By David Wurfel. In University of Missouri Business and Government Review VII: 2 (March-April 1966)

In February 1961, the Shimanaka Incident, perhaps not so widely reported in the U.S., shocked Japanese intellectuals. The house of the editor of Chuo Koron, one of Japan’s leading journals, was attacked by rightists because that magazine had published a fiction item which they considered disrespectful to the Emperor. For a time, many intellectuals were frightened into silence.

Perhaps more widely reported in this country was the coup d’etat plot discovered in the fall of 1962, causing people to reminisce about the February 1936 attempt. But this one was a pitiful farce, so inadequate were the preparations, given the efficiency and strength of the Japanese police. In July 1963, rightists were successful in burning the home of Ichiro Kono, then Minister of Construction and Liberal-Democratic Party faction leader.

Japanese democracy is not as strong as is suggested by the optimists, nor as fragile as is contended by the pessimists. But whatever its prospects Americans have good reason to be interested, for it is at once a product of American policy and a major element determining the future effectiveness of that policy in Asia. It could also be undermined by serious errors in U.S. diplomacy.

There have been several incidents in recent years which might well cause both Japanese and Americans concern about the future of democracy in Japan. Most familiar are the demonstrations and riots of May and June 1960 following passage of the Japan-U.S. Security Pact by the Japanese Diet. This finally led to the cancellation of President Eisenhower’s visit. It also revealed a shocking disregard by both ruling and opposition parties for the parliamentary process.

In the fall of 1960, an even more spectacular and disconcerting event occurred before the TV cameras — the assassination of Socialist Party leader Asanuma by a rightist fanatic. This assassination, the first since the 1930’s, focused attention on the extreme right, a clearly anti-democratic force.

We should hasten to add that, despite all this publicity for rightist fanaticism, and its obvious nuisance value, the extreme right in Japan today is not a powerful force. Says I. I. Morris, “It suffers from numerous fundamental weaknesses which prevent it from … expanding its influence.”1 Still these events clearly require a careful qualification of any great optimism about the prospects of democracy in Japan. We need to delve into recent Japanese history for a fuller explanation.


Japanese social, economic and political change has been the most rapid in Asia. Though there was no significant western impact in Japan until the 1850’s, later than for most of the rest of Asia, today Japan is Asia’s most modern industrialized nation. It is the world’s third largest steel producer, while being first in shipbuilding, and fourth in automobiles.

But modernization, of either the economic or political system, is not equivalent to democratization. Despite some democratic experimentation during the Meiji Era, and a period of flowering shortly after the First World War, the military tradition and the close cooperation between big business, political leadership, and entrenched bureaucracy remained dominant. Entrepreneurs as a political force did not, as in the West, demand greater freedom for the individual.2 Thus, the political role of small farmers and workers, and of intellectuals, was sharply restricted and freedom of expression severely limited.

The world-wide depression of the 1930’s brought economic crisis to Japan. This did not cause big business to become an active apostle of foreign aggression — as the Marxist explanation goes — but economic frustration did stimulate the growth of military fascism, which pushed for expansion overseas. The simultaneous restriction of Japanese export markets caused big business to acquiesce in these military adventures. As we now know, however, military success in the 1930’s eventually led to disaster in 1945.

Thus Japan, which today is sometimes suggested as a model for economic and political development in non-Communist Asia, was in 1945 the prime example of the pattern which Asian nations should avoid. It is, in fact, really questionable to what extent the Japanese pattern can be held up as a model, for one of the strongest stimuli to democratic growth in the postwar period came from U.S. military occupation, which is certainly not appropriate for repetition.


Japan, in fact, might be thought of as the most successful postwar example of U.S. tutelage for democracy overseas, despite the obvious contradiction of a military regime as an agent of democracy. Beginning under U.S. guidance, the first postwar decade in Japan was a major social and political revolution, second only to the Chinese Communist revolution for its pace and the magnitude of change. The American Occupation, the major factor in bringing about this change, had attempted to demilitarize and democratize Japan. More than 12 years after the end of that Occupation, how should Japanese democracy be evaluated?

Democracy will be here defined as a political system-not simply an ideology in which decision making is widely shared and is limited by law, in which the rights of individuals and groups freely to associate and express themselves are respected, and in which the state does not define ultimate good.

Certainly the problem of democracy is more than political; it is also social, economic and ideological. Thus the Occupation, after disarming the defeated enemy, set out to: eliminate from the political scene anti-democratic individuals and groups establish a constitutional and legal framework in which democracy could prosper stimulate the formation and strengthening of groups which would protect these new institutions and provide political competition for the traditionally established interests support economic recovery and growth foster the growth of values conducive to democratic practices.

