The Military Domination of Japan and Preparations for War
In dealing with the period of Japanese history with which this Indictment is mainly concerned it is necessary to consider in the first place the domestic history of Japan during the same period. In the years from 1928 onwards Japanese armed forces invaded in succession the territories of many of Japan's neighbours. The Tribunal must deal with the history of these attacks and with the exploitation by Japan of the resources of the territories she occupied, but its most important task is to assess the responsibility of individuals for these attacks, in so far as they were illegal. This responsibility cannot be measured simply by studying Japanese activities abroad. Indeed the answers to the questions "Why did these things happen?" and "Who were responsible for their occurence?" will often only be found if the contemporaneous history of Japanese domestic politics is known.
Moreover, if we embarked in the first place on a study of Japanese activities abroad, we should find it impossible to comprehend these activities fully, while we were engaged in the study; for the timing of these activities, and the manner and extent of their development were often dictated, not alone by the situation abroad, but the situation at home. It is for these reasons that we now consider in the first place the political developments in Japan which largely controlled and explain her actions overseas.
The outstanding feature of the period under review is the gradual rise of the military and their supporters to such a predominance in the government of Japan that no other organ of government, neither the elected representatives of the people, nor the civilian ministers in the Cabinet, nor the civilian advisers of the Emperor in the Privy Council and in his entourage, latterly imposed any effective check on the ambitions of the military. The supremacy of the influence of the military and their supporters in Japanese civilian administration and foreign affairs as well as in purely military concerns was not achieved at once nor without the occurrence of events which threatened its accomplishment, but it as ultimately achieved. The varying fortunes of the protagonists in the political struggle which culminated in the supremacy of the military will be found to provide the explanation of many of the events abroad. Japanese warlike adventures and the preparations therefor ebbed and flowed with the varying fortunes of the political struggle in the Japanese homeland.
The reputed date of the foundation of the Empire of Japan is 660 B.C. Japanese historians ascribe to that date an Imperial Rescript said to have been issued by the first Emperor, Jimmu Tenno. In this document occur two classic phrases upon which there gradually accumulated a mass of mystical thought and interpretation. The first is Hakko Ichiu which meant the bringing together of the corners of the world under one ruler, or the making of the world one family. This was the alleged ideal of the foundation of the Empire; and in its traditional context meant no more than a universal principle of humanity, which was destined ultimately to pervade the whole universe. The second principle of conduct was the principle of Kodo, a contraction for an ancient phrase which meant literally "The oneness of the Imperial Way". The way to the realisation of Hakko Ichiu was through the benign rule of the Emperor; and therefore the "way of the Emperor" -- the "Imperial" or the "Kingly way" -- was a concept of virtue, and a maxim of conduct. Hakko Ichiu was the moral goal; and loyalty to the Emperor was the road which led to it.
The "Principles" of Kodo and Hakko Ichiu
These two ideas were again associated with the Imperial dynasty after the Meiji Restoration. That Emperor proclaimed them in an Imperial rescript issued in 1871. They then represented an constitutional rallying-point, and an appeal to the patriotism of the Japanese people.
In the decade before 1930, those Japanese who urged territorial expansion did so in the name of these two ideas. Again and again throughout the years that followed measures of military aggression were advocated in the names of Hakko Ichiu and Kodo which eventually became symbols for world domination through military force.
The Advocacy of These "Principles" by Okawa
In 1924 a book was published by a Dr. Okawa who was originally one of the accused but who became mentally unstable in the course of the trial. He stated that, since Japan was the first state to be created, it was therefore Japan's divine mission to rule all nations. He advocated the Japanese occupation of Siberia and the South Sea Islands. In 1925 and thereafter, he predicted a war between East and West, in which Japan would be the champion of the East. He said, in 19256, that Japan should endeavour to fulfil that sublime mission by developing a strong moralistic spirit. He had organised a patriotic society, which advocated the liberation of the coloured races and the moral unification of the world. He had often, at the invitation of the Army General Staff, lectured to them along these lines.
In April 1927, when Tanaka took office as Prime Minister, the expansionists gained their first victory.
The Rise of the Army Under the Tanaka Cabinet
The new Cabinet was committed to a policy of peaceful penetration into that portion of China called Manchuria. But, whereas Tanaka proposed to establish Japanese hegemony over Manchuria through negotiation with its separatist leaders, elements within the Kwantung Army were impatient of this policy, The Kwantung Army was the Japanese unit maintained in Manchuria under the Portsmouth Treaty for the protection of Japanese interests including the South Manchurian Railway. In June 1928, certain members of the Kwantung Army murdered Marshal Chang Tso-lin, with whom Tanaka was negotiating. Marshal Chang Tso-lin was the Commander-in-Chief of the Chinese Armies in Manchuria.
Tanaka's efforts to discipline the Army officers responsible for this murder were successfully resisted by the Army General Staff, which had the War Minister's support. The Army had defied the government, and resistance among the Chinese had been greatly stimulated. The government had been gravely weakened by the alienation of the Army's supporters.
In April 1929, Okawa launched a public campaign, designed to take the Manchurian question out of the government's hands. The Army General Staff, encouraged by Okawa's success, soon began to cooperate with him. Competent propagandists were sent to ventilate the question in the various parts of Japan.
In the face of this opposition, and of continued disorders in Manchuria, the Tanaka Cabinet resigned on 1 July 1929.
When Hamaguchi became Prime Minister in succession to Tanaka, Baron Shidehara returned to the Foreign Ministry. In the governments before Tanaka had taken office, Shidehara had been the foremost proponent of the liberal policy of friendly international relationships. His return to power constituted a threat to the Army's programme of expansion through military force. In the face of this challenge, Okawa continued his propaganda campaign, with the assistance of members of the Army General Staff. He maintained that Manchuria must be separated from China and placed under Japanese control. Thus would be ended the domination of the white races over Asia, and in its place would be created a land founded upon the principle of the "kingly way", Japan would assume the leadership of the people of Asia; and would drive out the white races. Thus, as early as the year 1930, Kodo had come to mean Japanese domination of Asia, and a possible war with the West.
During the Period of the Hamaguchi Cabinet
The military authorities had not been slow in following Okawa's lead. Military officers had launched a formidable campaign to spread the doctrine that Manchuria was Japan's lifeline; and that Japan should expand into it, develop it economically and industrially, and defend it against the Soviet Union. In June 1930, Colonel ITAGAKI, then a Staff Officer of the Kwantung Army, favoured the establishment, through
military force, of a new state in Manchuria. He repeated after Okawa that such a development would be in accordance with the "kingly way", and would lead to the liberation of the Asiatic peoples.
Through the year 1930, the Hamaguchi Cabinet followed a policy of retrenchment which sharpened the antagonism of the military faction. Smaller budgets were voted for the Army and Navy. The standing Army was reduced in size. The Treaty for Naval Disarmament was ratified in the face of strong opposition. Among young naval officers and in the patriotic societies there was considerable indignation. In November 1930, the Prime Minister was mortally wounded by an assassin; but the Cabinet carried on under the liberal leadership of Baron Shidehara.
Hashimoto and the March Incident of 1931
Liberalism had therefore become the chief target of the Army's resentment, and in January 1931, a plot was hatched to overthrow it. This was the so-called "March Incident" and was a conspiracy engineered by Okawa and Lieutenant-Colonel HASHIMOTO to create an insurrection which would justify the proclamation of martial law, and would lead to the installation of a military Cabinet. It had the support of the Army General Staff. The Chief of the Military Affairs bureau, Lieutenant-General KOISO, abetted the conspirators. It failed because Ugaki, who had been selected as
the new Prime Minister refused to countenance the scheme.
HASHIMOTO had returned to Japan from turkey in January 1930, imbued with a knowledge of, and enthusiasm for, the methods of European dictatorships. In September 1930, he had formed, among his fellow senior officers of the Army General Staff, a society designed ultimately to achieve a national reorganization, if necessary, by force. The abortive March Incident of 1931 was the result of this work.
HASHIMOTO's work was complementary of Okawa's. In his hands the "way of the Emperor" became also the way of military dictatorship. He confessed to Okawa that the Diet, which had aroused the Army's indignation, should be crushed. Okawa himself had tole Ugaki that the ready-made political parties must be swept away, and the Imperial dignity uplifted under military rule. This would be the work of the "Showa restoration". "Showa" is the name given to the reign of the present Emperor.
Under the Japanese constitution the War and Navy Ministers enjoyed direct access to the Emperor upon a footing of equality with the Premier. The Chiefs of Staff also were directly responsible to the Emperor; so there was historical warrant for the claim that the way of Kodo was the Army's way.
Although the March Incident of 1931 failed, it had set the precedent for later developments. The Army had aroused great public resentment against the advocates of disarmament and liberalism. One such malcontent had assassinated the liberal Premier, Hamaguchi.
In some quarters the naval and military reduction programme was regarded as an unwarranted interference by the Cabinet with the affairs of the armed forces. The militarists had in a measure succeeded in diverting to their own ends the patriotic sentiment of loyalty to the Emperor.
Under Wakatsuki, who on 14 April 1931, succeeded Hamaguchi as Premier, Cabinet and Army pursued antithetical policies. While Shidehara, who remained Foreign Minister, laboured wholeheartedly to negotiate a peaceful settlement of the Manchurian issue, the Army actively fomented trouble, which culminated in the attack at Mukden on 18 September 1931. This was the beginning of what came to be known as the Mukden Incident which eventually led to the establishment of the separate government of Manchukuo. This will be dealt with at a later point.
The Wakatsuki Cabinet and the Mukden Incident
During the five intervening months resistance to the Cabinet's policy of armament reduction and budgetary economics increased. HASHIMOTO and his group of Army officers, known as the "Cherry Society" and designed to bring about the national reorganization, continued to advocate the occupation of Manchuria by force. The Black Dragon Society, pledged to nationalism and an anti-Soviet policy, began to hold mass meetings. Okawa continued his campaign for popular support. the Army, he said, was completely out of control; and it would only be a matter of time before
the Cabinet acquiesced in its wishes. Yosuke Matsuoka, who, like Okawa, was an official of the South Manchurian Railway Company, published a book in support of the familiar theme that Manchuria was, both strategically and economically, the lifeline of Japan.
Okawa, with HASHIMOTO and his Cherry Society, instigated the Mukden Incident. The Army General Staff approved the scheme, which was commended to them by Colonel DOHIHARA. DOHIHARA and Colonel ITAGAKI, both members of the Kwantung Army Staff, each played important parts in the planning and in the exeuction of the attack.
Lieutenant-General MINAMI, Vice-Chief of the Army Staff under the Tanaka Cabinet had become War minister in Wakatsuki's Cabinet. Unlike his predecessor, Ugaki, he took the Army's part against that of the liberal Cabinet in which he held office. On 4 August 1931, he talked to his senior officers of the intimate relationship between Japan, Manchuria and Mongolia; spoke disapprovingly of those who advocated measures of disarmament; and urged them to carry out their training conscientiously, so that they might serve to perfection the cause of the Emperor.
Lieutenant-General KOISO, who, as Chief of the Military Affairs Bureau, had been privy to the planning of the March Incident of 1931, was now Vice-Minister of War. War Minister MINAMI, though he took the Army's part, and favored the Army's scheme for the conquest of Manchuria, was disposed to pay some deference to the views of the Cabinet and the Emperor. The Wakatsuki Cabinet had continued the policy of seeking reductions
in the budgets for the armed forces; and, by 4th September, 1931, War Minister MINAMI and Finance Minister Inoue had reached substantial agreement in this regard. MINAMI was immediately subjected to strong criticism by KOISO for agreeing to this step; and, as a result, the agreement reached between MINAMI and Inoue was rendered nugatory.
By 14 September 1931, the Army's schemes in Mongolia and Manchuria were known in Tokyo. On that day MINAMI was warned by the Emperor that these schemes must be stopped. This message he conveyed to a meeting of Army leaders and others in Tokyo. It was thereupon decided to abandon the plot. MINAMI also despatched a letter to the Commander-in-Chief of the Kwantung Army ordering him to abandon the plot. This letter was not delivered until the Incident at Mukden had occurred. The messenger who was despatched to Mukden to deliver this important letter was General Tatekawa; and, as will appear in our discussion of the Mukden Incident, he seems to have intentionally delayed presenting this letter until after the incident had occurred.
On 19 September 1931, the day after the Mukden Incident occurred, it was reported to the Cabinet by MINAMI, who characterised it as an act of righteous self-defense.
Wakatsuki gave immediate instructions that the situation must not be enlarged; and expressed concern at the Army's failure to carry out thoroughly the policy of the government. Five days later, on
Consolidation of the Army's Power
During the Period of the Wakatsuki Cabinet
24 September 1931 the Cabinet passed a formal resolution denying that Japan had any territorial aims in Manchuria.
The Army was indignant that the Emperor should have been induced to support the Cabinet's Manchurian policy; and almost daily MINAMI reported Army advances made in violation of his own assurances to the Premier. On 22 September 1931 he proposed a plan to send the Korean Army to Manchuria, but was rebuked by the Premier for the action taken. On 30 September 1931, MINAMI demanded the despatch of further troops, but the Premier again refused. One week after the Cabinet's resolution was passed the Chief of the Army Staff warned Wakatsuki that the Kwantung Army might be compelled to advance further into the Yangtze area; and that it would brook no outside interference with its prerogatives.
During October 1931 a new conspiracy was planned by HASHIMOTO and his Cherry Society. He had confessed his p;art in the Mukden Incident, which, he said, was aimed, not only at the establishment in Manchuria of a new country founded on the "the Kingly Way", but also at resolving the political situation in Japan.
