Tokyo, November 26, 1942
Foreign Broadcast Intelligence Service, Federal Communications Commission, November 26, 1942.
I think the causes of the present war of Greater East Asia are remote. The history of the world shows that the world trend since the 19 Century has, on the whole, been a record of the eastern movement of occidental influences. Since the 19 Century, the people of East Asia have been compelled to lie inactive before the onrush of economic forces, together with the strong military power, of the Western European powers. As a consequence, many of the Asiatic countries lost their territory or even their very independence. Even our own country could not until very recently have its own customs, autonomy, or judicial power which was bound by the restrictions of various unequal treaties. The historical inevitability of the war of Greater East Asia lies, indeed, in the reaction of the East Asiatic people against the unjust encroachment of these various Western European influences.
Germany, Italy, and other Axis powers had long ago perceived this general trend and asserted their right of establishing a New Order in Europe and, at the same time, recognized as legitimate our establishment of a New Order in East Asia. The fact that Japan has allied herself with these powers and is fighting against such nations as Britain and the U.S. which refused to acknowledge this general trend and are now endeavoring to obstruct it, is entirely due to this reaction.
The Ambassador then briefly reviewed the past relations between Japan and the U.S.: As a result of the Spanish-American War of 1898, a group of imperialists and big navy advocate among the American people, small in number but very well organized, dragged the unorganized American masses and eventually caused the U.S. to abandon its age-old tradition and to annex the Philippines. Thus, the U.S. joined the European powers in encroaching upon East Asia. Since that time, U.S. policy toward East Asia suddenly changed its character, producing an irreconcilable inconsistency between Puritanism and idealism which it upheld externally and imperialistic schemes and designs which it harbored internally. Rather, it would be more accurate to say that the U.S. came to sugar-coat its imperialistic designs wit high sounding idealism.
The Ambassador then dealt with U.S. pressure on Japan which became especially strong after the Russo-Japanese War and its ambition to obtain a dominant position in East Asia.
The first sign of U.S. pressure on Japan showed itself at the beginning of the 20th century in the San Francisco school incident, which was followed by the Anti-Japanese movement which ultimately developed into the enactment of the Japanese Exclusion Act. This pressure increased its strength more and more concurrently with the enhancement of Japan's strength and her international position.
When the U.S. convened the Washington Conference 1921-22, it caused the abrogation of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance which hitherto had served as the pillar of East Asiatic stability and at the same time endeavored to check the development of Japan's naval strength by the Naval Limitations Treaty and to restrict Japan's political influence by the Nine Power Pact. Since the attitude of the U.S. and Britain toward the Washington treaties was one aimed at restricting Japan, they dared in 1927 when they themselves became the target of China's anti-foreign movement to send large forces to Shanghai with no hesitation or scruples and finally to dispatch their warships for the joint bombardment of Nanking.
They consistently maintained the policy of compelling Japan to observe strictly the various Washington treaties, causing China to conclude blindly that the Nine Power Pact and the other Washington treaties were made by the Anglo-American powers to checkmate Japan and that Japan's faithful observance for a period of about 10 years of the spirit of the Washington Conference was proof of her weakness . . .
Since then China, always expecting the support of the U.S. and Britain, extended and strengthened her policy of resisting and excluding Japan. So much so that when she came to threaten the special position that Japan held in Manchuria since the Russo-Japanese war, (in) which Japan rose to liquidate the conciliatory policy which she had maintained for a decade, the Manchurian incident broke out.
What I wish to stress especially at this time is that although the U.S. and Britain were always professing friendship to China, but what they are really after is China-that is Chinese territory and resources and not the Chinese people themselves. This is eloquently testified to by the hard fact that the laws and statutes of the U.S. and Britain still contain numerous anti-Chinese clauses and stipulations.
Upon the outbreak of the Manchurian incident the U.S. began to pursue a more flagrant policy of oppressing Japan by giving open support to China. With the beginning of the China affair its aid to China turned into actual collaboration with China against Japan. In such a manner American pressure on Japan culminated in the challenge against our country.
The Ambassador then discussed American expansion of armaments and consolidation of Western Hemisphere defense against the Axis and its attempt to check Japan's legitimate (move) towards the south.
Miscalculating that Japan had already exhausted the largest part of her national strength after 4 years of the China Affair the U.S. light-heartedly concluded that it was able to subjugate Japan by economic pressure. It first tried to intimidate our country by adopting the policy of placing an embargo on exports to our country and as a preliminary to full-scale economic pressure against Japan it abrogated the Japanese-American treaty of commerce and navigation. At that time Japan in view of the developments of a critical international situation in East Asia was face-to-face with a serious problem of determining her important national policy.
In view of the continued American pressure against her, Japan at last decided to conclude the Tripartite Pact between herself, Germany and Italy. Against this the U.S. immediately placed a ban on the export of scrap iron and in July last year no sooner had Japan concluded with France the agreement for joint defense concerning French Indo-China than the U.S. took the measure of freezing Japanese assets and of prohibiting the export of petroleum to Japan.
