Copyright © 1972 by John W. Dower
The Superdomino in Postwar Asia: Japan in and Out of the Pentagon Papers by John W. Dower
Pursuing references to Japan in the Pentagon Papers is somewhat like entering an echo chamber. Several concepts formulated by the National Security Council (NSC) around 1949 return again and again in subsequent NSC documents through the 1960s; reverberate in the opinions of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; carom off into the public statements of official spolcesmen. (1) Refinements occur over time, but are less striking than the dogged repetition of certain catch phrases concerning Japan and its projected role in the American structuring of Asia. There are no great surprises in these documents insofar as an understanding of postwar U.S.-Japanese relations is concerned; presumedly these relations were addressed more directly in the diplomatic papers used for the original Pentagon study but withheld from publication. Certainly the full story of Japan’s role in postwar Asia will require access to “Japan Papers” in both Japanese and English at least as voluminous as the Pentagon Papers, and most probably more complex. Still, with the Pentagon Papers plus a variety of other materials which have recently become available, it is now possible to structure the general course of Japan’s postwar development in a more meaningful way. The essay which follows is an attempt to suggest one such framework of analysis—and, more importantly, to point to certain questions and problems which seem to demand particularly careful attention and study in the future—and to do so as much as possible by letting the sources utilized speak for themselves.
Since 1945 the course taken by Japan has been influenced by a single outside power, the United States, to an extent rare outside the history of colonial countries. That influence has been less criminal than the American impact upon Vietnam and Indochina; it has been less brutally tragic than the U.S. role vis-a-vis Korea. But it has not necessarily been less pervasive than in these other cases, and thus the study of postwar Japan becomes virtually inseparable from the examination of U.S.-Japanese relations. That is not the only focus possible or essential, of course—and indeed most scholars dealing with postwar Japan tend to blur this issue—but without this perspective, developments within Japan, to say nothing of the thrust of Japan’s role in Asia, simply cannot be comprehended. The interlocks are complex and everywhere, and the key to these locks lies not so much in Japan itself as in American cold-war policy toward Asia. Economic, political and social change in post- 1945 Japan has been shaped (and misshapen) by this. Japan’s postwar role in all Asia has litde meaning apart from this. And just as U.S. policy has been the key to an understanding of Japan over the last several decades, so in turn Japan has been the single most important key to American policy in Asia during this same period. Neither the Korean War nor the isolation and containment of China nor the Vietnam and Indochina wars can be understood apart from the role played by Japan in American eyes. In U.S. policy toward Asia, in the word of those who made it, was that “keystone.” It remains so today, for the keystone is now also the third most powerful nation in the world.
In the pages which follow, this relationship is approached from several directions. Section 1 draws mostly upon the Pentagon Papers to document what has long been obvious: that Japan, more than Korea and more than Southeast Asia, has always been viewed by American policymakers as the superdomino in Asia (like Germany in Europe), and much of America’s postwar Asian policy has derived from adherence to this simplistic metaphor. Section 2 relates this perspective on the domino theory to the American creation, beginning around 1949, of a U.S.-Japan-Southeast Asia nexus aimed at the creation of a capitalist bloc in Asia and an economic and military noose around China. It traces the purportedly new “regionalism” of the Nixon Doctrine through all postwar U.S. administrations prior to Nixon. Section 3 examines the U.S.-Japan relationship as, in effect, a twentieth-century version of the unequal-treaty systems under which Westerners have always felt most comfortable when dealing with Asians. It suggests some of the levers manipulated by the United States to gain Japanese acquiescence to the Pax Americana in Asia. And by focusing primarily on the occupation period and its immediate aftermath, this section attempts to briefly suggest the way in which domestic developments within Japan have been shaped by American power.
Section 4 addresses the role of war and militarization in postwar Japanese development, and points out some generally neglected anomalies in the nature of both the U.S.-Japan military relationship and the thrust of Japanese rearmament. Although the Japanese economic “miracle” has been intimately coupled with war since the nineteenth century, and thus offers the possibility for a searching case study into problems of capitalism and imperialism, bourgeois scholars have tended to skirt this problem. It is, in fact, somewhat skirted here also, but the question is raised for the postwar Japanese economy, and in particular attention is drawn to the correlation between U.S. escalation of the war in Vietnam in 1964-1965 and the simultaneous Japanese move toward economic hegemony in its two ex-colonies, Taiwan and the southern part of Korea. Section 5 attempts to structure some of the paradoxes of the postwar relationship by examining American attitudes regarding the potential of Sino-Japanese economic relations, the superficially ironic fear of an American “loss of face” in Japan, the gap between the Japanese ruling elites and the Japanese public, and the potential of the Japanese masses for revolutionary action (thus prompting, among other things, conscious cultural imperialism on the part of the United States). On the surface, the totalistic (either/or) superdomino framework, which the Pentagon Papers reveal as having guided American policy toward Japan up to the mid-1960s, seems irrational and even paranoid. One explanation for this, it is finally suggested here, can be located in the conceptualizations of “totalitarianism,” “authoritarianism,” or “collectivism” fashionable among liberals during this (and earlier) periods. That is, American policymakers were possessed by a fear of Japanese “accommodation to communism” because they saw a fundamental identity between the politics of the political right and the politics of the political left. Communism and fascism blurred under the rubric of authoritarianism, and confronted by a Japan moving increasingly to the right under U.S. pressure, the question inevitably arose: How far right is left?
The final and longest section deals with Japan since 1968, that is, since the period covered by the Pentagon Papers, and outlines the striking contradictions which have emerged with seeming suddenness to characterize the U.S.-Japan alliance. The discussion focuses on Japan’s emergence as a “superpower,” on economic tensions between the two countries, and on the decidedly new stage of miHtary escalation which Japan has embarked upon under U.S. pressure. It asks, in brief: Where is Japan going? The economic crisis is approached through a revealing document recently released by the Japanese Foreign Ministry. Japanese militarism is addressed through Congressional hearings and reports, Chinese critiques, and analysis of the 1969 Nixon-Sato joint communique, the Okinawa reversion trade-offs, and two key documents issued by the Japanese Defense Agency in 1970. The final pages of the essay summarize the position taken by American spokesmen who view the Nixon-Kissinger rapprochement toward China as a potential disaster insofar as the U.S.-Japan relationship is concerned and who, in the conclusion reached here, in a sense seem to have brought the situation full circle: to the superdomino, and the apocalypse.
I. THE SUPERDOMINO
Because of their particular focus on Vietnam, the Pentagon Papers offer largely a tunnel vision of Japan as the ultimate domino. Thus, in what the Papers describe as the “classic statement of the domino theory,” it is argued that should the United States fail in its objectives in Vietnam, the consequences would extend far beyond Southeast Asia:
Even the Philippines would become shaky, and the threat to India on the West, Australia and New Zealand to the South, and Taiwan, Korea, and Japan to the North and East would be greatly increased (Gravel edition, III:3,51).
How would Japan respond to this “threat”? The Papers are clear on this. In the most sanguine appraisal, Japan would be “pressured to assume at best, a neutralist role” (Gravel ed., II:664). More probably, Japan would move into the Communist camp:
Orientation of Japan toward the West is the keystone of United States policy in the Far East. In the judgment of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the loss of Southeast Asia to Communism would, through economic and political pressures, drive Japan into an accommodation with the Communist Bloc. The communization of Japan would be the probable ultimate result.
The rice, tin, rubber, and oil of Southeast Asia and the industrial capacity of Japan are the essential elements which Red China needs to build a monolithic military structure far more formidable than that of Japan prior to World War II. If this complex of military power is permitted to develop to its full potential, it would ultimately control the entire Western and Southwestern Pacific region and would threaten South Asia and the Middle East (Gravel ed., I:450).
This apocalyptic appraisal dominates these documents, shared in common by civilian and military policymakers. Japan’s estrangement from the United States would cause the collapse of the entire U.S. military and economic strategy in the Pacific, South Asia, and the Middle East—until eventually a threat to the very “security and stability of Europe, could be expected to ensue” (Gravel ed., I:452; cf. 1:375, 386, 463). John Foster Dulles often evoked this image of Japan as the global superdomino in his public speeches in the late 1940s and 1950s. The Pentagon Papers make it clear that the famous Dulles rhetoric actually was, and remained, an internal touchstone of U.S. policy at the highest levels.
Japan has been the key to postwar American policy in Asia since approximately 1948 because, quite simply, it is strategically located and possesses immense war-making potential. George Kennan revealed in his Memoirs that, as head of the NSC Planning Staff, he stressed this point upon returning from a visit to occupied Japan in February and March, 1948. (2) In one of the most valuable documents pertaining to Japan among the Pentagon Papers—an NSC draft of December 23, 1949, based on NSC 48 and reprinted only in the government’s own edition—this point received forceful emphasis:
If Japan, the principal component of a Far Eastern war-making complex, were added to the Stalinist bloc, the Soviet Asian base could become a source of strength capable of shifting the balance of world power to the disadvantage of the United States....
In the power potential of Asia, Japan plays the most important part by reason of its industrious, aggressive population, providing a larger pool of trained manpower, its integrated internal communications system with a demonstrated potential for an efficient merchant marine, its already developed industrial base and its strategic position....
The industrial plant of Japan would be the richest strategic prize in the Far East for the USSR....
From the military point of view, the United States must maintain a minimum position in Asia if a successful defense is to be achieved against future Soviet aggression. This minimum position is considered to consist of at least our present military position in the Asian offshore island chain, and in the event of war its denial to the Communists. The chain represents our first line of defense and in addition, our first line of offense from which we may seek to reduce the area of Communist control, using whatever means we can develop, without, however, using sizeable United States armed forces. The first line of strategic defense should include Japan, the Ryukyus, and the Philippines. This minimum position will permit control of the main lines of communication necessary to United States strategic development of the important sections of the Asian area. (3)
The 1949 NSC position bore a strong Kennan imprint, distinguishing between the respectively dismal and bright power potentials of China and Japan on the one hand, and between the Soviet Union and China as threats to the United States on the other hand. The policy at this time was overwhelmingly anti-Soviet, and in fact the NSC took care to emphasize that “The USSR is the primary target of those economic policies designed to contain or turn back Soviet- Communist imperialism and not China or any of the Soviet satellites considered as individual countries.” (4) As late as the basic “New Look” document of the Eisenhower Administration in October 1953 (NSC 162/2), the possibility that the People’s Republic of China might assert its independence from the USSR was still acknowledged, but by this time the observation was irrelevant and Japan’s strategic role—originally conceived vis-a-vis the Soviet Union—was simply retooled to counter the “Communist Bloc” or, increasingly from the time of the Korean War, simply “Communist China.” Under the Kennedy Administration, occasionally commended for its less dogmatic view of China, the People’s Republic was in fact elevated to the position of foremost enemy, and Japan’s role was seen primarily in this context. (5)
However vaguely or precisely the enemy has been defined—the Soviet Bloc or the Communist Bloc, the USSR or China, North Korea or North Vietnam — Japan’s strategic importance has remained essentially the same. Both militarily and economically it was developed to become the linchpin of U.S. forward containment in Southeast as well as Northeast Asia. Its functions have been manyfaceted. On the military side Japan, including Okinawa, provides extensive bases and services to the U.S. Air Force and Seventh Fleet, plus its own evolving military capabilities. Economically it has been directed to shore up America’s faltering Asian allies through exports, aid, and investments—while in turn drawing sustenance from them in the form of raw materials plus trade and investment profits. Japan’s role vis-a-vis China, clear since 1950, has been to contain it militarily, isolate it economically, and enable other less developed countries on China’s periphery to do likewise.
2. THE U.S.-JAPAN-SOUTHEAST ASIA NEXUS
The Pentagon Papers reveal not only the “keystone” role of Japan, but also the fact that creation of triangular, mutually reinforcing relations between the United States, Japan, and Southeast Asia has been integral to American objectives in Asia since the late 1940s. This policy actually preceded the firm U.S. commitment to rigid isolation of China, and was merely intensified by the adoption of the containment strategy. In the December 23, 1949, NSC document, this was stressed from the Japanese point of view:
While scrupulously avoiding assumption of responsibility for raising Asiatic living standards, it is to the U.S. interest to promote the ability of these countries to maintain, on a self-supporting basis, the economic conditions prerequisite to political stability. Japan can only maintain its present living standard on a self-supporting basis if it is able to secure a greater proportion of its needed food and raw material (principally cotton) imports from the Asiatic area, in which its natural markets lie, rather than from the U.S., in which its export market is small. In view of the desirability of avoiding preponderant dependence on Chinese sources, and the limited availability of supplies from prewar sources in Korea and Formosa, this will require a considerable increase in Southern Asiatic food and raw material exports. (6)
It was also approached from the complementary perspective of Japan’s capacity to contribute to economic development in non-communist Asia:
Our interest in a viable economy in the non-Communist countries of Asia would be advanced by increased trade among such countries. Japanese and Indian industrial revival and development can contribute to enlarged intraregional trade relations which suffered a set-back because of the economic vacuum resulting from the defeat of Japan, the devastation caused by the war in other areas and the interference and restrictions arising from extensive governmental controls.” (7)
While general economic relations between Japan and China were not opposed by the NSC at this time, certain restrictions in Japan’s trade with the mainland were encouraged, as was the development of alternative (non-Chinese) markets for Japan:
It should also be our objective to prevent Chinese Communists from obtaining supplies of goods of direct military utility which might be used to threaten directly the security interests of the western powers in Asia. It is not, however, either necessary or advisable to restrict trade with China in goods which are destined for normal civilian uses within China provided safeguards are established to accomplish the two objectives mentioned above [denial of strategic goods to the USSR and China].... Japan’s economy cannot possibly be restored to a self-sustaining basis without a considerable volume of trade with China, the burden of Japan on the United States economy cannot be removed unless Japan’s economy is restored to a selfsustaining basis and U.S. interference with natural Japanese trade relations with China would produce profound Japanese hostility.... While SCAP should be requested to avoid preponderant dependence on Chinese markets and sources of supply he should not be expected to apply controls upon Japan’s trade with China more restrictive than those applied by Western European countries in their trade with China. At the same time, SCAP should encourage development of alternative Japanese markets elsewhere in the world, including Southern and Southeast Asia, on an economic basis. (8)
Comparable policies concerning Japan and Southeast Asia were briefly reemphasized by the NSC in a document prepared four months prior to the San Francisco peace conference of September 1951, with the added specific goal of encouraging Japanese military production for use “in Japan and in other noncommunist countries of Asia” (9) (see Section 3 below).
