AFTER more than five years since the termination of hostilities Japan is still technically at war with 49 countries of Asia, Europe and the Western Hemisphere. That she stands ready and qualified for a settlement is admitted on all hands. It was confirmed by President Truman after his historic mid-Pacific conference with General Douglas MacArthur.

Thanks to the guidance and statesmanship of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, and thanks to the bounteous aid from the American Government and people, Japan has come a long way on the road of recovery and reconstruction. Economically we have reached a point where further progress toward achieving self-support depends on our participation in world commerce as a free and independent nation. Politically, it seems high time that we were permitted to run the government on our own initiative and responsibility. A protracted occupation, no matter how efficient, wise and benevolent, tends to destroy the people's self-respect and their spirit of self-reliance; it militates against the growth of true democracy in the country. Japan awaits a peace treaty, which is long overdue.

On our Constitution Day, May 3, 1949, General MacArthur issued a message to the Japanese people, in which he took pains to explain the undue delay of a peace settlement. He stated:

The Allied purposes enunciated at Potsdam in many essential respects have been fulfilled, and you have worked diligently and faithfully to discharge your surrender commitments. . . . That the Allied forces still occupy your native soil is thus by no means due to fault of yours since the inception of the Occupation, but rather to events and circumstances elsewhere beyond your capacity to influence or control.

It is scarcely necessary for me to describe what were those events and circumstances. They may be summarized in a single phrase: the cold war.

It may be recalled that the problem of Japanese peace as an inter-Allied issue was first brought to the fore by General Mac-Arthur, who in 1947, shortly after the Allied Powers had signed their peace treaty with Italy, made public a statement, under the date of March 17, advocating an early conclusion of a Japanese peace treaty and termination of the Allied occupation.

The American Government proposed on July 11 the convening of a preliminary conference on Japanese peace. It stipulated that the conference be composed of the 11 nations then represented on the Far Eastern Commission and that it act by a two-thirds majority vote. Most of the governments to which the American proposal was submitted agreed in principle. The British Commonwealth Foreign Ministers' Conference, which met that summer in Canberra, formally indorsed it. However, the Soviet Union insisted that the Japanese peace treaty must be drafted by a Four Power conference of America, Britain, China and the Soviet Union, each having the right of veto. All efforts through diplomatic channels during the ensuing years to compose the difference of view on procedure bore no fruit.

Voices calling for an early Japanese peace treaty continued to be heard, echoing from continent to continent, but nothing was accomplished by way of drafting one. The difficulty lay deep in the chasm that separates the two worlds. The impasse on procedure is merely an indication of the fundamental and absolutely irreconcilable differences between democracy and totalitarian Communism in the concepts of society and state and in the ideals of human progress and civilization. It is no wonder that the two sides cannot agree on a Japanese peace treaty which is to determine the destiny of a nation of 80,000,000, and which as such will exert a large influence on the course of world history.

We welcome the news that the American Government has decided to take a vigorous step in expediting a peace settlement for Japan, and that Mr. John Foster Dulles, Special Adviser to the State Department and United States delegate to the United Nations, is engaged in preliminary conversations on a Japanese peace treaty with the members of the Far Eastern Commission, including a Soviet delegate.

In face of the treaty of military alliance which the Soviet Union concluded with the Peking Communist régime in February 1950 designating their hypothetical enemy specifically as "Japan or any other State which would unite with it," and now with the cold war turned hot in Korea, it is difficult to see how the two worlds could get together. Any attempt at appeasement or compromise on the part of the free nations is unthinkable. Nor can a change of heart on the part of the Soviet Union be expected. The eventual peace treaty is likely to be a separate peace, omitting the Communist Powers. It would mean peace for Japan with a majority of the nations of the world--perhaps 44 out of the 49 referred to above.

This is opposed by some Japanese--very vehemently and very naturally by all Communists, and quite honestly but unrealistically by some politicians and professors who argue that a separate peace is not a complete peace for which, they insist, we should wait. But I speak for myself, for my Government and for a preponderant majority of the Japanese people in stating that Japan prefers a peace treaty with as many nations as possible to no peace at all.

