended with blood, fire and a treaty in 1921 that made the


separation final. But the fate of the north as well as the memories of


Britain's long rear guard action against Irish Nationalism meant that


it has taken until today for an Irish President to come to


Westminster. With a message of friendship. The pain and sacrifice


associated with the advent of Irish independence inevitably past casts


its long shadow across our relation, causing us in the words of the Irish


MP Stephen Gwen "to look at each other with doubtful eyes". We


acknowledge that path, but as you have said, even more we whole


heartedly welcome the considerable achievement of today's reality. The


mutual respect, friendship and co-operation, which exists between


our two countries, our two peoples. Among President Michael Higgins's


cermonial calls today, the tomb of the unknown soldier in Westminster


Abbey, where he laid a wreath before paying his respects nearby at Lord


Mountbatten's grave. He was killed by Irish republicans in 1979. For


decades many Irish despised the British arm year, and those Irishmen


who served in it were subject to official discrimination within the


Republican lick until very recently. But now this wreath has been --


Republic, until very recently. But now this wreath has been laid, a


sign of how attitudes have changed and the fruit of diplomatic effort.


You can look at the attempts of looking for a thaw in Anglo-Irish


relations going back to the Silver Jubilee in 1977 when the Irish


Government authorised the attendance of the minister for Foreign affairs,


Gareth Fitzgerald, the future Taoiseach. His attendance to mark


the Silver Jubilee of the Queen. That was one piece of a jigsaw that


was being painstakingly put together and was painstakingly butt together


over subsequent decades. Today's visit reciprocated one made by the


Queen in 2011, that had its own delicate wreath-laying moment, at


the memorial for fallen Irish republicans. And the following year


in Belfast, another moment of great symbolism between one of the modern


heirs to the tradition and a British Monarch. The Northern Ireland peace


process has been vital on the final steps to reconciliation. What we saw


with the peace process and the negotiation of the Good Friday


Agreement was a readiness of various different movements and parties and


players to compromise and to accept the need for compromise. So I don't


think that narrative of compromise and that narrative of impediment


belongs to one particular part. Party. Tonight a further step of


reconciliation, Martin McGuinness was invited to dine at the official


banquet at Windsor Castle, not the easist of steps for either of them.


But it has brought the once IRA commander and the head of state he


fought to the same table. Earlier today I spoke to the Deputy First


Minister of Northern Ireland. What on earth are you doing breaking


bread with the head of state of an occupying power? I have many reasons


why I shouldn't meet with Queen Elizabeth and she too with me, but


we both thought it was an important thing to do. I first met you in the


1970, if I had said to you then in 40 years' time you will be sitting


down to dinner with the Queen of England, what would you have


thought? Well simply I never would have imagined that I would be


minister of education in a power-sharing Government in the


north and then after that joint First Minister with Ian Paisley in a


very important institution that has remained intact and steady for the


last seven years. But it is still part of the United Kingdom? And I'm


an Irish republican and absolutely dedicated to end partition and bring


beg the people of the north and the north with the south. And we have


agreed in the context of the Good Friday Agreement that can only


change through a constitutional vote and I'm working to achieve that.


When there is a loyal toast tonight at the dinner, will you stand up and


toast the Queen? Well if there is a toast to the Queen I will observe


all of the protocols and civilities. Isn't it the case that last year


when you were here and there was a toast to the Queen at a dinner in


the City of London, you were unavoidably absent from the room at


that point? That was an absolute coincidence believe it or not. I was


going to say how your bladder was? Appropriately ready to go! That was


just coincidence? It really was a coincidence, absolutely. Do you


regret not going to the dinner in Dublin Castle two years ago? Three


years ago? My party obviously wasn't ready for that event at that time.


Since we have conducted enormous conversations and discussions with


our own people. Particularly in advance of the Queen Elizabeth's


visit to Belfast and whether or not I should be involved in meeting with


her at that time. And effectively people realised in the context of a


conflict resolution process that it was very important to be involved.


Not in mealy-mouthed words about reconciliation but actually acts of


reconciliation. Isn't it the case that you saw how popular that visit


of the Queen to Ireland was and you realised that by not being part of


it you were losing political capital? No, that's not the reason


for this at all. I mean I watched the conduct of that visit very, very


carefully and I have to say I was tremenduously impressed.


Tremenduously impressed that Queen Elizabeth was prepared to stand and


in solemn commemoration for those people who fought against British


rule in Ireland. That she was prepared to honour the Irish


language in the way she did. It sounds as if you ought to toast her?


As I say in the course of tonight's events I won't disappoint anybody.