The exact point at which the United States abandoned its policy of permitting Japan to restore relations with China remains unclear, although it is known that both Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida and Britain’s Foreign Minister Herbert Morrison participated in the San Francisco peace conference with Dulles’ assurances that after independence Japan would be free to establish relations with China—as in fact both the Japanese and British desired. Following the peace conference, however, Dulles foreclosed this option. In December 1951 he journeyed to Japan to inform Yoshida that the price of Congressional ratification of the peace treaty would be a Japanese pledge of nonrelations with the People’s Republic. The Japanese had little choice but to comply, and the resultant “Yoshida Letter” of December 1951 was Japan’s ticket to second-class independence in America’s Asia. (10) Under CHINCOM (China Committee), the U.S.-directed international group established in September 1952 to formalize an embargo on exports to China, “independent” Japan was maneuvered into acceptance of controls over trade with China which, until 1957, were more strict and far-reaching than the controls adhered to by any other country with the exception of the United States. Writing on this subject in 1967, Gunnar Adler-Karlson observed that “The reasons for this are at present unknown, but the pressure from the American side on a nation defeated in the war is likely to have been the main reason.” Even after the Western European countries in effect repudiated the CHINCOM restrictions in 1957, Japan’s trade with China and its conformance with the continuing U.S. embargo was subject to regular discussion in meetings of the U.S.-Japanese Joint Economic Committee. (11)
With China thus substantially closed to Japan as both open market and source of raw materials, the imperatives of developing Southeast Asia (and the United States) as alternative economic partners for Japan became even greater. This was accomplished through complex economic manipulations on the part of the United States in particular, but also Japan—lucrative American military purchases in Japan (‘‘special procurements”); military-related U.S. aid packages (the Mutual Defense Assistance, or MDA, agreements); U.S.-arranged preferential treatment for Japan through the World Bank; most-favored-nation treatment under the General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade (GATT); triangular tradeoffs in the export/import lists of the United States, Japan, and Southeast Asia (pivoting on U.S. Public Law 480, whereby U.S. agricultural surpluses were moved into Japan to stimulate the Japanese economy with special focus on Japanese exports to Southeast Asia); use of Japanese reparations to Southeast Asia as the cutting edge of Japan’s economic penetration of the area; and so on. (12) Thus long before the 1954 Geneva Conference, the American economic blueprint for Asia tied Japan firmly to the dollar, to Southeast Asia, and to militarization and war. That the Japanese understood this perfectly was indicated in a private note to the United States of February 1952, two months before the formal restoration of Japanese sovereignty:
Japan will contribute to the rearmament plan of the United States, supplying military goods and strategic materials by repairing and establishing defense industries with the technical and financial assistance from the United States, and thereby assure and increase a stable dollar receipt.... Japan will cooperate more actively with the development of South East Asia along the lines of the economic assistance programs of the United States.
The memo further stated that future Japanese economic growth would be geared to U.S. demands in Asia, and that the dollar inflow from meeting such demands would ensure Japan’s emergence as one of America’s chief markets. (13)
The details of these intricate transactions require further study, but the rationale behind the Japan-Southeast Asia interlock is amply available in the Pentagon Papers and indeed has long been part of the public record. The Eisenhower Administration in particular performed quotable service in this respect, for in attempting to explain the American position at the time of the 1954 Geneva Accords, U.S. spokesmen commonly evoked Japan. In one of his more resounding pronouncements, for example, Dulles declared on radio at the very moment the Geneva Conference turned to Indochina that Ho Chi Minh was a Communist “trained in Moscow” who would “deprive Japan of important foreign markets and sources of food and raw materials.” (14) In a March 1954 speech entitled “The Threat of a Red Asia,” he developed this further, touching in brief compass virtually all of the major points subsequent policymakers would refer to when citing the importance of Southeast Asia to Japan (food, raw materials, markets, sea and air lanes, and the offshore island chain):
Southeast Asia is the so-called “rice bowl” which helps to feed the densely populated region that extends from India to Japan. It is rich in many raw materials, such as tin, oil, rubber, and iron ore. It offers industrial Japan potentially important markets and sources of raw materials.
The area has great strategic value. Southeast Asia is astride the most direct and best-developed sea and air routes between the Pacific and South Asia. It has major naval and air bases. Communist control of Southeast Asia would carry a grave threat to the Philippines, Australia, and New Zealand, with whom we have treaties of mutual assistance. The entire Western Pacific area, including the so-called “offshore island chain,” would be strategically endangered (Gravel ed., I:594; cf. 600).
Eisenhower reiterated this theme in a news conference in which he emphasized the importance of Indochina in terms of “what you would call the ‘falling domino’ principle.” Loss of the area to communism, he explained, “takes away, in its economic aspects, that region Japan must have as a trading area or Japan, in turn, will have only one place in the world to go—that is, toward the Communist areas in order to live” (Gravel ed., I:597). Near the end of his presidency, Eisenhower stressed the complementary nature of the two areas in simple terms which ignored the forced dimension of the relationship and well typify liberal American comment on this issue to the present day:
As a different kind of example of free nation interdependence, there is Japan, where very different problems exist—but problems equally vital to the security of the free world. Japan is an essential counterweight to Communist strength in Asia. Her industrial power is the heart of any collective effort to defend the Far East against aggression.
Her more than 90 million people occupy a country where the arable land is no more than that of California. More than perhaps any other industrial nation, Japan must export to live. Last year she had a trade deficit. At one time she had a thriving trade with Asia, particularly with her nearest neighbors. Much of it is gone. Her problems grow more grave.
For Japan there must be more free world outlets for her products. She does not want to be compelled to become dependent as a last resort upon the Communist empire. Should she ever be forced to that extremity, the blow to free world security would be incalculable; at the least it would mean for all other free nations greater sacrifice, greater danger, and lessened economic strength.
What happens depends largely on what the free world nations can, and will, do.
Upon us—upon you here—in this audience—rests a heavy responsibility. We must weigh the facts, fit them into place, and decide on our course of action.
For a country as large, as industrious, and as progressive as Japan to exist with the help of grant aid by others, presents no satisfactory solution. Furthermore, for us, the cost would be, over the long term, increasingly heavy. Trade is the key to a durable Japanese economy.
One of Japan’s greatest opportunities for increased trade lies in a free and developing Southeast Asia. So we see that the two problems I have been discussing are two parts of a single one—the great need in Japan is for raw materials; in Southern Asia it is for manufactured goods. The two regions complement each other markedly. So, by strengthening Viet-Nam and helping insure the safety of the South Pacific and Southeast Asia, we gradually develop the great trade potential between this region, rich in natural resources, and highly industrialized Japan to the benefit of both. In this way freedom in the Western Pacific will be greatly strengthened and the interests of the whole free world advanced. But such a basic improvement can come about only gradually. Japan must have additional trade outlets now. These can be provided if each of the industrialized nations in the West does its part in liberalizing trade relations with Japan (Gravel ed., I:626-627).
The Kennedy and Johnson administrations simply followed the Eisenhower script on this score. In late September 1964, on the eve of the U.S. escalation in Vietnam, for example, William Bundy visited Japan and offered listeners there what might be called the Houdini variation of the domino principle (they don’t fall, but disappear):
We believe it essential to the interests of the free world that South Vietnam not be permitted to fall under communist control. If it does, then the rest of Southeast Asia will be in grave danger of progressively disappearing behind the Bamboo Curtain and other Asian countries like India and even in time Australia and your own nation in turn will be threatened (Gravel ed., III:723).
While the primary focus in the Japan-Southeast Asia nexus has been economic, the military side of the relationship also requires emphasis. Most obviously, this has involved U.S. reliance on bases and facilities in Japan and Okinawa for aggression in Indochina. As noted previously, well before the termination of the occupation of Japan, it was planned that part of the spin-off from Japanese remilitarization be provision of military goods to less-developed Asian nations. More important than this during the initial postwar decades, however, has been the assumption that Japan’s economic involvement in Southeast Asia will both stabilize the pro-American, anti-Communist regimes there and contribute directly and indirectly to their own capacity for developing local military-related industry. Although Japanese personnel have been employed by the United States in both the Korean and Vietnam wars (as “civilian” technicians, boat crews, etc.), Japan has not yet dispatched troops abroad. As noted in Section 6 below, however, this constraint is now being eroded, and since the late 1960s the Japanese have on occasion expressed interest in future “peace-keeping” contributions in the area through dispatch of ground forces to Indochina and naval forces to the Straits of Malacca. American spokesmen also anticipate that Japan, will provide increasing military “supporting assistance” to anti-Communist regimes in Southeast Asia “under the label of economic aid,” and that by the mid-1970s the Japanese government will have surmounted domestic opposition to the training of foreign military personnel on Japanese soil. (15)
The corollary to integration of Japan and Southeast Asia, as noted, has been the basic American position that neither area could be allowed to establish any kind of significant economic relationship with China. This would not only strengthen China materially, but also strengthen China’s influence over the two areas at the expense of American economic hegemony throughout non-Communist Asia. During the Eisenhower Administration the goal was thus to prevent a Japanese “accommodation with the Communist bloc” (Gravel ed., I:472). Under Kennedy and Johnson, the pet phrase was if anything more urgent, specific, and paranoid: a constantly reiterated fear of the “growing feeling” in Japan “that Communist China must somehow be lived with” (Gravel ed., III:219, 623, 627, 658). From the Truman through the Johnson administrations, the goal of American policy in Asia was to freeze bipolarity until an integrated capitalist network had been created which could be capable of remaining relatively invulnerable to the pressures, or temptations, of the Communist nations. In a November 1964 memo, one of William Bundy’s advisers summarized U.S. objectives in Vietnam as being to “delay China’s swallowing up Southeast Asia until (a) she develops better table manners and (b) the food is somewhat more indigestible” (Gravel ed., III:592). With this image at hand, it may perhaps be concluded that Japan’s role vis-a-vis Southeast Asia had been to help make that area indigestible—or possibly, as it is actually working out, to digest it itself.
These strategies of the early cold-war period are only now coming to fruition insofar as Japan’s role is concerned. And indeed it is a striking perspective on the “Nixon Doctrine” that, despite the currently fashionable rhetoric of “regionalism” and “multilateralism,” the policies advanced by the Nixon Administration are in fact very close to those which the Pentagon Papers reveal as having been the objectives of all prior postwar U.S. administrations. Whether under Truman or Eisenhower, Kennedy or Johnson, the United States has consistently aimed at the creation of Asian regional groupings which would interlock in turn with American global interests, whether economic or military. As discussed in Section 6 below, this strategy has been greatly complicated by developments which have taken place under President Nixon, notably the Sino- American rapprochement and emerging contradictions within the U.S.-Japan alliance. But at the root, current American policy remains consistent with the goals first established in the late 1940s and 1950s. “Asian regionalism” remains capitalist, anti-Communist, and anti-Chinese—whatever its new guises. Thus in the Symington Committee hearings of 1970, U. Alexis Johnson, Undersecretary of State and former ambassador to Japan, acknowledged Chinese apprehensions concerning Japan’s economic penetration of Southeast Asia and then in effect confirmed the legitimacy of those fears. Discussing Japanese participation in the Asian Development Bank and the Ministerial Conference on Southeast Asia Economic Development, Johnson acknowledged that “The whole host of relationships which Japan has sought in the economic and political field with the countries of Southeast Asia obviously represents a hindrance or a block, if you will, to efforts of the Chinese to extend their influence in the area.” (16) And that, of course, has always been precisely the goal.
The point should not require belaboring, but it has in fact been generally obscured: the United States has never intended to carry the burden of anti- Communist and anti-Chinese consolidation in Asia alone. It has always seen the end goal as a quasi-dependent Asian regionalism. Under Truman, the NSC stressed that “a strong trading area of the free countries of Asia would add to general economic development and strengthen their social and political stability. Some kind of regional association, facilitating interchange of information, among the non-Communist countries of Asia might become an important means of developing a favorable atmosphere for such trade among themselves and with other parts of the world.” (17) By 1954, under Eisenhower, the U.S. documents are quite blunt about the ultimate goal of an Asian regionalism covertly underwritten by, militarized by, and interlocked with the capitalist powers of the West:
It should be U.S. policy to develop within the UN charter a Far Eastern regional arrangement subscribed and underwritten by the major European powers with interests in the Pacific.
a. Full accomplishment of such an arrangement can only be developed in the long term and should therefore be preceded by the development, through indigenous sources, of regional economic and cultural agreements between the several Southeast Asian countries and later with Japan. Such agreements might take a form similar to that of the OEEC in Europe.
Action: State, CIA, FOA
b. Upon the basis of such agreements, the U.S. should actively but unobtrusively seek their expansion into mutual defense agreements and should for this purpose be prepared to underwrite such agreements with military and economic aid ... (Gravel ed., I:475).
John F. Kennedy, just prior to assumption of the Presidency, expressed the anti- China regionalism concept in these terms:
The real question is what should be done about the harsh facts that China is a powerful and aggressive nation. The dangerous situation now existing can be remedied only by a strong and successful India, a strong and successful Japan, and some kind of regional group over Southeast Asia which gives these smaller countries the feeling that, in spite of their distaste for a military alliance, they will not be left to be picked off one by one at the whim of the Peiping regime (Gravel ed., II:799).
Under Lyndon Johnson, in 1967, the goal appeared to be almost within grasp:
The fact is that the trends in Asia today are running mostly for, not against, our interests (witness Indonesia and the Chinese confusion); there is no reason to be pessimistic about our ability over the next decade or two to fashion alliances and combinations (involving especially Japan and India) sufficient to keep China from encroaching too far (Gravel ed., IV: 174).
All postwar administrations have recognized the sensitivity of Asian nations to Western neo-colonial domination. All have sought to encourage anti-Communist regional groupings in Asia, led by Japan with the United States in the wings. And at the heart of all such policies, up to and including the Nixon Doctrine, has been the U.S.-Japan-Southeast Asia nexus. In their constant reiteration of this objective, of course, U.S. policymakers have conveniently neglected to give due weight to one of its most obvious and unpleasant flaws: the fact that most Asian nationalists are also acutely sensitive to the very real threat of Japanese neo-colonialism.
3. INTERNAL/EXTERNAL DIALECTICS
The integration of Japan into America’s Asia undoubtedly profited the Japanese state in a number of ways, but the long-range costs may prove to be far greater than the immediate dividends. For U.S. pressure on Japan has inevitably shaped not only Japan’s external policy, but its internal development as well. This has been particularly obvious in the rapid recartelization and remilitarization of the Japanese economy, but the social and political consequences within Japan have been no less profound. Whether directly or indirectly, for example, political polarization within contemporary Japan is virtually inseparable from American designs for postwar Japan and postwar Asia. Economic priorities have been largely shaped in accordance with U.S. requirements, and this in turn has supported a ruling class with predictably conservative goals in education, civil liberties, “quality-of-life” problems, and the like. The initial thrust in this direction, as suggested in the preceding sections, was imposed while Japan was still under U.S. occupation; beginning around 1947-1948, it took the form of a “reverse course” repudiating many of the early reform goals of the occupation. What must be stressed here, however, is that the termination of the occupation in April 1952 did not greatly change anything. The United States retained imposing de facto control over the course of Japanese development. And under the conservative Japanese ruling coalition which had been firmly entrenched by the end of the occupation, the reverse course has continued, step by step, to the present day.
