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Press translations [Japan]. Political Series 0098, 1945-12-21.
Supreme Commander for The Allied Powers. Allied Translator and Interpreter Section.

translation-number: political-0434

call-number: DS801 .S85

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No. 434 Date: 21 Dec 45


ITEM 1 The Labor Union Law not Worth a Slice of Potato Provincial Newspaper Chugoku SHIMBUN (HIROSHIMA) 15 Dec 45 Translator: WEILLER J.
The labor Union Law is shortly to be enacted, bat are the workers in general rejoicing? No! As far as we can determine, the bill is not particularly appealing to working classes. Some of them even declare that a slice of sweet potato is preferable to the law. It is no wonder, in view of the fact, that they have experience various labor movementsm the past decade or so all of which were poor ones, demanding only worker's sacrifices.
Workers had to be of constant service to the capitalists, ostensibly for the ske of the country, but on termination of the war they have been turned out into the street where some of them have become loafers while others are in the black market, having lost the will to work.
The law is going to he hurled at the workers in such an atmosphere, so that even if it is accepted among the wage earners it may end in being utilized for the mere protection of their lives, rather than being applied to the reconstruction of JAPAN'S Economy.
A representative of HIROSHIMA Branch of the JAPAN Social Democrat Party, while being pleased with the coming enactment of the law, admits the deplorable cultural level of our average workers, and keenly feels the necessity for their enlightment. He points out, however, that education must net be a mere spiritual one, as hitherto advocated, but one which can at once be pat into practice in daily life. He goes on to say that the law must not be utilized merely for the protection of the individual's life but for the reconstruction of JAPAN'S industry.
ITEM 2 KONOYE'S Diaries ASAHI 18 Dec 45 Translator: PAASCHE
Full Translation:
Desiring to redeem himself in the eyes of the world, Prince KONOYE bequeathed two diaries, one of which he turned over to his son [illegible]Michitara shortly before poisoning himself. The diaries are titled "Ministers of the UNITED STATES-JAPAN Negotiations during the 2nd and 3rd KONOYE Cabinets", and "The Tri-Parties Pact". These diaries represent the views of Prince KONOYE. The chapters dealing with the council in the presence of the Emperor, and Japanese-American negotiations shed light on The Stand then Taken by the Military clique and The Government, and Therefore constitute valuable material. The following are notes made by Prince KONOYE.
A. Antagonism between Government and Army.