We can ill afford to sit on the fence, vaguely waiting for something that would not happen in a predictable future. Moreover, we are definitely and irrevocably on the side of the free world. If that does not suit the other side, we can't help it.


One of the most important problems involved in the coming peace treaty is the question of security--the security of the Allies and the security of Japan.

I may say that the problem of Allied security has been practically solved through the thorough demilitarization of Japan, mental as well as physical. In the first place, the Japanese Navy was annihilated and most of Japan's war plants were destroyed during the war, while what had remained of her military establishments has been completely dismantled or removed since the war's end. Japan has a new constitution, renouncing war and forswearing all forms of armament. Nevertheless, apprehensions that Japan might again become a menace to world peace seem to linger among some peoples who have suffered so disastrously from Japanese aggression and who have a vivid memory of the resurgence of Germany as a satanic military power under Hitler.

Let me point out that there exists no analogy between Germany after World War I and Japan after World War II. Whereas the Armistice of 1918 found Germany unscathed, Japan in August 1945 was a bombed and battered country of smouldering ruins. Germany possessed vast iron, coal and other natural resources, but Japan has scarcely any and she would have to import all raw materials needed for the manufacture of munitions. Since battleships and ordnance cannot be built in secret, nor modern armies trained and maintained under cover, the Powers can easily detect any war preparations by Japan and stop them at will by simply cutting off the supply of essential commodities such as iron and steel, coal and petroleum. It is inconceivable that we could ever become, even if we wanted to, a military power capable of attacking our neighbors, to say nothing of carrying war far down beyond the equator. There is no menace from Japan.

But there is a menace to Japan that has worried us Japanese right along in the face of the ugly manifestations of the cold war in Europe and Asia, especially the recent rapid advance of Communist forces in the Far East. The Korean war is proof of how real and close that danger is.

American statesmen and military leaders have declared again and again the determination of the United States to hold on to its defense perimeter in the Pacific, a chain of islands running from the Aleutians to the Philippines, of which Japanese islands form the central and vital link. Secretary Acheson stated on January 12, 1950, before the National Press Club: "The defeat and disarmament of Japan have placed upon the United States the necessity of assuming the military defense of Japan so long as that is required, both in the interest of the security of the entire Pacific area and in the interest of Japan's security. I can assure you that there is no intention of any sort of abandoning or weakening the defense of Japan." Of course, we are safe so long as the occupation forces remain in the country. But what would happen to unarmed Japan, should the U.S. troops be withdrawn? Would it be possible or desirable for Japan to look to America for protection indefinitely? These are the problems that troubled us.The answer has been given again by the Korean war.

The news of the invasion of South Korea by the Communist forces of the north on June 25 came like a bolt from the blue. But we were happily and infinitely relieved by the alacrity and unanimity with which the free nations of the world rallied under American leadership to repel the aggressor. We have been deeply moved by the way United Nations land, sea and air forces hurried to the rescue of the harassed republic and fought hard battles with grim courage and resolution during these weeks and months. The expeditionary campaign demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt the desire and intention of the United Nations to defend liberty and the rule of law in any quarter of the globe. We know now that defenseless Japan will not be left undefended in her hour of need. It is with an abiding faith in the solidarity of free nations that we shall look to the United Nations for protection of our liberty and independence. I hope the eventual peace treaty will provide for Allied support of Japan's entry into the United Nations, so that we may participate in its efforts to establish conditions of security in the Far East.


Communist aggression, which has resorted to war in Korea, more often follows the familiar pattern of infiltration--of fomenting discontent, creating confusion and disorder, overthrowing the legitimate government by force and setting up a puppet régime. Herein lies our problem of internal security, for we have our own share of Communists and a crop of hotheads who will rebel against any established order.

The Japanese Communist Party, long suppressed and practically nonexistent, was revived with the new era of political freedom inaugurated under Allied occupation. The Communists staged a picturesque comeback, parading the Palace Plaza, flaunting red flags and singing the Internationale. Their leaders, fresh from prison or exile, were played up like heroes by newspapers. There was something glamorous about the return of the Reds, which the public seemed well-disposed to celebrate as part of the general jubilation over the nation's deliverance from militaristic dictatorship.