These are measures which may be compared in their seriousness with the opening of war itself, rather than being an economic pressure. In fact President Roosevelt himself, in the speech made several days prior to the freezing of Japanese assets, declared to the effect that since this kind of economic pressure would have led to war with Japan he had not dared to adopt it. Thus purposely using such phraseology as to indicate the past tense which contained the serious implication predicting that economic pressure in the near future would be taken on the assumption the it would lead to war.
That the U.S. was prepared for war with Japan at that time is also clear from the speech which Assistant Secretary of State Berle made at Des Moines after the outbreak of the war on February 24 of this year.
The Japanese Government, which had been paying serious attention to the question of maintaining peace in the Pacific, had exhausted all possible means in continuing their utmost efforts at Washington since the spring of last year to reach a satisfactory conclusion of the negotiations between the two countries, despite the fact that the U.S. had not only resorted in the middle of negotiations to such provocative measures against Japan as the freezing of our assets and the embargo on the export of petroleum, but also failed throughout the 10 months of negotiations to show any spirit of mutual concession, repeating only self-conceited and stock arguments which completely ignored the reality of Greater East Asia.
In spite of such an attitude on the part of the U.S. the Japanese Government endeavored to the last moment to improve the situation in order to prevent the spread of war to the Pacific area. It was indeed with such an intention that the Japanese Government instructed me to fly across the Pacific by airplane.
From a most practical consideration of diverting the critical situation which was steadily becoming more tense and of mitigating the strained atmosphere as much as possible, we presented a plan for a modus vivendi on the date of November 20 last year. Its contents have already been made public. In brief its purpose was to restore the situation which prevailed prior to its aggravation by the freezing of Japanese assets and other measures.
However, the U.S. Government under the date of November 26 (thrust) its note containing points which were clearly known from the very beginning to be absolutely unacceptable to Japan. These points included virtual secession from the Tripartite Pact, the general withdrawal of Japanese forces from China and French Indo-China, the non-recognition of the Nanking Government, and reconstitution of the so-called Washington Conference structure to the conclusion of a multi-lateral non-aggression treaty. Thus, the negotiations were brought to a final impasse which precluded all hopes of continuation.
Subsequently, after the outbreak of the war, one American commentator who saw the U.S. note of November 26 which was published together with other documents declared that it was not difficult to understand why Japan was provoked into war and charged as unpardonable the steps taken by the U.S. Government in thrusting upon Japan, without previous consultation with the people, an official document such as this which would naturally lead to war.
With what frame of mind the U.S. Government handed this document to us at the time is very clearly shown by an official document in the form of a report which they published after commencement of the war. In the report submitted under date of January 24 by the Roberts Inquiry Commission on its on-the-spot investigation of the real situation relative to the great disaster at Pearl Harbor, it was clearly written that Secretary of State Hull reported to high Army and Navy officials, with whom he had constantly maintained close contact both at Cabinet meetings and elsewhere, that the Japanese-American negotiations were carried out throughout under conditions which precluded any possibility of their being reopened and the Chief of Army General Staff and the Chief of Naval Operations had respectively sent secret orders to Army and Navy commanders in Hawaii to take necessary measures to begin operations.
In the light of these facts, there can be no doubt that the U.S. Government was already definitely determined upon war with Japan on November 26 of last year. Indeed, it is the U.S. which provoked the present war and absolutely not Japan.
This has been officially made clear by an official document of the U.S. itself. In the report of the Roberts Inquiry Commission are to be found numerous facts that prove the U.S. was steadily making preparations even before November 27, in conjunction with developments of the Japanese-American negotiations, to engage in a war with Japan. Special attention is called to the fact that, at the very beginning of the Roberts report, a passage says it has been well known that the policy of the U.S. as to affairs in the Pacific was in conflict with the policies of other Governments. It was realized by the State, War, and Navy Departments of the U.S. that, unless these policies were reconciled, war in the Pacific was inevitable.
Moreover, in another part of the report, it is mentioned that in a letter of January 24, 1941, the Secretary of Navy advised the Secretary of War that the increased gravity of the Japanese situation had prompted restudy of problems of the security of the Pacific Fleet while in Pearl Harbor and, furthermore, it was published as an observation at that time that if war eventuated with Japan it is believed it is easily possible that hostilities would be initiated by a surprise attack upon the fleet or upon the naval base at Pearl Harbor and that the time of the raid was supposed to be before. . . . It is indeed incomprehensible that the U.S., even though the surprise attack had come just as anticipated for nearly a year before, had been accusing Japan of having made a treacherous attack.
This is nothing but sophistry calculated to hide its own negligence.
The sinister designs against Japan as well as the U.S. attempt to deceive its own people and other countries with very vague war objectives such as mentioned in the so-called Atlantic charter and also the ambition of the Roosevelt administration (were) to put not only Japan but the entire world under the domination of the U.S.