The October plt was designed to accomplish this latter aim. It was planned to destroy the political party system with a military coup d'etat, and to establish a Cabinet in sympathy with Army policy.
The plot was exposed, and the scheme was then abandoned upon MINAMI's orders. But, during October and November 1931, military activity continued in Manchuria in direct violation of Cabinet policy.
Rumors were circulated that, if the Cabinet continued to withhold cooperation, the Kwantung Army would declare its independence; and, in the face of this threat, the resistance of the moderate elements among the liberalists was broken.
On 9 December 1931 the War Minister reported to the Privy Council on the Manchurian situation.
Opposition to the Army' activities was now confined to the deleterious influence which they might exert upon Japanese relations with the Western Powers. MINAMI agreed that the conflict between Japanese official assurances and Army actions was unfortunate; but issued a sharp warning that there must be no interference by outsiders in matters of Army discipline.
Three days later, on 12 December 1931, Wakatsuki resigned, after admitting his Cabinet's inability to control the Army. The Manchurian Incident, he said, had continued to expand and spread in spite of the Cabinet's decision to prevent it. After abandoning the prospect of forming a coalition Cabinet which could control the Army, he had decided reluctantly that Shidehara's policy must be abandoned. As the Foreign Minister would not yield, he had been compelled to tender his Cabinet's resignation.
The Army had achieved its goal of a war of conquest in Manchuria, and had shown itself to be more powerful than the Japanese Cabinet.
It was now the turn of the Seiyukai party, which had been in opposition, to attempt to control the Army. When Inukai was given the Imperial Mandate, he was instructed that the Emperor did not desire Japanese politics to be wholly controlled by the Army. His party contained a strong pro-military faction, led by Mori, who became Chief Cabinet Secretary under the new government. But Inukai adopted immediately a policy of curtailing the activities of the Kwantung Army, and of negotiating with Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek a gradual Army withdrawal
The Conquest of Manchuria During the Period of Inukai's Cabinet
General Abe had been nominated for the post of War Minister in the new government; but many young Army officers had opposed this appointment upon the ground that Abe had no knowledge of, or sympathy for, their feelings. At their insistence Inukai had appointed Lieutenant-General ARAKI as War Minister, believing that he would be able to control the Army.
General Honjo, commanding the Kwantung Army, which was already planning to create in Manchuria a new state under Japanese control, despatched Colonel ITAGAKI as his emissary to Tokyo, and received the support of War Minister ARAKI.
Inukai opened secrete negotiations with Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, which, however, came to the knowledge of Mori and the military faction. Mori warned Inukai's son of the Army's indignation; and the negotiations, though promising well, were perforce abandoned by the Premier. An Imperial Conference was held in late December 1931, two weeks after the Cabinet had taken office; and immediately afterwards a new offensive in Manchuria was planned by ARAKI, the War Ministry and the Army General Staff. Inukai was refused an Imperial Rescript sanctioning the withdrawal from Manchuria; and Colonel ITAGAKI threw out hints of the Kwantung Army's plan to install a puppet ruler and to take over the administration of the new state. The new Premier's plan to control the Army had been frustrated in a matter of weeks.
A new offensive in Manchuria began as the Army had planned, while in Tokyo War Councillor MINAMI advised the Emperor that Manchuria was Japan's lifeline, and that a
new state must be founded there. On 18 February 1932, the independence of Manchukuo was declared; on 9 March 1932, the first organic law was promulgated; and three days later the new state requested international recognition. One month afterwards, on 11 April 1932, the Inukai Cabinet, which had now accepted this fait accompli, discussed plans for the Japanese guidance of Manchuria.
During the first quarter of 1932 HASHIMOTO and Okawa were each preparing the way for the national reorganization or renovation which would rid Japan of democratic politics. On 17 January 1932, HASHIMOTO had published a newspaper article advocating the reform of the Japanese parliamentary system. He propounded the theme that democratic government was incompatible with the principles upon which the Empire was founded. It was, he said, necessary to make a scapegoat of the existing political parties, and to destroy them for the sake of construction a cheerful new Japan.
The Attack on Party Government and Assassination of Inukai
Okawa was forming a new society, named after Jimmu Tenno, the legendary founder of the Empire and the legendary enunciator of Kodo and Hakko Ichiu. The objects of the new society were to further the spirit of the Empire, to develop nationalism, and to inspire the Japanese to the leadership of East Asia; to crush the existing political parties and to achieve the realisation of a government constructed on nationalist lines; and so to plan the control of Japanese industrial development as to encourage expansion of the national power abroad.
Though the Inukai Cabinet had yielded on the question of Manchuria, the liberal elements within it still resisted the type of national renovation which Okawa and HASHIMOTO advocated. Inukai favoured a reduction in the Army budget, and was opposed to the recognition of Manchukuo by Japan. Through his son he received repeated warnings from Mori that his opposition to the military faction was endangering his life. The cleavage between the militarists and those who still believed in Cabinet control affected both the Cabinet and the Army itself. The pro-military group was led by War Minister ARAKI and had become known as the Kodo faction--the supporters of the "principle" of "the Imperial Way".
On May 1932 Inukai delivered a speech in which he extolled democracy and condemned fascism. A week later he was assassinated in his official residence. HASHIMOTO was a party to the plot, which was carried out by naval officers.
Prince Konoye, Baron Harada and other discussed the situation which had arisen. KIDO, Chief Secretary to the Lord Privy Seal, Lieutenant-General KOISO, Vice-Minister of War, and Lieutenant-Colonel SUZUKI of the Military Affairs Bureau were present. It was agreed that Inukai's assassination was directly attributable to his championship of party government. SUZUKI considered that similar acts of violence would occur if new Cabinets were organised under political leadership, and he therefore favoured the formation of a coalition government.
Preparations for War During the Period of the Saito Cabinet
The Saito Cabinet, which took office on 26 May 1932, attempted to achieve a compromise in the conflict between Cabinet and Army. The Cabinet would control the military; and would effect general economies, including a reduction in the Army budget. On the other hand, the Cabinet accepted the Army policy in Manchukuo; and determined upon the promotion, under Japanese domination, of the economic and industrial development of that country. Lieutenant-General ARAKI was still War Minister; and Lieutenant-General KOISO, who had become War Vice-Minister in February 1932, retained that position.
It was inevitable that the new Cabinet policy in regard to Manchukuo should cause a deterioration in Japanese relations with the Western Powers. But the Army, unfettered by opposition within the Cabinet, was also preparing for war with the U.S.S.R., and for a further struggle with the central government of China.
As early as December 1931 it had been planned to include in the new state the Chinese province of Jehol; and in August 1932 it was declared that this area formed part of Manchukuo. In the same month KOISO vacated his post in Tokyo to become Chief-of-Staff of the Kwantung Army.
A month earlier, in July 1932, the Japanese Military Attaché in Moscow had reported that the greatest stress must be laid upon preparation for war with the Soviet Union, as such a war was inevitable. He saw in the restraints of the League, in Chinese resistance, and in the attitude of the United States, further obstacles to the accomplishment of Japan's great task in Asia. War with China and with the U.S.S.R. he believed to be a
foregone conclusion, and with the United States a possibility for which Japan must be ready.
Recognition of Manchukuo by Japan had been withheld for six months; but in September 1932 it was decided by the Privy Council that the international repercussions which this step would cause need not be feared. With the Council's approval, an agreement was concluded between Japan and the puppet regime which the Kwantung Army had installed. It was considered to be an appropriate measure in ensuring the extension of Japanese interests on the Continent. Under its provisions the new state guaranteed all Japanese rights and interests, and undertook to provide every possible establishment which the Kwantung Army might require. Japan undertook, at Manchukuoan expense, the defence of, and maintenance of order in, that country. the key positions in both central and local governments were reserved for Japanese; and all appointments were made subject to the approval of the Commander of the Kwantung Army.
In pursuance of this agreement, KOISO, as Chief-of-Staff of the Kwantung Army, drew up a plan for the economic "co-existence and co-prosperity" of Japan and Manchukuo. The two countries would form one economic bloc, and industries would be developed in the most suitable places. The Army would control ideological movements, and would not in the meantime permit political parties to exist. It would not hesitate to wield military power when necessary.
Soon after the Saito Cabinet had taken office, War Minster ARAKI had announced that, in view of the establishment of Manchukuo, the resolutions of the League of Nations and statements previously made by
Japan could no longer be considered binding upon her. The League of Nations in 1931 appointed the Lytton Commission to investigate the circumstances of Japan's intervention in Manchuria. After the report of the Lytton Commission had been received, the League had voiced strong disapprobation of Japanese activities in Manchuria, and in fostering new incidents elsewhere in China. In view of this opposition to her plans, the Saito Cabinet decided, on 17 March 1933, to give notice of Japan's intention to withdraw from the League of Nations; and, ten days later, that action was taken. Simultaneously steps were taken to exclude foreigners from Japan's mandated Pacific islands. Preparations for war in the Pacific could therefore be made in breach of treaty obligations, and freed from foreign surveillance.
Meanwhile military preparations upon the continent were aimed directly at the Soviet Union. In April 1933, Lieutenant-Colonel SUZUKI of the Military Affairs Bureau characterised the U.S.S.R. as the absolute enemy, because, as he said, she aimed to destroy the national structure of Japan.
The publicists heralded the events of this period as the foundation of Japan's "new order". HASHIMOTO took some of the credit, both for the conquest of Manchuria, and for secession from the League. It was, he said, in part the result of the schemes which he had devised upon his return from Europe in January 1930.
The Preparation of Public Opinion for War:
Araki Discloses the Army's Plans
Okawa said that the Japanese-Manchukuoan Agreement had laid the legal foundation for the co-existence and co-prosperity of the two countries. The spirit of patriotism, he said, had been suddenly awakened in the hearts of the Japanese people. Democracy and Communism had been swept away, and in Japan the nationalistic Okawa also welcomed Japan's withdrawal from the League of Nations, which, in his view represented the old order of Anglo-Saxon supremacy. Japan, he said, had at one stroke overcome her dependence upon Britain and America; and had succeeded in exhibiting a new spirit in her diplomacy.
In June 1933 War Minister ARAKI made a speech of the utmost significance. In form it was an emotional appeal to the patriotism of the Japanese people, exhorting them to support the Army in a time of crisis. But in it was clearly revealed a settled intention to achieve the armed conquest of East Asia, which ARAKI identified with the traditional goal of Hakko Ichiu.
In fostering a sentiment of war, he drew liberally upon the political philosophy which Okawa and HASHIMOTO had popularised. Japan, said ARAKI, was eternal, and was destined to expand. The true spirit of the Japanese race lay in finding order amid chaos, and is realising an ideal world, a paradise in East Asia.
Herein lay the distinction between the new order and the old; for, said ARAKI, under the leadership of the League of Nations, the whole world had opposed the fulfillment of Japan's holy mission. This, therefore, was the critical period for Japan. Recent events had shown that it was necessary to prepare for a nation-wide general mobilisation.
Upon this interpretation of the international situation ARAKI based his appeal for popular support. He told his audience that the foundation of Manchukuo
was a revelation from heaven, which had re-awakened the national spirit of the Japanese people. If the zeal which the Mukden Incident had engendered was sustained, the new order would be achieved. A revival of the national spirit would resolve the international difficulties which beset Japan; for the issue of wars depended ultimately upon the spiritual power of the people.
The path for the people to follow, said ARAKI, was the "way of the Emperor", and the Army of Japan was the Emperor's Army. It would therefore fight against anyone who opposed it in its task of spreading the "Imperial Way".
ARAKI also discussed the term "national defence", which was later to become the basic principle of Japanese preparations for war. It was, he said, not limited to the defence of Japan itself, but included also the defence of the "way of the country", which was Kodo. He therefore showed clearly that by "national defence" was meant the conquest of other countries through force of arms. In his writings of the same period ARAKI disclosed the Army's designs upon Mongolia, and reaffirmed once more his country's determination to crush any country which turned against the "Imperial Way".
In the months which followed, ARAKI's policy gained both popular support and Cabinet recognition. By September 1933 an intense antipathy for the arms limitation treaties had been built
Preparations for War During the Period of the Saito Cabinet:
and the Amau Statement
up through the efforts of the military leaders. There was a universal demand for the revision, in Japan's favour, of existing naval ratios; and any Cabinet which resisted this popular clamour would have had to face an outraged public. Notice was given of Japan's intention to abrogate the Washington Treaty for the Limitation of Naval Armaments.
Meanwhile the Saito Cabinet had made ARAKI's principle of national defence the over-riding consideration in its Manchukoan policy. By December 1933 this policy was settled. the economies of the two countries would be integrated, and their military expenses would be shared. Manchukuoan foreign policy would be modelled upon that of Japan. The "national defence power" of the two countries would be increased to overcome the international crisis which before long Japan might encounter. The "open-door" provisions of the Nine-Power Treaty would be observed only in so far as they did not conflict with the requirements of "national defence".
In December 1933 the Kwantung Army was making operational and other preparations for the day upon which Japan would open hostilities against the Soviet Union. In the space of two years the "friendship" policy of Foreign Minister Shidehara had been completely discarded.
In April 1934 a new policy in respect of East Asia was formulated in the "Amau statement." This unofficial declaration, released to the press by a Foreign Office spokesman, caused international alarm, and was quickly disclaimed by the Saito government. It was however, wholly consistent with the Cabinet decisions of 1933,
and repeated, in less inflammatory language, much the same policy which War Minister ARAKI had enunciated ten months earlier.