Demilitarization was quickly accomplished, and was then confirmed by Article IX of the new Constitution:

The Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes … Land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained.

However, after the Korean War the Occupation actually promoted the re-establishment of armed forces, despite the Constitution. A National Police Reserve of 75,000 men was established. The size and prestige of the armed forces in Japan has gradually grown since 1950 until there are now more than 220,000 men in the Self-Defense Forces — about 80 per cent of these in the Ground Self-Defense Force, a euphemism for “Army.”

Though anti-military sentiment has been strong enough to prevent conscription, this is not pure pacifism; 64 per cent of persons polled in 1957 believed it was necessary for Japan to have a military force.3 It is significant, however, that only 31 per cent in the same poll wanted an expansion of existing forces. Expansion has been slight since 1957, nor is conscription likely in the foreseeable future.

The “purge”

The military were eliminated from politics by the “purge” in 1947: 167,035 military officers and veterans were prohibited from engaging in any political activity.4 And even after the end of the Occupation, very few have made a political comeback. Military officers on active duty are excluded from the cabinet by the Constitution. Any efforts by the military to re-establish ties with the Imperial institution are closely watched by the Imperial household Agency. The fact that the present Emperor is now widely known to hold pacifist views helps to make his utilization by the military practically impossible.

Other groups considered anti-democratic were wartime politicians, landlords, and zaibatsu, or financial cliques. Wartime politicians, not all of whom had actually supported the war effort with enthusiasm, were eliminated by the 1947 purge; 434 out of 466 members of the 1945 Diet were banned from office. Many later returned to prominence, for instance, former Prime Ministers Hatoyama and Kishi. Only time is truly efficient. Today death and retirement have eliminated all but a few of the prewar or wartime politicians from the political elite.

Landlords, who often served as local bosses for the conservative parties, controlled votes through their status and economic power in the village. They were eliminated economically, and to a large extent politically, by the land reform. But this did not produce a countryside which was very much less conservative. In the early postwar years, before land reform was implemented, tenants’ unions were a powerful political force in rural areas, but land reform transformed these tenants into conservative owner-peasants who are still the firmest political base for the ruling party.5

Monopoly control of industry had facilitated its cooperation with the military. The zaibatsu were broken up, on paper, by stringent anti-trust laws as a part of the Occupation reforms. But recombination quickly took place by many ingenious subterfuges, and with tacit American approval from 1948. American policy makers had become more concerned with economic recovery than with democratization, and it became apparent that a shake-up of the ownership structure would reduce productivity. In the last few years, recombination has been formalized by many corporate mergers. Thus big business today has a dominant influence over the governing party, at least as great a political role as it had 40 years ago. But the political competition it does face is now from labor and intellectuals, not from the military.

The bureaucracy, little affected by the purge — only 2-3 per cent of those purged were bureaucrats — has remained strong. The Occupation was forced to rely heavily on this very bureaucracy to carry out its reforms. The bureaucracy’s relative position may even have been strengthened in the postwar period, with the decline of the military and the political old guard. Unfortunately, the bureaucracy is not a group with a very strong democratic orientation.

The Constitution of 1947, replacing the Meiji Constitution promulgated by the Emperor in 1889, was written by MacArthur’s staff and then translated into Japanese, a procedure which now strengthens the hand of those who criticize it and call for its revision. The new Constitution set up a British-style parliamentary system in which the Emperor has been demoted from demigod to “symbol of the state.” Opinion polls reveal that this status is approved by more than three fourths of the Japanese people. The Constitution also provides elaborate protection for civil liberties, even for some not found in the U.S. Constitution, such as academic freedom (Article 23).

The principle of local autonomy has been written into the Constitution, as well as being implemented by law. But in this area there has been much backsliding. For instance, both police and educational administration, once decentralized and partly controlled by local governments, has been centralized again. Nor have local governments been given an adequate tax base.


Changing attitudes and ideology is always the most difficult aspect of political tutelage, and especially so for a foreign military occupation. Occupation reforms designed to affect values were attempted mainly through the educational system, particularly through revision of curriculum, such as elimination of “moral education” and nationalistic treatment of history. Basic values were also influenced by remolding the family system through a revision of the civil code strengthening the position before the law of women and children vis-a-vis fathers, for example.

