Courtesy Reuters

Japan: a Clinical Note

EVER since the Manchurian incident, Japanese foreign policy has been reaping the world's condemnation. Unlike an individual, a nation cannot admit itself in error; so Japan's only answer has been to tell herself that her judges are wrong and she is right. To strengthen this contention she has built up the belief that she acts from the purest motives which her fellow nations willfully misunderstand. The more they disapprove, the more adamant grows Japan's conviction that she is right.

This conviction of righteousness, and its corollary, the feeling of being misunderstood, finds daily expression in the speech and press of the country. An example is the following passage from an editorial on the Ethiopian conflict: "There must be some reasons that justify Italy in attempting to solve the Ethiopian situation by force, but Premier Mussolini seems to have been misunderstood by the other Powers. . . . Our country went through bitter experiences as a result of such misunderstanding at the time of the Manchurian Incident. . . . The world attributed that Incident to the Japanese military and denounced it harshly. This was the outcome of lack of correct knowledge about the situation on the part of the other Powers."[i]

Not only are other nations delinquent in understanding. The next most frequent charge made against them by the Japanese is that they fail to show sincerity. An instance is the stand Japan takes concerning her refusal to sign a non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union. She justifies her position by carrying the attack into the enemy camp. "The Soviet Union is laboring under a mistaken notion about Japan," says an Army spokesman. "If they really want peace in the Far East they should show us the sincerity of their intentions . . . before seeking to conclude a non-aggression pact with this country."[ii]

Injured innocence is an attitude which Japan frequently assumes in answer to foreign disapproval. Last summer when the League Council adopted a resolution condemning Germany's denunciation of the Versailles Treaty, the Soviet delegate suggested that a

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