We will see! Do you think that these events, this visit, that last visit


is making a united Ireland closer? I do believe we are inexorably moving


towards the reunification of Ireland, but it can only happen


through purely peaceful and reconciliatory means. If I remember


you when you were younger and you wouldn't have dreamed of settling


for anything other than a 32-county socialist Republic, if I said to you


you have sold out what would you say? It is important the people who


elected me don't believe that. I stand in a constituency that is one


of the most republican and nationalist constituencies in


Ireland. When I fought in that constituency and my mandate has


increased because people want peace. The vast majority of people are


miles ahead even of some of the most negative politicians out there. In


this changed environment in which you find yourself living, we all


find ourselves living, I wonder if you don't think it is time for a


general amnesty, it is time as all the on the runs have got an amnesty,


shouldn't British soldiers who were caught up in it too be given an


amnesty? I think we have made enormous progress, we have made


enormous progress in the context of hopefully if we can conclude the


discussions over the next number of months, provide a menu of options


for a very important constituency, those are the victims, and I think


Take That is the best way to deal with it because we have different


opinions within victims groups, there are people who do want people


arrested and want convictions. We have other people who want people


arrested but they don't want convictions, and we have other


people part of victims' groups who don't want anybody arrested at all.


What does that mean in terms of an amnesty for British soldiers as


applied to some IRA members? Effectively the British Army and


soldiers involved in th killings of hundreds of nationalists and


republicans in the north have had an amnesty. The number of British


people who were actually charged and went to prison you could count on


the fingers of one hand. I'm asking you what you think should happen? I


have told you, I think the negotiations. You don't have a view?


I do have a view. What is it? That our approach is the better than the


one you suggest. For the simple reason for me to say. You don't


believe in an amnesty for British soldiers, but you do believe in it


for republicans? They haven't had an amnesty. 180 letters went out? To


people who had no case to answer. You don't think in the interests of


fairness that there ought to be seen to be an equity between what happens


to, let's call them soldiers, on both sides, you don't think that? I


have made it very, very clear that I think you cannot compare the issue


of what happened over the on the runs whilst the situation in regard


to the British Army. It is an entirely different world now as you


have already acknowledged What the parties to the talks will agree over


the next few months is we will provide a menu of options for people


who suffered as a result of the conflict. Nobody is arguing,


including Sinn Fein, for an amnesty. Thank you. Now the police do not


bully the public, that is, we are told repeatedly, not how they should


behave in democratic society. It seems they do bully other police


officers, the chairman of the Police Federation, what is to all


appearances a trade union in all but name resigned yesterday. Today an


e-mail emerged that suggested he was subjected to personal attacks by


other police officers. The Met is suffering what is politely called an


image problem since people discovered its arms length


relationship to the truth in the plebgate story.


What is the real story? The chairman on his way out, Steve Williams,


wasn't just having a hard time to persuade colleagues it is time to


change things. In a plea to them confess today his colleagues felt he


was being gratuitously bullied and humiliated. That was the boss. He


also warned in a message to colleagues that he was worried about


what he said it was "we all saw what happened to our friend a colleague


Paul McKeever his predecessor who passed away of an embolism after a


turbulent and stressful period in that post". It was suggested that


the officials meting out the abuse to him in public or private could


have been arrested for public order offences. Today we heard other


things about the federation, secret bank accounts for some parts of the


organisation. The Treasury's nickname is "Fingers" he's running


the federati of the Treasury even though he doesn't have accounting


qualifications. And stories of them jetting off for bathroom fittings. A


parody? It does matter because the Government is not just trying to


change how the police force is and paid, but also how they Bake Off.


The federation represents more than 100,000 officers in England and


Wales, the rank and file. This torrid battle inside the federation


shows how tall an order it will be for the Government to change it. The


top civil servant at the Home Office told manufactures today he thinks


this is a very dangerous moment from the federation. And separate sources


told me they are behaving like a 1970s trade union and there is a


strong possibility that militants might be able to take control. What


I have been told essentially is there is hardcore among the 30


bosses and mini-boss who is sit on the council. They are worried about


losing not only control, but their expense accounts and their


additional salary for being officers in the federation themselves. And


crucially they are the only ones with the power to choose the next


chairman of the federation who will have to take forward the kinds of


reforms that the Home Secretary wants. There is a sense with


everything that has happened through plebgate, through the controversy


around undercover policemen, even through Hillsborough, that all the


problems that British policing has been struggling with for quite some


time are coming to a head. And the Police Federation is a crucial part


of trying to solve those problems. But with a crisis like this inside


their four walls it is looking pretty difficult to sort out. I


should mention we did invite the Police Federation if theyn't whatted


to take part tonight. But -- if they wanted to take part tonight but


nobody did. Regardless of the intense interest the trial of the


athlete Pistorius was adjourned early. He had broken down sobbing


when he gave his version of what happened on the night he shot his


girlfriend dead. It was the most dramatic day of testimony in the


trial so far. And Jim Reid watched it all.