Democratic values assume a religious or philosophical base which stresses the worth of the individual. Democratic political principles without this base are vulnerable. And in Japan there is little basis for democracy in traditional thought which, on the contrary, places great emphasis on maintenance of group cohesion.

The late Tadao Yanaibara, former President of Tokyo University, answered “no” when asked by Swiss theologian Emil Brunner, then professor at International Christian University in Tokyo, whether there were any signs of democracy in Japanese tradition. Said Yanaibara:

Democracy is an ideology entirely alien to Japanese history. To the extent that Japanese are unwilling to break away from a traditional way of thinking … to accept an ideological revolution, democracy can never take root in Japanese life, much less in Japanese politics … Unless Japanese learn to assimilate fully the idea of the inviolable right of each individual to enjoy freedom and equality, they will never be able to accomplish the task of building a new democratic Japan.7

It may be asked whether democracy can mature in a society where the individual can appeal to no value or moral authority higher than the state as the basis for limiting state action, even if taken by majority decision.

One stage of the ideological revolution has taken place. Japanese traditional values have been largely rejected by the younger generation. The trauma of defeat largely accomplished this.8 Christianity-which despite the fewness of the faithful had made a significant contribution to the democratic movement in the past — seemed in the late 1940’s to be filling the vacuum, but by 1950 it also appeared to be losing out among the youth to Marxism.

Marxism provided not only a philosophy, but, within an integrated system, a historical analysis and a political program as well. But in the last few years, Marxism itself has been in decline. Amidst unprecedented prosperity, it is losing out in turn to existentialist materialism, which — partly because it fosters withdrawal from politics — is no improvement as an ideological basis for democracy.

Nor does Buddhism, the most important religion in Japan — although its active adherents are a minority-make any significant contributions to the cause of political democracy. Zen is, in a sense, “individualistic,” but does not justify individual political action. Soka Gakkai, politically the most active segment of Japanese Buddhism, is considered by many Japanese observers as a lively threat to democratic processes. The more syncretic “new religions” reveal the deep search for meaning in Japan today, but certainly do not assist the growth of democratic ideology.

A traditional value which seems to many Westerners to be a particular handicap to the parliamentary system,9 based as it is on majority rule in decision making, is the strong Japanese desire for unanimity in all group decisions, including those of the national government. Japanese stress on unanimity is, however, very different from that in the Quaker tradition, which is built on initial respect for the individual. This helps to explain the crisis of 1960, which stemmed from the Diet’s ratification of the U.S.-Japan Security Pact without the presence of the opposition.10

Nor did the Socialists quickly give up their demand for unanimity. In 1961, then Socialist Party Chairman Kawakami criticized government passage of the Fundamental Law of Agriculture despite a Socialist boycott of the session and demanded adoption of a bill “made up of the good points” from both government and opposition drafts.11 Fortunately for political stability, Prime Minister Ikeda seemed to be sensitive to the problem created by this incongruity of traditional practice and the parliamentary system.

In addition to Occupation reforms, the defeat itself and the rapid growth of urbanization and industrialization in the postwar period have also been important influences in the Japanese Revolution. (For this reason, the “reverse course,” the jettisoning of Occupation reforms, has not been as strong as many people had feared.) Urbanization and industrialization have been so rapid, in fact, that social change has been uneven. It has been much more rapid in urban than rural areas, though Japanese rural areas are not backward by Asian standards-most Japanese farmers have TV sets.

Furthermore, youth has adopted new ideas and new behavior much more readily than the older generation. Thus, generational conflict and the urban-rural gap are greater in Japan than in any Western democracy today. While the mass communications and educational systems are dominated by the younger urbanized elements, the political system is dominated by the older group oriented to rural values. This produces stresses which may lead to violence in a crisis.


In most respects, the Japanese political system should now be characterized as democratic. Free elections within a constitutional framework allow for a wide sharing of certain types of decision making; there is freedom of speech, and association. Moreover, the government serves the people in many ways, operating, for example, the most extensive social security system in non-Communist Asia, comparable with those in Europe. Nevertheless, the foundations of this democracy in the structure and values of the society are weak.

There would appear to be three conditions for further growth to mature, stable democracy in Japan: economic progress, international stability, and a compatible value system. Being as yet without a compatible value system, Japanese democracy relies heavily upon the present precarious balance of economic and international factors for continuing existence. What are the chances for the upsetting of that balance and the re-occurrence of crises, such as the one in 1960, which could undermine and perhaps even destroy this frail democratic system?