It was stated that, as Japan had a special position in China, her views might not agree on all points with those of other nations. It was this divergence of opinion which had necessitated Japan's withdrawal from the League of Nations. Although she desired friendly relations with other countries, Japan would act on her own responsibility in keeping peace and order in East Asia. This responsibility was one which she could not evade; nor could she share it with countries other than China herself. Therefore any attempt by China to avail herself of foreign support in resisting Japan would be opposed.
On 14 September 1933, in this atmosphere of increasing international tension, HIROTA had become FOreign Minister of Japan. While Cabinet and Army were planning and preparing for the for the new order, he attempted to allay the misgivings of the Western Powers, and to minimise the aggressive nature of his country's national policy. In February 1934 he assured the United States of his firm belief that no problem existed between that country and Japan which was fundamentally incapable of amicable solution.
The Foreign Policy of Hirota
During the Period of the Saito and Okada Cabinets
On 25 April 1934, one week after the Amau statement had been published, HIROTA sought to discount its significance. He advised Hull, the American Secretary fo State, that the declaration had been made without his approval, and that it had created a false impression.
He gave a categorical assurance that Japan had no intention whatever of seeking special privileges in China in derogation of the provisions of the Nine-Power Treaty. Yet his government had already decided to subordinate the "open door" provisions of that very treaty to the needs of Japanese preparation for war in Manchukuo.
Again in April and May 1934, similar assurances were given by the Japanese Ambassador in Washington. The Ambassador did, however, admit that his government claimed a special interest in preserving peace and order in China; but, in response to Hull's direction questioning, he denied that this phrase signified an overlordship in the Orient, or even an intention to secure preferential trade rights as rapidly as possible.
By July 1934 no assurances could conceal the fact that a petroleum monopoly was being set up in Manchukuo; and Hull protested against the exclusion of American concerns in violation of Japanese treaty obligations. In August 1934, after Okada had succeeded Saito as Premier, Foreign Minister HIROTA advised Hull that Manchukuo was an independent state, and that Japan had no responsibility in the matter. Although Manchukuo was under the control of the Kwantung Army, and although the development of the petroleum monopoly was a direct result of the Saito Cabinet's "national defence" policy, further communications from the United States failed to elicit any acknowledgement of Japanese responsibility.
The disparity between HIROTA's professions and his country's actions was made ever more apparent in December 1934. In that month the Manchurian Affairs
Bureau was created as an organ of the Japanese government to coordinate its policy in regard to Manchukuo.
While HIROTA denied that Japan's intentions were aggressive, the Army accelerated its preparations for war. In 1935 it took the initiative in preparing for military expansion on the continent of Asia; while the Okada Cabinet, which had taken office on 8 July 1934, gave its support to the Army's economic planning in Manchukuo.
Army Expansion and Governmental Economic Preparations
On the Continent in 1935
Simultaneously with the creation of the Manchurian Affairs Bureau in December 1934, General MINAMI was appointed Commander of the Kwantung Army and Ambassador to Manchukuo. Major-General ITAGAKI became his Vice Chief-of-Staff.
With ITAGAKI's support, MINAMI made plans to foster the establishment of autonomous governments in Inner Mongolia and in the five provinces of North China. This would inflict a serious loss upon the national government of China, and would at the same time create buffer states between Manchukuo on the one hand and China and the SOviet Union on the other.
During May 1935 the North China Army under Lieutenant-General UMEZU made a pretext to issue a virtual ultimatum to the Chinese forces in that area; and MINAMI mobilised the Kwantung Army to back up UMEZU's demands. Some units moved into the demilitarised zone
of North China; and in June 1935 the Chinese capitulated, moving their armies and administration from the Tientsin area. As KIDO observed in Tokyo, this step against China was based upon the plans of ITAGAKI and others that the military, not the diplomatis, should take the lead in dealing with China, as they had done in the case of Manchukuo.
During the same period the Kwantung Army manufactured an incident at Changpeh and Major-General DOHIHARA took charge of the intrigue with prospective puppet rulers, the aim being the formation of new autonomous governments. The Foreign Ministry took no hand in these developments, but HIROTA received full advice of their progress from the Peking Embassy. On 2 October 1935, he was told that the Army intended to establish a virtually autonomous state for the sake of including North China int he Japanese-Manchurian economic bloc, and of promoting national defence. He was also told that the Army's Inner Mongolian scheme was making steady progress, and that DOHIHARA was no doubt engaged in promoting it.
According to defence witness Kawabe, the Changpeh Incident was settled on 27 June 1935, by the conclusion of the Ching-DOHIHARA agreement. The Army was now in control of local regimes in half of Inner Mongolia, and in substantial portions of the five provinces of North China.
Meanwhile, on 3 July 1935, the Privy Council, in the presence of Foreign Minister HIROTA, had met to consider closer economic cooperation with Manchukuo. The Investigation Committee of the Privy Council reported
that, while measures of military diplomacy in Manchukuo were well advanced, no system had yet been devised to coordinate measures in the economic field. therefore they recommended the conclusion of a pact to establish a Joint Economic Committee, which would provide the necessary machinery. The Privy Council approved the measure, after HIROTA had given an assurance that Japan would always be able to rely upon a preponderance of votes in the Committee; and the new agreement was signed on 15 July 1935.
During the last three months before the Okada Cabinet, fell, Army policy and foreign policy under HIROTA were completely coordinated. In December 1935 General MINAMI sent troops to aid the local government in Inner Mongolia in taking over from the Chinese the remaining portion of that area. General Tada, who on 1 August 1935, had succeeded UMEZU as Commander of the North China Army, made plans to place the railways in that area under his control, so that he might use them to achieve his military objectives.
The Coordination of Hirota's Foreign Policy with Army Planning
During that month also the Kwantung Army communicated to the War Ministry its propaganda plan, which would be carried out in conformity with its military activity in North China. As soon as the advance into China proper should take place, a campaign would be launched to
convince the whole world of the lawfulness of the Japanese cause. An attempt would also be made, by means of anti-Koumintang and anti-Communist agitation to estrange the inhabitants of North China from the central authorities. This slogan of "anti-Communism" had been chosen by DOHIHARA, ITAGAKI and others, when the autonomous movement was first launched in 1935.
On 21 January 1936 HIROTA despatched to the Japanese Ambassador in China a precis of the plan, which the Army had drawn up for dealing with North China. The Ambassador was instructed that the intention was gradually to build up self-government in the five provinces of North China. The Foreign Ministry was determined to give support and guidance to the new political organisation and thus to expand and strengthen its functions. No measures would be taken which the world might understand as indicating a Japanese intention to set up in North China an independent government similar to that in Manchukuo. The various military organisations would be told to keep closely in touch with the Foreign Office and the Navy in carrying out the plans. A provisional organisation to handle the problems of self-government would be established under the Commander of the North China Army.
With this reconciliation between Foreign ministry and Army the first period of military preparation was complete. The resources of Manchukuo were in course of development.
The standing strength of the Army had risen from 250,000 men at the beginning of 1930 to 400,000 at the beginning of 1935. In the second period military planning would involve the whole nation in a general mobilisation for war.
Keisuke Okada, who was Prime Minister of Japan from 8 July 1934 to 8 March 1936, has testified that, during his tenure of office and that of his predecessor Saito, the power of the Army was increasing. Both Cabinets, said Okada, had incurred the Army's resentment because it recognized in them an influence opposed to the Army's policy of using force in connection with the expansion of Japanese influence in Asia.
The Increasing Power of the Army
During the Period of the Okada Cabinet
The power and the ruthlessness of "activist" circles within the Army had been evinced in July 1935, when the Inspector-General of Military Education had been forced to resign. In protest against this action, Lieutenant-General Nagata, Chief of the Military Affairs Bureau, had been assassinated in his office by an Army officer of field grade. Although Okada, as Prime Minister, had felt very strongly about this incident, he had been powerless to investigate the crime. The Army had conducted its own investigation, and had permitted no interference by Premier or Cabinet.
In consequence of this incident, and because he feared further trouble from the militarists, General Hayashi had tendered his resignation as Minister of War; and had been succeeded in that office by General Kawashima, whom all the generals agreed to try to protect. It was realised by the members of the Cabinet that, in accepting the appointment, Kawashima ran a considerable risk.
Subsequent events proved that these fears were not without warrant; for, on 26 February 1936, Army resentment against the Okada Cabinet culminated in the attempted assassination of Okada himself by a group of young Army officers. Twenty-two officers and some fourteen hundred men, revolting against the government and seizing its principal administrative offices, terroised Tokyo for three and a half days. During this period the government was carried on by the Minister of Home Affairs while the Premier was besieged in his residence. The Finance Minister, Takahashi, and Saito, Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal, were assassinated by the terrorists. Ten days later Okada, being unable to control the military, tendered the resignation of his Cabinet.
The 26 February 1936 Incident,
and the Downfall of the Okada Cabinet
During Okada's period of office many steps had been taken to place the Japanese nation in a state of preparation for war. HIROTA, as Foreign Minister, and Nagano, as Japanese delegate to the London Naval Conference, played a major part in the policy which led Japan, in December 1934, to declare her intention of abrogating the Washington Treaty for Limitation of Naval Armaments, and to secede from the London Naval Conference in December of the following year. In the Mandated Islands during the same period, air bases and storage facilities were under construction at various points, and elaborate precautions were being taken to prevent foreign travellers from entering the area.
Okada's Policy and Downfall
Show the Extreme Nature of the Army's Demands
During the year 1935 also, a strict censorship of news had been instituted under the immediate supervision fo the Home Ministry; and newspapers had become little more than vehicles for the dissemination of government-approved propaganda. The police had exerted a large measure of censorship and control over all media of expression of public opinion. In August 1935 the War Ministry had issued regulations designed to investigate the conditions of military training in schools and universities, contribute to its developments and to ensure that the potential military value of the qualifications of graduating students was assessed.
Despite repeated protests from the United States, an oil monopoly had been established in Manchuria by the Japanese; and machinery for the exploitation of the natural resources of that country had been provided.
Since October 1935 at the latest, the Army had taken an active and independent part in Japanese foreign policy; for in that month the defendant OSHIMA, then Military Attaché in Berlin, had begun negotiations for a Japanese-German Pact, and had expressed to von Ribbentrop the desire of the Japanese Army General Staff for a general treaty between the two countries.
Notwithstanding all of these developments, and although the Kwantung Army had proceeded steadily towards the realisation of its aims in Manchuria and North China, the extremists were not satisfied. The Army regarded the Okada Cabinet as one formed by the Navy in an effort to control the militarists. It did not consider that it was receiving proper support for its policies in North China. By means of assassination and insurrection, the extremists within the Army had cleared from their path, first the more moderate influences within the War Ministry itself, and then the Cabinet, which, though it had provided no substantial resistance to pressure from the militarists, still represented a less violent policy. On 27 February 1936, the very day after the Army insurrection had begun in Tokyo, the Japanese consulate in Amoy, China, let it be known that the purpose of the insurrection
was to replace the divided Cabinet by a military Cabinet. They said that the young military group intended to take the whole of China at one stroke and to prepare for an immediate war against the Soviet Union so that Japan might be the only power in Asia.
This was the Army's design; and these were the circumstances in which HIROTA's government took office on 9 March 1936. As SHIRATORI had suggested to a friend in November, 1935, if neither diplomats nor political parties could suppress the militarists, it was better to support their policy and to endeavour to carry it out.
When the new Cabinet took office on 9 March 1936, all of Okada's ministers were replaced with the sole significant exception of HIROTA himself. He had become Foreign Minister on 14 September 1933 during Saito's premiership, and had held that office for thirty months. As Japanese encroachment upon the continent of Asia continued, he had been required to deal with an increasing volume of protests from other powers whose interests were affected, and particularly from the United States. Although Japanese usurpation of sovereignty upon the continent and the wide-spread violations of the "open-door" provisions of the Nine-Power Treaty had not been rectified, he had contrived to
Hirota and His Cabinet
retain in a measure the confidence of the Western Powers. Now, in the moment of the Army's ascendency, when other Cabinet Ministers relinquished office, HIROTA became Prime Minister of Japan. Nagano, who had led the Japanese delegation which seceded from the London Naval Conference in December 1935, became his Navy Minister. Lieutenant-General UMEZU, who had commanded the North China Army until 1 August 1935, became Vice-Minister of War. Vice-Admiral SHIMADA remained Vice-Chief of the Naval General Staff. Arita replaced HIROTA at the Foreign Ministry; and Baron HIRANUMA, Vice-President of the Privy Council since October 1926, attained the Presidency of that institution.
Under this Cabinet the Army's scheme for anew order in East Asia became the settled policy of the Japanese government.
Two months after the formation of the new Cabinet, a measure was taken which established more securely the power of the Army over successive governments. On 18 May 1936 the new government promulgated an ordinance reviving an old rule that the Navy and War Ministers must be officers on the active list of the rank of Lieutenant-General or above. As events were soon to prove, this placed in the hands of the military authorities a weapon which could make or break governments
The Ordinance Requiring Service Ministers to be Chosen from
General Officers upon the Active List
without recourse to the methods of intimidation which had led Okada to resign.
On 11 August 1936, at a conference of Five Ministers attended by Prime Minister HIROTA, Foreign Minister Arita, War Minister Terauchi, Navy Minister Nagano, and Finance Minister Baba, the fundamentals of Japan's national policy were decided. In this statement were set out in the utmost clarity the principles which were to guide Japan, both in her relationships with other nations and in completing her internal preparations for war. We may consider first the contents of the decision itself, and then the process which led to its adoption.