It is 418 days since Reeva Steenkamp was shot and killed at the home of


one of the best known athletes in the world. In his second day of


testimony the man who pulled the trigger has, for the first time,


been setting out his own version of what happened that night. You are


still under oath. The media are not allowed to show images of Oscar


Pistorius giving evidence on the stand. He told the court how he woke


in the early hours of Valentine's Day last year and heard a noise. He


said he grabbed the gun under his bed and shouted at his girlfriend to


take cover. That's the moment that everything changed.


As he gave evidence his sister Amy broke down in tears, Reeva


Steenkamp's mother buried her head in her hands. Pistorius went on to


describe the moment he beat down his toilet door with a cricket bat to


find his girlfriend's body slumped on the floor. I think I hit the door


three times and there was a big plank I grabbed it with my hands and


threw it out into the bathroom. I flung the door open and I threw it


open. I sat over Riva and and -- Reeva and I cried. I don't know how


long. I don't know how long I was there for.


She wasn't breathing. Prosecutors called this story an intricate lie


and claimed Pistorius shot his girlfriend after a heated row. The


defence's strategy has been to try to show it was a couple in love. It


follows from the Watsapp on July, she sent three kiss, read what's


following... Today Pistorius was asked to read out text messages he


swapped with Steenkamp in the weeks before she died. It was a message to


thank me for lunch and says you are so special to me, and I respond


saying thank you for being the most beautiful person to me and I'm crazy


about you, and when I look at you I smile inside. The prosecution say


other text messages paint a picture of a strained, fractured messages


with Reeva Steenkamp left scared at times. Oscar Pistorius is likely to


face much tougher questions when the other side starts its


cross-examination, and one of the most closely watched trials in


history moves slowly towards a verdict. We're joined now from


outside court in Pretoria. This looked extraordinary, even on the


other side of the world, what was it like to sit through? It was quite


extraordinary as you say, some moving and poignant moments inside


that courtroom as we saw Oscar Pistorius breaking down repeatedly


as he spoke about the moments leading up to the shooting through


the toilet door in which he found Reeva Steenkamp. That he had shot


Reeva Steenkamp. What was more moving was the gasps inside the


courtroom when his lawyer asked him to remove his prosthetic legs and


walk towards that bullet riddled door. What the defence was trying to


do here was show Oscar Pistorius as a very vulnerable and pitiful man,


because they are trying to use his disability as his defence. And we


saw moments when Reeva Steenkamp's mother, June Steenkamp looked


stoney-faced at Oscar Pistorius listening intently to every word


that Oscar Pistorius was saying. And the last five minutes of today's


proceedings, that is when we saw Oscar Pistorius inconsolable and


crying loudly as he described those moments when he discovered that he


had shot Reeva Steenkamp. This case to those of us who are familiar or


unfamiliar with your country has revealed a number of astonishing


things. First of all the level of violence against women, and the


level of gun ownership and the behaviour of some people with guns.


Is it being seen there as illuminating bigger issues in South


Africa? Well people will argue, particularly gun owner, because they


will say less than 10% of the population actually own guns in


South Africa. But when you look at intimate partner violence in South


Africa, women, every eight hours a woman is killed by her intimate


partner here in South Africa. And the judge presiding on the Oscar


Pistorius trial a few months ago sentenced the policeman to two life


sentences in jail because he had shot dead his wife. And the judge


had spoken quite strictly and tough about the violence against women and


children here in South Africa. So they are hoping that you know with


activists and NGOs, they are hoping that this trial will actually bring


these issues to the spotlight and that they are sorted out as quickly


as possible. Because of the nature of this high-profile trial. Thank


you very much for joining us, thank you. Now there was a testy


atmosphere in Beijing today as the American Defence Secretary tried to


warn off China from military adventures in eastern Asia and told


them the USA would stand by its all allies in the area. Japan the


country especially alarmed by these movements by China. In a new


constitution the country renounced war forever. But last year, under


its increasingly assertive leader, the Japanese scrambled fighters 267


times to intercept in coming Chinese aircraft. We report from Tokyo. This


is a Japan many thought had disappeared 70 years ago. But as the


balance of power in Asia swings, inexorably towards China, Japan is


responding. Embracing long dormant nationalism, rearming and training


for war. For years Japan has been steadily building one of the most


modern and powerful naval forces anywhere in the world. And now the


Japanese Government wants to go further to make it bigger, more


powerful and to try it from the shackles of a pacifist constitution.


