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Press translations [Japan]. Political Series 0062, 1945-12-18.
Supreme Commander for The Allied Powers. Allied Translator and Interpreter Section.

translation-number: political-0263

call-number: DS801 .S85

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No. 263 Date: 18 Dec 45


ITEM 1 The Navy always avoided a JAPAN - USA War - Chubu Nippon Shimbun - 30 Nov 45. Translator: Paasche.
After 73 years, the Navy Ministry was dissolved on the 30th of November. Secretary EMOTO, an old hand in the Ministry, who has witnessed several Disarmament Conferences and is an internationally known authority on the laws of war and nations, had the following to say by way of a parting speech: The fact that the Navy was always opposed to war with the UNITED STATES and that this problem caused much worry to Admiral YAMAMOTO has heretofore never been disclosed. The Minister said, "I started working for the Navy during World War I. When developments culminated in the VERSAILLES Treaty, JAPAN entered on the world stage as a principle actor. But this country paid little heed to the international situation and adopted an ambiguous attitude during the war. Many people in JAPAN were taken in by German militarism and some went so far as to extol the valor of the German soldiers in public, making disparaging remarks about the Allies.
Our CHINA policy was exceedingly clumsy, as, for example, the notorious "21 Demands"; the general impression was that JAPAN tried to grab while the grabbing was good! CHINA's propaganda was beginning to show results and JAPAN was ridiculed as a weakling dresses up as a militarist. In [illegible]the economic field she worried ENGLAND, while she irritated the UNITED STATES politically. Result; At the PARIS Conference she was denied the rank of a victorious power and had to up with being a puppet in the hands of Chinese diplomats. At the time KATO was Navy Minister, his right-hand man was Admiral SUZUKI. The Navy Ministry and Naval General Staff were virtually unified in the hand of the Navy Minister. A very able man, Captain TANIGUCHI of the Military Affairs Bureau, clearly recognized and stressed the Americans' love of progress coupled with strength, and the risk entering a war with the UNITED STATES. He was rather in favor of cooperation with the UNITED STATES. The Navy's thoughts on defence were the same throughout.
To put it In Admiral KATO's words: "Defence is not solely the soldier's business nor can war be waged by soldeirs alone. The whole nation must be mobilized. After the eclipse of RUSSIA and GERMANY the only country in a position to wage war with JAPAN is the UNITED STATES. Even if we are able to challenge AMERICA, we can not manage on the meager funds we had at the time of the war with RUSSIA; and where should the money come from but from AMERICA, because nowhere else can we raise the necessary loans. Therefore, a war with the UNITED STATES is an impossibility. In other words, our policy must consist in increasing the country's strength and at the same time avoiding war by diplomatic means. All this means that defence is net exclusively the soldier's task."
Today we can appreciate the wisdom of these words. The period between the WASHINGTON and LONDON Naval Conference was a peaceful one for the Navy as well as for JAPAN as a whole; although the Navy had lost its