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ITEM 2 (Continued)
1. Imperial Council Decisions: On 6 September the Imperial Council adoped decisions on .important matters relating to the Execution of policies of the Empire. According to paragraph three (Diplomatic Negotiations), was against the USA, GREAT BRITAIN, and the NETHERLANDS would he inevitable if the realization of our aspirations by negotiation weemed hopeless by 15 OCTOBER. On that date the Army took the position that nothing will come of negotiations with the USA. Accordingly, they demanded an opening of hostilities about mid-October, stating such was the logical outcome of Imperial Council decisions. The Government, however, maintained that negotiations were not entirely hopeless, and that, quite to the contrary, the content of American letters and other information supported the belief that the Americans showed considerable promise of reaching an understanding. The situation some what complicated by certain misapprehensions and doubts, the interference of third nations, and the European war situation. The gradual reinforcing, since the beginning of October, of the small Japanese force in FRENOH INDO-CHINA, though permitted by treaty, had an adverse effect on negotiations. Owing to the activity of a strong anti-Japanese faction within the Far Eastern Section of the US State Department, the policies of the President and Secretary of State HULL were frequently frustrated. An agreement over a period of time is certainly not beyond expectations, even on the basis of conditions transmitted today. I believe an agreement can be reached today if the Army would reconsider its stand. This would amount to a withdrawal of troops. The Army wants the matter settled not later than the end of October, since a further delay in the opening of hostilities would result in great strategical disadvantage. The latter part of October, therefore, must be closely observed.
2. Difficulties in negotiations with the USA., especially with reference to withdrawal of troops. Negotiations with the USA is still in progress. I do not believe the Americans have laid all their cards on the table so far, so we are still in the dark about American intentions. The problems presenting the greatest difficulty are:
a. Withdrawal of troops in CHINA and elsewhere; JAPAN'S position in the Tri-Partite agreement; Equal commercial rights in the PACIFIC.
All these problems are closely related to that of troop withdrawal which, by that token, becomes the only difficulty in negotiations.
In reference to the problem of occupation, the Army insists that peace terms offered CHINA are very generous since neither territories nor indemities are asked for. But the interior of CHINA is infested with Communist and other revolutionary movements which threaten the security of CHINA and JAPAN alike. The welfare, economic development and security of both nations requires the garrisoning of troops in certain areas for a period of time. Other troops would be withdrawn in the course of settlement of the incident. Obviously, then, garrisoning of troops is a condition sine qua now in the eyes of the Army. Occupation is considered by them of first importance, being the only possible solution to the CHINA incident. Consequently, withdrawal from CHINA without leaving an occupation force is unlikely to meet the approval of the Army. Such a solution would moreover, serve the propagation of defeatism in the army, seriously affecting the maintenance of a high morale.
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POLITICAL SERIES: 98 (Continued)
ITEM 2 (Continued)
American objectives on this issue are not yet clear; hence, final acceptance of our conditions is not impossible. AMERICA maintains that JAPAN should agree to withdrawal in principle, thereby placing in a secondary position the question of an occupation force. At this picture it is by no means clear whether an occupation force will be acceptable to AMERICA, but negotiations seem to indicate it is not impossible.
AMERICA farther desires to informed of JAPAN'S true intentions in occupation. At a 13 October conference between Japanese Minister to the USA, MAKASUGI, and under secretary of State Sumner WELLES, the latter started that every thing depended upon JAPAN'S sincerity; that if JAPAN was sincere in agreeing to withdraw troops, discussions on execution of the withdrawal could be resumed. The Government believes negotiation on withdrawal should be continued for some time. The necessity for stationing troops will, of course, be emphasized as a matter of principle. But should the outcome of negotiations at some time hinge on this issue, it may prove advisable to adopt a realistic attitude and accept the principle of withdrawal in order to get on with occupation.
3. Views concerning the opening of hostilities: The Army took the position that since the enforcement of British, American, and other freezing orders, it became virtually impossible to import raw materials for military use, especially oil. If this situation persisted, JAPAN would inevitably be crippled. Then if AMERICA chose to bring unfair pressure to bear upon JAPAN, JAPAN would be unable to resist, even if her very existance were in jeopardy. Therefore, the time for decision had arrived. Although the situation presented some danger, there was no need for apprehension so long as the nation was united in the firm resolve to overcome all difficulties. We had our weaknesses, but they had theirs, too. If settlement of the CHINA war was to be attained with American, assistance, resulting conditions would be too favorable to the Chinese, thus establishing a Chinese contempt for JAPAN. This condition would make it necessary to chastise CHINA a few years later.
Being Premier, my own opinion is necessarily different. It is only with the greatest difficulty that I can understand the feasibility of plunging into a large-scale war, the outcome of which is uncertain, while matters in CHINA are not yet settled. Moreover, I feel a profound responsibility for the CHINA incident. True, a gradual dipliion of war materials may come about as a result of the freezing action. But in the case of oil, for example, if we attack the NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES, we will have to deal with the problem of destroyed production facilities and safe convoy. There is no way of knowing whether we can expect the required quantities after one or two years. Rathern than make war we should mobilize labor and materials. By stepping up the production of synthetic oil, the realization of 2,500,000 tons in 1943 and 4,000,000 tons in 1944 would not be impossible. As conditions new stand, four years of war in CHINA have exhausted the Nation, and it already displays symptons of a deterioration in morale. I feel JAPAN should slowly and patiently proviate national strength and consummate the CHINA conflict, keeping the fleet intact and alerted.
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ITEM 2 (Continued)
4. Opinions of the Navy: The Navy believes that the time has come for JAPAN to decide whether she wishes to continue negotiations or enter into a state of war. If JAPAN prefers negotiations, she should pursae her course with no other purpose than a settlement in mind, since, if it should become evident after two or three months of negotions what no settlement can be reached, it will be impossible to resort to war. Therefore, the Prime Minister must decide whether JAPAN, to follow a policy of war or diplomacy. That war should be avoid as far as possible, and that relations between the UNITED STATES and should be adjusted dipomatically are opinions widely held in the Navy.
B[illegible]About mid-April, Secretary of State HULL presented the "Draft plan for a Japanese-American agreement" to Ambassador NOMUBA, adding that he believed relations could be improved greatly if the matters contained in the plan could be clarified and adjusted. The issues were: (a) the attitude of both Governments to the CHINA Incident; and (c) the policy of both Governments toward political stability in the PACIFIC. The Japanese Government amended the plan by the middle of May, after deliberations between the Government and the General staff, and often Foriegn Minister MATSUOKA'S return from GERMANY and ITALY. Before the end of June, AMERICA presented another revised plan. At about the same time, war broke out between RUSSIA and GERMANY, and the international situation became further complicated. Moreover, in order to farther our policy in CHINA, we began the peaceful occupation of Southern FRE CH INDO-CHINA in July, in accordance with out treaty with the French. Japanese-American relations entered a state of tension, however, when AMERICA retaliated by freeing Japanese assets. Although JAPAN had sent a reply to AMERICA'S June proposals, Ambassador NOMUBA did not transmit it. Thereafter the second KONOYE Cabinet resigned The third KONOYE Cabinet endeavored to continue negotiations as far as possible, proposing a conference between ROOSEVELT and KONOYE on the restoration of amicabll relations. Events preceding and following the 6 September Imperial Conference make it appear that it was intended to reach a solution of Japanese-American problems and the CHINA conflict through all diplomatic means possible. Resorting to war only when all Diplomatic means became exhausted. Consequently, sometime after the beginning of September, the ROOSEVELT-KONOTE meeting was proposed. On 20 September we proposed to the Americans a thorough revision of their plans as well as our claims. On 2 October, the UNITED STATES replied with a memorandum which gave rise to doubts about AMERICA'S intention to continue negotiating. Hope seemed futile. We could not decide whether to abandon or pursue negotiations, and make concessions where necessary.
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HomePress translations [Japan]. Political Series 0098, 1945-12-21.
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