Then, while the old political parties, broken up and leaderless, did nothing, the Communists got busy. They had organization, trained workers, handy formulas and, evidently, money. They set up cells in educational institutions and government offices, infiltrated the ranks of labor and scoured agrarian communities and fishing villages. Very soon they had an elaborate nation-wide network of party organization with numerous publications including a daily called Akahata (Red Flag). The party boasts 77,000 registered members besides numbers of unregistered members and fellow-travellers. In the Diet there are 24 Communists in the House of Representatives and seven in the House of Councillors.

But here again we are safe so long as the occupation troops remain with us. Any time disorders get out of hand, the G.H.Q. will step in and clamp down on the troublemakers. The general strike set for February 1, 1947, which would have paralyzed the entire transportation service of the country, was called off by order of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers. A riot which broke out among unruly Korean residents in Kobe in April 1948 was quelled by General Robert Eichelberger, then the Commanding General of the U.S. 8th Army, who personally visited the scene of disturbance. Early this year the Japanese Communist Party was rebuked by the Cominform for heresy in soft-pedalling its propaganda machine vis-à-vis the Allied occupation, and it instantly published an apology, admitting its error. Soon the party adopted the orthodox Communist tactics vilifying America and occupation policies. But as it grew overbold in its vituperations and destructive manœuvres to incite violence, the members of the Central Executive Committee and the editorial staff of the Red Flag were ordered purged. The publication of the daily itself has since been suspended. Thanks to the firm attitude of the Allied Headquarters, Communism in Japan has been effectively contained.

Moreover, the Japanese Communist Party is steadily losing ground owing to the cruelty and crudity of Communist methods, which have been exposed here and abroad, and which have alienated its would-be followers. This growing public antipathy is reflected in the election returns. Whereas in the general election for the House of Representatives the Communist Party captured more than 2,984,000 votes in January 1948, it polled 1,637,000 for district candidates and 1,333,000 for national candidates in the elections for the House of Councillors last June.

Of course, the Japanese Communist Party is not dead. Some of its top leaders on the purge list have gone underground to direct party activities from their hiding place. As soon as the Korean war started the Communists were quick to denounce American "aggression," and they have made a feeble attempt to sabotage the U.N. war effort by disrupting work in Japanese ports and shipyards. They have stirred up student strikes in protest against the proposed purge of the Reds from educational institutions. Their agitations, which have earned only the disgust and contempt of the public, appear to be intended to prove their loyalty to their foreign masters and avoid another "criticism" from the Cominform. The Government is proceeding with its plans to dismiss reprehensible Communists from its service, while coal mines and industrial plants have already begun to fire Red agitators and ringleaders in their employ. That these measures can now be taken with safety is an eloquent proof of the retreat of Communism. On the other hand, in order to be prepared against any threat to the country's internal security, the G.H.Q. authorized early in July the creation of a National Police Reserve of 75,000 men, who have already been recruited and are being equipped and trained.

As far as the Japanese skies are concerned, the Red star is receding.


As a result of the Pacific War, Japan was stripped of 44 percent ing all of her huge overseas assets, some 80 percent of her merchant marine, and large portions of her industrial equipment for of her territory; she lost 36 percent of her national wealth, includ-civilian production. That she did not succumb to this appalling disaster of defeat but has achieved a surprising measure of recovery is entirely due to the benevolent occupation policy and the generous American aid.

In January 1948, General MacArthur's headquarters, seeing little hope for an early peace treaty for Japan, embarked upon a policy to put the country on a de facto peace footing as far as practicable, by removing or relaxing progressively many restrictions and controls, political as well as economic, so as to hasten Japanese recovery and self-support. It is this American policy, coupled with a comprehensive program for financial aid and technical assistance, which has enabled us to rehabilitate our industries and revive our foreign trade to the present levels.