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POLITICAL SERIES: 62 (Continued)
ITEM 1 (Continued)
great KATO, a peaceful policy was adhered to. The Navy kept mum on the contents of the LONDON Disarmament talks, but disagreements between the Nary Ministry and the Navy General Staff did develop. This rupture was capitalized on by the rightist parties and by restive politicans. Fretful elements in the Navy became active with the result that men of high calibre, whom the Navy could ill afford to lose, had to be dismissed. These events proved disastrous for the Navy.
At the time of the GENEVA Disarmament Conferences the world had become part fascist and the dictatorships in GERMANY and ITALY gained prestiges. The Nazi 5th Column had infiltrated into the Far East and made its way, first of all, into JAPAN's Army and into Foreign Ministry and Ministry of the Interior. A penetration into the Navy by the Nazis was more difficult, but we must not forget that the Navy was then under fire from the public. Since this was the general situation JAPAN took her stand on a demand for equality of armaments and began to drift into an overbearing attitude. The psychology of the Navy was equally out of kilter and from then on people began to talk of the "Invincible Navy".
After the LONDON Conference had broken up JAPAN fell on evil days owing to its isolation, and, needless to say, no capable men remained in the administration of the Navy. The February 26 shooting and the CHINA Incident restored a sane atmosphere in the Navy and the opposition against recklessness in the Army had the same result. The Navy began to stand in the way of the Army. At that time the Navy was best represented by YONAI, YAMAMOTO, INOUYE, KOGA and YOSHIDA. During the CHINA Incident the policy of non-expansion was adhered to and anti-British incidents were settled in a. spirit of sincerity so that the rightists attacked YAMAMOTO for "flattering" the Anglo-Saxon Powers. When the European War began in 1939, an "ill wind" started to blow for JAPAN. All might have gone well if it had been possible to dispose of the CHINA Incident, but all attempts failed. The Navy was absolutly against the intended Anti-Comintern Pact; consquently, the rightists denounced it as an Anglophile upholder of the "Old Order", When the HIRANUMA Cabinet was replaced by the YONAI Cabinet YONAI left the Navy Ministry and YAMAMOTO was transferred to the General Naval Staff which he completely reorganized. When the YONIA Cabinet had to quit, under Army pressure, and the KONOYE Cabinet was set up, OYOKAWA became top man in the Navy and an alliance with HITLER was again imminent.
I advised repeatedly against an alliance with the Nazis but it was all in vain. On the 27th of July, 1940, the pact with GERMANY was finally concluded. The day before, a fleet had entered YOKOSUKA and I told Fleet Admiral KOGA of the conclusion of the treaty. "Confound it!", he exclaimed aloud. The Navy then tried to make the best of it by paying careful attention to the legal application and interpretation of the treaty. But all efforts to avoid war with AMERICA proved futile. The Japanese occupation of INDO-CHINA was opposed by a section of the Navy staff and some men quit, saying they could not shoulder the responsibility for such action, YAMAMOTO kept warning responsible people in the Government, that it was foolish to start a war, adding that he could answer for one year of warfare but no more. As is known, SASAKAWA was told by YAMAMOTO that, "should war with the UNITED STATES break out, the military objective would not be GUAM, the PHILIPEINES, HAWAI or even SAN FRANCISCO, but the WHITE HOUSE in WASHINGTON. In September 1941 he wrote, "The course of events is contrary to my personal convictions, but I have no choice except to go forward resolutely. This is a strange situation - is this Fate?’
In spite of the Navy's peaceful traditions it stumbled into a war with AMERICA without purpose or self-confidence, and thus invited disaster. Its present plight is a tragedy without precedent in history."
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POLITICAL SERIES: 62 (Continued)
ITEM 2 The Enormous Profit of the KODAMA Enterprise - Mainuchi Shinbun - 6 Dec 45. Translator: K. Murakami.
Mr. KODAMA, Yoshio, has been ordered arrested by Allied Headquarters as a war suspect. He was chief of the KODAMA Enterprise which had served to collect materials for the Navy during the war. He disclosed, on 4 December at his office in the SHANGHAI Building, that the turnover of the KODAMA Enterprise was more than 3,500,000,000 yen and, at the same time, he declared that he would contribute all his wartime profits of 5,900,000 yen, which he had on hand, to public welfare works. He also told of the last moments of Vice-Admiral ONISHI, ex-Vice-Chief of the Naval General Staff, by whom he had been warmly treated.
Mr. KODAMA said, "Truly, I'm a war profit-maker. From December 1941 until the termination of the war, the KODAMA Enterprise has supplied materials worth 3,500,000,000 yen to the Navy. The Enterprise possessed factories and warehouses in CHINA, at the end of the war, and had collected materials, collateral commodities, and so forth, totaling 3,200,000,000 yen. It also held 5,800,000 yen in the CHOSEN Bank; 3,200,000,000 yen in CHINA was confiscation by the Chinese Army. From a capital of 100,000,000 yen, which I moved from CHINA through the Financial Ministry, 75,000,000 yen were invested in the mines of KIYOHISA, KANEUCHI, SUIEN, OTOME and AYUKAWA, The balance was used for settlement of affairs in the mines, relief of demobilized servicemen and educational works. Then I have 5,900,000 with me, all of which I intend to contribute to the construction of laborers' residences, establishment of public restaurants and other public works."
ITEM 3 Against the War From First to Last, Says Baron, HIRANUMA - Mainichi Shinbun -_6 Dec 45. Translator: H. KATO.
"I am not positively a war criminal, for I have been against the war from a moral standpoint", said former Prime Minister Baron HIRANUMA, president of the Privy Council and listed as a suspected war criminal, in an exclusive statement to the Associated Press on 5 December. HIRANUMA said he was prepared to express his personal conviction in the matter.