In blunt terms, the United States has had to buy Japan’s allegiance to American strategy in postwar Asia. There is room for considerable debate over the tactics of this: what the price has been, how it has been paid, and how it has changed over time. But the fact of Japan’s subordinate and quasi-mercenary status vis-a-vis the United States for the greater part of the postwar era is rarely denied any longer even by the spokesmen of the two countries. In the Symington Committee hearings, for example, U. Alexis Johnson engaged in this exchange with Senators William Fulbright and Stuart Symington:
SENATOR FULBRIGHT: ... If we go out and hire foreign governments and pay them to agree with us, I think we are perhaps cutting off the source of good advice. We ought to go in more as equals and say, “What do you think about it?” If they say, “You are being a fool,” we ought to take it seriously.
MR. JOHNSON: All I can say. Senator, is that insofar as Japan is concerned, I do not feel that our expenditures in Japan are any significant factor in Japanese attitudes.
SENATOR SYMINGTON: Any more.
MR. JOHNSON: Any more.
SENATOR SYMINGTON: They were once.
MR. JOHNSON: Oh, yes. I agree. I do not think they are any more. (18)
Roughly a year later, in February 1971, Aiichiro Fujiyama—a leading Japanese businessman, conservative politician, and former Foreign Minister—implicitly disagreed with the Johnson view only to the extent of denying that Japan had yet escaped this subordination. In an interview with a correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review, Fujiyama explained Japan’s China policy as follows:
Q. Why do you think the government takes what appears to be a minority view not only in the international community but in Japan as well, and does it think this policy conforms with the national interest?
A. It operates, jointly with Taiwan and South Korea, within the framework of U.S. Asia policy, and cannot deviate from this basic line. Some people believe that to keep China out of spheres where it might clash with Japan serves their own brand of national interest.
“Our foreign ministry,” Fujiyama went on to note, “is just following the Washington line.” Then, in a rather striking comment for a member of the ruling Liberal-Democratic party, he proceeded to acknowledge that the “social climate” which had developed in Japan under the reverse course and the Washington line had indeed increased the possibility of Japanese militarism:
Q. In your talks with the Chinese leaders, how will you account for the charges of the revival of Japanese militarism which are bound to come up?
A. China has been very sensitive to foreign domination since the days of Sun Yat-sen. It has reason—no country has suffered more from Japanese militarism than China. MiUtarism may not be a state of armament alone. It may be just as much a problem of mentality, a state of mind. I strongly feel that these charges of militarism are largely directed against the social cUmate of Japan, which is susceptible to totalitarianism. Individualism is still in a very young stage here; I think it is for us Japanese to rethink and reappraise ourselves rather than to refute or deny foreign charges. I strongly fear the current trend in which the younger generation is increasingly showing interest in war, if not accepting it. It is our responsibility to drive home that war is not a romantic affair. (19)
The pathetic response of the Japanese government to the Nixon Administration’s sudden overtures to China in 1971-1972 can only be understood in this context. Long accustomed to being bought off, they were not, however, prepared to be sold out.
The origins and nature of the reverse course in occupied Japan remain a subject of considerable interest. One basic issue still requiring fuller documentation here is the very question of U.S. motivations in initiating this turn of policy away from the initial occupation goals of “demihtarization and democratization.” With the notable exception of mainstream American scholarship on the subject, most observers have attributed this to cold-war geopolitics—that is, the reverse course is seen primarily as part of America’s larger strategic decision to contain the Soviet Union and, increasingly, impede the course of revolution in China and throughout Asia. American scholars, on the other hand, have tended to adopt a more internalized view and justify the reverse course largely in terms of the need to remedy (for the good of Japan) the economic chaos existing within the country at that time; at the same time, they argue, it was necessary to get Japan on its feet economically in order to “preserve the reforms” and ease the tax burden which the occupation was imposing on the American people (some half billion dollars annually). In this view, strategic cold-war considerations were secondary to more practical economic concerns within Japan itself, and the United States did not really repudiate its generally idealistic original goals for Japan. Recent documentary collections such as the Pentagon Papers, the John Foster Dulles papers, and the papers of Joseph M. Dodge, who engineered the economic reverse course in occupied Japan, make continued adherence to the American Altruism Abroad School of postwar Japanese history increasingly a matter of mystical commitment. But at the very same time, these materials do raise provocative questions concerning the extent to which fundamentally economic considerations on a global scale may have taken precedence in both time and importance over more strictly military geopolitical concerns. The recent revisionist work of Joyce and Gabriel Kolko, for example, argues flatly that “Washington’s considerations in Japan were first and foremost economic,” meaning preservation of a global capitalist system, and developments in China only “added urgency” to the decision to “insure a self-supporting capitalist Japan.” (20)
The Pentagon Papers shed only belated light on this particular issue, for the earliest document of importance which deals at any length with Japan dates from December 1949, by which time the reverse course was already in full swing —having been initiated, significantly, long before the “anti-Japanese” Sino-Soviet Pact of February 1950 and a matter of years before the outbreak of the Korean War. The essence of this initial reverse course was indeed U.S. support for the emergence of a dependable, capitalist ruling class in Japan, and beginning in 1948 Shigeru Yoshida, with increasing U.S. support, began to fashion the “tripod” of big business, bureaucracy, and conservative party which has controlled Japan to the present day. The tentacles of this development were many; emanating from the fundamental reversal in economic policy, they reached out to strangle early reforms in the political, social, and military spheres as well. Zaibatsu dissolution was abandoned and recartelization encouraged; reparations were temporarily curtailed to hasten capital formation; restrictions on the production of hitherto banned war-related materials were lifted; purgees and war criminals were released; the working class was crippled through antilabor legislation plus wage freezes and “retrenchment” policies; “Red purges” (Japan’s McCarthyism) were instituted to eliminate the leaders of effective dissent in both the private and public sectors; and so on.
By 1948-1949, the reverse course had also moved into overtly military directions. In November 1948 the NSC, spurred by Kennan’s recommendations, called for the creation of a large national police force capable of suppressing domestic unrest in Japan. As the Communists consolidated their victory in China in 1949, it became known that severe divisions had emerged within the U.S. government over the future military disposition of Japan, with the Department of Defense opposed to relinquishing any U.S. control over the Japanese islands whatsoever. In November 1949, the State Department gave public indication of an apparent resolution of this internal debate by announcing that the United States was willing to seek a peace settlement with Japan conditional upon the indefinite posttreaty stationing of U.S. military forces in Japan. In fact, however, this did not assuage the Defense Department or resolve the debate in Washington. Dulles was brought into the State Department by President Truman in April 1950 to bring “bipartisanship” to the Japan issue, and on the eve of the Korean War Dulles was in Japan attempting to sell Yoshida on the U.S.’s latest price for sovereignty: Japanese remilitarization and rearmament—in addition to the postindependence presence of American troops. (21)
The Pentagon Papers include, in the government edition only, two NSC documents which deal at some length with policy toward occupied Japan. The first, dated December 23, 1949, and drawing upon position papers prepared earlier that year (notably NSC 48), is especially provocative, for it offers not only a rare glimpse of American officials musing on the national character of Japan, but also a defense of the road Japan was subsequently not allowed to take: the middle road in a multipolar, not bipolarized, Asia. It is important, in other words, that this document be read with the awareness that it was issued by the NSC at a time when Japan policy was the subject of intense controversy in Washington, and thus represents only one corner of the debate taking place at that time. In all likelihood it reflects the economically oriented position endorsed by George Kennan at this time and subsequently militarized by the U.S. government—thus, in Kennan’s view, freezing America’s options in Asia and very possibly contributing to the outbreak of the war in Korea. (22) Since the document is relatively inaccessible, the main sections on Japan are reproduced here:
8. Japan has ceased to be a world power, but retains the capability of becoming once more a significant Asiatic power. Whether its potential is developed and the way in which it is used will strongly influence the future patterns of politics in Asia. As a result of the occupation, Japan’s political structure has been basically altered and notable steps have been taken toward the development of democratic institutions and practices. Despite these advances, however, traditional social patterns, antithetical to democracy, remain strong. The demonstrated susceptibility of these patterns to totalitarian exploitation is enhanced by economic maladjustment which may grow more serious as a result of population increases and of obstacles to the expansion of trade.
9. Although, in terms of the Japanese context, an extreme right-wing movement might be more effective in exploiting traditional patterns and current dislocations than one of the extreme left, a number of factors combine to make the threat of Communism a serious one. These factors include the close proximity to a weak and disarmed Japan of Communist areas with the attendant opportunities for infiltration, clandestine support of Japanese Communist efforts, and diplomatic pressure backed by a powerful threat; the potential of Communist China as a source of raw materials vital to Japan and a market for its goods; and the existence in Japan of an ably-led, aggressive, if still relatively weak. Communist movement which may be able to utilize Japanese tendencies toward passive acceptance of leadership to further its drive for power while at the same time exploiting economic hardship to undermine the acceptability to the Japanese of other social patterns that are antithetical to Communist doctrines.
10. Even if totalitarian patterns in Japan were to reassert themselves in the form of extreme right-wing rather than Communist domination, the prospect would remain that Japan would find more compelling the political and economic factors moving it toward accommodation to the Soviet orbit internationally, however anti-Communist its internal policies, than those that move it toward military alliance with the United States. Extreme rightwing domination of Japan, moreover, although less immediately menacing to the United States than Communist control would represent a failure, particularly marked in the eyes of other non-Communist Asiatic countries, of a major United States political effort.
11. A middle of the road regime in Japan retaining the spirit of the reform program, even if not necessarily the letter, would in the long-run prove more reliable as an ally of the United States than would an extreme right-wing totalitarian government. Under such a regime the channels would be open for those elements in Japan that have gained most from the occupation to exercise their influence over government policy and to mold public opinion. Such a regime would undoubtedly wish to maintain normal political and economic relations with the Communist bloc and, in the absence of open hostilities, would probably resist complete identification either with the interests of the United States or the Soviet Union. The existence of such a regime, however, will make possible the most effective exercise of United States political and economic influence in the direction of ensuring Japan’s friendship, its ability to withstand external and internal Communist pressure, and its further development in a democratic direction.
12. The basic United States non-military objectives in Japan, therefore, remain the promotion of democratic forces and economic stability before and after the peace settlement. To further this objective the United States must seek to reduce to a minimum occupation or post-occupation interference in the processes of Japanese government while at the same time providing protection for the basic achievements of the occupation and the advice and assistance that will enable the Japanese themselves to perpetuate these achievements; provide further economic assistance to Japan and, in concert with its allies, facilitate the development of mutually beneficial economic relations between Japan and all other countries of the world; make it clear to Japan that the United States will support it against external aggression while at the same time avoiding the appearance that its policies in Japan are dictated solely by considerations of strategic self-interest and guarding against Japan’s exploitation of its strategic value to the United States for ends contrary to United States policy interests; and promote the acceptance of Japan as a peaceful, sovereign member of the community of nations. (23)
The Korean War became the pretext for repudiation of even the qualified flexibility of this NSC position; and by the time of the San Francisco peace conference of September 1951 it had been almost completely thrown to the winds. The remilitarization and remonopolization of the Japanese economy had been set on an inexorable course. The Japanese military was under reconstruction in the guise of a National Police Reserve. The way had been opened for the return of prewar rightist politicians, businessmen, and military officers to influential positions in both the public and private sectors. The Japanese labor movement was in disarray, partly through subversion by American labor organizations. Political dissent in Japan, under immense pressure from both U.S. spokesmen and the Japanese conservatives, was relegated to a position of increasing impotence. The peace conference itself, widely hailed to the present day by most Americans as possibly Dulles’ most notable achievement, was indeed a rather unique accomplishment: a “separate peace” for Asia, without Asians. The Soviet Union did not participate because of the militaristic provisions embodied in the concurrent U.S. -Japan Mutual Security Treaty—and indeed U.S. policymakers had recognized from before the Korean War that such arrangements would inevitably exclude the possibility of Soviet concurrence. China did not participate because it was not permitted to do so; under the ruse of letting the Japanese themselves resolve the issue of relations with Peking or the Kuomintang regime at a later date, Dulles gained agreement that no Chinese representatives would be invited to the conference—and then, with this fait accompli behind him, forced the Japanese into relations with Taiwan. India, Indonesia, and Burma, in fundamental disagreement with the Dulles style of statesmanship, refused to participate. The Philippines signed the treaty only after making known that it was in fact not to their liking. Indeed, Asian apprehension concerning the unilateral American policy toward Japan which culminated at San Francisco was assuaged only by Dulles’ simultaneous negotiation of military alliances with Australia and New Zealand (ANZUS), as well as the Philippines—pacts demanded of the United States at this time as insurance against future Japanese aggression.
The second document in the government edition of the Pentagon Papers which deals with pre-independence policy for postindependence Japan was prepared by the NSC in May 1951, four months before the peace conference, and is quite succinct on Japan’s projected role:
With respect to Japan the United States should:
a. Proceed urgently to conclude a peace settlement with Japan on the basis of the position already determined by the President, through urgent efforts to obtain agreement to this position by as many nations which participated in the war with Japan as possible.
b. Proceed urgently with the negotiation of bilateral security arrangements with Japan on the basis of the position determined by the President to be concluded simultaneously with a peace treaty.
c. Assist Japan to become economically self-supporting and to produce goods and services important to the United States and to the economic stability of the non-communist area of Asia.
d. Pending the conclusion of a peace settlement continue to:
(1) Take such steps as will facilitate transition from occupation status to restoration of sovereignty.
(2) Assist Japan in organizing, training, and equipping the National Police Reserve and the Maritime Safety Patrol in order to facilitate the formation of an effective military establishment.
e. Following the conclusion of a peace settlement:
(1) Assist Japan in the development of appropriate military forces.
(2) Assist Japan in the production of low-cost military materiel in volume for use in Japan and in other non-communist countries of Asia.
(3) Take all practicable steps to achieve Japanese membership in the United Nations and participation in a regional security arrangement.
(4) Establish appropriate psychological programs designed to further orient the Japanese toward the free world and away from communism. (24)
As Joseph Dodge observed even more tersely in January 1952, Japan’s posttreaty obligations to the United States would be as follows:
(1) Production of goods and services important to the United States and the economic stabilization of non-Communist Asia; (2) Production of low cost military material in volume for use in Japan and non-Communist Asia;
(3) Development of its own appropriate military forces as a defensive shield and to permit the redeployment of United States forces. (25)
Following the restoration of independence, Japan in fact followed the Dodge outline, a path significantly distant from that urged earlier by Kennan. “Middle of the road” domestic politics in Japan was so quickly abandoned that by 1957 Nobusuke Kishi, former economic czar of Manchukuo and wartime Vice Munitions Minister under Tojo, had emerged as Prime Minister with Mitsubishi backing and gladly renewed old interests as Munitions Minister for the Eisenhower Administration. “Middle of the road” external policies were so far beyond Japan’s capability or concern by 1957 that, as head of his party’s foreign policy committee, Kishi blithely appointed Kaya Okinobu, reputed architect of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity sphere concept. (26) War, expansion into Southeast Asia, and the United States—which together had brought Japan to shambles by 1945—became, within a matter of years, the determinants of Japanese reconstruction.