The American Government's real intention must have been not only to subjugate Japan but also to subjugate the whole world. This sinister ambition of the U.S. was most clearly revealed in the speech of Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles last Memorial Day. According to the report of the New York Times, Under Secretary Welles stated at that time that one of the major causes of the present war was the refusal of the U.S. to join the League of Nations after the last World War and then after loudly advocating the emancipation of various peoples and the establishment of racial equality after the present war, he enumerated the following points as the aims of the current war:
(1) Punishment of individual groups and peoples responsible for the war; (2) fixing of a considerably long period of truce after the war during which to disarm the aggressor nations; (3) the U.S. and its allies to maintain and employ international police power until the establishment of a permanent system for the preservation of peace; (4) upon the disposal of the economic and social problems after the war an international organization to be formed by the U.S. and its allies and the last conclusive peace condition to be gradually decided upon; (5) the U.S. to take the leadership in the establishment of the post-war world order; (6) the continuation of the present Pan-American structure.
Of the above items the second concerning the disarming of the aggressor nations and the third concerning the international police force are designed to strip Japan naked and place her under the armed tyranny of the U.S., Britain, and Chungking. The fourth and fifth are in brief calculated to put the post-war world under the thumb of the U.S. or the Anglo-Saxon peoples and the sixth is aimed at keeping the Western Hemisphere as a sphere of influence of the U.S.
When we consider the spirit contained in the Atlantic Charter concerning the establishment of world peace based on economic freedom and equality together with the above-mentioned fourth and fifth objectives it is clear that the intention of the U.S. is to establish an economic structure in which other countries must depend upon the U.S. and that the U.S. wants to control other countries whenever it so desires through economic pressure or by the intimation of its application. It is therefore not difficult to imagine the conditions which the U.S. and Britain intend to impose upon our country as their war objectives.
In other words it is their intention to place Japan in such a position that she will not be able to rise again as an independent nation. Here lies one of the reasons why our nation must leave nothing undone to fight and win through to victory.
The Ambassador described the present war as a struggle for life or death between Japan and the U.S. and Britain. He then briefly elucidated the conditions in the U.S. with regard to the prosecution of the war, warning the Japanese nation not to minimize the resisting power of the U.S.
But we must on no grounds entertain any feeling of fear of the enemy. We have already crushed and are dominating the enemy on the Asiatic continent and over the vast expanse of land and sea in the North and South Pacific. By developing and mobilizing the resources of these areas we can further strengthen our undefeatable structure in the material front and at the same time consolidate our positions for sure victory in the spiritual sense by emancipating, leading, and cooperating with the various East Asiatic peoples in these regions.
Furthermore, we Japanese people have an intense spirit of sacrifice and service fostered by our national tradition of more than 2,000 years as our incomparable spirit of patriotism. But the greatest of all we have above us the boundless august virtue of his Imperial Majesty which has always shone on our country from time immemorial. Herein lies the firm basis of our faith in sure victory.
Therefore, if we devote our total strength henceforth towards the realization of our war objectives in the military, diplomatic, political, and economic fields, further cement our bonds of cooperation with Germany, Italy, and other allied countries, firmly uphold the spirit of the Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere, and extend our efforts to translate this spirit into action without permitting it to remain as mere lip service, there is not the slightest doubt that we shall win ultimate victory, or, rather, I believe it is not too much to say that the key to victory is already in our hands.
It is needless to say that what we firmly hold as the object of the War of Greater East Asia is to emancipate the various peoples of Asia who have for many years been subject to the oppression and exploitation of such imperialistic countries as the U.S. Britain, and the Netherlands, and to enable them each to find its proper place and at the same time to lay an unshakable foundation for the peace of the world and the common prosperity of mankind by mutually ministering and complementing each other economically, spiritually, and culturally-not only within Greater East Asia but also between similar regional co-prosperity groups in Europe and America.
The intention of Britain, which is attempting to obstruct our war objectives, is to enjoy exclusive prosperity by safeguarding its system of colonial empire, which has existed since the 19th Century, and its monopolistic economic structure such as the so-called Ottawa System under a new name.
The scheme of the U.S. is to hold the Western Hemisphere as its exclusive sphere of influence under the high-sounding name of Pan-American cooperation and Good Neighbor Policy. That is on the one hand and on the other constantly to intervene in the affairs of Asia, Europe, Africa, and other nations with its ideas of U.S. leadership of the world international police force and economic sanctions-these contained in the above-mentioned peace principles of Under Secretary Welles, thereby realizing its ambition of world domination.
In fact many of the Central and South American countries have read witnessed the fact that Pan-Americanism, the original object of which was the defense and cooperation of the Western Hemisphere, has inordinately and without their knowledge been expanded into its re-interpretation and practice.
They have begun to interfere in East Asiatic affairs which are no concern of theirs by proclaiming war against or severing diplomatic relations with Japan in support of the U.S. In brief all that we claim is return to us of the things that belong to us, but all that the U.S. and Britain want is to get not only the things that belong to them but also the things that belong to us. It is clear which demand is just and which is unjust.
It is an iron rule that has withstood the test of all ages that wrong cannot prevail over right and I am firmly convinced that the ultimate triumph of the rightful claim of our country over the unjust claims of the U.S. and Britain is the indisputable rule of heaven.
On this 26th day of November, memorable in the history of Japanese-American relations, I fervently hope that the hundred million further strengthen the wartime structure of our culture both in the material and spiritual field and march forward into the second year of the War of Greater East Asia with renewed faith and determination.