In answer to questions from the Associated Press, HIRANUMA said he was opposed to concluding the Tripartite Pact, regardless of the Army's demands in 1939, because it would cause war. His intention was transmitted to GERMANY and ITALY, and. after that time his Cabinet resigned en masse, he added, HIRANUMA made the following statements:
"As I had been confined to bed, I had no knowledge of important information before the PEARL HAPBOR Attack. I feared it was a great misfortune for JAPAN when the war broke out, as I was well acquainted with the productive, industrial powers of the UNITED STATES. The public repeatedly brands me as one of the Fascist leaders in JAPAN, but I am absolutely against Fascism and Nazism."
ITEM 4 The abdication of the Emperor can not be imagined - Tokyo Shimbun - 6 Dec.45. Translator: S. Sano.
At the Lower House Budget Committee meeting on 5 December, Mr. TANAKA, Isoji, asked the Government's opinion regarding the proposed abdication of the Emperor, and the following interpellations and replies were exchanged between Dr. MATSUMOTO, Minister without Portfolio, and Mr. TANAKA:
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POLITICAL SERIES: 62 (Continued)
ITEM 4 (Continued)
Mr. TANAKA; "The Emperor will abdicate the throne, it is said, after the fulfilment of the terms of the POTSIAM Decalration. What about the Government's view on this?"
Dr. MATSUMOTO: "Prince KONOYE revealed this to be a rumor, but I think it was withdrawn afterward as mistaken correspondence. The Government has never considered this question. According to the present rules of the Imperial House Law an abdication is impossible. Moreover, we never proposed a revision of the article in the Law."
Mr. TANAKA: "The fact that the Emperor has no responsibility in the war is a matter of course, considering the laws or the faith of the people, so that this question demands no discussion. The Government must make clear that the rumored abdication of the Emperor is utterly false."
Mr. TANAKA: "How about the Government's opinion?"
Dr. MATSUMOTO: "This abdication is utterly out of the question. It cannot even be discussed."
ITEM 5 General MINAMI, Jiro and Other Suspects Resign from Diet - Mainichi Shimbun - 6 Dec 45. Translator: S. Kawasaki.
Full Translation:
General MINAMI, Jiro, member of the House of Peers, has been named a war crime suspect by the Headquarters of the Allied Supreme Commander. Now ill in bed, he has submitted his resignation to the Bureau of General Affairs of the House of Peers. The President of the House of Peers, TOKUGAWA, has made a report to the Throne.
Baron IDAIWA, Kusuo, who also has been ordered arrested, is expected to submit his resignation. Following the former example set by Mr. KAYA, Okinobu, all members of the Diet who have been ordered arrested will submit their resignations.
ITEM 6 War-Responsibility of President of Yomiuri-Hochi - Yomiuri Hochi - 6 Dec 45. Translator: T. Kitayama.
Full Translation:
SHORIKI Feigns Indifference. His Speech Testifies to His War Crime
Mr. SHORIKI, Matsutaro, Chief of the Yomiuri Hochi, stated to a newspaper reporter, Mr. Morley Lanburg, on 4 December, that if freedom of the press had been permitted, the war would not have broken out. His remarks follow:
"I have done nothing for which I shall be put to trial by the Allied Nations. The employees of the Yomiuri Hochi, who are demanding my resignation as Chief of the Office, made a false report to MacARTHUR's Headquarters. There must be some misunderstanding. I have done nothing for which I must be held responsible as a war criminal. But since I was aware that a certain misunderstanding existed in this connection, I was prepared to find my name on the list of war criminals. The military authorities began to control the press ten years before they commenced the invasion of CHINA, and they were threatening the press with cutting off the supply of materials necessary for the publication of newspapers. JAPAN has been thrown into the present terrible condition simply because it did not have freedom of the press.”
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POLITICAL SERIES: 62 (Continued)
ITEM 6 (Continued)
Concerning SHORIKI's statement that a false report had been sent in to MacARTHUR's Headquarters, Mr. SUZUKI, Chairman of the Press Union Committee, comments:
"Mr. SHORIKI is laying the blame at another's door. He says that the Headquarters of the Supreme Commander decided to arrest him on the basis of the employees report, but in so saying he is questioning the authority of the Supreme Allied Headquarters. Information gathered by SCAP is not groundless, nor is SCAP easily influenced by outside suggestions. Moreover, the employees have never falsely accused SHORIKI. The entire nation is well aware of how articles published by YOMIURI were provoking war before, as well as during, the war. None can deny the fact that the Yomiuri H[illegible]shi was turned into an organ of Nazism, and was driving the Nation toward war. SCAP will not overlook such facts. He says that he was forced against his will by the military authorities, to co-operate in the war. That is a glaring falsehood. There are many facts which testify to his positive co-operation in the war.
"Didn't he insist in his broadcast to AMERICA that the actions of the Japanese military authorities at the time of the CHINA Incident were fair and just? Everyone knows how much the YUMIURI was influenced by a smile or a grimace of the military clique. It is also an undeniable fact that he had ambitions to become Home Minister in the TOJO Cabinet, and that he was made a member of the House of Peers by Imperial nomination, as a reward for his co-operation.
In addition to these facts, he stubbornly suppressed democracy in newspaper articles, as well as in the system of the Yomiuri Office. This suppression, however, created a movement by the employees to democratize the paper. How can such a man as SHORIKI, who dares to suppress democracy, clear himself of war crimes? It is difficult to decide which is larger, his crime as a suppressor of democracy or as an advocator of war."
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HomePress translations [Japan]. Political Series 0062, 1945-12-18.
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