4. REAL, IMAGINARY, AND MIRACULOUS WARS
SENATOR CHURCH: “Mr. Secretary, is it the policy of the administration to urge Japan to modernize its armed forces or to expand its military budget?”
SECRETARY [of State] ROGERS: “Yes.”
SENATOR CHURCH: “That is a snappy answer.”
SECRETARY ROGERS: “Well, it is a snappy question.” —from the Senate hearings on the Okinawa Reversion Treaty, October 1971 (27)
Although the Secretary of State did not mention it, the military relationship between the United States and Japan also involves some fairly snappy anomalies. Some examples:
By 1970 it was acknowledged that “Japan has the capacity of defending, now defending, Japan proper against a major conventional attack.” (28) Yet in 1970 the Japanese government, with strong U.S. support, announced its Fourth Defense Plan calling for a defense budget for the 1972-1976 period which is more than fifty percent larger than prior expenditures under the First, Second, and Third Defense Plans combined. It is anticipated, moreover, that the Fifth Defense Plan will show a comparable increase over the Fourth.
While the primary mission of Japan’s “Self Defense Forces” is ostensibly defense of Japan against conventional external attack, there is in fact no meaningful evidence that any other Asian country in recent history has ever planned a direct military attack on Japan. On the contrary, historically the threat has been from Japan against continental Asia (through Korea), and not the other way around. The public statements of Washington’s spokesmen have, of course, been full of Communist conspiracies, timetables, plans of world conquest. The Korean War, it was argued, was aimed at Japan, and there is no doubt that some American policymakers, particularly on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, actually believed this to be the case. Theoretically the Soviet Union in the postwar period has been capable of invading Japan, although this would require (1) extraordinarily complex mobilization of amphibious forces; and (2) that the Kremlin’s leaders be insane. George Kennan, hardly one to think charitably of Soviet intentions, found no evidence to indicate that the Russians had “any intention to launch an outright military attack” against Japan at the time of the Korean War, and there has been no hard evidence to the contrary since. (29) China, on the other hand, has never posed even the theoretical possibility of a conventional attack on Japan. As U. Alexis Johnson noted as late as 1970, “lacking air and over water transport, for their forces, the Chinese Communists do not now pose a direct conventional threat against Japan.” (30) This evaluation is widely accepted by virtually all American experts on Chinese military development, and it is furthermore now acknowledged that China has no military programs underway to create a capability of offensive action against Japan. On the contrary, the Chinese military is almost exclusively oriented toward defense. Most postwar Japanese leaders, even in the conservative ranks, have always held this view—even in the early years of the cold war when it ran counter to the official U.S. line. (31)
The United States maintains some 30,000 military personnel on 125 facilities covering 75,000 acres in Japan proper; as of September 1969 the Defense Department classified 40 of these bases as “major.” In Okinawa after reversion the United States will maintain approximately 50,000 American servicemen on eighty-eight military installations covering another 75,000 acres (26 percent of all the land on Okinawa). Yet none of these U.S. forces are directly concerned with the defense of Japan, and indeed—as noted by former White House and Pentagon adviser Morton Halperin—”none of the forces in our general purpose force structure are justified by the requirements of the defense of Japan.” (32)
The USSR could pose a nuclear threat to Japan, and China is presumedly now developing a modest capability of the same sort. Should a serious nuclear strike against Japan actually take place, there would be little left for Japan to do (and little left of Japan’s industrial heart), and the burden of response would fall upon U.S. nuclear retaliation. Extension of the U.S. nuclear shield to cover Japan thus presumedly deters such attack. However, U.S. bases in Japan are theoretically irrelevant to this deterrence since under the U.S.-Japan agreement nuclear weapons are excluded from Japan. And the United States has given flat assurances that there will be no nuclear weapons on Okinawa after reversion. (33) It is sometimes argued that the American nuclear guarantee to Japan means U.S. taxpayers are actually paying for Japan’s defense. On the contrary, as Halperin notes, “The U.S. nuclear umbrella, which does protect Japan, would not be any smaller or any different if Japanese security were not one of its functions.” (34)
Then what is the significance of American bases in Japan, and of Japan’s steadily accelerating rearmament? First, in U. Alexis Johnson’s words, “Our position in our facilities, bases in Japan as well as in Okinawa, are not so much related directly to the defense of Japan and Okinawa as they are to our ability to support our commitments elsewhere.” More specifically:
The bases and facilities provided by Japan under the provisions of the Treaty are especially important to our ability to maintain our commitments to the Republic of Korea and the Republic of China. Although we maintain no ground combat forces in Japan, our rear area logistics depots, the communications sites, the large and well equipped naval facilities and airfields, hospitals, and so on, have also been important factors in our ability to support and maintain our forces in Southeast Asia. (35)
Simply put, the bases in Japan exist to support America’s clients in “that whole part of the world”: South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, South Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand. Even those military advisers who now see technological advances as permitting a substantial reduction in the U.S. forward position in Asia emphasize that access to the key air and naval bases in Japan must remain a bedrock of U.S. strategy. (36) The superdomino argument of the Pentagon Papers can easily be applied to explain how the use of Japan for commitments elsewhere is in the end a commitment to Japan: if the lesser clients fall, so eventually will the greater, and in the end the bases in Japan, in this view, do keep Japan safe for America.
A second level of concern is why Japan, steadily remilitarizing since 1950 and already capable of its own conventional defense, is about to embark upon an entirely new level of military expansion. Here the official spokesmen of both the United States and Japan are naturally wary. They deny that Japan is attempting to develop the capability of military activity outside its borders. But at the same time the definition of those borders (“defense perimeter”) is being dramatically revised. As described more fully in Section 6, this is precisely the implication of the 1969 Nixon-Sato communique. While hedging on the issue of Japanese troops abroad, the Nixon Administration has been frank and even boastful in explaining the price it exacted from Prime Minister Sato in return for the reversion of Okinawa: Sato’s official statement (“quite a new stage of thinking in Japan,” according to Johnson (37)) that henceforth Japan will regard its own security as inseparable from that of Korea and Taiwan. To students of Japanese history, this “new stage of thinking” has quite old and tangled roots, and immediately evokes Aritomo Yamagata’s formulation of the “lines of sovereignty, lines of defense” concept in the 1890s, following which Japan lopped off Korea (the Japanese used German military advisers in those days). For students of contemporary Japan, the 1969 communique calls to mind the “Three Arrows” scandal of 1965, in which secret Japanese military plans linking Japan and Korea were leaked to the public. (38) Without access to broad U.S. and Japanese documentation comparable to the Pentagon Papers, it is impossible to say what type of integrated contingency plans now exist for Northeast Asia. But it is absolutely unequivocable that a major change in public consciousness on this issue is now being effected: the “important thing that has taken place,” Johnson told the Symington committee, is “that Japan is interested and involved in the defense of other areas.” And in Halperin’s words, “a further rearmament by the Japanese, if it were to make any sense, would have to be in the defense of other countries in Asia.” (39)
The issues of bases in Japan and Japanese rearmament pose serious questions of military planning; these are fairly obvious. At another, more neglected level, however, these point to a simple and important fact: from the beginning of its modern experience, wars—real or imagined, its own or someone else’s—have been the spur to economic growth and industrial take-off in Japan. Armaments were Japan’s initial entree into the development of heavy industry in the nineteenth century. The Sino-Japanese and Russo-Japanese wars of 1894-1895 and 1904-1905 moved it into the stage of finance capital and continental economic expansion. World War I, the war of the others, provided the boom that propelled the industrial sector ahead of the agrarian, and shaped the giant combines. Mobilization for “total war” production in the 1930s pulled Japan out of the global depression. The outbreak of the Korean War in 1950 turned a potentially disastrous depression deriving from the Dodge retrenchment policies into spectacular take-off, after orthodox economic policies had failed. The ravishment of another Asian country, Vietnam, heated a cooling Japanese economy from 1965. Even the ostensible exception—the eight-years’ war of 1937-1945, which ended with Japan seemingly in ruins—in fact only proves the rule: for it appears now that much of Japan’s postwar economic growth is directly attributable to governmental investment in equipment and technical education during the 1930s and 1940s. “The Japanese economy,” in Ronald Dore’s words, “has thrived on war and the prospect of war.” (40) This has been as true in the postwar era as it was before 1945, and those who presently offer the “Japanese miracle” as a model to others offer a very deceptive product. Without a hundred years of actual or envisioned war to fatten on, the Japanese economy would still be lean.
Detailed examination of the role of war-related stimulation in postwar Japanese economic growth is extremely difficult, for the statistics involved are illusive, a large part of the relationship is indirect, and few scholars have attempted to come to grips with the problem. On the one hand it is possible to point to some fairly firm figures: between 1950-1960, the United States pumped a total of $6.12 billion in military “special procurements” purchases into Japan, thus comprising the single most important impetus to postwar recovery. (41) From 1946 to 1968 the United States provided some $1.07 billion in military aid to Japan and another $3.08 billion in economic aid; after repayments the net total was approximately $3.5 billion.’ (42) In 1970, operating costs for the U.S. bases in Japan were estimated at $490 million annually; another $460 million went into support of U.S. facilities and personnel in Okinawa each year. (43) Estimates of “war profits” enjoyed by Japan in the post- 1965 Vietnam war boom vary greatly depending upon one’s criteria of indirect war benefits, but generally appear to have been in the neighborhood of $1 billion annually. (44) But such figures barely touch the surface of the problem. They do not, for example, reveal the fact that U.S. aid to Japan in the 1950s was so structured that the resurrection of Japan’s defense industries, coupled with the reemergence of monopolistic control, became by U.S. design the key to Japan’s economic recovery. (45) The figures do not reveal the manner in which the United States bought Japanese acquiescence in the Pax Americana by carefully manipulating “non-military” international trade, aid, and monetary transactions to Japan’s benefit. Similarly, the figures are inadequate when it comes to understanding how America’s wars in Asia have benefited Japan by default, as ruinous military outlays drained the U.S. economy and in the process created new global markets for Japan. The military context of the Japanese economic penetration of Southeast Asia is likewise not apparent in the surface statistics — with its peculiarly cynical dimension of using war reparations to turn the savagery of Imperial Japan into a profitable new co-prosperity sphere for “peaceful” postwar Japan. (46)
One of the more recent and intriguing examples of the subtle relationship between America’s military policies and Japan’s economic growth has been the Japanese economic penetration of South Korea and Taiwan (also Indonesia) beginning around 1964-1965. In certain respects the situation resembles a slightly distorted looking-glass version of moves a decade and a half earlier. Thus in 1950 the Japanese economy was entering a severe depression; it was revitalized by the Korean War boom and remilitarization of Japan; and even before the war the United States had begun laying plans to lock Japan into an anti-Communist bloc with itself and Southeast Asia. In 1964-1965 the Japanese economy was cooling off; it was rekindled by the Vietnam war boom plus sudden economic access to Korea and Taiwan; and in fact, in anticipation of its escalation in Vietnam the United States appears to have worked behind the scenes to help Japan drive the opening wedge into the economies of its two former colonies. Washington’s goals were transparent: as the United States prepared to divert enormous resources to an expanded war in Vietnam, only Japan had the capability of assuming part of the burden of shoring up the Park and Chiang regimes. Japan’s post- 1965 trade and investment statistics vis-d-vis South Korea and Taiwan clearly indicate that for Japan it has once again been lucrative to operate in the shadows of other’s wars.
The Pentagon Papers provide little information on the U.S. role in paving the way for Japan’s rapid economic expansion into South Korea and Taiwan, although high U.S. officials such as William Bundy, Dean Rusk, and Walt Kostow visited Japan in quick succession during the crucial period in late 1964 and early 1965 when the massive escalation of the Vietnam war was on the U.S. drawing boards. It is hardly likely that the sudden resolution of the Japan-ROK normalization talks which occurred shortly thereafter was purely coincidental, although it may well turn out that the leverage applied by the United States against the Koreans was most instrumental in paving the way to restoration of Korean- Japanese relations after more than a decade of bitter stalemate between the two countries; it was Korea, after all, which was letting the tiger into the house. The Papers do, however, provide an ironic sideHght on this period. At a meeting at the State Department in August 1963, Roger Hilsman “reported that there is a Korean study now underway on just how much repression the United States will tolerate before pulling out her aid” (Gravel ed., II:742). The answer was apparently plenty, but from 1965 on an immense amount of U.S. “aid” to South Korea was actually directly related to ROK participation in the Vietnam war. Japanese assistance in shoring up Korean repression became increasingly urgent from this time, a fact recognized no matter what one’s stand on the Vietnam escalation. Thus George Ball, in advancing his critique of America’s Vietnam policy in July 1965, stressed that Japan’s role vis-a-vis South Korea would become even more imperative if the United States decided to seek a “compromise settlement” in South Vietnam:
... if we stop pressing the Koreans for more troops to Vietnam (the Vietnamese show no desire for additional Asian forces since it affronts their sense of pride) we may be able to cushion Korean reactions to a compromise in South Vietnam by the provision of greater military and economic assistance. In this regard, Japan can play a pivotal role now that it has achieved normal relations with South Korea (Gravel ed., IV:619).
The implications of Japan’s new level of involvement in Northeast Asia under these conditions cut ominously toward the future. Immediate questions concerning the extent to which Japan’s overwhelming economic leverage is already crippling economic independence in Taiwan and South Korea are compounded by serious long-range questions concerning the effects of this tight embrace upon the reunification of both of the divided countries. Such involvement has not alleviated repression; it has only fed corruption. And as Japan’s economic stakes in the ex-colonies grow, the likelihood of committing Japanese troops to protect those stakes also increases.
The overall Problematik implicit here is crucial. For the scholar and critic, such developments provide useful openings for an increased understanding of strategic planning, capitalism, and imperialism. For nonscholars—for the Japanese people and their neighbors more particularly—there are more urgent reasons that the system be comprehended, for the wars that may be will not be of the imaginary or miraculous variety. Those are about used up.
5. THE HOW-FAR-RIGHT-IS-LEFT DILEMMA
Washington’s decisionmakers have never been really certain whether or not to trust the Japanese, and if they couldn’t why they shouldn’t. This is hardly a rare phenomenon among potentially competitive nation states, and the racial differences between the United States and Japan undoubtedly contribute to mutual suspicion. The “Asian mind,” as Americans have never ceased to point out since they first encountered it, is “different” (Gravel ed., III:685; IV: 182). And in the case of Japan, that “difference” is now coupled with power unprecedented in the history of Asia.
The paradoxes implicit in the formal U.S. attitude toward Japan are not immediately apparent, but they are nonetheless most intriguing. On the surface, Japan has until fairly recently been one of official Washington’s least problematic allies. The U.S. -Japan alliance has seemed relatively stable. Japan’s ruling elites have displayed rather impeccable conservative, anti-Communist credentials. The thrust of the Japanese economy ostensibly has been toward capitalism and the capitalist bloc. No external military threat has confronted Japan, and the country is presumedly entering a period of prosperity and a placated citizenry. Since 1950 Japan has allegedly been enjoying a great “free ride” at America’s expense, and the “regionalism” and “multilateralism” of the Nixon Doctrine are supposed to work to the continued mutual advantage of both Japan and the United States.