Since democracy in Japan today is protected by phenomenal economic prosperity, if the economy falters, it is in danger. Economic growth was 14 per cent in 1961 and the increase in per capita income was almost as high-much more appropriately a “great leap forward” than China’s misnamed economic debacle. A drop of the growth rate in 1962 to about 8 per cent still did not make then Prime Minister Ikeda’s plan to double the GNP in a decade an impossible task. By fiscal year 1964 (which ran until March 31, 1965), the “real rate” of growth was back up to 11.2 per cent. But the most serious postwar depression yet has pushed growth down to less than 3 per cent for fiscal 1965, a much more “normal” rate by world standards. More rapid growth is expected again in late 1966.

If Japanese prosperity is to be sustained, it must depend heavily — though much less than before World War II — on the ability to export, and the U.S. is her biggest market, taking 28 per cent of all exported goods.12 Thus, either world-wide depression or even substantial restriction of American markets would have serious, perhaps disastrous, repercussions in Japan. If combined with a crisis in foreign relations, this could wreck democracy.

Nuclear policy

Were the U.S. to exert pressure for the introduction of nuclear weapons into its Japanese bases, a political crisis would most certainly result. Opposition to nuclear weapons is emotionally still the most potent slogan in Japan, probably stronger there than in any other country. Even the threat of the visit of nuclear missile-armed submarines in 1963 sparked massive demonstrations. Present government policy is officially opposed to the introduction of any nuclear weapons on Japanese soil.

A trial balloon raised by ex-Premier Yoshida in July 1962 favoring nuclear weapons was very critically received, so that Mr. Ikeda denied any intention to change policy. If U.S. insistence should cause a change in this policy, anti-nuclear sentiment would probably combine with still powerful nationalism to produce an explosive resistance to the change. Should such an explosion occur in the midst of widespread economic unrest, it would make the events of 1960 look like a fizzled firecracker in comparison.

In early December 1965, Premier Sato seemed to be attempting to revise the Japanese position by intimating agreement with the statement:

If science and technology make advances to develop nuclear weapons which can be restricted to self-defense, possession of these devices will not necessarily violate the constitution.

The impact of the Chinese bomb, already so great in India, was also being felt in Japan. Still the Japanese are much farther than the Indians from willingness to manufacture or use any kind of nuclear weapons. But in any case, one must remember that while introduction of nuclear weapons by the U.S. could be resisted on nationalist grounds, Japanese production of the very same weapon might satisfy national pride.

It should be remembered that in whatever crisis might occur, the most significant threat to democracy would probably not be in Communist or Socialist demonstrations and/or rioting, but in the re-assertion of a political role by the military to suppress the rioting. In June 1960, Prime Minister Kishi almost called out the Japanese army for this purpose. Since then, military plans for another such contingency have been exposed. In Japan the forces of order, both actually and potentially, are still stronger than the forces of disorder.


Thus if Japanese democracy is to be preserved, this precarious balance of economic progress and international quiet must be maintained for another generation, at least. Only such favorable conditions will permit the gradual development of a democratic value system. Those conditions exist presently; but what steps, if any, are being taken to use this time well for the advancement of democratic values? There are, of course, many writers and scholars in Japan today who unfailingly espouse truly democratic principles. The miserable showing of the middle-of-the-road Democratic Socialist Party in the 1962 elections is one index of the rather limited acceptance these values have, however; even though it is probably less limited than the support for that party.13

The running battle between the Ministry of Education, dominated by conservative bureaucratic thinking, and the left-leaning Japan Teachers Union has so far prevented the public schools from being very effective as an instrument for positive inculcation of democracy. Although potentially “moral education” classes could teach the principles of human relations which are a foundation for democratic institutions, teachers have feared that they might be used as before the war to indoctrinate students with more traditional values. Only recently reinstituted, it is too early to evaluate the impact which the new version of “moral education” has had.

The requirement of “general education” for all under-graduates in the postwar university system does at least give the technically trained a more humanistic view of life. It seems unlikely, nevertheless, that the value system of late 20th century Japan will be a product of calculated indoctrination, as it was as of August 1945.

The greater hope would seem to lie in attitude, and ultimately value, changes arising because human relationships, both political and nonpolitical, are in practice increasingly democratic-though, as indicated, change is faster in urban areas. There is some evidence that this is happening. Experience, not philosophic discourse, is transforming values. Thus the task of the philosopher and of intellectuals generally becomes the articulation of the changes taking place. To complete this task, however, Japanese intellectuals will have to spend more time on the observation of society than on the all too common textual exegesis of foreign writers ignorant of Japanese experience. Democratic principles rephrased in terms of Japanese experience could probably find widening acceptance.