Under the de facto peace the channels for private trade were widened, and Japanese businessmen were permitted to go abroad. The United States established a revolving fund to facilitate Japan's foreign trade in 1948, and a single exchange rate for the yen was set up in April 1949. In December of the same year the nine-point Economic Stabilization Plan was inaugurated. In 1950, through the good offices of the G.H.Q., we have established overseas agencies in five cities of the United States, and more are to be opened soon in Paris, Brussels, Stockholm, New Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and elsewhere. Whereas in 1947 only 50 foreigners entered Japan, the number of visitors to our shores in 1949 increased to 15,000, consisting of buyers and tourists, while more and more Japanese are travelling abroad on educational and cultural missions as well as for commercial purposes.

A few figures from the G.H.Q. Economic Statistics may suffice to indicate Japan's progress under the Allied Occupation in these past five years.

As compared with the period from 1932 to 1936, the years immediately preceding the outbreak of the China Affair, our industrial production in 1946 registered only 33 percent; but it has moved up to 94 percent as of July this year. The production index rose likewise from 10.2 in 1946 to 41.6 in 1949 for textiles, from 44 to 82.1 for agriculture, from 38 to somewhere near 80 for fisheries. As for the foreign trade, our imports and exports which in 1938 amounted respectively to $750,000,000 and $758,000,000 sank in 1946 to $305,000,000 and $103,000,000 but climbed to $902,000,000 and $510,000,000 in 1949.

These statistics are gratifying. But they fall far below the level for meeting even the immediate needs of the country. Japan must feed a population of 80,000,000, which grows at the rate of 1,500,-000 a year; and Japan's domestic food supply, falling short of the demand by 19 percent, necessitates a disproportionately large outlay for the import of foodstuffs.

The figures I have cited on our foreign trade are deceptive in that owing to a drop of some 50 percent in the purchasing power of the dollar our 1949 trade total, though nominally nearing the 1938 mark, is actually less than one-half the prewar volume. Moreover, there is a glaring discrepancy between imports and exports. Our annual excess of imports over exports aggregated 1.366 billion dollars by the end of last year, all of which has been covered by the United States aid fund. In order that we may cease to be a burden to American taxpayers, we must double our foreign trade. In a long-range program for achieving a stable and self-supporting national economy we shall have to triple or even quadruple our export trade, which is, and will be for some time to come, our only means of earning foreign exchange to balance our international payments. That means we have to expand our export industries. That will mean, in turn, that we must build factories, overhaul and replace our outmoded and worn-out tools of production, introduce foreign capital and the advanced technology of the West and develop our hydroelectric resources.

Such are our needs. I hope they will be taken into sympathetic consideration by those nations which are to write the coming Japanese peace treaty. I hope Japan will be permitted to proceed with her economic reconstruction from the point which she has now reached under Allied occupation. I certainly hope the treaty will contain no stipulation that may undo what has been accomplished, or cancel out the past or future aid from the United States.

In some quarters a fear is entertained that a separate peace might permanently sever Japan's trade with Red China. Red or white, China remains our next-door neighbor. Geography and economic laws will, I believe, prevail in the long run over any ideological differences and artificial trade barriers.

However, the importance of our China trade should not be exaggerated. During the period of 1932 to 1936 the ratio of this trade to our total foreign trade did not come up to more than 22 percent in exports and 13 percent in imports (Manchuria, 4 percent and 6 percent; Kwantung leased territory, 12 percent and 2 percent; China proper, 6 percent and 5 percent). Today we have no longer any "special influence" in China. That country itself has lost much of its production and transportation capacities during these long years of warfare. It would be a mistake to expect too much from China trade.

On the other hand, the prospect is bright in the other areas of East Asia. Our trade with India, Ceylon, Indonesia and the Philippines accounted for 20 percent of our foreign trade even in the prewar days. Since the war's end the volume of our trade with these countries as well as Pakistan, Burma and Thailand under bilateral agreements has expanded rapidly, adding up in 1949 to $230,000,000 in exports and $150,000,000 in imports, or 46 percent and 17 percent respectively of our total exports and imports.