The Basis of Japan's National Policy
Was Decided on 11 August 1936
The fundamental principle of national policy was to be the strengthening of Japan, both internally and externally, so that the Japanese Empire would "develop into the stabilisation power, minimal and virtual, in East Asia, secure peace in the Orient and contribute to the peace and welfare of mankind throughout the world." The next sentence left no room for doubt as to the nature of the development contemplated. The establishment of the national policy would consist "in securing a steady footing of (the Japanese) empire in
The Principles Decided Upon
the Eastern Continent as well as developing in the South Seas, under the joint efforts of diplomatic skill and national defence".
The second part of the statement was devoted to considering the situations which this policy would entail, and the steps which would be taken to meet them.
In the first place, it was realised that the policy would lead to difficulties with other powers having interests in the Orient. Therefore, Japan would "exclude the Military Rule Policy of the Powers" and would follow her own policy based on the "co-existence and co-prosperity" principles. This policy was to find more concrete definition a year later in the Five-year Programme of Important Industries. It was then said that industries requisite for national defence would be pushed forward to the Continent as much as possible "according to the principle of right work in the right place", and that Japan "should pick out the most important resources, should ingeniously take the initiative in economic exploitation of North China, and should make efforts to secure its natural resources". Such a policy was in open conflict with the provisions of the Nine-Power Treaty of 1922.
The second principle laid down in August 1935, was implicit in the first. "In order to secure the stability of our Empire and to safe-guard its development so as to acquire the position of the real stabilisation power in East Asia, nominally and virtually,
we are to complete our defensive armament". This statement also was to receive concrete definition in the Army's plans of 1937.
The third principle made clear the relation of the first two to practical policies. Japan "should strive to eradicate the Russian menace on the North, in order to realise a steadfast development of Manchuria, and for the solid defense of both Japan and Manchuria." Japan "should also be prepared for Britain and America, attempting at the same time an economic development by the close cooperation of Japan, China and Manchuria". Nevertheless, in achieving her objects, Japan "should always be careful to hold most amicable relations with the Powers".
The same note of caution was sounded in the fourth and final principle. "For the furtherance of our plan to achieve the social and economic development of our Empire toward the South Seas, especially in the outer South Seas Islands Areas, we should take a gradual and peaceful measure, always avoiding to stimulate other nations, and try to fulfil our national strength correlative with the completion of Manchuria".
In the final portion of the 1936 policy statement, the balance of military and diplomatic function was worked out. Defence armament would be completed.
The Measure of the Preparations for War
Demanded by the 1936 Decision
The measure of military strength would be that necessary "to counteract all the military forces that Russia can furnish and employ in the Far East"; and especial attention would be paid to the completion of military strength in Korea and Manchuria so that Japan might "strike a hit at the very outset of the war upon the Russians". Naval armaments would be strengthened to an extent sufficient to secure the command of the Western Pacific against the United States Navy.
Japan's diplomatic policy would be "to try to prosecute the national scheme in smooth and amicable manner", and the military authorities were charged with the duty of assisting the activities of the diplomatic organ, so that it might act fully and advantageously.
Lastly, internal policy would be determined in accordance with the basic plan. Steps would be taken to lead and unify public opinion, and to strengthen the people's will to tide over Japan's extraordinary emergency. Measures would be taken to secure their livelihoods, to develop their physical strength, and to "foster sound and healthy minds and ideas". Japanese diplomacy would be revitalised; and her systems of overseas information and publicity would be completed. Drastic progress would be made in air and sea transportation. Administrative and economic agencies would be created to advance and further trade and industry essential to the national policy. The establishment of a programme for self-sufficiency in important resources and materials would be expedited.
The statement of basic national policy which the Five Ministers adopted on 11 August 1936 expressed Japan's determination, not only to achieve the domination of East Asia, but also to extend her influence southwards. This expansion to the south would, if possible, be achieved peacefully; but the threat of military strength would be used to ensure diplomatic victories. It was recognised that Japan's designs upon the continent would lead to an almost certain collision with the U.S.S.R., and would also lead inevitably to dispute with other nations having interests in the Orient. Among such powers must be numbered all the signatories to the Nine-Power Treaty of 1922, and most notably Great Britain and the United States. It is apparent that Japan's determination to substitute her own principles of "co-existence and co-prosperity" for the "existing military rule policy of the powers" meant merely that the rulers of Japan were bent upon the economic and industrial exploitation of Manchuria and the rest of China in violation of Japan's obligations as a signatory to the Nine-power Treaty.
The Significance of the Aims
Expressed in the 1936 Policy Decision
It was frankly acknowledged that this policy could succeed only if backed by avast plan of mobilization for war. It was agreed that the goal of naval expansion should be a force large enough to secure to
Japan the command of the Western Pacific against the United States Navy; and that the goal of military expansion must be the creation of a fighting machine strong enough to inflict a crushing blow upon the strongest force which the Soviet Union could deploy upon its Eastern borders. It was recognised that these objectives in turn demanded the institution of a comprehensive programme for industrial development and self-sufficiency; and that every phase of the lives of the Japanese people must be so directed and controlled as best to prepare them to play their parts in a period of expected national emergency.
This basic national policy decision, which proved to be the corner-stone in the whole edifice of Japanese preparations for war, originated not with HIROTA's Cabinet as a whole, but in the War and Navy Ministries. On 30 June 1936, War Minister Terauchi and Navy Minister Nagano agreed in conference upon a draft proposal which corresponded in every material respect with the statement finally adopted by the Conference of Five Ministers on 11 August 1936. There were certain differences in emphasis; and in these cases the blunter working of the two service ministers served to show more clearly the intentions of the policy-makers. Where the final draft spoke vaguely of securing a steady footing in Asia and developing in the South Seas, the service ministers had stated categorically that Japan's
The Origins of the National Policy Decision
guiding principle must be to realize the spirit of the "Imperial Way" by following a consistent policy of overseas expansion.
Upon the same day, 30 June 1936, Terauchi and Nagano laid their plan before HIROTA, Arita and Baba, their colleagues in the Five Ministers' Conference. Finance Minister Baba, agreeing that the military rule policy of the Powers should be ousted from the continent of Asia, thought fit to remark that it was essential for Japan herself not to practice a militaristic despotism. Foreign Minister Arita laid stress upon the need, in existing international circumstances, for retaining the goodwill of Great Britain and the United States; but had otherwise no objections to the draft proposal, the sentiment of which he found to be in keeping with his own concept of Japanese foreign policy. Prime Minister HIROTA said that he had no fault to find with the proposal; and the meeting adjourned leaving it to the Army or Navy to draw up a concrete plan.
The Five Ministers met again on 7 August 1936, and approved the plan in its final form. Four days later, on 11 August 1936, these decisions were reiterated and embodied in an official statement signed by each of the five ministers concerned.
It may here be noted that, several months before the Five Ministers' Conference of June and August 1936, another Army design of major importance had been adopted by HIROTA's government. in October 1935, informal discussions for a Japanese-German alliance had been instituted by OSHIMA, the Military Attaché in Berlin, with the approval of the Army General STaff. in the spring of 1936, after HIROTA had become Prime Minister, Ambassador Mushakoji had returned to Berlin; and thenceforward had himself conducted the negotiations. After protracted discussions between von Ribbentrop and Mushakoji, the Anti-Comintern Pact was initiated by them in Berlin on 23 October 1936. On 25 November 1936 the treaty was ratified by the Japanese Privy Council.
The Anti-Comintern Pact
The transactions of the HIROTA Cabinet, both before and after the redefinition of the basic national policy, accorded closely with the principles set out in that decision. Great strides were being made in consolidating Japanese control of Manchuria and North China. While the Kwantung Army exercised control in Manchuria itself, in Japan the civil authorities were working towards the establishment of a nominally independent satellite state whose national policy Japan would dictate and whose natural resources Japan would be free to exploit. The Japanese-Manchukuoan Treaty, signed
Economic and Industrial Preparations for War Under Hirota
on 10 June 1936, marked the virtual attainment of this aim.
Two days later Cordell Hull, the United States Secretary of State, advised a representative of the Japanese Foreign Ministry that the impression had been created that Japan sought absolute economic domination, first of East Asia, and then of such other areas as she thought fit. This, said Hull, would in the end mean political and military domination as well.
On 11 August 1936, at the very conference which settled the fundamentals of Japanese national policy, the "Second Administrative Policy towards North China" was also approved. Its main purpose was to set up an anti-communistic, pro-Japanese and pro-Manchurian area in which Japan would secure materials necessary for her programme of preparations for war, and in which she would also improve transportation facilities in case of war with the Soviet Union.
While the Army on the Continent was securing new sources of materials and new avenues of industrial expansion, steps were being taken to develop a new war-supporting economy in Japan. The assassination of Finance Minister Takahashi during the February 1936 Army insurrection, and the subsequent formation of HIROTA's Cabinet, marked a turning-point in the financial policy of the Japanese government. The nation now embarked upon a series of financial measures emphasizing state control of the national economy for political purposes.
The new policy was designed to accommodate a sweeping programme of industrial expansion. From this time onwards the government issue of National Loan Bonds was steadily increased to make provision for enormous budget outlays; and little consideration was paid to the principles of sound financing. in January 1937 the transactions involving foreign exchange were made subject to government licence. and expenditure of foreign assets was virtually confined to the purchase of commodities essential to the war-supporting industries.
On 29 May 1936, a law was passed for the express purpose of establishing the production of automobiles "in order to adjust the national defence and the nation's industry". Prior to this date the automobile industry was virtually non-existent, nor was it an economically sound proposition. Yet its development under strict governmental control was now fostered with the aid of state subsidies and sweeping tax exemptions.
Japan's merchant shipping fleet was also being rapidly increased under government subsidy. The third "scrap and build" programme was inaugurated during HIROTA's term of office. Together with the programme of the previous year, it produced 100,000 new gross tons of shipping, giving Japan at the end of 1936 the most modern merchant fleet, in proportion to size, of any nation in the world.
On 20 May 1936, the War Ministry produced that portion of its General Mobilization Plan which dealt with intelligence and propaganda activities before the outbreak of war and during its initial phases. The plan provided that, if war became imminent, an Intelligence Bureau would be created to give effect to the government's policy of publicity and propaganda. The scope of the activities of this bureau, and the methods of its functioning, were set out in minute detail. Its task would be to guide and to control every form of communication to the public, and to utilize every medium of public expression to promote the policy approved by the government.
Plans for Control of Public Opinion in Time of War
While HIROTA was Prime Minister, the Navy was not less active than the Army in promoting the national mobilisation for war. The two service ministers had acted in conjunction in preparing their statement of basic national policy, and in supporting it before the Conference of Five Ministers. It was, indeed, the Navy Minister, Admiral Nagano, who sponsored the new statement of policy before the conference; and it appears from his remarks that the concrete plan, as finally approved on 11 August 1936, was drafted in the Navy Ministry.
This was the year of the Navy's emancipation from all obligation to limit her naval armaments; for the Washington Treaty expired on 31 December 1936.
With Japan's earlier expansionist schemes the Japanese Navy had little direct concern. Now for the first time it was assigned a major role, namely that of securing the command of the Western Pacific Ocean against the United States fleet. The policy of naval expansion to which Japan thus committed herself had commanded a growing volume of support since the year 1930. It is therefore appropriate to the topic of preparations or war to review at this point the steps by which Japan had abandoned the system of limitation of naval armaments through international agreement.
The United States, Great Britain, Japan, France and Italy were parties to the Treaty for the Limitation of Naval Armaments signed at Washington on 6 February 1922. Articles IV and VII of that treaty had declared respectively the total tonnage of capital ships and of aircraft carriers which might be maintained by each of the signatory powers, the limitation being based upon the defensive needs of the power concerned. In both cases the upper limit for Japan was 60 per centum of that permitted to the United States or Great Britain. A limitation had also been placed upon the calibre of the guns which might be mounted on these and other classes of vessels -- 16" in the case of capital ships and 8" in the case of aircraft carriers. The treaty was not to expire before 31 December 1936, and was to remain in force until the expiration of two years from the giving of notice by one of the contracting powers of intention to terminate it. All the signatory powers were to meet within one year from the giving of such notice.
Japan's Rights and Obligations
Under the Treaties for Naval Disarmament
The United States, Great Britain and Japan, together with India and the British dominions, were also parties to the Treaty for the Limitation and Reduction of Naval Armament signed at London on 22 April 1930. This treaty had not abrogated the Treaty of Washington, but had provided for a further reduction and limitation within the framework of the older treaty. Provision had
been made for limitation of the permissible displacement of aircraft carriers and submarines, and of the calibre of the weapons carried by them. Detailed tables had also been provided, setting out the total tonnage of surface vessels, other than capital ships and aircraft carriers, which might be maintained by each of the signatory powers--the limit for Japan being approximately 70 per centum of that permitted for the United States or Great Britain. The third important provision had been that each signatory should communicate to the other signatories certain information upon the laying down and upon the completion of each vessel of war. In addition, the agreement had involved the scrapping of certain capital ships, and this provision had been manifestly favourable to Japan. The provisions as to aircraft carriers were to remain in force for the same period as the Treaty of Washington; but in other respects the treaty was definitely to expire on 31 December 1936. A new conference was to be held between the signatory powers during the year 1935.