Problem of consensus

A compatible value system for a democratic Japan must include not only high regard for behavior which permits the democratic operation of political institutions, but must also be associated with a general consensus on the major goals of society. Such a consensus is often lacking. It is probably greater on such domestic issues as economic policy than on foreign policy goals, and is probably as limited among the middle class as among the entire electorate. Intellectuals and petty bourgeoisie are at opposite ends of the political spectrum.

In any case, Japan has moved from a frightening unanimity on “service to the Emperor” to dangerous cleavages: the gaps between city and country, between young and old, between tradition and modernity -often in ideological garb. These gaps must be narrowed if democratic processes are not to be strained beyond the breaking point. Fortunately there is some indication that they are narrowing.

Paradoxically, however, one sentiment which at other times has fostered consensus is today actually a roadblock to stable democracy.14 Nationalism finds violent expression on the extremes of right and left, combined with traditionalist or Marxist philosophies. In fact, a dilution of ultra-nationalism would be counted as a gain for democracy. Insofar as a sense of national inferiority, particularly in front of the Western world, is one of its main causes, there is good reason to believe that ultra-nationalism will decline.

Japan’s achievements in production, in science, in literature and the arts are gaining increasing recognition in the world. As real national status rises, we might then expect that intense nationalism, an instrument of self-delusion and a substitute for externally recognized status, would lose its function. The reservoir of extreme nationalists capable of being stirred to undemocratic political action in time of crisis still exists in Japan—as violence cited earlier reminds us. But a continued rise in Japan’s international prestige would gradually dry it up. A decline in ultra-nationalism, however, might parallel an increasing desire on the part of Japanese leaders to see augmentation of their nation’s power and political influence consonant with its prestige. But an assertiveness in foreign policy can in part be understood as a satisfaction of national ambition, a means of avoiding ultra-nationalist frustration.


The best measures of the trends in Japanese political behavior, as in any democracy, are the election returns, reflecting the strength of various forces. In the last decade, Japan has developed a party system dominated by the governing Liberal Democrats and the opposition Socialists. Yet it has aptly been described as a “one and-a-half-party system,” since Socialist seats are only about one half Liberal Democratic strength.15 Labor organizations, whose growth was stimulated and protected by Occupation policy, have become the main source of Socialist support. The ruling party gets the backing of most farmers and of big business. The two major parties compete with the minor ones —_Komeito_, Democratic Socialists, and Communists-for the growing urban middle class.

Despite the fact that Liberal-Democrats have enjoyed uninterrupted rule for more than a decade, their electoral base is being steadily eroded, as Tables 1 and 2 clearly indicate. From 1955 to 1963, their popular vote for the house of Representatives declined nearly 9 per cent.


1955* 1958*

Valid Votes (000) % of Votes Seats # Seats % Valid Votes (000) % of Votes Seats # Seats%
Liberal Dem. Party 23,381 63.2 297 63.6 22,977 57.8 287 61.5
“Progressives“2 11,904 32.2 162 34.7 14,106 35.5 167 35.7
Minor Parties 497 1.3 2 0.4 288 0.7 1 0.2
Independents 1,229 3 6 1.3 2,381 6.0 12 2.6

1960* 1963**
Liberal-Dem. Party 22,740 57.6 296 63.” 21,729 55.0 283 60.5
“Progressives” 15,508 39.2 165 35.3 15,855 40.1 172 36.8
Minor Parties 142 0.4 1 0.2 50 0.1 0 0
lndependents 1,119 2.8 5 1.1 1,909 4.8 12 2.7
1467 seats in all years.
2 includes Socialist, Democratic Socialist, and Communist Parties.

*Source: R. E. Ward and R. C. Macridis (eds.), Modern Political Systems Asia (Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1963), pp. 68-69. **Source: Documentary News of the Month, No. 202 (Tokyo: Nov. 1963), p. 42, 50.


(Average of National & Local Constituencies)

1955* 1958*

Valid Votes (000) % of Votes Seats # Seats % Valid Votes (000) % of Votes Seats # Seats%
Liberal-Dem. Party 17,901 46.8 69 54.3 17,113 45.7 71 55.9
“Progressives“2 14,838 38.7 40 31.4 14,926 39.7 42 33.0
Komeito 2,700 7.1 9 7.2 3,494 9.4 11 8.7
Minor Parties 1,168 3.0 4 3.2   24 2 0.7
Independents 1,685 4.4 5 3.9 1,682 4.5 3 2.4
1 250 seats, half of which are chosen in each election. Total of candidates elected includes filling of vacancies.
2 Includes Socialist, Democratic Socialist, and Communist Parties.

