Herbert W. Armstrong landed in Tokyo late Monday evening, Jan. 5, 1981. He rested that evening to prepare for his Tuesday afternoon meeting Japanese Prime Minister Zenko Suzuki at his official home.
“He is the sixth prime minister I have met in a private visit in Japan,” he recalled in a Telex published in the Worldwide News , Jan. 12, 1981.
“I congratulated him warmly on his new ‘Suzuki Doctrine’ announced that morning for Japan aid to, and cooperation with, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (asean) announced in the Japanese press that morning.
“I congratulated him on a policy of ‘give’ instead of ‘get.’ His office was filled with tv and still cameras and bright lights, and reporters for our interview, which was reported in Wednesday morning Japanese language newspapers, but not in English language papers. We presented him with a gift of Steuben crystal as we had to other prime ministers before him.
“Prime Minister Suzuki left Tokyo for Manila Thursday for conferences with President Ferdinand Marcos. I will have conference with President Marcos week of January 11. On Wednesday the 7th, Mr. Rader and I had tea and an hour’s visit with Prince Mikasa, the emperor’s brother, and his wife, Princess Mikasa. We have known them for 12 years, and we decided we were all getting old, for we talked over old times of 1968, 1970 and later that we have enjoyed together.”
Mr. Armstrong had already contributed to the Japanese delegation at the 1971 ministerial conference in San Clemente, California, and again the following summer, for the summit meeting between Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka and President Richard Nixon in Hawaii.
In late 1973, Mr. Armstrong met privately with Emperor Hirohito, who had thanked him for his contribution to the reversion of the disputed island of Okinawa. As further evidence of their warm friendship, the emperor conferred on Mr. Armstrong the Order of the Sacred Treasure, Second Class and further praised his contribution to enhanced post-war U.S.-Japanese relations.
In addition, Mr. Armstrong had spoken at universities and testimonial events in the years preceding this particular visit in 1981.
“Thursday night was the big banquet in the Imperial Hotel’s largest ballroom. Four hundred eighty-two were present, the very top elite of Tokyo, including 22 ambassadors representing other nations and some 20 of my ‘Japanese sons’ who are congressmen in Japanese Diet. I was chief speaker and gave them a strong message of Kingdom of God” (ibid).
At 2:30 p.m. that November 10 Sabbath afternoon, Mr. Armstrong spoke to approximately 100 subscribers of the Plain Truth magazine. The audience was made up exclusively of English-speaking Japanese university faculty and students. He recalled the delivery of “the sermon was in power, on approaching world crisis (Great Tribulation) and Christ’s coming, Kingdom of God, way of life, spiritual law and peaceful World Tomorrow” (ibid).
It’s worth reminding our readers that Mr. Armstrong was in his 90th year and had miraculously recovered from total heart failure in mid-1977, although left with reduced hearing and sight. Behind him was the trauma of his youngest son Garner Ted’s departure from the Church and the deaths of his wife, Loma, in 1967 and eldest son, Richard, in 1958. Additionally, the humble beginnings of Ambassador College in 1947, World Tomorrow and Plain Truth debuts’ in 1934, and the start of the Philadelphia era work in 1931.
It is astounding how much divine intervention resulted in his healing and resurgence into what would be the culmination of the work of reaching global governments with the announcement of the Creator’s imminent return. It was not by his own physical might that the Philadelphia era work was accomplished, rather by the Spirit and power of God (Zechariah 4:6).
Before flying to China and the Philippines, Mr. Armstrong closed his special dispatch from Tokyo reminding readers he would be back in Japan three weeks later speaking to a larger audience of those who had ears to hear the good news of Christ’s gospel of the Kingdom (Matthew 24:14).
As members of God Church in this final era, it is imperative to remember and recount the spectacular history of God’s miracles that abounded in His Work in the Philadelphia era. Many members and children never saw nor heard Mr. Armstrong speak in person. For those members who did, those fond memories are ingrained into our minds amid the conclusion of the Elijah work today (Haggai 2:23). How blessed we are to raise the ruins (Amos 9:11).