In evaluating the advantages which the London Treaty offered to Japan, weight must be given to the views of Takarabe, the Navy Minister during 1930. It had, he said, be considered essential for the Navy to have 70 per centum of the strength maintained by the probable potential enemy, and Japan had attempted to maintain this ratio in capital ships at the Washington Conference. Finally this aim had been abandoned, and Japan
had acceded to a ratio of 60 per centum. She had, however, attained her two other major aims, namely 70 per centum in strength of cruisers with 8" guns, and her present strength in submarines. At the London Conference every effort had been made to gain the third major aim, namely 70 per centum in total tonnage; and this aim had succeeded.
While it was indeed true that the ration of Japanese to United States cruisers with 8" guns would, under the provisions of the London Treaty, fall from 70 per centum to 60 per centum, there were compensations in the increased ration of less formidable ships allotted in Japan. Above all, said Takarabe, the treaty was a bid for friendly relations with the United States, and had saved Japan the possible predicament of an armament race with that country. The Prime Minister, Hamaguchi, had echoed this sentiment, admitting that some aspects of the agreement were not entirely satisfactory, but pointing out that Japan would in any case be free to build again after 1936.
Although Prime Minister Hamaguchi, his Navy Minister and his Cabinet had championed the treaty, it had not been ratified without considerable opposition. Thirteen stormy sessions of the INvestigating Committee of the Privy Council had debated the question between 18 August and 26 September 1930. An open rift had developed between Cabinet and Privy Council; and also, it appeared, between Cabinet and the Naval General Staff, of which Nagano was then Vice-Chief. Hamaguchi, when taxed with disregarding the
advice of his service chiefs, had answered pacifically that the views of the military had been considered, but that the matter of concluding treaties should be decided by the Cabinet. As the discussions had progressed it had become more apparent that there was a line of cleavage between those who placed reliance upon friendly international relations, and those who advocated armaments sufficient to confront the uNited States or any other power intervening in Sino-Japanese affairs with a Japanese preponderance of strength at the scene of conflict. The latter view had been well represented by one Councillor who had said that the military system was characteristic of Japan; that the United States would attempt to drive Japanese influence out of China and Mongolia; and that military strength must therefore be supplemented. Japan's importance in the world, two Councillors had said, lay in her military power alone.
On 1 October 1930, the London Treaty had been ratified by the Privy Council, Hamaguchi and Takarabe expressing the views attributed to them above. Great public interest, speculation and unrest had been aroused. HIRANUMA, as Vice-President of the Privy Council, had attended every meeting.
The minority, which had in 1930 opposed the ratification of the London Treaty, in time became a majority; and under the two "navy" Cabinets of Saito and Okada, opposition to the
The Period of Growing Opposition to the Naval Treaties
treaty restrictions had gathered strength.
On 15 September 1933, while Saito was Premier, Ambassador Grew had reported to Washington, a growing dissatisfaction with the restrictions imposed by the London Treaty. Ever since its ratification, he said, and especially during the preceding twelve months, Japanese naval leaders had insisted that Japan must demand parity, or at least a great increase in relative tonnage at the Conference to be held in 1935. They had built up a feeling of resentment and contempt for anything connected with the treaty.. The assassinations of Hamaguchi and Inukai and the intimidation of other statesmen were due in part to their defence of it. The retirement of Takarabe and other senior naval officers had been attributed to the support which they had given to the treaty.
Grew emphasized that public opinion in Japan was now bitterly opposed to any form of limitation of armament, and that the new policy of the United States in building towards the treaty limits had served only to incite the feeling aroused. Japanese naval leaders now faced the dilemma of entering with unequal resources upon a naval armament race, or of braving the public opinion which they themselves had fostered.
At this juncture the Saito Cabinet had held office for eighteen months. ARAKI, War Minister in this and the preceding Cabinet, had dealt cautiously with the question, conceding that the
Washington and London Treaties had saved public money, and had prevented competitive rearmament and the development of new weapons. He had, nevertheless, made it clear that Japan considered the provisions of these treaties outmoded, and that she would demand a change in ratios at the next conference.
The day before Grew's report was written, HIROTA became Foreign Minister of Japan, and a Supreme War Councillor. Just over a year later, on 17 September 1934, HIROTA informed Grew that Japan had definitely decided to give notice before 31 December 1934 of her intention to terminate the Washington Treaty. In the interval the Amau statement had been made and Saito's Cabinet had been replaced by that of Okada.
The London Treaty, 1930, had provided for a meeting of signatories in 1935 to frame a new treaty. In July or August 1933, Vice-Admiral Takahashi, Vice-Chief of the Naval STaff under Prime Minister Saito, had said frankly, "We are going to the Conference in 1935 with a demand for parity. If our demand is rejected, we shall return home."
The Policy of the Common Upper Limit, 1934
In October 1934, when Japanese representatives met British and American delegates at London for preliminary discussions, this was th stand they adopted. They were convinced, they said, that a common upper limit, within which all powers might build, but which no power might
exceed, was the only way in which to secure equality of security. They would favour a limit fixed by agreement at as low a level as possible. In particular, they would favour total abolition or a radical reduction in the strength of aircraft carriers, capital ships and cruisers with 8" guns. These vessels they regarded as being peculiarly offensive in nature. Submarines, on the other hand, they regarded as essentially defensive weapons, owing tho their comparative unseaworthiness and relatively short range. if the provision of the London Treaty prohibiting their use in attacking merchant vessels could be made universal, the offensive character of submarine would, they thought, be ended.
This proposal was designed to enhance Japan's naval power in comparison with that of the United States.. In 1933 the United States had inaugurated a new naval policy, building towards, but still keeping considerably below, the limit prescribed by the Washington and London Treaties. The proposal for a general reduction to a relatively low common upper limit would have required the leading naval powers, having navies larger than the limit fixed, to scrap or sink many ships. Therefore, the practical effect of the Japanese proposal would have been the sacrifice of a portion of the American fleet, and of the whole of the results achieved by its building programme, with no corresponding sacrifice on the part of Japan.
Again, it has already been noted that, under
the provisions of the London Treaty, Japan had successfully claimed an increased ratio in total displacement at some expense to her proportionate strength of cruisers with 8" guns. The provisions of the Washington Treaty still operated to keep her comparative strength in capital ships and aircraft carriers at the lower level. Therefore, the three types of naval vessel, the total abolition of which Japan was disposed to recommend, were those in which she was proportionately weakest.
Finally , it was apparent that since 1930 Japan had revised her views concerning the role of submarines. One Privy Councillor, vehemently opposing the ratification of the treaty, had then said that what the United States feared most was submarines; and that, as long as Japan possessed submarines, she had nothing to fear from the United States. Navy Minister Takarabe had made s special point of his government's success in retaining its submarine strength at the existing level. This had constituted one of the three great principles of Japan's naval policy.
In October 1934, while the London discussions were in progress, the Japanese government had issued an official statement for the guidance of public opinion. It was there stated that Japan's experience with the League had shown
that a just claim was not always recognized at an international conference. As the maintenance of Japan's naval strength was the basis of the peace of East Asia, her future depended upon the fortunes of her navy. Therefore the people must be put upon their guard against foreign propaganda. Even if the Japanese claim should not be accepted, and no agreement should be reached, this would not necessarily mean the beginning of a naval construction race; and even should such a race ensue, the authorities were confident that Japan's position could be maintained by independent measures.
The preliminary discussions had terminated on 19 December 1934 without achieving any measure of agreement. On the same day the Japanese Privy Council had unanimously approved the government's decision to abrogate the Washington Treaty, and on 29 December 1934 had given to the United States notice of Japan's intention so to do. An unsuccessful attempt had previously been made to persuade Great Britain to join in this step, so that Japan might avoid the embarrassment of unilateral action.
On 87 December 9135, a naval conference, called in pursuance of the Washington and london Treaties, and attended by the delegates from the five powers signatory to the Washington Treaty, had opened in London. The United States delegation had proposed an all-round quantitative
Withdrawal from the London Conference 1935
reduction of 20 per centum in each category of naval vessels upon the basis of existing ratios, and had also been prepared to discuss qualitative limitations, particularly limitations in the calibre of weapons. The chief Japanese delegate, Nagano, had in reply reiterated that public opinion in Japan no longer supported the Washington Treaty, and had reaffirmed his country's insistence upon the common upper limit. The American delegation had pointed out that over-all parity would mean overwhelming Japanese superiority in the Pacific, while the existing treaty system provided equality of security for all signatory nations. Therefore the Japanese demand,s if persisted in, could lead only to competitive naval construction. The Japanese delegation had made no substantial attempt to answer these objections, saying merely that, in their country's view, while the United States Navy was superior in strength, it menaced Japan's very existence.
Despite an American suggestion that the provisions of the Washington Treaty should endure until a new agreement could be reached, and despite British attempts to reach an agreement on qualitative limitations, Japan had insisted that the parity issue must first be determined. Accordingly, on 15 January 1936, the principle of the common upper limit had been discussed in plenary session. As no other delegation had offered any support for the proposal, the Japanese delegation had formally withdrawn from the Conference.
Thus in 1934 and 1935, when Okada was Premier and HIROTA his Foreign Minister, they way had been cleared for naval rearmament. in August 1936, the Conference of Five Ministers had decided upon the creation of a navy sufficiently strong to secure the command of the Western Pacific against the united States fleet; and, in so doing, had confirmed American fears that the abandonment of the existing treaty system could lead only to competitive naval rearmament.
In December 1936, the month of the expiry of the Washington Treaty, the Chief of the Naval Affairs Bureau was able to report--in a speech which was not for publication--that the armaments and materials of the Japanese Navy were making rapid progress from day to day. Vice-Admiral Toyoda warned his audience that the new construction programme would involve heavy capital expenditure. Appropriations for this purpose should not, he said, be grudged, although detailed accounts would not be furnished. it would be unprofitable for Japan to let other powers know too early the future building policy of her Navy.
Naval Expansion Under Hirota
The new programme, which HIROTA's Cabinet had instituted, bore fruit in the following year;
for in 1937 the increase in Japanese naval construction figures was the greatest for any year between 1931 and 1945.
But, to secure command of the Western Pacific, the Navy needed bases as well as fighting ships. Japan's mandated South Seas Islands--the Marianas, the Marshalls and the Carolines--which covered the whole area of the central western Pacific became on 29 January 1937, subject to naval administration.
Under the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles, Japan received under Mandate from the League of Nations these three widely-scattered island groups, which she administered through the agency of the South Seas government with headquarters at Palau. Under the provisions of the League Covenant there was imposed upon the mandatory the duty of preventing the establishment of fortifications or military and naval bases; and by virtue of a treaty signed at Washington on 11 February 1922 relating to Pacific possessions, Japan had undertaken this same obligation in relation to the United States.
The History of the Mandated Islands
The Japanese Mandated Islands served by the Nippon Yushen Kaisha Steamship Company, which, from the year 1933 onwards, had followed a policy of excluding foreigners from its service to the islands. On 28 March 1933, when the "navy" Cabinet of Saito was in power, this company had advised its Honolulu office that bookings should be
refused to foreigners, and that persistent applicants would be given passage only after approval had been secured from the proper authorities in Japan.
There are indications that the building of naval installations in the mandated islands area was begun in 1932 and 1933, and that these beginnings were contemporaneous with the new policy of exclusion of foreigners. By 1935 at the latest, and airstrip and a naval air base were under construction upon the island of Saipan in the Marianas. This island, the largest of the Mariana group, is situated approximately 200 miles northward from the American island of Guam.
The Fortification of Mandated Islands Before 1936
During the latter half of 1935, steps were taken to intensify the restrictions placed on foreign travel in the South Seas Islands. The Japanese steamship company on 14 October 1935 again advised its Honolulu branch that every effort was being made not to accept passengers for voyages into this area. In any exceptional case full details concerning the intended passenger should be furnished to the South Seas Islands government, which would reach a decision only after consultation with the Foreign and Navy Ministries. Experience had indicated that in most cases the application would be refused.
Twice more in October and November 1935 these instructions were repeated. It was
stipulated that all problems concerning the South Seas line should be handled only by Japanese, and that correspondence should be written only in Japanese. Refusal of bookings would be attributed to poor standards of accommodations and irregularity in sailing times. Approval in any given case would rest with the Navy Minister and with Foreign Minister HIROTA.
In June 1936, when HIROTA's government was three months old, the American Secretary of State advised Grew that grave suspicions were entertained as to harbour developments or fortifications in the Mandated Islands. It was pointed out that Japanese vessels had been permitted to visit closed ports in Alaska; and the American Ambassador was instructed to seek permission for a United States destroyer to visit the Japanese Mandated Islands. Grew made the request, as on his own initiative, to HIROTA himself. The Prime Minister professed to be well-disposed, but to have no knowledge of the question. It was later indicated to Grew that a decision rested with the Overseas Affairs and Navy Ministries. No permission was forthcoming, although Japan and the United States had, in 1922, agreed to extend to each other the usual comity in visiting the harbours and waters of their respective mandated islands.
Secrecy in the Mandated Islands
Maintained During the Period of the Hirota Cabinet
On 28 July 1936, the Japanese steamship company again advised its Honolulu branch that
passengers should not be accepted for travel on the South Seas line. Further communications dated 8 April 1937 and 13 March 1939 show that the restrictions imposed were not relaxed in subsequent years.
These facts, taken together, show that, both before and after the national policy decision of 11 August 1936, Japan was making preparations for war in the South Seas area, in breach of her obligations as a mandatory. The Foreign and Navy Ministries were throughout concerned to divert attention from these developments; and in these efforts HIROTA had a full share, both as Foreign Minister and as Premier.