Each of these countries is about to embark upon an extensive reconstruction program for the promotion of economic stability and the elevation of living standards. According to the report submitted to the meeting of the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East--an area organ under the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations--which was held in Lapstone, Australia, in December 1948, the sums of money needed for the execution of the reconstruction programs formulated by these countries are said to total 13.6 billion dollars. Moreover, the same Commission at its fifth meeting in Singapore in October last adopted a resolution noting that the trade between Japan and these countries of East Asia is complementary and beneficial to the entire area, and recommending investigations with a view to furthering these trade relations. From the above-mentioned facts, it will not be amiss to assume that Japan will be called upon to use a good measure of her industrial power for the rehabilitation of these countries. If America and Britain should, as reported, extend assistance to these countries to speed their political and economic stabilization, the possibility that their potential purchasing power will be translated into an effective demand for the capital goods produced by Japan will be all the more enhanced.

Then there is Korea. The United Nations relief and rehabilitation program will eventually call for quantities of building materials, rolling stock and machinery, besides clothing and all manner of miscellaneous articles. And we are right on the spot to supply them.

But in order that Japan may become a real workshop of East Asia and contribute abundantly to its progress and prosperity she must have a peace treaty. It is essential that we be guaranteed an equitable and equal treatment in international commerce, the rights of travel and residence, and full freedom of trade and shipping in this and other quarters of the globe. Such conditions of commerce and navigation can be realized only after the conclusion of peace and Japan's restoration as a free and independent member to the society of nations. There are inevitable and severe limitations to any de facto peace arrangement.


Finally, there is a spiritual need for a peace treaty. The munificence of the American Government and people has conferred untold benefits upon Japan. We are deeply grateful to the Allied authorities for guiding and assisting us in the difficult task of national reconstruction. The presence of the Allied forces has been the prime factor for ensuring the country's tranquillity and internal security.

Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that a military occupation is prejudicial to the fostering of initiative and enterprise, the sense of responsibilty, the spirit of self-reliance and independence, pride and patriotism. These qualities of the spirit cannot be fully developed until our nation is restored to complete sovereignty and reinstated in the community of nations as a free and independent member. Let me, without dwelling on the demoralizing effects of a military occupation, quote from General MacArthur, who views the problem from another angle and perceives that the evils which flow from prolonged occupation affect both sides. In his message of February 20, 1947, to the War Department reiterating his firm purpose to restore peace and normalcy at the very earliest time practicable, and recommending that civilian controls be substituted for the existing military controls, he wrote:

History points out the unmistakable lesson that military occupations serve their purpose at best only for a limited time, after which a deterioration rapidly sets in--deterioration of the populace in an occupied country which becomes increasingly restive under the deprivation of personal freedom, inherent in such a situation--and deterioration of the occupying forces which in time assume a dominant power complex pointing to the illusion of a master race.

Japan awaits a peace treaty. We do not know what will be the conditions of peace. This is a treaty Japan will conclude as a defeated nation for the first time in her history, and it is likely to prove a bitter pill for us to swallow. But we are prepared to take our punishment. We are resolved to redeem our mistaken past by fulfilling the peace terms whatever they may be with all the sincerity and good faith which we have shown in the discharge of our obligations under the Instrument of Surrender during the past five years.

Meanwhile, I earnestly hope that the coming peace treaty will be such as will give hope for the future and inspire a fresh zeal for national reconstruction; and such as will bring forth a peaceful, hardworking and prosperous Japan--a nation, chastened and free, fit to serve as a bastion of democracy in the Far East. And I repeat my hope that as a result of the treaty Japan may enter the United Nations. We are ready and anxious to join, do our full share and make sacrifices, if necessary, in any arrangement for international coöperation under United Nations auspices to ensure the security of the Pacific as well as of Japan.

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  • SHIGERU YOSHIDA, Prime Minister of Japan; Foreign Minister in the Shidehara Cabinet, 1945-46; former Ambassador to Italy and Great Britain
  • More By Shigeru Yoshida