More specifically, particularly since 1964 the distribution of political power within Japan could not have been more fortunate from Washington’s point of view. As it happened, U.S. escalation of the war in Indochina coincided with the premiership of Eisaku Sato, whose acquiescence to U.S. policy was until recently virtually total. Sato’s biannual joint communiques with the American presidents (1965, 1967, 1969) read like State Department public relations releases on Vietnam; his endorsement of the American line on China was so thorough that it split his own party (and in the end, with Nixon’s reversal of China policy, left Sato without political face in Japan). On the surface, the Pentagon Papers suggest that the Kennedy and Johnson administrations had considerable confidence in their allies in Japan. Thus in November 1964, a month after he had visited Japan, William Bundy ventured the opinion that escalation of the war against North Vietnam would in fact be welcomed by Japan’s leaders, although it might have unfortunate repercussions within Japan itself:
The Japanese government, and considerable informed opinion in Japan, would be quietly pleased by the US action against the DRV. The Japanese government would probably attempt to stay fairly aloof from the question, however, for fear of provoking extreme domestic pressures or possible Chinese Communist action against Japan. In such process, the Japanese government, especially one headed by Kono, might seek to restrict certain US base rights in Japan (Gravel ed., III:598). (47)
By 1967, Japanese support of U.S. aggression in Asia had exceeded even Bundy’s expectations, and he was expressing surprise that Japan, like Britain, “accepted our recent bombings with much less outcry than I, frankly, would have anticipated” (Gravel ed., IV: 156).
Yet even with the agreeable Mr. Sato on tap, and a postwar history of official Japanese endorsement of American policy in Asia, the inner record also reveals that U.S. policymakers have found many reasons for uncertainty concerning the stability of the alliance. In fact, it might be argued that the dominant impression conveyed by the Pentagon Papers is not that of confidence in the stability of the U.S.-Japan relationship, but on the contrary an almost paranoid fear that Japan could easily “go communist.” Throughout the period covered in these documents (to 1968), Japan emerges in American eyes as an either/or country, capable of no constructive middle course between the Communist and capitalist camps — but fully capable, on the other hand, of swinging its weight behind the other side. Thus from the Truman through the Johnson administrations, the dominant fear expressed in the Pentagon Papers is that an American failure in Vietnam would drive Japan into an “accommodation with the Communist bloc,” or into an inevitably ominous relationship with Communist China. Even the “realistic” George Ball took essentially this position in 1965 in developing his critique of Vietnam policy:
Japan is a much more complex case. If its confidence in the basic wisdom of the American policy can be retained, Japan may now be in the mood to take an increasingly active and constructive part in Asia. If, on the other hand, the Japanese think that we have basically misjudged and mishandled the whole Vietnam situation, they may turn sharply in the direction of neutralism, and even of accommodation and really extensive relationships with Communist China. Such action would not only drastically weaken Japan’s ties with the U.S. and with the West, but would render the situation, particularly in Korea, extremely precarious.... It is Ambassador Ray Shower’s judgment that Japanese would be highly sensitive—partly on Asian racial grounds—to any bombing of Hanoi and presumably Haiphong. He concludes that such bombing would “have very damaging effects on the U.S./Japan relationship.”
As to the quest of the extent of U.S. ground forces, Ray Shower believes that from the standpoint of Japanese reaction, “We could further increase them even on a massive scale without too much further deterioration of public attitudes toward us. However, if this were to lead to a slackening of the South Vietnamese effort and a growing hostility on the part of the local population toward us, this would have catastrophic repercussions here in Japan. This is exactly what the Japanese fear may already be the situation, and if their fears were borne out in reality, there would be greatly increased public condemnation of our position. Even the Government and other supporters here would feel we had indeed got bogged down in a hopeless war against ‘nationalism’ in Asia. Under such circumstances it would be difficult for the government to resist demands that Japan cut itself loose as far as possible from a sinking ship of American policy in Asia” (Gravel ed., IV:614).
Four general and often paradoxical areas of concern can help illuminate the American uncertainty concerning Japan. First, and most obviously, the fear of “losing Japan” is based upon arguments of economic pressure. It is a familiar cliche that “Japan must trade to live”; moreover, Japan’s continued economic growth will depend upon expanded trade. Should the present patterns which tie it into the web of world capitalism be disrupted, then Japan will be forced to seek alternative economic relations. In the particular focus of the Pentagon Papers, loss of access to Southeast Asia (or the failure of the area to develop rapidly enough to meet Japan’s needs) will inevitably place pressure on Japan to move toward increased “accommodations” with non-capitalist countries. Also, despite the immense economic relationship which has developed between Japan and the United States in the postwar period, American leaders in fact have evinced lack of confidence in the stability of this relationship. On the one hand, for example, it is stated that the economic ties between the two countries are “natural” and beneficial for both parties—and, on the other hand, that there exists no comparable potential for Japan in the direction of economic ties with China. As U. Alexis Johnson argued before the Symington committee, China offers Japan neither the markets nor raw materials it needs. Moreover:
... the history of trade indicates that as countries develop the greatest trade develops between developed countries, and when I was in Japan I was struck by the fact that when the Japanese use the first person plural “we” more often than not they were talking about “we, the developed countries, Japan, the United States, and Western Europe.” They find their interests and their problems in rough terms parallel with the interests of the developed countries. (48)
Yet no such firm faith can be found in the policy papers of the American government. Despite the theory of the naturalness of capitalist relations; despite the immensity of Japan’s present interlock with the United States in particular; and without necessarily even postulating military pressure on Japan—the basic U.S. position of Japan as the superdomino clearly was premised upon an almost totalistic view of Japan’s economic complementariness to the “communist bloc,” the ease with which it might simply detach itself from the global capitalist economy and “disappear” behind the Iron (or Bamboo) Curtain. Is Japan’s heavy reliance upon the United States as a source for primary products really “natural”? Will the American market for Japanese exports continue to grow despite increasing domestic pressures for protectionist legislation against Japan? Is the potential for mutually beneficial economic relations between Japan and China (and other noncapitalist countries) really as limited as U.S. spokesmen publicly allege? In practice, American policy toward Japan appears to have been undercut by substantial uncertainty on such matters, bordering at times on paranoia. Secondly, beginning around the mid-1960s, the economic concern became compounded by concern over American “credibility” in Japan—that is, it was recognized that Japan’s consistent official endorsement of U.S. policy does not necessarily carry with it either agreement or respect, and may reach a breaking point. This observation was undoubtedly valid, and three observations may help put it in perspective: (1) There was no reason for U.S. officials to anticipate that Japan would indefinitely pretend a sense of “obligation” to the United States, for the simple reason that the United States has never done anything for Japan that it did not believe to be in the American interest. Even Secretary of State Dean Rusk did not romanticize this point. Fittingly enough, the Gravel edition of the Pentagon Papers concludes with a flat repudiation by Rusk of the popular conceit of “American benevolence” in Asia:
Now, the basis for these alliances that we made in the Pacific was that the security of those areas was vital to the security of the United States. We did not go into these alliances as a matter of altruism, to do someone else a favor. We went into them because we felt that the security of Australia and the United States, New Zealand and the United States, was so interlinked that we and they ought to have an alliance with each other, and similarly with the other alliances we have in the Pacific, as with the alliance in NATO. So that these alliances themselves rest upon a sense of the national security interests of the United States and not just on a fellow feeling for friends in some other part of the world. (49)
Certainly there was no reason to expect the Japanese themselves to think otherwise. (2) As indicated earlier, Japan was integrated into America’s Asia in the 1950s only under considerable pressure at a time when Japan was essentially powerless. The details of this early period have not yet been fully studied, but some of the complexity of the situation can be suggested by looking at the position of Shigeru Yoshida, usually characterized as an archconservative and America’s man-in-Japan. In fact, the record indicates that Yoshida opposed the United States on the most fundamental issues of this period, namely the repressive economic policies of the Dodge Plan, isolation of China, military strings attached to U.S. aid, and rapid rearmament of Japan. The issues of Japanese remilitarization, U.S. bases in Japan and Okinawa, and Japanese acquiescence in the general U.S. line on China and Asia never had unanimous support even among Japanese conservatives, and Yoshida’s ouster from the premiership in December 1954 came about to a large extent because of internal disagreements within Japan on such issues. By the mid-1960s, this had been exacerbated by opposition within conservative ranks to the U.S. war policy in Vietnam. (3) By the mid-1960s Japan was—and it seemed to occur suddenly—entering the “superpower” category. That is, the underpinnings of American credibility in Asia were being chal lenged at the very moment that it became recognized Japan no longer could be treated as a mere dependent power. Sato as an individual undoubtedly found himself more comfortable in the familiar role of subordinate, but it was increasingly and painfully obvious that the Japanese state was entering a period of unprecedented strength at the very moment the United States was plummeting to a postwar nadir.
A third element of uncertainty was the uncomfortable recognition on the part of U.S. officials that in addition to its internal splits, the Japanese ruling class as a whole does not reflect the view of the majority of Japanese people—particularly insofar as support of American policy is concerned. The Ball memorandum cited above is fairly typical in its distinction between the Japanese “government” and the Japanese “public.” Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara voiced a similar grudging appreciation of the potential political potency of popular anti-American sentiments in Japan:
The price paid for improving our image as a guarantor has been damage to our image as a country which eschews armed attacks on other nations.... The objection to our “warlike” image and the approval of our fulfilling our commitments competes in the minds of many nations (and individuals) in the world, producing a schizophrenia. Within such allied countries as UK and Japan, popular antagonism to the bombings per se, fear of escalation, and belief that the bombings are the main obstacle to negotiation, have created political problems for the governments in support of US policy (Gravel ed., IV:54).
Just as the ambiguous U.S. position on the prospects of Sino-Japanese relations raises the question of how great the potential economic ties between the two countries actually may be, so also in this case the American attitude raises the issue of how great the potential for radical mass political action has actually been in postwar Japan. Many American sociologists and historians of Japan have tended to minimize the possibility of effective political action from below in Japan by pointing to the traditional structures of authoritarianism and hierarchy to which most Japanese remain fundamentally acquiescent. But at the same time, looking not to scholarship but to the views held by practicing politicians, one finds in countless quarters a pervasive fear of the “revolutionary” potential of the Japanese masses. Such fear is in fact a potent theme in prewar as well as postwar Japan—one which has received little scholarly attention as yet, although primary documentation is voluminous in Japanese, American, and British sources. It was unquestionably greatly exacerbated by the extraordinary vigor of the popular lower and middle-class movements which burst into the political scene in the immediate postwar years in Japan and were repressed only by the reverse course in occupation policy. George Kennan’s Memoirs offer a vivid example of American fear of leftist insurrection in postwar Japan, and the primary mission of the resurrected postwar military establishment (like the Meiji army of the 1870s) originally was suppression of internal threats to Japan. Mass action culminating in the Security Treaty crisis of 1960, which forced cancellation of President Eisenhower’s visit to Japan, and the dramatic Japanese street demonstrations of the late 1960s, could be taken as reconfirmation of these fears. Neither Sato’s accommodating manner nor the sociologists’ reassuring patterns of submissive behavior could entirely dispel the nagging U.S. fear that the relationship it had so carefully knitted with the conservative ruling classes in Japan might not in fact be unravelled from the left within Japan itself.
This perspective helps explain the NSC position in May 1951 that insofar as postoccLipation Japan was concerned, it was imperative that the United States “establish appropriate programs designed to further orient the Japanese toward the free world and away from communism.” (50) The same fear also underlies the broad and subtle brand of cultural imperialism which American officials and scholars have pursued in Japan, particularly since 1960. The Asia sections of the influential Conlon Report, issued in November 1959, were written by one of America’s most articulate hawks and best-known Japan specialists, Robert Scalapino, and called among other things for American “diplomacy in depth.” (51) For those interested in the scholar/government symbiosis as manifested in U.S.- Japanese relations, a potentially fascinating study remains unexplored here. For it was at this juncture that Edwin O. Reischauer of Harvard was appointed ambassador to Japan, with the self-described mission of opening a “dialogue” with that country. And it was at the scholarly Hakone Conference of 1960 that American Japan specialists initiated the “modernization theory” focus which has subsequently dominated U.S. scholarship on Japan and has been, at root, an attempt to present Japan as a nonrevolutionary, anti-Marxist model of development. The goal has been to undercut both the activist and academic left in Japan, and Japanese journals throughout the 1960s contain a heavy array of articles in Japanese by American scholars engaged in this task of “diplomacy in depth.”
Finally, however, it must be recognized that the concerns outlined above are not self-contained and really become meaningful only when they are placed in a broader, more theoretical (and more illusive) context. Namely this: that when one views the world from a liberal or quasi-liberal perspective, the distinctions between the political left and political right become blurred. Under vague rubrics such as “totalitarianism,” the archconservative and the Communist on the surface may appear to offer little to choose between—except, perhaps, insofar as their foreign policies are concerned. Ostensibly they will hold opposing attitudes toward private property and competition—but what is one to say in the case of a zaibatsu-controlled economy? How is one to evaluate the close mesh of government and business in Japan? And whether the Japanese masses have revolutionary potential or are traditionally submissive, doesn’t either imply an easy susceptibility to Communist control?
These are practical, not merely academic questions, and in the final analysis they are probably the key to understanding why American policymakers have been so consistently fearful of a totalistic Japanese “accommodation to communism.” Having resurrected and nurtured the political right in postwar Japan, they were faced with the question of how far right the Japanese would move before they became, potentially, “left.” In this sense, subsequent American administrations caught the whiplash of the reverse course of the occupation period: that is, they could never be certain that they had not cut the early reform policies off too early, and too close to the root. It is, on the surface, unreasonable to assume that a Communist Southeast Asia would knock a powerful, anti-Communist Japan almost entirely into the “Communist camp”—but it is not entirely irrational to believe that a fundamentally authoritarian Japan would, if somewhat pressed, find few bars to seeking an accommodation with other “authoritarian” countries.
This line of analysis gains credence from the fact that both Japanese and American politicians and policymakers faced it squarely at various points. This issue became, it should be noted, of absolutely central concern in Japan from the late 1930s up to 1945; the heart of the “peace” movement in wartime Japan, as evidenced most dramatically in the famous Konoe Memorial of February 1945, was the fear that the war was leading to the “communization” of Japan, pri marily in the form of “right-wing communism,” and even “emperor communism.” (52) Again—a prewar example with postwar implications—Kishi, certainly the most reactionary of Japan’s postwar prime ministers, was in the prewar period accused of Communist sympathies because of his interest in National Socialism. It was precisely this “rightist/leftist” problem which underlay the position advanced by the NSC in 1949 and reproduced at some length here in Section 3. No other U.S. document now available on Japan sets the problem down so clearly, and this must certainly be judged the most valuable of the Pentagon Papers insofar as an understanding of this dimension of the postwar U.S.-Japan relationship is concerned. Overarching all other apprehensions concerning Japan’s reliability as an ally—economic pressure, U.S. credibility, revolutionary potential within Japan—was the broad structure of “totalitarian” conceptualization, the question of how far right is left. (53)
6. THE SUPERINSCRUTABLE
SENATOR SYMINGTON: “Well, one final question. Is it true that the less we do in Vietnam, the more they approve our policies in the Far East?”