On 20 January 1937, while HIROTA's government was still in office, the Privy Council approved a measure permitting naval officers in active service to be appointed as administrative officials of the South Seas government without loss of seniority in the service. HIROTA himself and Navy Minister Nagano were among those who attended the Council meeting over which HIRANUMA presided. In the privacy of the Council meeting the true nature of Japan's interest in the mandated islands was declared. The reasons given for the measure were that the South Seas islands had come to hold an important position in the defence of the Empire; and that, in view of the international situation and of the
Naval Officers as Administrators in the Mandated Islands
many installations in the islands concerned with navigation routes, harbours, roads, aviation and communications, special attention must be paid to the convenience and military circumstances of the Navy.
It has been seen that the period of HIROTA's premiership, which lasted from 9 March 1936 to 1 February 1937, was one of active planning and preparations for war, which originated with the War and Navy Ministries, and which involved the other principal departments of government in the execution of the long-range planning.
Positions of Accused Under Hirota
Among the most important office-holders at this time was Lieutenant-General UMEZU, who became, on 23 March 1936, Vice-Minister of War. This office he retained during the Premierships of HIROTA, Hayashi and Konoye until 30 May 1938. Under HIROTA, he held, in addition, many subsidiary appointments, which might serve as an index of the Army's interests in that time. He was a Councillor of the Manchurian Affairs Bureau, of the Cabinet Investigation Bureau, and of the information Bureau. He was a member of the commission appointed to investigate the affairs of the automobile industry, and a member of the Council for Educational Reform. He was in charge of the War Ministry's affairs in the Imperial DIet.
KIMURA, appointed Major-General on 1 August 1936, was Chief of the Control Section of the Mobilisation Plans Bureau. On 20 May 1936
his Bureau had produced the mobilisation plan for control of public opinion in time of war or emergency. Lieutenant-Colonel MUTO was a staff member of the Military Affairs Bureau until 19 June 1936; and Colonel SUZUKI was attached to that office until 1 August 1936.
ITAGAKI, who was appointed Lieutenant-General on 28 April 1936, had been Vice-Chief-of-Staff of the Kwantung Army since 10 December 1934. From 23 March 1936 to 1 March 1937, he was that Army's Chief-of-Staff, and, in addition, a Member of the Japanese-Manchukuoan Joint Economic Committee. He was therefore intimately connected with the progress, during HIROTA's term of office, of Japanese military and economic preparations in Manchuria and in the provinces of North China. HOSHINO, who, since 1 July 1934, had been a section chief in the Finance Ministry of Manchukuo, became, on 9 June 1936, the Vice-Chief of that Ministry.
Vice-Admiral SHIMADA was Vice-Chief of the Naval Staff from 2 December 1935 to 1 December 1937, during which period the Navy had contributed to the national policy decision of August 1936, had achieved control of the mandated islands, and had instituted a new policy of naval expansion. Captain OKA was, until 1 December 1936, a member of the Naval General Staff, and an observer in the Navy Ministry.
During HIROTA's term of office, KAYA was in charge of the affairs of the Finance Ministry in the Diet, and was also a Councillor of the Manchurian Affairs Bureau. On 2 February 1937,
when Hayashi replaced HIROTA, KAYA became Vice-Minister of Finance.
In August 1936, a few days after the basis of Japan's national policy had been decided, Colonel HASHIMOTO was placed on the Reserve list. He embarked immediately on the task of founding a new society, the aims of which he expounded in speeches and in pamphlets during the latter half of 1936.
Hashimoto and the Greater Japan Young Men's Society
HASHIMOTO based his doctrines upon the two traditional precepts of Kodo and Hakko Ichiu. For, said HASHIMOTO, the first step in unifying the world was to unify the people of Japan itself directly under the Emperor. To achieve the renovation the blood and enthusiasm of young men were required; and it was the purpose of the Greater Japan Young Men's Society to supply this need. Young men would become the framework of the New Japan, and would unite the entire strength, moral and physical, of the Japanese race in the spirit of kodo or loyalty to the Emperor.
It has been seen that in the period under review the history of the Army was one of defiance of the civil power. Statesmen and governments had been removed by intimidation, assassination and insurrection when their policies were in conflict with those of the Army. Now in 1936, with HIROTA as Premier, the Army had established a settled ascendancy over a Cabinet in office. HASHIMOTO had taken this process a further step, building for a day when there would be one party only,
the Army party, and when the rulers of the Army would no longer be encumbered by the forms of democratic government. The immediate goal of totalitarianism was symbolised in the idea of Kodo; the ultimate goal of world domination in the idea of Hakko Ichiu.
And here may be reviewed the steps which had already been taken to prepare the minds of the Japanese people for war and for military rule.
As early as 1886, military training and lectures had been instituted in the elementary, secondary and normal schools of Japan; and after the Japanese-Chinese War of 1896 regular Army officers had conducted the training. After the 1914-18 War, little attention was paid to the matter for some years; but from 1922 onwards the War Ministry detailed officers to supervise the teaching.
The History of Military Training in Schools and Universities
During 925 and thereafter the War and Education Ministries worked in conjunction to ensure that male students received training. On 23 April 1925, it was ordained that military officers of active service status should be stationed in schools. They would, by agreement between the War and Education Ministries, be posted to teacher's training institutions, to all types of public and government schools, ad, upon request, to private schools. They would be under the supervision and orders of
the school authorities; but they themselves remained the servants of the War Ministry, which was given the right to inspect the actual conditions of training in the schools. A year later, in September 1926, the War Ministry organised an inspectorate which was required to furnish reports upon the work being carried out.
In April 1926 the Education Ministry created a new teaching organization designed to cater for youths of seventeen to twenty-one years of age, who had received no formal schooling. The course, which was of four years duration, included subjects of general and vocational value; but one half of the total hours of instruction were specifically set aside for military training. In the month of their foundation, provision was made by the War Ministry for inspection of the military drills carried out at these youth schools.
By the year 1927, military training was compulsory throughout the whole school system; and from 1925 to 1930, the amount of school time devoted to this type of instruction was steadily increased.
In the universities, classes in military subjects were obligatory from the year 1925; through the obligation was not, at first, strictly enforced. Actual military training remained upon a voluntary basis; but, as university students who attended both classes and parades were subsequently exempted from two out of three years of compulsory military service, there was a strong inducement to secure attendance.
Shortly before the Mukden Incident occurred students were taught that Manchuria was Japan's lifeline, upon the control of which depended the establishment of a stable economic order. With the outbreak of war ni Manchuria lingering opposition to the military training programme was lost in the new spirit of ultra-nationalism which the military teaching inspired. From 1931 onwards the military instructors, though nominally subordinate to the school and university authorities, achieved an increasing measure of independence and domination.
After the military operations in Manchuria had subsided, time devoted to military subjects decreased a little; but it received a new impetus in 1936, when HIIROTA's government was in power. The training consisted of drilling, physical culture and war games. The textbooks used in the schools dealt with Japanese military history, and were designed to foster enthusiasm for the fighting services among the students.
Freedom of the press had always been limited in Japan. The enforcement of censorship under existing laws was a task for the Police Bureau, which was controlled by the Home Ministry. The police enforced the censorship laws in connection with every form of public expression; and they were particularly concerned to control expressions of opinion which were in conflict with governmental policy.
The History of Censorship and the Dissemination of Propaganda
All material for speeches and public entertainment was subject to their approval. Any material which was in their opinion objectionable was suppressed: any individual or society which disobeyed their ruling was punished under the provisions of the Preservation of Peace Law of 1925. There was, in addition, a security police organization, created in 1928 to watch over subversive elements of the extreme right and left. From 1931 onwards these "High Police" kept watch on everybody who opposed the policy of the government in pow, and on every public expression of opinion. Enforcement of censorship became accentuated before the outbreak of war in Manchuria, and during the same period government-inspired propaganda was disseminated through the newspapers. Beginning in 1930, authors, speakers, and editorial writers were united in a concerted effort to prepare public opinion for war in Manchuria, and, by the end of that year, steps were being taken to suppress all who opposed this policy.
From 1931 onwards the Army had exercised an unofficial censorship of its own. Any writer or publisher, whose work was deemed by the Army to be unsatisfactory, received personal visits from Army representatives, who advised him that he had incurred the Army's disfavour. Such threats and warnings were also issued by the various patriotic societies, whose activities have been mentioned in connection with the war in Manchuria.
After the Manchurian war, the government and the Army launched an organised campaign to justify Japan's position on the continent, and to stifle criticism at home. Material dealing with military matters could be printed only after it had been approved by the Police Bureau of the Home Ministry. From 1935 onwards the press was completely under the domination of that Ministry.
At the instigation of the Army, and in contemplation of the outbreak of war, the Information Bureau was established by the HIROTA government during 1936. Its task was to coordinate, on behalf of all Ministries, the control of information and the dissemination of propaganda. It provided the government with a ready means for carrying out the 11 August 1936 national policy decision to lead and unify public opinion, and to strengthen the people's determination to die over "Japan's extraordinary emergency."
HASHIMOTO, while engaged in founding his Greater Japan Young Men's Society, was, in all his writings and utterances, preparing Japanese public opinion for war. He advocated, in terms less guarded than those the Five Ministers had used, expansion in the south, and especially in the Netherlands East Indies. He recognized in the British Navy the chief obstacle to his plan; and warned Japan that great resolution would be needed. He extolled the superior
Hashimoto's Policy in 1936
qualities of the Japanese race, whose mission it would be to end the tyrannical rule and the oppression of the white race.
Later in 1q936, HASHIMOTO published the declaration, which embodied the aims of his new society. In this document, he said that Japan should increase her armaments to the amount absolutely necessary for conquering other countries of different principles that tried to hinder her from achieving the "Imperial Way." The essence of rearmament, he added, should be the realisation of an invincible air force.
Meanwhile the programme of economic and military expansion to which the HIROTA government was now committed, had met with a mixed reception; and a struggle had developed between the militarists and their remaining opponents. The Cabinet had incurred, on the one hand, the opposition of the Seiyukai party, which accused it of bureaucratic tendencies, and of undue pandering to the military; and, on the other hand, that of the Army faction, which would now tolerate the expression of no viewpoint other than its own.
The Political Crisis of January 1937
On 20 January 1937, a mass meeting of the Seiyukai party published a declaration criticising the diplomatic and administrative policies of the HIROTA government. They expressed their intention of strengthening parliamentary institutions, and of subjecting
all government measures to careful scrutiny. In particular they attacked the militarists, in whom they recognised the qualities of self-complacency and of a superiority complex. They declared that the military wished to interfere in every sphere of state function; and said, that if this evil were permitted to grow, the people's will would be thwarted, constitutional government would become nominal, and the tyranny of a small group would be introduced.
This challenge the Army authorities took up immediately in a statement no less extravagant in its terms than those which HASHIMOTO had used. The twin themes of Kodo and Hakko Ichiu formed the basis of their reply,
The political parties were accused of making it their sole business to attack the military authorities, without reflecting upon their own conduct. It was said that their policy could not satisfy the Japanese people, since it would confine them to the islands of Japan. It would mean that Japan could not become the stabilizing force in East Asia. It would be the end of the programme of wholesale administrative reform. The statement recommended the abolition of the present state of Parliament, and a return to a form of constitutional government which would clarify the national polity, develop industry, complete national defence, stabilise living conditions, and steadily dispose of important questions.
In short, the Army recognised that everything it had achieved under HIROTA was not at stake.
Two days later, on 22 January 1937, the War Minister, Terauchi, resigned from the HIROTA Cabinet, saying that the views of some Cabinet members differed fundamentally from those of the Army. In the circumstances he believed it to be absolutely impossible to enforce military discipline, the completion of national defence, and the all-out administrative efforts since taking office.
The Downfall of the Hirota Cabinet
and the Failure of Ugaki to Form One
The terms of the War Minister's resignation implied clearly that no other general would accept that portfolio in the HIROTA Cabinet; and no time was spent in looking for one. On 24 January 1937, the Imperial Mandate to form a new cabinet was offered to General Ugaki, who was ultimately forced to decline it. Before doing so he spent at least four days in a determined, but fruitless, attempt to find a War Minister.
By long-established practice the nomination of a new War Minister rested with a triumvirate composed of the outgoing War Minister, the Chief of the Army General Staff, and the Inspector-General of Military Education. On 25 January 1937, Ugaki called upon General Terauchi, the outgoing War Minister, to
nominate his successor. Terauchi told Ugaki that the Army would not dare to prevent the formation of a Cabinet by him; but asked him to reconsider his own position in relation to the maintenance and control of the Army. The next day General Sugiyama, Inspector-General of Military Education, called upon Ugaki, and, after outlining the position in the Army, again tried to dissuade him from attempting the formation of a Cabinet. That afternoon the Triumvirate met, and submitted the names of three generals, each of whom declined appointment as War Minister. The Triumvirate thereupon decided that the other eligible generals would also refuse the position, and Terauchi advised Ugaki accordingly. All this was reported to ex-soldiers' associations by Lieutenant-General UMEZU, Vice-Minister of War, who explained that, as General Ugaki did not command the Army's confidence, it was considered that no one was able, as War Minister in an Ugaki Cabinet, to bear the heavy responsibility of controlling the Army.
Two days later Ugaki had still not given up hope. On 27 January 1937, UMEZU gave a talk commenting upon the deadlock, and expressing the hope that Ugaki would decline the Mandate peacefully. This, of necessity, Ugaki did; and the Imperial Mandate was thereupon given to General Hayashi. The HIROTA Cabinet resigned on 1 February 1937, and Hayashi took office the following day.