It is 6. 30 in the morning at Japan's naval academy. These young


recruits will be the Navy commanders of tomorrow. Japan's constitution


bans them from going to war. But these cadets are not training for


peacekeeping. TRANSLATION: We train every day for war, we are taught to


think in a war-like way. While Britain's Royal Navy has six modern


destroyers, Japan has 26. Its military commanders are preparing to


fight a war at sea and this is why. This Chinese boat is deep inside


Japanese controlled waters and refusing to stop. Last year Japan


scrambled fighter jets, 267 times to intercept in coming Chinese


aircraft. China is aggressively pursuing its territorial claims on


islands around Japan. This increasingly tense atmosphere is


providing the space for Japan's Prime Minister to move the country


sharply to the right. On the one hand you can point to a definite


expansionist tendencies of the Chinese Government. But you could


say the Japanese Prime Minister, has added fuel to the fire by bringing


back the history issues. He basically takes the view that Japan


did nothing particularly wrong during the Second World War. The


Prime Minister's political career is driven by restoring pride in Japan's


identity. To do so he believes Japan must overturn its sense of shame


about World War II. That is why he went to the shrine, a place that


enshrines the spirit of Japan's top war criminals. He doesn't believe


they were criminals. Modernising the Japanese military on the one hand,


and basically providing a revisionist history view are


basically inseparable. He thinks that by selling out and by accepting


the conventional view of history Japan would be perpetually


emasculated and vulnerable to Chinese attacks. The shrine is the


spiritual home of Japanese nationalism. It celebrates the


strong Japan the Prime Minister yearnings to bring back. It drives


his plan to put the Emperor back at the throne. He's pushing textbooks


that leave out Japan's war time atrocities. And it is why he and his


Government are determined to scrap the peacetime constitution. This man


is very close to the Prime Minister, he's his brother. TRANSLATION: Japan


wants to act like a normal country under international law, we will not


start a war, we are a peaceful country. But all countries have a


right to self-defence. That's why we want to reinterpret the


constitution. Changing the constitution requires a two thirds


majority in parliament, and that's very difficult. That's why the


Government now talks of reinterpreting it. But whether it is


revised or reinterpreted the aim is to deal with China. TRANSLATION:


China is trying to change the status quo by force and coercion, we will


never escalate tension, but in our response to this situation we will


be resolute in our actions. The islands here are Japan's closest


point to China and the hub of American air power in the Pacific.


Japanese schoolchildren gather to snap its most modern fighter jets as


they head out over the sea. For 70 years Japan has embraced US military


protection and US imposed pacifism. These schoolchildren are now at the


centre of a fight over what sort of relationship Japan will have with


its military and what future Japan will embrace. This man teaches


children on the island, like many Japanese he remains deeply


suspicious to any move back to military. TRANSLATION: Ever since


World War II Japan has embraced individualism and human rights from


the west. Now he wants to take us back to an older version of Japan


like before the war and imperial Japan. It is in Japan's schools that


the Prime Minister and the right are seeking to reclaim Japan's history.


Schools like this one have been ordered to use a new


Government-approved history text. That portrays Japan of liberating


Asia from European impeerism. It whitewashes Japan's World War II


atrocities. This school and these children are not using it, the


teachers are resisting. TRANSLATION: They are stirring up nationalism and


stirring up feelings against China saying that is why we need a strong


military. They want to use the textbooks to condition our children


to the idea of a strong military. The rumblings of nationalism can


already be heard. In recent weeks we have seen public figures in Japan


openly displaying opinion that is were once the territory of the far


right. Denying Chinese sex slaves World War II, denying Japan was the


agressor. By having a leader with very clear revisionist views of


history, you are also encouraging more people like him to get on, to


get the spotlight and have a great influence in the Japanese society.


And so it can possibly unleash a series of events or developments


that can eventually lead to a dangerous situation. It is not just


Abe is determined to as you a war with China, but the kind of thing


that he's doing can provoke China into a combat situation. The


language of all the players is becoming more bell lig rent. China


continues to aggressively push its claim to islands around Japan. Mr


Abe has warned the situation in east China sea is like Britain and German


in 1914 and US intelligence chiefs have accused China of preparing for


a short war to grab those islands from Japan. The Japanese Government


has decided it is now time to stand up to China. Japan will no longer


sit by and watch China dominate this region. That means abandoning # 0


years of pass -- 70 years of pacifism, and it means that Japan


are acquiring the military capability to take China on. Many


believe it is time for Japan to become a normal country with a


normal military. But by turning to nationalism the Government risks


inflaming tensions with both allies and rivals. The biggest danger of


all comes from that most incendiary of weapons, history. Well no time


for the newspapers and that's all we have time for at all tonight. More


tomorrow, until then, good night. So far this week heavy rain on


Monday, bright spells and showers on Tuesday, as far as Wednesday is


concerned it is going to be quite cloudy, some rain to the north,


The culture secretary's constituency. Martin McGuinness toasts the Queen. The Police Federation. Oscar Pistorius. Japan and militarism. With Jeremy Paxman.