MR. JOHNSON: “No.”
SENATOR SYMINGTON: “I am trying to follow your logic.”
MR. JOHNSON: “Let me put it this way: They do not want to see us lose in Vietnam. At the same time, they do not want to see us do things that they feel carry with them the danger of our being drawn into a larger war and in turn—“
SENATOR SYMINGTON: “So militarily speaking, they do not want us to lose, but they do not want us to win.”
MR. JOHNSON: “Well, you could express it that way.”
SENATOR SYMINGTON: “It is a mystery to me what has been going on out there during the past 5 years. I am glad to see it is a little complicated to you also, because you have seen more of the inside than I.”
—testimony of U. Alexis Johnson, former U.S. ambassador to Japan, January 1970 (54)
The question “where is Japan going” has really occurred to most Americans only in the period subsequent to that covered in the Pentagon Papers, that is, primarily during the Nixon Administration. It derives, to begin with, from the new superpower image of Japan and the unexpectedly anti-Japanese actions taken by Nixon in handling economic policy and China relations. At a deeper level it reflects a significantly new stage in Japan’s economic and military development; a new, still uncertain level of nationalistic consciousness in Japan; and the open emergence of serious contradictions in the U.S.-Japan relationship.
It is of central importance to note the timing of the new stage, and in particular the compression of the timing. For the bulk of the postwar period, Japan has undeniably been a second-class member in America’s Asia. For several decades it has been forced to nurse substantial wounds of pride, because the “lackey” image assigned it in Communist polemics unfortunately rings true. (55) In Senator Symington’s eyes, for example, Japan in 1970 still remained “a conquered nation, an occupied nation.” (56) And thus, from the Japanese perspective, the roles of “superpower” and “subordinate” have coalesced or overlapped. The grooves of the long unequal relationship with the United States run deep and are not easy to depart from, but the friction in those grooves is heating up.
From the American perspective this coalescence is also true, but the ambivalence is further compounded by another point of timing: the sudden recognition in the mid-1960s that Japan is the most dynamically expanding power in Asia (if not the world) coincided with the recognition that the United States, on the contrary, is a power in disarray, and certainly a waning Pacific power. Thus at the very moment that Japan approached the level the United States had supposedly always wanted (the capacity for major military and economic activity in non-Communist Asia), many Americans discovered that perhaps they had not wanted this after all. The wedding of the superdomino and superpower images, in short, produced not a super-ally but a superthreat in the view of many. Or, in the more neutral jargon of the political scientist, it might be argued that in its relationship with Japan the United States has apparently moved directly from a friendship among unequals to an “adversary friendship,” without ever having been able to sustain even temporarily an interlude of amicable equality.
As a result, since the period covered by the Pentagon Papers the stereotyped apprehension of a Japanese accommodation to the Communist bloc has been replaced by other alarming visions—notably fear of a militarily resurgent Japan and premonitions of a global trade war between the United States and Japan (in which Japan is most often conceded ultimate victory) or the Japanese creation of an independent and autarkic yen bloc in Asia. (57) These more current apprehensions are not necessarily consistent with the traditional fear of a “Red” Japan, but that is of little solace to America’s uneasy political and economic leaders. Nor are these fears really new. As early as 1949, the NSC cautioned that “in the course of time a threat of domination [of Asia] may come from such nations as Japan, China, or India, or from an Asiatic bloc,” (58) and indeed virtually all of the world warned the United States of this possibility when it unilaterally decided to set Japan upon the reverse course. In the exigencies of daily policy, however, this caution was thrown to the winds, and the United States devoted itself to encouraging not only Japan’s remilitarization and economic penetration of Southeast Asia, South Korea, and Taiwan, but also the suppression within Japan of outspoken opposition to such policies. The question is no longer what the United States has sown, but what Japan, Asia, and the world will reap.
Insofar as U.S. attitudes are concerned, as the decade of the 1970s opened, the Japanese, somewhat to their surprise, discovered that in conforming to U.S. postwar policy for Asia they had uhimately aroused American hostility and distrust. In August 1971, in the midst of the economic and diplomatic “Nixon shocks,” the Japanese Foreign Ministry prepared a memorandum for use in government and business circles in Japan, summarizing American complaints. The document, subsequently made available in English, concluded with this summation of the “General Image of Japan arising out of the above-mentioned Criticism”:
(1) As to Japan as a Country
A. Japan is a strange country whose attitudes can’t be measured by standards valid in America and Europe and therefore Americans can’t but conclude that Japan is a country whose statements and actions it is impossible for Americans to interpret reliably.
B. Japan is ungrateful for the U.S.’s generosity and help to Japan after the War.
C. Japan is pursuing her ambition to become the No. 1 country in the world and her people are all united in this purpose, without reflecting on the consequences of their actions to others.
D. Japan is extremely self-centered and insular-minded. She does not understand the spirit of mutuality or fair-play either in the field of politics or in that of economics.
E. Envy of Japan’s success. (On the other hand there are some people saying that they should learn from Japan.)
(2) As to Japanese Companies and People
A. They are determinedly working to increase their share of the world’s markets and are quite willing to accept very small profit margins in order to do this.
B. They are arrogant (too self-conscious of Japan’s being a major power).
C. Japanese work always in groups and they work very hard even at the sacrifice of their private lives.
D. They are very difficult people to understand. Many prominent politicians and businessmen seem to make a habit of breaking promises, and being inconsistent in their words and actions, and are two-faced. Therefore Japanese are unreliable.
E. The Japanese are hated by the people of Southeast Asian countries as “ugly Japanese.” Japanese are unable to understand the spirit of co-prosperity. (59)
By far the greatest part of the Foreign Ministry’s document dealt with complaints concerning Japanese economic practices. The American grievances were broken down as follows: (1) invasion of the American market as a result of Japan’s export drive (with specific mention of Japan’s extremely favorable balance of trade with the United States, and of particular resentments over textiles, electronics, steel, and autos); (2) Japanese export practices and “system” (dumping, the “double price system for domestic and foreign markets,” unique labor conditions, low wages, unique investment and borrowing practices); (3) Japanese import restrictions (tariff manipulation, duties and quotas, the import deposit system); (4) capital liberalization (ceilings and restrictions on foreign investment in Japan); (5) limitations on foreign exchange transactions (particularly in short-term capital transactions and government ordinances restricting trade); (6) governmental intervention in both trade and capital transactions (through “administrative guidance,” manipulation of licenses, discourtesy to foreign businessmen, etc.); (7) the “Japan Inc.” nexus of government-private business collusion (including export targets, tax relief, subsidies, loose anti-trust laws, etc.); (8) criticisms of Japan’s economic policy in general (lack of cooperation in yen revaluation, no assistance to the United States in solving its balance of payments problem, niggardly and self-serving aid programs, lack of concern with environmental pollution or consumer protection); (9) natural resources (depletion of natural resources such as coal, timber, or various forms of marine life); (10) “other criticisms” (attempts to exclude American banks, and “copying foreign machinery and components for atomic reactors” ). (60)
The Foreign Ministry list is without question a thorough summary of American resentment concerning Japanese economic practices. What it fails to convey, however, is a sense of the doomsday rhetoric actually used by these American critics. The task of disseminating this has been undertaken by Senator Strom Thurmond, among others, who as one of the leaders of the anti-Japan movement in the United States frequently introduces into the Congressional Record materials containing passages such as the following (from a speech to an Atlanta audience):
The economic challenge posed by Japan—and I suggest that you think of Japan as a single, giant company under centraHzed direction—is the gravest economic challenge this country has ever faced.
Here in Atlanta, I am reminded of Henry Grady’s famous speech about the Georgia man who died and was buried in a Northern-made suit, in a grave dug by a Northern-made shovel and laid to rest under a piece of stone from the North. Georgia’s only contribution was the corpse and the hole in the ground. Well, it is not an exaggeration to say that our entire country is likely to approach that situation by the end of the 1970s, with Japan in the role of the North, unless there is a change in national policy. I can envision a grave dug by a Japanese-made power shovel, a body clad in Japanese textiles, and a hearse made by a Japanese auto-maker. (61)
This sense of economic war with Japan, moreover, has obviously influenced the Nixon Administration: in October 1970, the United States actually threatened to resolve the textile dispute by recourse to legislation in the Trading with the Enemy Act. (62)
The Nixon Administration’s policy toward Japan is, however, complex, for while aligning with the anti-Japan economic bloc in the United States and according the Japanese shabby diplomatic consideration in the China issue, the Nixon Doctrine for Asia strongly emphasizes that Japan is destined to become America’s primary partner in (1) the economic development, and (2) military security activities, in Asia. (63) As the statement by Secretary of State Rogers at the beginning of Section 4 indicates, official American policy remains the encouragement of continued mihtarization by Japan. Such rearmament, it is argued, is essential for the expanded role Japan must eventually play as a participant in “regional security” in Asia; and there exists no danger it will get out of hand. In 1953 Nixon, then Vice-President, was the first high U.S. official to publicly attack the “no war” clause in the Japanese constitution, and his position on Japanese military development remains essentially unchanged today. The Nixon Administration, like its postwar predecessors, desires a Japanese military establishment capable of action beyond Japan’s borders. Even more, there have been strong indications that some members of the Nixon Administration, particularly Defense Secretary Melvin Laird, have actually encouraged Japan to develop nuclear capability. (64)
The sanguine view of Japan’s postwar “pacifism” which enables Washington to regard Japanese remilitarization as low risk has proven increasingly unpersuasive both within the United States and throughout the world. The counsel for the Symington committee attempted (with little success) to pose this issue in the 1970 hearings on U.S. commitments to Japan:
You pointed out they have a growing military budget, we noted the tremendous election victory of Prime Minister Sato, and the current decline of the Socialist Party with their views on unarmed neutrality. General McGehee pointed out that Japan has less and less of the nuclear allergy which we have known her to have over the years. They have volunteered for a peacekeeping role in Southeast Asia. They have a missile capability, and one commentator ventures a prediction that they will have a missile in being. They have been slower to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty than we thought, and you pointed out, Mr. Secretary [Undersecretary of State U. Alexis Johnson], this was in part due to a desire to keep open their options. There are other evidences of a reawakening nationalism in Japan. On the basis of this recitation, do we understand Japan’s intended role in the Far East as well as we think we do? (65)
Blunter assessments of the situation have emanated from Congressional bodies such as the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. A “Report of Special Study Mission to Asia” issued by this committee in April 1970, for example, reached this conclusion concerning the thrust of military thinking in present-day Japan:
There is a strong effort underway by some groups in Japan toward rearmament and a seeming return to the old “Greater East Asia Co-prosperity . Sphere.” The study mission was concerned with the increased emphasis by some on enlarging Japan’s military prowess, even though it already supports the sixth largest military establishment in the world.
While the Japanese Constitution, by limiting its forces to island defense, ‘does provide certain basic restrictions on rearming, this constitutional provision can be circumvented by broadening the definition of Japan’s defensive perimeter. In fact, obviously concerned about maintaining a steady flow of Mideast oil to Japanese industry, some in Japan now consider its area of defense reaches to where oil shipments must traverse, the Straits of Malacca.
Prime Minister Sato recently sounded the call to Japan’s new militarism when he said: “It is clear that the (Japanese) people are no longer satisfied with a merely negative pacifism aiming only at the country’s safety.”
The study mission was told that Japan has decided it does not want to remain miUtarily dependent upon the United States. No one can dispute this aim, however far they look beyond this premise. Authoritative Japanese officials have stated that efforts be advanced to accomplish the total withdrawal of American forces from Japan (not merely Okinawa) within this decade.
The Prime Minister, according to information made available to the study mission, interpreted his recent reelection as a mandate to proceed with significant military expansion.
Japan has been spending 1 percent of its GNP for arms. With an annual 25 [sic] percent increase in the GNP, Japan’s expenditures for military equipment will double every 4 years. In addition we have learned it is now recommended that 2 percent of GNP be devoted to defense spending — geometrically increasing Japan’s military power. Is this not a return to the Bushido of old Japan?
The study mission must also state that Japan is reported to possess an advanced nuclear capability and will soon have the delivery systems for nuclear weapons. Although Japan did recently sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty we were made to understand that ratification could be put off indefinitely.
In our discussions it was indicated that Japan intends to become the great seapower once again, to “protect” its trade routes. This, too, has ominous overtones.
Placing this aspect of our report in perspective, the study mission evi dences concern over Japan’s emphasis on the new militarism. There seems to be a readiness to commit a substantial portion of Japan’s vast wealth to the reestablishment of a major international military force. This involves increased spending, a much broader definition of her area of defense, nuclear capability and a clear determination to be a military power on a scale not contemplated since World War II.
... In still another area, we were impressed by the renewed popularity in Japan of the old line that “Korea is a daggar pointed at the heart of Japan.”
This is actually part of a broader effort to give the widest possible definition to Japan’s perimeter for defense under the terms of its constitution. The area that Japan now seems to consider within its immediate area of defense extends from Korea through the Straits of Malacca. (66)
The specter of resurgent Japanese militarism has naturally been most alarming to the People’s Republic of China. Indeed, beginning around 1969, it became clear that China’s leaders had come to regard Japanese militarism as a potential threat to their security surpassed if at all only by that of the Soviet Union. This represented a profound change in the Chinese world view: for while the relationship between Japanese remilitarization and the U.S. security system was still acknowledged, Japan by itself was for the first time in the postwar period seen as potentially more dangerous to China than the United States. This change became generally known to the American public only several years later, primarily through the interviews which Chou En-lai gave to the Committee of Concerned Asian Scholars (July 1971) and James Reston (August 1971). In these interviews Chou stressed, first, that Japanese military expansion in Asia was inevitable given the “lopsided” nature of postwar Japanese economic development; and second, that concrete developments in Japan confirmed the more theoretical assumption:
... And so this lopsided development of Japan, what will issue from it? She needs to carry out an economic expansion abroad. Otherwise, she cannot maintain her economy. And so, being in a capitalist system, following this economic expansion, there is bound to come with it military expansion. Isn’t that so? And so, precisely because of that, the fourth defense plan is from 1972 to 1976, and they plan to spend more than $16 billion. About the total amount of military expenditures of Japan after the Second World War to 1971, the first three defense plans, was only a bit over $10 billion. And some American senators [sic], after visiting Japan, reported that this fourth Japanese defense plan exceeded the requirements of Japan for selfdefense.