The protest of the Seiyukai party on 20 January 1937 against the increasing control of the military men over aspects of the government of Japan was almost the last serious attempt made by a political party in Japan to arrest this pernicious process. It had done no good. it had merely formed the occasion for a demonstration by the military of the fact that without their willing cooperation a cabinet could not continue to exist, nor could a new cabinet be formed. It had demonstrated also that the military now felt strong enough to refuse to cooperate in the government of Japan except with a cabinet which was agreeable to them.
After emerging victoriously from this trial of strength, the Army proceeded steadily with its industrial planning. Hayahsi's term of four months as Prime Minister is remarkable for nothing but the steady fruition of the plans the Army had made in 1936. HIROTA himself went out of office; but Lieutenant-General UMEZU, who had upheld the Army's standpoint during the Ugaki crisis, remained Vice-Minister of War. KAYA, who, under HIROTA, had been in charge of the affairs of the Finance Ministry in the Diet, now became Vice-Minister of Finance. Vice-Admiral SHIMADA remained as Vice-Chief of the Naval Staff.
The Composition of the Hayashi and First Konoye Cabinets
Some remnants of the liberalist faction must have remained in positions of influence; for, on 17 March 1937, HASHIMOTO returned to his attack upon politicians. There were in
the Imperial Diet, he said, liberalists who stood from the maintenance of the status quo, and who were busily denouncing the military for mixing in politics. This he characterised as a subtle trick to spread anti-military thought among the people, and to obstruct the military movement for political renovation. From the point of view of national defence, it was, he said, the duty of the military to mix in politics.
Prime Minister Hayashi had, in June 1937, himself been out of favour with the Army; and had then felt obliged to tender his resignation as War Minister. Four months after the crisis which had brought his Cabinet to power, he relinquished office and was succeeded as Prime Minister by Prince Konoye. Again there was not perceptible pause or change in the progress of the Army's planning. UMEZU and SHIMADA again retained their offices. HIROTA returned to power as Foreign Minister, the position he had held under Saito and Okada until he himself had become Prime Minister. KAYA became Finance Minister, and thus achieved the topmost position of all in the busy field of economic and industrial planning, and of financial controls. Baron HIRANUMA, under both Hayashi and Konoye, continued to preside over the Privy Council.
On 20 February 1937l, three weeks after taking office, the Hayashi Cabinet approved a new basic policy for North China, which reiterated and supplemented the Five Ministers' decision of 11 August 1936. It was now declared that Japan's principal aims in administering North China were to establish it as an anti-Soviet buffer state, and to provide a source of materials, particularly for munition industries.
New Economic Policies for North China Under Hayashi
Again during the Hayashi Cabinet's tenure of office, on 16 April 1937, Japanese policy in North China was restated. The new plan, which merely added emphasis to the old, declared that economic infiltration would be achieved by encouraging the investment of both japanese and Chinese private capital. The availability of such vital mineral resources as iron and coal would thereby be secured. The establishment of communications, sources of electricity, and other industrial aids would speedily be completed. Strict precautions would however, be taken not to arouse unnecessarily the suspicions of foreign powers.
In January 1937 the Kwantung Army drew up a five-year plan for the economic and industrial development of Manchukuo. Ever since the beginning of the war in Manchuria, this Army had steadily been taking control of the public utilities and the financial organs of that country. During the five years from 1931 to 1936, the work of prospecting for raw materials, creating industrial plants, and improving the communications system, had gone ahead hand in hand with purely military measures. During 1935 the Japanese-Manchukuoan Joint Economic Committee had been established; and in November of that year the integration of the currencies of the two countries had been achieved through the establishment of the yen bloc. On 10 June 1936, a new treaty had been signed which gave the Japanese subjects all the rights of native citizens in Manchukuo. Special laws were to be passed for their protection. They were given immunity from the local jurisdiction and certain taxation exemptions.
The Army's Part in the Economic and Industrial Development
of Manchuria Under Hirota and Hayashi
The number of Japanese settlers, many of whom were also potential soldiers, increased rapidly, and was then in excess of 390,000. Natives were dispossessed of their holdings to provide good land for the newcomers at nominal purchase prices. In December 1936 the Industrial Bank of Manchukuo had been
created to provide easy financing for preferred industries in accordance with Japanese Cabinet policy.
Over all of these developments the military authorities in Japan had exercised control through the agency of the Kwantung Army. Under the terms of the treaty of 10 June 1936, all legislation affecting Japanese subjects required the Kwantung Army Commanders' approval; and, in addition, he exercised through his subordinates complete control over the internal administration of the country.
From 23 March 1936 to 1 March 1937, Lieutenant-General ITAGAKI was Chief of Staff of the Kwantung Army; and, as the occupant of that position, he was also a member of the Joint Economic Committee. It was his avowed policy to realise in Manchukuo the political and economic conditions required by Japan, to integrate the military planning and preparations of the two countries, and at the same time to promote the prosperity of Manchukuo itself. He exercised in the name of General Ueda, the Kwantung Army Commander, full powers over the country's internal affairs.
The position of Director of the Board of General Affairs of Manchukuo was also held by a Japanese. His was the key position in the shaping of internal policies. All appointments were made by his direction, subject to the approval of ITAGAKI as Army Chief of Staff. HOSHINO, who had then had six months experience as Manchukuoan Vice-Minister of Finance, became
Chief of the General Affairs Section of the National Affairs Board on 16 December 1936. He was regarded Japan as an economic expert, and it was his task to promote the economic development of Manchukuo. In carrying out this duty he maintained a constant liaison with the Commander of the Kwantung Army.
Army planning in 1936 and 1937 was aimed directly at securing and developing the fruits of the Manchurian Incident. The five-year plan was designed to replace haphazard development with a concrete coordinated programme. HOSHINO took part in its formulation, working with the representatives of the Finance and other Ministries of Manchukuo. ITAGAKI also took part in the work; and the right of final decision rested with General Ueda, the Commander of the Kwantung Army. On 17 February 1937, the Manchukuoan government issued an official report, announcing that, with the inauguration of the new programme, that country was entering upon a period of epoch-making constructive activity.
The Five-Year Plan for Manchukuo
So closely did the Manchukuoan plan resemble those which the Army was preparing for Japan itself, that both may be considered as a single programme of industrial and economic development.
On 29 May 1937, while the Hayashi government was in power, the first major step was taken
The Five-Year Plan for Important Industries, 29 May 1937
towards the achievement of the goals set in the basic policy decision of 11 August 1936. On that date the Army issued a document entitled "The Essentials of a Five-year Programme of Important Industries". This plan was designed systematically to promote the activities of important industries generally by 1941, so that by that year Japan, Manchukuo and North China might constitute a single sphere, self-sufficient in important materials. Thus would Japan's position of leadership in East Asia be secured.
Thirteen industries were selected for parity during this five-year period--munitions, aircraft, automobiles, engineering machinery, iron and steel, liquid fuel, coal, general machinery, aluminium, magnesium, electric power and railway rolling-stock. the basis of their selection was their importance in time of war. Separate plans were to be prepared by the Army for the aircraft and munitions industries within the framework of this general programme. No radical change would be made in the existing capitalistic system of production; but the progress of the scheme would be secured by financial and price controls, direction of labour at the expense of less important industries, and control of foreign purchases. At the end of the five-year period, progress would be reviewed.
The Five-Year Plan for Important Industries stated specifically that the industries selected for expansion would be located both in Japan itself and in Manchukuo, which would be regarded for that purpose as a single sphere. Furthermore, Japan would "ingeniously" (as it was translated) take the initiative in North China, and would make efforts to exploit its natural resources.
The Decision to Exploit the Resources of the Continent
The five-year plan for Manchukuo had already shown the use which was to be made of the resources of that country. Munitions industries for the production of weapons of war, aircraft, automobiles and rolling-stock would be firmly established. Basic major industries, including those of iron, coal, liquid fuel and electric power would be developed. Efforts would be made to increase the quantities of those agricultural products needed as military stores. Railways and harbours would be provided with the facilities necessary for the industrial developments contemplated.
The object of the whole plan would be to open up those Manchurian resources which might be required in time of war; to establish a firm foundation for that country's industrial development; and so to order that development as to create self-sufficiency in Manchukuo, while supplying to Japan those materials which she lacked.
When, on 4 June 1937, Konoye replaced Hayashi as Prime Minister, there was no break ion the continuity of Army planning.
The Detailed Plans for the War-Supported Industries
and for the Production of War Materials
On 10 June 1937, the Army produced a tentative draft of its programme for putting into operation the Five-Year Plan for Important Industries. This programme followed faithfully the aim of securing self-sufficiency in important material resources by 1941. Each of the thirteen nominated industries was separately considered; but certain basic principles were common to the plan for each. Rigorous measures would be adopted to place each industry under the control and constant supervision of the government. Special juridical persons would be created, and systems of licensing would be adopted, as aids to the enforcement of government control. Production would be ensured through tax exemptions, through subsidies, and through governmental guarantees of operating losses.
Three weeks later, on 23 June 1937, the War Office produced a third plan entitled "Outline of the Five-Year Plan for Production of War Materials." Whereas the first two plans had dealt generally with the development of the war-supporting industries, the third was concerned with the Army's own role in this programme of large-scale expansion. It was designed
to coordinate military expansion and control with the achievement of self-sufficiency in the industries necessary to war potential. Certain industries, such as the munitions industry, fell primarily within the orbit of this plan. Others, more remotely connected with the Army' immediate needs, such as the supply of electric power, belonged more appropriately to the sphere of the major industries plan. Yet others, such as the automobile, aircraft and machine tool industries, were equally within the orbit of each plan. But all phases of the planning were indisseverably connected.
In these three plans, produced by the Army in May and June 1937, were embodied the principles which the Five Ministers had laid down in the basic national policy decision of 11 August 1936. The fundamental aim was, in each case, the establishment of a steady footing on the Asiatic continent, and the domination of east Asia through military power.
The Connection Between the 1936 Decisions and the 1937 Plans
The Plan for Important Industries, issued on 29 May 1937, and designed to achieve economic self-sufficiency, had as its object a "long-stride development, ensuring the actual power of leadership in East Asia". The more detailed programme, which the Army issued on 19 June 1937, had the same end in view. Self-sufficiency was to be achieved by 1941 "in order to be prepared for the epochal development" of Japan's destiny,
which would "be attained in spite of all difficulties". In the third plan, which dealt with war materials, these aims were reiterated and amplified. Not only would there be a "speedy epoch-making expansion of war industries" by 1941, but also the operation of Japan's economy "would be made to develop rationally by unifying the handling of affairs by military administration". Special attention would be paid to a speedy conversion from a peacetime to a wartime basis.
During the period in which these War Ministry plans were prepared and published, Lieutenant-general UMEZU was Vice-President of War. He had taken office on 23 March 1936, two weeks after HIROTA had become Premier, and three months before the important Five Ministers' conferences of that year. He had played an important part in the Army's refusal to countenance Ugaki as HIROTA's successor. He remained as War Vice-Minister under both Hayashi and Konoye until 30 May 1938.
The Army's 1937 planning was not directed wholly or principally towards the conquest of China. The defence witness Okada maintained that the plans were drawn up in emulation of the Soviet Five-Year plans, and were intended to ensure that Japan's strength compared favourably with that of the Soviet Union. He said that Japan's position was such that she had to take measures
The Plans Signified the Army's Intention
to Attack the Soviet Union
to cope with the phenomenal expansion of that country's national and military power.
Nevertheless, the planning was not, as Okada maintained, defensive in nature. Both in the plans relating to major industries and in that dealing with the production of war materials, the goal set was the achievement of "national defence power"; and this was to be accompanied by the perfection of Japanese armaments. Ever since June 1933, when War Minister ARAKI had defined the term, "national defence" had signified expansion on the Asiatic continent through force of arms; and in the 1937 plans themselves, was expressed unequivocally the Army's intention to achieve that result.
There is, however, no doubt that the Army regarded the Soviet Union as the inevitable enemy of her Asiatic policy. The Military Attaché in Moscow had said so in July 1932; Lieutenant-Colonel SUZUKI of the Army General Staff had repeated it in April 1933. The Kwantung Army had carried out consistently preparations for such a war, and had tested its strength against the Russians in border engagements. "Anti-Communism" had been the slogan of Japanese encroachment upon North China and Inner Mongolia. In the basic policy decision of 11 August 1936, the Five Ministers had determined that the measure of military expansion would be that necessary to deal with all the forces which the Soviet Union could mobilise upon her eastern borders. The Anti-Comintern Pact of October 1936 had paved the way for such a conflict.
On 9 June 1937, before the last of the three Army plans had been produced, there was new proof that the Army 9intended to initiate a war against the Soviet Union. Lieutenant-General TOJO, who had, on 1 March 1937, succeeded ITAGAKI as Chief-of-Staff of the Kwantung Army, considered that this aim should be deferred, and advised the Army General Staff accordingly. Taking into consideration the prevailing situation in China and the state of military preparations against the Soviet Union, he was convinced that Japan should first, if her military power permitted it, attack the Chinese national government's forces, which the Japanese regarded as a menace to the Kwantung Army's rear. A month later, when the Lukuochiao Incident had occurred, it became apparent that the Army did consider her military power sufficient to permit the taking of such a step.