And according to the present economic capacity of Japan, she does not require five years to carry out this fourth plan. As we see it, they may be able to fulfill it in only two or two-and-a-half years. And in this way, it’s all further proof that the appetite, the ambitions are becoming much greater. And so they are thinking not only of having up-to-date equipment, but also thinking of manufacturing nuclear weapons themselves. Now Japan is already cooperating with the United States and Australia in building a nuclear reactor and nuclear power, and Japan is already able to manufacture guided missiles, ground-to-air and ground-to-ground guided missiles without a nuclear warhead. So the only problem remaining is how to manufacture a nuclear warhead to put on these missiles. So there does exist this danger. (67)
Chou also pointed out the interrelationship between Japanese economic growth and the Korea, Vietnam, and Indochina wars; the particularly dangerous aspects of Japanese involvement in South Korea and Taiwan; and the contradictory elements of competition/cooperation in the Nixon policy toward Japan. His remarks, however, still failed to convey a sense of the detailed and specific analysis of trends in Japan which underlies the current Chinese fear. The Chinese press has dealt with this problem at length, and apart from its distinctive vocabulary, the analysis which it has provided in fact represents a fairly comprehensive summary of the concerns voiced also by non-Chinese observers. A nine-point critique published in both Renmin Ribao (People’s Daily) and Jiefangjun Bao (Liberation Army Daily) on September 3, 1970, aptly draws together these concerns: (1) “Several zaibatsu which used to be the behind-the-scene bosses of the Japanese fascist ‘military headquarters’ have already staged a come-back” (a recognition of the military-industrial complex which has been built up in Japan under the U.S.-Japan security agreements) ; (2) “Japanese militarism has been rearmed” (it is pointed out that the Japanese military now numbers 280,000 men, close to the force level maintained just prior to the Japanese attack on China in the 1930s; also that there is a preponderance of active officers, numerous reserve officers, and expansive military plans for the future); (3) “The militarist forces have again taken a grip on the military and political power in Japan” (notation of the dominance of prewar figures in both the Sato cabinet and officer corps); (4) “Japan’s ruling clique is pushing ahead with accelerated pace the fascistization of its political system” (police expansion to beyond the prewar level, plus reactionary legislation); (5) “Japanese monopoly capital has been frenziedly carrying out expansion and aggression abroad” (statistics on Japanese economic expansion throughout Asia); (6) “Japanese militarism has openly placed our territory Taiwan Province and Korea within its sphere of influence” (quotations from the 1969 Nixon-Sato communique); (7) “The Japanese militarists actively serve as U.S. imperialism’s ‘gendarmes in Asia’ and ‘overseers’ of slaves in a futile attempt to re-dominate Asia by taking this opportunity” (reference to military collusion with South Korea and Taiwan under the U.S.-Japan security treaty, plus counterrevolutionary alliances such as ASPAC, the Asian and Pacific Council); (8) “The Japanese militarists try hard to find excuses for sending troops abroad” (“life-line” rhetoric, talk of defending the Straits of Malacca); and (9) “The Japanese ruling circles energetically create counter-revolutionary public opinion for a war of aggression” (resurgence of military themes in the mass media, textbooks, organizations devoted to restoring the “bushido” spirit, etc.). (68)
Distrust of Japan runs deep through all of Asia, and is based on vivid recollection of the brutal realities of Japan’s earlier quest for “coexistence and coprosperity.” Americans easily forget that the United States suffered least among participants in the Pacific War—that indeed the Japanese had kifled some 2 million Chinese before Pearl Harbor. Thus bland assurances that Japan has learned its lesson meet understandable disbelief in Asia. But more concretely, it is possibly to point to three recent official documents, all supported by the United States, which appear to give firm substance to the fear that Japan has indeed entered an entirely new level of military expansion: the Nixon-Sato communique of November 1969, which paved the way for the U.S.-Japan agreement on the reversion of Okinawa; and the Defense Agency White Paper and Fourth Defense Plan of Japan, issued on successive days in October 1970.
U.S. spokesmen have pointed with pride to the “new” military commitments agreed upon by the Japanese in the 1969 communique, namely “that Japan is interested and involved in the defense of other areas.” (69) Specifically, as explained by U. Alexis Johnson: (1) “you have for the first time in an official Japanese Government statement, the recognition that the security of Japan is related to the peace and security of the Far East”; (2) you “have the specific reference to Korea, in which the flat statement is made that the security of the Republic of Korea is essential to Japan’s own security”; (3) again for the first time, it is stated by the Japanese “that the maintenance of peace and security in the Taiwan area is also a most important factor for the security of Japan”; (4) Prime Minister Sato agreed that Japan would consider participating in an international peacekeeping force in Indochina after conclusion of hostilities; (5) in connection with the projected reversion of Okinawa, Japan assumed responsibility for “a further geographic extension” of military forces by moving Japanese military personnel to that island; (6) Japan for the first time acknowledged its interest in participating in the postwar rehabilitation of Indochina (meaning primarily continued aid to anti-communist regimes). (70) In addition, in the months following the Nixon-Sato communique it became widely acknowledged that Japanese officials did in fact see the Straits of Malacca as part of their strategic “lifeline,” within their drastically expanded “defense perimeter.” (71)
The 1969 joint communique represented Japan’s part of the bargain for the reversion of Okinawa to Japanese administrative control. This reversion was to have been Sato’s crowning political achievement, but it now appears that he may in fact have made Japan even more vulnerable to embroilment in American military adventures in Asia. The United States has ostensibly given up use of Okinawa as a nuclear and CBW arsenal, but this is only a minor inconvenience. The single strongest point made by all U.S. civilian and military representatives who testified on the reversion before Congress was that this in no substantial way altered the U.S. base structure in Okinawa. And at the same time, the United States has interpreted the terms of the reversion and the 1969 communique as meaning “Our theoretical action with respect to our bases in Japan is enlarged.” (72) The latter point, a subtle twist, derives from the American position that Sato’s agreement to the new, broad definition of Japanese security in effect gives the United States greater freedom to use its bases in Japan (as in Okinawa) for action in Korea and Taiwan, since it is now officially agreed that this would represent “defense of Japan.” (The Chinese describe this as the “ ‘Okinawanization’ of Japan proper.” (73)) Thus it would appear that the price Sato payed for his Okinawa plum included not only moving the Japanese military a stage closer to dispatch abroad, but also relinquishing some of the “prior consultation” leverage Japan had hitherto held concerning U.S. use of its bases in Japan. Through the Okinawa reversion trade-off, the United States thus gained both a freer hand in Japan and a helping in Northeast Asia and possibly elsewhere as well. Japan gained administrative rights over Okinawa, a new level of rearmament, a drastically enlarged military mission, and better odds of becoming militarily involved over Korea or Taiwan in the future.
The White Paper and Fourth Defense Plan, issued under the facile Yashuhiro Nakasone, then head of the Defense Agency, were aimed at creating the psychological and material militarism necessary to fill this expanded perimeter. The former, unprecedented in postwar Japan, was fundamentally directed toward the creation of a patriotic “defense consciousness” among the Japanese. Amidst consoling platitudes (civilian control, “defensive” orientation, etc.), however, critics found less reassuring lines of thought. The White Paper began by noting that, noble as the goals of the United Nations may be, “the rule of force remains.” “True patriotism,” it said, “demands not just love of peace and country but also eagerness to contribute on one’s own initiative to the defense of the country.” To maintain “national consensus” and a “sound society,” the White Paper stated, “it becomes imperative that preventive efforts be kept up in the nonmihtary field at all times”—meaning police repression of domestic dissent. In a strikingly bold departure, the paper castigated the “nihilistic feelings about nuclear weapons prevailing among the people,” and then stated that whereas Japan “should not” develop ICBMs or strategic bombers, “as for defensive nuclear weapons, it is considered that Japan may have them in theory, without contradicting the Constitution.” The paper called for sea and air supremacy “around Japan,” without defining the key phrase. (74) And, an act of omission, it was subsequently learned that a statement denying the possible future introduction of mifitary conscription had been deleted from the final draft. (75)
The significance of the $16.9 billion Fourth Defense Plan (a five-year plan) lies not only in the fact that it was 50 percent again larger than all previous military budgets combined, but also that this major change in the scale of military expansion was introduced after it had become widely recognized that Japan already possessed full capability for conventional defense of its homeland. In the view of most commentators, the goal of the plan is to provide Japan with the capability of “strategic” or “forward” or “offensive” defense—that is, the capacity for “preventive war.” Apologists for the plan point out that under it Japan will still be spending a smaller percentage of GNP (approximately 0.92 percent) than any other major power. The other side of this statistics game, however, is (1) the Japanese GNP is immense and expanding rapidly; (2) growth in military spending is exceeding growth in the overall economy; and (3) in per capita terms this will average out to roughly forty dollars per Japanese (China’s per capita defense spending is $6.50; South Korea’s $10). Much of the expenditures under the Fourth Defense Plan will go to increasing air and sea power; strength of the air force will grow 2.8 times, navy 2.3 times, and ground forces 1.9 times. Whereas the Third Defense Plan alloted $2.4 billion to expansion of equipment, the sum under the present plan will be $7 billion—an increase which critics regard as extremely significant insofar as the growth of a military-industrial complex in Japan is concerned. These sums, as is well known, flow primarily to a small number of giant concerns (notably Mitsubishi), which wield Extraordinary political leverage in Japan and have long been clamoring for a rise in defense expenditures up to 4 percent of GNP. As Herbert Bix has effectively documented, most of these firms also have lock-ins with U.S. defense contractors. This is an aspect of the Nixon Doctrine which is often overlooked—the creation, in the phrase of the Far Eastern Economic Review, of a “trans-Pacific mihtary-industrial complex.” And, in appraising the ultimate implications of the Fourth Defense Plan, the same journal concludes that “of the alternatives, invasion of Japan by a hostile force or the despatch of Japanese forces to ‘friendly’ or ‘hostile’ soil, the latter is considered the more likely.” (76)
In the days before the People’s Republic of China became an acceptable entity in the United States, the late Mary Wright, professor of Chinese history at Yale, counseled students lecturing on China in their communities that their major task was elemental: to show that the Chinese were people. As the Japanese superpower came under fire both internationally and within the United States, on both economic and military grounds, defenders of the U.S.-Japan alliance in effect took upon themselves a comparable task: to stress that the Japanese were good folk, and more than that, capitalist and peace-loving like ourselves. Their position was most fully presented before the House Foreign Affairs Committee in November 1971 by George Ball, Edwin Reischauer, Robert Scalapino, Henry Rosovsky, and Hugh Patrick. Excerpts from these hearings were subsequently published by the United States-Japan Trade Council in a pamphlet appropriately entitled “United States & Japan: DANGER AHEAD.”
The Japan specialists attempted to demystify Japanese intentions and dispel popular misconceptions of the “unique” dynamics of the Japanese economic miracle by hardnosed reaffirmation of the fundamental and essential compatability of Japanese and American capitalism in Asia’s future (“after all,” in Patrick’s words, “competition is inherent in the actuality and the ideology of our private enterprise systems”). Yet over their presentations hovered the shadow of George Kennan and the ghost of John Foster Dulles. For in the end they rested their arguments on the fundamental assumption of all postwar American policy in Asia. Japan is the superdomino. Professor Reischauer, for example, provided the Dulles-dimension of apocalypse:
At this watershed in history, we could be witnessing the start of a flow in world events which could in time gain irreversible force and sweep us all to ultimate catastrophe.
George Ball, in turn, evoked George Kennan, chapters 1948 and 1949, in dismissing China and citing the pivotal importance to the United States of alliance with the industrial and military power of Japan:
Today the United States is watching with fascination the emergence of China onto the world stage.... From the vantage point of the United States, there is only one large industrialized power in the Far East and that is Japan. China, by comparison, is an industrial primitive, whose GNP is not much more than a third of Japan’s, in spite of an eight to one advantage in population.
We must, of necessity, build our policy primarily on close relations with the most powerful country in the area: Japan. To do this will require skill and attention and a great deal more sensitivity than we have shown in recent months.... Japan plays two major roles of vital interest to the United States. First, it has the potential to become the most powerful political and military nation in the East Asian and Pacific region and thus is likely to become the dominant power in the area. Second, it is today the third greatest industrial power in the world and may, in time, overtake the Soviet Union which is now the second greatest.
Ball and Scalapino also implictly reaffirmed the traditional bipolar approach to American commitments in Asia. Thus Ball saw American relations with China and Japan as essentially an either/or proposition: “Under no circumstances could we envisage a relationship to China that would serve in any sense as an alternative to close Japanese-American cooperation.” And Scalapino, a good realist from the early days of the Vietnam war, derided the thought of abandoning confrontation:
... the belief that in Asia, we can now substitute some kind of loose, yet equal quadrilateral relation among the United States, the Soviet Union, Japan and the People’s Republic of China for the American-Japanese alliance is a form of romanticism that accords neither with the economic nor the political-military realities of this era.
Scalapino also coupled skepticism of multipolar relations in Asia with evocation of another familiar apprehension: the threat of upheaval within Japan itself. “For the first time since 1949,” he argued, “political instability in Japan is a distinct possibility.”
Insofar as Japanese mihtarism is concerned, the basic argument of the present defenders of the alliance is simple, and somewhat ironic. Whereas the original rationale of the security relationship had been that the U.S. base structure would protect Japan until Japan had remilitarized to the point of being capable of its own conventional defense, the current argument now holds that the United States must maintain its bases and forces in Japan and Okinawa indefinitely to prevent massive Japanese remilitarization. Thus Ball argued that, “To my mind there is nothing more important for the peace of the whole Pacific area than that the treaty [Mutual Security Treaty with Japan] be rigorously observed and that the United States do nothing to encourage Japanese militarization.” Reischauer defended a similar position in these terms:
On the defense side, if the Japanese lose confidence in us or believe that we will not treat them as real equals, a fairly rapid decline in the effectiveness of our Mutual Security Treaty with them will follow. Without the use of Japanese bases and tacit Japanese support, we could not reasonably maintain the Seventh Fleet in the Western Pacific or our commitment to South Korea, and would probably be forced to withdraw to mid-Pacific ... the Japanese might drift back toward major military power, instability might increase in Asia, and inter-regional anxieties might reappear. The political and economic roads would then merge as they led downward toward a great world tragedy.
James Reston posed this same question to Chou En-lai. “If we end the security pact with Japan,” he asked, “is it in your view that it is more likely then that Japan will become more militaristic or less militaristic?” “That argument,” Chou replied, “is quite a forced argument,” for Japan is already rapidly remilitarizing under the security treaty. (77)
And of course it is, for that is the U.S. policy.
The Chinese press answered the question with a question in turn: “Can it be that there is no revival of militarism until a war of aggression is launched one morning?” (78)
Time will tell.
1. The major references to Japan which appear in the Senator Gravel edition are as follows: Vol. I, 39, 82, 84, 155, 187, 364, 366, 375, 386-387, 418-420, 425, 436, 438, 450, 452, 469-470, 475, 511, 513, 589, 594, 597, 598, 600, 626-627. Vol II, 57, 459, 664, 799, 817, 822. Vol. Ill, 3, 51, 87, 153, 219, 497, 500, 503, 598, 623, 627, 637, 638, 658, 685, 723. Vol. IV, 54, 89, 91, 103, 108, 156, 174, 529, 614-615, 618-619, 663, 669, 672, 683, 684. Henceforth this source will be cited as Gravel edition.
2. George F. Kennan, Memoirs (1925-1950) (1967: Boston, Little, Brown), Ch. XVI.
3. U.S. Government edition, 239, 254, 255, 257.
4. USG ed., 262.
5. Gravel ed., I:415; 1:83-84. Cf. Roger Hilsman on the Chinese menace in 1963: “In Asia the greatest danger to independent nations comes from Communist China, with its 700 miUion people forced into the service of an aggressive Communist Party” (Ibid., II: 822).
6. USG ed., 258.
7. Ibid., 260-261.
8. Ibid., 262-264. SCAP [Supreme Commander, Allied Powers] refers to General Douglas MacArthur, who had command over the occupation of Japan.
9. Ibid., 434.
10. Department of State Bulletin, January 21, 1952. Cf. William Sebald, With Mac- Arthur in Japan: A Personal History of the Occupation (1965: New York, W. W. Norton), 284 ff; and Herbert Morrison, Herbert Morrison, An Autobiography (1960: London, Odhams Press), 280. See also the authoritative history of the Yoshida cabinets, Iwao Takeuchi, ed., Yoshida Naikaku (1954: Tokyo, Yoshida Naikaku Kankokai), 451 ff.
11. Gunnar Adler-Karlson, Western Economic Warfare 1947-1967: A Case Study in Foreign Economic Policy, Acta Universitatis Stockhomienses, Stockliolm Economic Studies, New Series IX (1968: Stockholm), 208. See Ch. 16 of this study on CHINCOM.
12. The details of these transactions demand detailed and integrated study, but this is not the type of research presently encouraged in U.S. scholarly circles. Fascinating but uncoordinated information can be found in Chitoshi Yanaga, Big Business in Japanese Politics (1968: New Haven, Yale). One early abortive plan in creating the Japan-Southeast Asia link involved U.S. endeavors to move Japanese economic interests into Southeast Asia by using Kuomintang contacts in Taiwan to establish an entree into Southeast Asia through the overseas Chinese there—a pagodalike form of neo-colonialism indeed. See Yoshida Naikaku, 495-578, for a useful summary in Japanese of the endeavors to create a U.S.-Japan-Southeast Asia nexus in the 1951-1954 period.
13. Joseph M. Dodge Papers, cited in Joyce and Gabriel Kolko, The Limits of Power (1972: New York, Harper and Row), 533.
14. United Kingdom, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Documents Relating to British Involvement in the Indo-China Conflict, 1945-1965, 66-67; cited in Gabriel Kolko, The Roots of American Foreign Policy (1969: Boston, Beacon), 105.
15. On the anticipation that Japan will gradually assume functions such as those now performed by the United States under the Military Assistance Program (MAP), including training of foreign military personnel, see the testimony of U. Alexis Johnson in United States Security Agreements and Commitments Abroad: Japan and Okinawa, Hearings before the Subcommittee on United States Security Agreements and Commitments Abroad of the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, Ninetyfirst Congress, Second Session (Part 5), January 26-29, 1970, 1222. Hereafter cited as United States Security Agreements.
16. Ibid., 1225.
17. USG ed., p. 261; Cf. the May 1951 NSC document quoted in Section 3; also Gravel ed., I:98.
18. United States Security Agreements, 1165-1166.
19. Far Eastern Economic Review, Feb. 13, 1971. Fujiyama in recent years has emerged as the leader of a group of conservative Japanese politicians who, even prior to the U.S. gestures toward China, advocated revision of the ruling Liberal-Democratic Party’s China policy. Following his trip to China he was actually stripped of his party offices by the disciplinary committee of the party.
20. Joyce and Gabriel Kolko, The Limits of Power, 510, 525. For representative American views of the Occupation see Edwin O. Reischauer, The United States and Japan rev. ed. (1957: Cambridge, Harvard); also Robert E. Ward, “Reflections on the Allied Occupation and Planned Political Change in Japan,” in Robert E. Ward, ed., Political Development in Modern Japan (1968: Princeton). In Japanese, extensive documentation on the occupation period and its aftermath can be found in the indispensable “official” history of the Yoshida cabinets, Yoshida naikaku, and the valuable six-volume documentary collection Shiryo: Sengo nijunen shi (Documents: A History of the First Twenty Years of the Postwar Period) published in 1966-67 by Nihon Hyoronsha. The introductory chapter by Shigeki Toyama in volume 6 of the latter work is a useful chronological account of the 1945-1965 period, with sharp focus on the continuing unfolding of the reverse course. Seizaburo Shinobu’s four-volume Sengo Nikon seijishi (Political History of Postwar Japan), published in 1965-67 by Keiso Shobo, is actually a detailed narrative account of the 1945-1952 period.
21. I have dealt with aspects of the reverse course in occupied Japan prior to the Korean War in two previous articles: “The Eye of the Beholder: Background Notes on the U.S. -Japan Military Relationship,” Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars, II, 1 (October 1969); and “Occupied Japan and the American Lake, 1945-1950,” in Edward Friedman and Mark Selden, eds., America’s Asia: Dissenting Essays in U.S.-Asian Relations (1971: New York, Pantheon). These articles provide a fuller biography on this subject than can be listed here.
22. Cf. George Kennan, Memoirs, 414-418, 525.
23. USG ed., 239-242.
24. USG ed., 434-435.
25. Joyce and Gabriel Kolko, The Limits of Power, 533.
26. For a gullible but fascinating biography of Kishi in English see Dan Kurzman, Kishi and Japan: The Search for the Sun (1960: New York, Ivan Obolensky, Inc.). A useful and neglected English source on reverse-course trends in Japan up to 1960 is Ivan Morris, Nationalism and the Right Wing in Japan: A Study of Postwar Trends (1960: Oxford). Other useful sources on postwar trends within Japanese conservative ranks are Haruhiro Fukui, Party in Power: The Japanese Liberal-Democrats and Policymaking (1970: University of California); Eleanor M. Hadley, Antitrust in Japan (1970: Princeton); and Kozo Yamamura, Economic Policy in Postwar Japan: Growth versus Economic Democracy (1967: University of California).
27. Okinawa Reversion Treaty, Hearings before the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, Ninety-second Congress, October 27, 28, and 29, 1971, 14.
28. United States Security Agreements, 1167, 1205.
29. Kennan, Memoirs, 415. Even the role of the USSR in the events leading to the outbreak of the Korean War itself remains obscure.
30. United States Security Agreements, 1418. Cf. 1207-1209, 1306-1307.
31. See the testimony of U.S. China experts in United Slates-China Relations: A Strategy for the Future, Hearings before the Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, Ninety-first Congress, Second Session, September 15, 16, 22, 23, 24, 29, and October 6, 1970.
32. Washington Post, November 30, 1969. For various statistics see United States Security Agreements, especially 1214, 1237, 1248, 1294; Okinawa Reversion Treaty, 57; and Congressional Quarterly, Inc., Global Defense: U.S. Military Commitments Abroad (Sept. 1969).
33. Cf. Okinawa Reversion Treaty, 64.
34. Washington Post, November 30, 1969. United States Security Agreements, 1214. Japan does play an indirect role in the nuclear deterrence by servicing the Seventh Fleet, the SAC force, etc. The issue of exclusion of nuclear weapons from Japan and Okinawa is controversial in that some critics believe that, particularly with regard to postreversion Okinawa, the U.S. simply does not intend to honor its pledge. In one of the more dramatic scenarios of the Pentagon Papers, two contingency plans which “provide for either non-nuclear or nuclear options against China (OPLAN 32-64 and OPLAN 39-65) do involve use of U.S. bases in Japan, though in precisely what capacity is not clear. Gravel ed., III:636-639.
35. United States Security Agreements, 1166, 1243, 1415.
36. See, for example, Morton Halpsrin’s testimony in United States-China Relations.
37. United States Security Agreements, 1162.
38. The plan was prepared in 1963 and made public in the Diet in February 1965 by a representative of the Socialist party in connection with the Japan-ROK normalization controversy. It has received inadequate attention in the United States. See Tsukasa Matsueda and George E. Moore, “Japan’s Shifting Attitudes toward the Military: Mitsuya Kenkyu and the Self-Defense Force, Asian Survey, VII, 9 (Sept. 1969).
39. United States Security Agreements, IIS3, 1214.
40. Ronald Dore, “Japan As a Model of Economic Development, Archives Europiennes de Sociologie, V, 1 (1964), 147-148, 153.
41. G. C. Allen, A Short Economic History of Modern Japan, 1867-1937, With a Supplementary Chapter on Economic Recovery and Expansion, 1945-1960. (1962: New York, Praeger), 214. Special Procurements are defined by Allen as “Allied military expenditure in dollars and pounds, yen purchases for Joint Defense Account, expenditure of Allied soldiers and civilian officials in Japan, and payments in respect of certain offshore procurement contracts.” The U.S. role in the “Allied” expenditures is, however, overwhelming.
42. Congressional Quarterly, Inc., Global Defense, 40. Cf. United States Security Agreements, 1205.
43. United States Security Agreements, 1206, 1231, 1296.
44. Cf. Far Eastern Economic Review, September 28, 1967, April 4 and 11, 1968.
45. Yanaga, Big Business in Japanese Politics, esp. 251-272.
46. Yanaga, Big Business, provides interesting insight into this.
47. Bundy had visited Japan the previous month. Cf., however. Gravel ed., III:685.
48. United States Security Agreements, 1194.
49. Rusk was in fact being ingenuous about the reason the United States entered into the security treaty with Australia and New Zealand (ANZUS). As noted previously here in the text, the two countries demanded the treaty of Dulles as a guarantee of their security against Japan and a precondition to their acquiescence in the independence-cum-remilitarization peace settlement which Dulles was at that time setting up for Japan.
50. USG ed., 435.
51. United States Foreign Policy, Asia Studies Prepared at the Request of the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, by Conlon Associates, Ltd. 86th Congress, 1st Session (November 1, 1959), 85-109. The report also gives a prognosis of future U.S. military “disengagement” from Japan and Japan’s maintenance of its own “forward” defense, and stresses that Japan’s future will be dependent upon maintenance of the status quo in Asia.
52. I have dealt with this general problem at some length in my doctoral dissertation, “Yoshida Shigeru and the Great Empire of Japan, 1878-1945,” Harvard University, 1972.
53. The Pentagon Papers indirectly raise an interesting question as to the extent to which the United States took Japan into its confidence insofar as U.S. policy regarding the Vietnam war is concerned. This emerges most notably in those sections of the Papers which deal with the crucial period in late 1964 when the United States was planning to escalate the war, for in virtually every document relating to this decision, wherever the problem of prior coordination with “key allies” concerning this escalation is concerned, Japan is conspicuously absent from the listings of those key allies. Cf. Gravel ed., III:257, 290, 308, 593, 611, 613, 650, 658-659, 664, 677, 681, 717.
54. United States Security Agreements, 1197.
55. The favorite epithets tacked on Japan by the Chinese have been the “gendarme in Asia,” the “running dog,” and the “fugle-man” of U.S. imperialism.
56. United States Security Agreements, 1259.
57. The “trade war” fear pervades virtually all U.S. articles on Japanese economic expansion which have appeared in both popular and specialized American journals during the past several years. The danger of provoking Japan to the extent that it may endeavor to break with the United States and establish an independent “third” bloc in Asia, rivaling the United States and Western Europe, has been particularly strongly emphasized by Edwin Reischauer. Cf. his November 1971 testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, as abstracted in United States-Japan Trade Council, United States and Japan: Danger Ahead, p. 4.
58. USG ed., 1949, 227; cited also in Gravel ed., I:82.
59. Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan, “Listing of Recent U.S. Criticisms Against Japan,” August 1971. Mimeographed. I am grateful to Jon Sherwood for providing me with a copy of this, as well as certain other materials used in this essay.
60. Ibid. A brief section of the document also listed “Criticisms concerning Political Matters,” under which three general categories were noted: (1) inadequacy of Japan’s efforts in the field of defense; (2) dissatisfaction concerning the return of Okinawa; and (3) criticism concerning the Japanese attitude toward American foreign policy. But the overwhelming focus of the document is on economic matters.
61. Congressional Record, November 29, 1971, p. E 12671. Thurmond’s influential position in American domestic politics, namely the “Southern strategy” on which Nixon came to power, would seem to be of central importance in interpreting what otherwise appears to be the needless offensiveness of the “Nixon shocks” to which Japan has recently been subjected. For the Southern bloc which figures so strongly in Republican national politics is also the “textile bloc” which harbors most blatant anti-Japanese resentments.
62. United States-Japan Trade Council, op. cit., 9.
63. The Chinese constantly emphasize this “contradiction.” See, for example, Committee of Concerned Asian Scholars, China! Inside the People’s Republic (1972: Bantam), 355; also The New York Times, Report from Red China (1972: Avon), 99.
64. This controversial issue arose during Laird’s visit to Japan in July 1971 and received wide press coverage. The Senate Republican Policy Committee attempted to discredit the rumor that the Nixon Administration was encouraging Japanese acquisition of nuclear weapons in its Republican Report of July 29, 1971. The issue was revived in January 1972; cf. Washington Post, January 16, 1972.
65. United States Security Agreements, 1218.
66. The report was authored by Representatives Lester L. Wolff of New York and J. Herbert Burke of Florida and issued by the House Committee of Foreign Relations on April 22, 1970. On Japan’s economic goals, the mission observed that “The general impression of the Japanese economy was of a healthy animal seeking, on one hand, to protect itself from other healthy animals and, on the other hand, using its strength to secure some measure of obedience from weaker animals.”
67. Committee of Concerned Asian Scholars, China!, 358. Cf. The New York Times, Report from Red China, 62, 64-66, 69, 72-73, 84, 91ff.
68. The article is reprinted along with seven other pieces in Down with Revived Japanese Militarism (1971: Peking, Foreign Languages Press).
69. United States Security Agreements, 1445.
70. Ibid., 1439ff.
71. In addition to the “Report of Special Study Mission to Asia” quoted in the text, see Robert Scalapino’s testimony of September 1970 in United States-China Relations, 193.
72. United States Security Agreements, 1184-1186.
73. Down with Revived Japanese Militarism, 33.
74. The quotations are from an abstract of the White Paper published in the Japan Times, October 21, 1970.
75. Down with Revived Japanese Militarism, 16.
76. Far Eastern Economic Review, November 7, 1970, and May 15, 1971. Herbert Bix, “The Security Treaty and the Japanese Military Industrial Complex,” Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars, II, 2 (January 1970).
77. The New York Times, Report from Red China, 93-94.
78. Down with Revived Japanese Militarism, 7.