But the Army's 1937 planning was not exclusively directed against the Soviet Union; for it had long been recognised that, in achieving the conquest of East Asia, Japan would earn the enmity of the Western Powers. Nor were her interests confined to the continent of Asia. In 1924 and 1925 Okawa had advocated the occupation of the islands of the East Indies, and had predicted a war between East and West, in which Japan would emerge as the champion of the East. In July 1929 he had looked forward to the liberation of the Asiatic peoples, through the
The Army's Plans Were Directed also Against the Western Powers
expulsion of the white races. Japan's withdrawal form the League of Nations in March 1933 had been heralded by Okawa as emancipation from Anglo-Saxon supremacy; and, in June 1933, ARAKI had told the Japanese people that the whole world, under League leadership, was opposed to the fulfillment of their country's destiny. He had spoken of the critical period ahead, and ever afterwards this had been a theme of the publicists and planners.
By September 1933 Japanese public opinion was bitterly opposed to any form of limitation of armaments through international agreement. In December of the same year the Saito Cabinet had decided that Japan's obligations under the Nine-Power Treaty would not be permitted to stand in the way of her aims upon the Continent. In 1934 and 1935, Foreign Minister HIROTA had set the precedent for mollifying Western resentment with reassuring statements, while proceeding steadily to encroach upon established Western interests in Manchukuo.
This was the policy adopted by the Five Ministers on 11 August 1936. the military rule of the Western Powers would be excluded from the continent; Japan would develop in the South Seas by gradual and peaceful measures, but would at the same time strive to maintain amicable relations with the powers.
Nevertheless, it had not been assumed that the policy of soft replies could do more than delay an open breach with the Western Powers. the Five Ministers had decided that naval armament
must be strengthened sufficiently to secure command of the Western Pacific Ocean against the United States. During the same period HASHIMOTO had openly advocated expansion to the south, and especially into the Netherlands East indies. He had seen in the British Navy the chief obstacle to this scheme; and had called for further rearmament, the essence of which would be the creation of an invincible air force.
This aim received Army recognition in the War Materials plan of 23 June 1937, which provided for huge increases in the numbers of military and naval aircraft, and designated 1942 as the first year in which required wartime capacity would be achieved. A week later, on 1 July 1937, HASHIMOTO published another article, in which he warned the Japanese people that the powers were making desperate efforts to enlarge their air forces. He once more extolled the need for an invincible air force, which might not only be used against the U.S.S.R., but which would also serve as the mainstay of Japanese armaments.
The Army plans of May and June 1937 were similar to the national policy decision of 1936; and the keynote of the planning was that the goal of overseas expansion would be attained in spite of all difficulties. While it was not intended prematurely to provoke the Western Powers to war, it was clearly recognised that they constituted such a difficulty. The Army, in its five-year plans, was making timely provision
for the day when such difficulties could be resolved only by resort to war.
Meanwhile the Navy, unencumbered either by treaty restrictions or by participation in the Army's continental schemes, was assiduously preparing for war in the Pacific.
The year 1937 saw a large and abrupt increase in every aspect of Japanese naval strength and naval construction figures. Three heavy cruisers and one new aircraft carrier were commissioned -- the first new cruisers since 1932 and the first new carrier since 1933. The strength of naval manning rose during the year by more than 25 per centum. Construction was begun upon a new capital ship of unprecedented dimensions and firepower. The total displacement of heavy cruisers, after being for some years relatively static, rose by 25,500 tons. Apart from destroyer strength, which had also been greatly augmented, the most marked increases were in those very classes of vessels which the Japanese delegates to the London Naval Conference had labelled as peculiarly offensive weapons.
Naval Preparations and Preparations in the Mandated Island
Throughout this period Vice-Admiral SHIMADA was Vice-Chief of the Naval Staff. He had taken office under the Okada Cabinet on 2 December 1935, a few days before the London Naval Conference had opened. He held office continuously under three Navy Ministers during the premierships of
HIROTA, Hayashi and Konoye until 30 November 1937. During this period Japan had withdrawn from the international agreements for naval disarmament; had planned to create a Navy which would rival the United States Pacific fleet; and had embarked upon a rapid, but extensive, programme of naval construction.
During this period also the Navy had been given charge of Japan's mandated South Seas islands; and had, under cover of secrecy and in breach of treaty obligations, set about their fortification and equipment as naval bases. Construction of a naval air base on Saipan in the marianas had been in progress at least since 1935. During 1937 ten-inch guns were imported and stored; and work was commenced, under naval direction, upon the installation of underground fuel tanks. in 1937 or earlier the work was extended to the Carolines, for in this year an airstrip was being made on Peleliu in the Palau group; and, a thousand miles to the eastward, military installations were in the course of construction upon the islands of the Truk atoll.
Even after Japan's withdrawal from the London Naval Conference on 15 January 1934, the Western Powers had not abandoned hops of mitigating the evils of a naval rearmament race.
The Refusal to Agree to an International Limitation
of Naval Gun Calibre
The United States, Great Britain, France
and Italy had, on 24 March 1936, concluded a new treaty which renewed, or preserved in modified form, certain of the provisions of the two expiring treaties. The limitation of the calibre of guns mounted on capital ships was, under the provisions of the new treaty, to be reduced from 16Ó to 14", provided that a general agreement to this effect was reached with non-signatory powers before 1 April 1937. Although it was within Japan's power to make this provision effective, a British request that she do so drew a specific refusal from Hayashi's Foreign Minister.
ON 4 June 1937, the day of the formation of Konoye's first Cabinet, the United States, expressing her earnest desire that the limitation should be carried into effect, made a direct appeal to Japan to give the requisite undertaking. It was explained that Japan's answer would determine whether 14" or 16" guns would be mounted upon United States capital ships then under construction. Two weeks later, on 18 June 1937, Foreign Minister HIROTA conveyed Japan's refusal to Ambassador Grew, and reiterated his country's adherence to the views which the Japanese delegation had expressed in London.
Thus, during the very months in which the Army was producing its large-scale plans for military preparation, new proof was given of Japan's intention to proceed steadily with those warlike preparations, which were directed primarily against the Western Powers.
The evidence thus far considered establishes clearly the purposes towards which Japanese preparations for war and Japanese Army planning were directed in 1937. Striking corroboration is afforded by a very full newspaper report of a public address mad eon 11 March 1942 by Major-General SATO, then Chief of a Section of the military Affairs Bureau, as an Army Day Commemoration lecture. Although characterised by the defence as mere war-time propaganda the accuracy of the report was not contested.
Sato on the Purpose of the Army's 1937 Plans
"In 1936", said SATO, "our army formulated a national defence plan, for the army felt keenly the necessity of expanding armaments and productive power in order to secure and develop the results of the Manchurian Incident. As the expansion of armaments and rearmament by the European powers were to be completed by 1941 or 1942, we anticipated an international crisis at about that time. Therefore, considering it necessary to complete by every means possible the expansion of our armaments and productive power by 1942, we decided to effect a great expansion by means of a six-year armament plan for the period 1937 to 1942, and a five-year production expansion plan for the period 1937 to 1941."
There will be occasion again to refer to this speech; for in it SATO reviewed the constancy with which the Army's ultimate purpose
was kept in view, and the measure in which its efforts were attended by success. But first must be considered the new machinery which was provided to coordinate and direct Japanese governmental policy and planning during the expected period of economic and industrial expansion.
The Army, in its 1937 five-year plans, subordinated all other considerations to that of attaining "national defence power." A rapid expansion of the war-supporting industries would be achieved; and that expansion would be so planned and guided that the utmost attention would be paid to ease of conversion from a peacetime to a wartime basis. These aims in turn demanded a unification of industrial control under military supervision; but it was recognized that,k without the cooperation of the industrialists, such a system would be fruitless.
The Effect of the 1937 Plans Upon
the Industrialisation Programme of Japan
Accordingly, the Army, in its War Materials Plan of 23 June 1937, aimed to combine the establishment of a new industrial hierarchy, responsive to governmental and Army control, with the maintenance of good conditions for both the industrialist and his employees. Hours of work would not be lengthened. New machinery and technique would replace outmoded methods of production. Due regard would be paid to the danger of permitting the industrialist to sustain capital or operating losses.
These precautions being taken, an increased measure of control would facilitate the achievement of the military goals of expansion and convertibility.
The specific measures by which it was planned to increase control over industry were all devoted to creating larger industrial units. Guidance would be given to industrial mergers and to the incorporation of enterprises; and a special institution to exercise general control over them would gradually be established. Organic production blocs would be formed linking together groups of inter-dependent producers. Unions of small manufacturers would be organized from a military point of view, so that their full productive capacities might be harnessed for wartime purposes.
The 1937 plans did not constitute an altogether new departure in industrial policy, for the first steps had long before been taken. In 1929 an rationalisation committee of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry had been formed; and in the following year there was created a bureau, which took normal steps to simplify production processes and to eliminate waste. The Major industries Control Law, passed in 1931, had been the first step towards a planed and controlled economy. Its effect was to increase the power of the great manufacturing interests, compelling smaller operators to group themselves together for self-protection. This tendency of small operators to form guilds or unions had received legislative encouragement
in 1931, and again in 1932.
In 1936 more sweeping measures had been taken. An amendment to the Major Industries Control Law had enforced the formation of cartels in heavily capitalised industries. By legalising agreements, made between producer and manufacturer, the formation of monopolies was encouraged. At the same time a similar development had been instituted among small manufacturers by granting increased banking facilities to guilds.
The 1937 plans were, nevertheless, a landmark. For the first time the planning was on a comprehensive, long-term scale; and for the first time its objects were directly related and subordinated to the requirements of the Army.
On 14 May 1937, during Hayashi's Premiership and immediately prior to the production of the Army' five-year plans, the Cabinet Planning Board was established. it replaced the Investigation Bureau, which had in the past examined matters of national policy. The new board, like its predecessor, was a subdivision of the Cabinet itself, charged with the primary task of facilitating decisions on matters of national policy. Its staff of a hundred and fifty included technical experts, and senior cabinet officials were appointed as its Councillors. The Imperial Ordinance creating the Board provided that it should, under the Premier's direction, make recommendations and give pertinent advice in regard to important
The Cabinet Planning Board
national policies and their application. Its regular function would be to advise the Prime Minister, so that adjustments might be made and conflicts avoided between the various ministries.
The other duties of the Board, which are listed in the Ordinance, indicate the major role it was to play during the period of economic and industrial expansion. It would investigate the policies proposed to the Cabinet by its members, and would make appropriate recommendations concerning them. It would evaluate the relative importance of the plans proposed by individual departments of government, with a view to their integration and coordination. Its decisions upon these matters would not be made public, but would be tendered in the form of advice to the Prime Minister. it would also make recommendations concerning budget estimates.
A description of the manner of hits functioning was given by the defendant HOSHINO, who, in July 1940, became President of the Board. It made its plans in collaboration with the other government departments, which submitted estimates of their requirements for the coming year. Its major task was to plan the economy of Japan proper; but this necessarily entailed a knowledge of industrial development in those parts of the Continent which were under Japanese control, and particularly in Manchukuo. Hence, in the Board's estimates, plans for Manchukuo were included by agreement with
the responsible Japanese officials in that country. Above all, it was the Board's duty to see that each Ministry should get, as nearly as possible, what it wanted.
ON 10 June 197, a few days after the first Konoye Cabinet had taken office, Foreign Minister HIROTA received the additional appointment of President of the Planning Board.
While Hayashi's government was in power, and before the Army's five-year plans had even been completed, major steps had been taken towards putting into practice the new policy of industrial expansion. During March 1937 a five-year plan was inaugurated to increase the indigenous production of finished steel.
The Effect of the China War Upon the Five-Year Plans
In April 1937 the fourth period of Japan's "scrap and build" shipping replacement programme came into force. Since 1932, Japan had, by provision of subsidies, built approximately forth-eight fast cargo ships, giving her the highest proportion of tonnage, less than five years old, in the world. The new programme provided for subsidised construction of passenger and passenger-cargo liners with minimum specifications for tonnage and speed. The subsidy rate amount in some cases to one-half of the building cost.
On 1 May 1937 legislative authority had been obtained for the Army's plans in Manchukuo. On that date there was enacted a Manchukuoan
law, which gave to the state complete control of all industries, the products of which were deemed to be vital to preparation for war.
The planning for Japan itself was not so far advanced. When, on 7 July 1937, the incident at Lukouchiao occurred, consideration of the five-year plans was for a time deferred. in the months which followed the immediate requirements of the war in China absorbed the attention of the Japanese government.
The Army's first plan, outlining the programme for important industries, had been submitted for approval to the first Konoye Cabinet. A brief summary of the Army's detailed programme for putting that plan into action reached President HIROTA of the Planning Board on 13 July 1937, six days after the fighting had begun. The third plan, dealing with the production of munitions, aircraft and other war materials, was produced only two weeks before the war commenced.
This third plan was temporarily abandoned because it was inadequate to meet the Army's needs; and the plans for important industries were altered to ensure production of the greatest possible amount of supplies for military consumption. Under the stimulus of a national emergency, industrial expansion was, between July 1937 and December 1938, developed piecemeal in greater measure than had been planned.
But, although during this period the Planning Board was required to deal with first
things first, the original aim of large-scale planning for war was never lost to sight. Early in 1938 the mobilisation plan was reinstated as an annual measure limited to that year only. The National General Mobilisation Law, passed in February of that year, made it possible for the Japanese government to take far-reaching steps in preparation for war, without first submitting them to the Diet for approval. In June 1938 concern was expressed in governmental circles lest Japan's financial difficulties should imperil the success of the five-year plans.
In January 1939 the Planning Board issued a new and comprehensive programme based upon the experience gained int he intervening eighteen months of war, and setting new targets for the coming years. Basically, this plan, which received the approval of the HIRANUMA Cabinet, was the original programme propounded by the War Ministry in its 1937 planning.
Chapter 4, continued
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