Source: Documentary News of the Month, No. 222 (Tokyo: Aug. 1965), pp. 36-37.

In the 1965 house of Councillors poll — not so important since a government is formed on the basis of Lower house strength — it dropped to 45.7 per cent. In the coming Lower house election it could be below 50 per cent for the first time. Putting the trend another way, we can say that between 1953 and 1960 the “progressive parties,” including the Socialists, the non-Marxist Democratic Socialists, and the Communists, increased their popular vote an average of 3.2 per cent at every election. A projection of that trend would have given them a majority by 1968. But in 1963 their rate of growth dropped sharply to 1 per cent, making such projections risky indeed.

There are many factors, however, which could either accelerate or delay this trend. Whereas a major economic crisis, or U.S. attempts to introduce nuclear weapons might bring on the collapse of present political institutions, minor stimuli in both these fields could redound to the Socialists’ benefit. A mild economic crisis in one industry, particularly if stimulated by U.S. policy, such as imposition of a cotton equalization fee, would probably increase both the intensity and the breadth of support for the Left.

In the field of nuclear policy, if the Japanese Government, rather than the U.S., were to take the initiative in acquiring atomic weapons, the impetus to the Opposition would probably not be great enough to endanger constitutional government, but would increase the protest vote at the polls.

Conversely, other developments would certainly hurt the Socialists. If the Liberal Democrats could agree among themselves to revise the election law and establish single-member districts for the Diet, the Socialists’ parliamentary representation would be sharply reduced, even if they did continue to increase their popular vote. Conservative unity on this point does not seem likely, however, until the effective dissolution of strong factional organizations. The Socialist vote itself might fall if there were clear evidence of a growing threat from Red China; Japan might well exhibit a reaction similar to India’s. Though open threats from Peking are improbable, a repetition of the brazen interference already exercised by the Chinese in the Socialists’ intra-party squabbles would also redound to the detriment of all the Marxists.

It has been suggested by one very astute observer of Japanese politics16 that the most serious challenge to the rising trend in the “progressive” vote is the remarkable climb in the living standards of the laborer and middle class and their increasing involvement in the apolitical pursuits of a mass consumption society, thus producing apathy. Though this was not yet apparent in the 1960 election, the decline in the rate of left wing advance in 1963 may be considered a partial vindication of this analysis. There does seem to be evidence that political apathy is increasing in the steady drop since 1958 of the percentage of the electorate actually voting. If nonvoting within the urban middle and lower classes, which might otherwise be expected to vote Socialist, should become even more prevalent, that Party’s support would be undermined.

On the other hand, there are many voters in Japan, particularly in predominantly rural constituencies, who identify ideologically with the progressives, but vote conservative. Their usual explanation is that the Socialists “have no chance,” that a vote for them is wasted. As the Socialist vote comes nearer to the 50 per cent mark, this psychology will undoubtedly change. Certainly some of the younger Socialist Party leaders of the last few years have attempted to aid this shift by trying to create an image of responsibility—handicapped, of course, by the ideological rigidity of party chairman Sasaki.

In any case, the bulk of the younger urbanized elements who constitute a major part of Socialist support is probably voting as much, or more, against tradition, against symbols of the old order, against those who would attempt to turn the clock back as for a predominantly Marxist Socialist program. A disenchantment with Marxism on the part of the middle class voter would not necessarily be expressed by a withdrawal of support from the Socialist Party. In sum, the factors which might retard that Party’s rise to power must be considered alongside those which could accelerate it.

Minor party growth

But the most spectacular growth in the last 4 years has come in the minor parties.

In the 1965 house of Councillors election, the Communists gained over 25 per cent more votes than they had 3 years beforebut still leaving them under 6 per cent of the total. In the same period, the Komeito, or Clean Government Party—the political arm of the militant Buddhist sect, Soka Gakkaiincreased _ its vote by nearly 30 per cent! Since 1962 _Soka Gakkai, formally organized into a political party only in 1964, has jumped from complete lack of representation in the Diet to the position of third largest party. Clearly the greatest beneficiary of the conservatives’ decline has been this aggressive group which stands for peace and honest government-but what else no one is quite sure.

Thus while the erosion of Liberal-Democratic strength will undoubtedly continue, it seems more likely that the present era will be succeeded by some kind of coalition than by a Socialist Party regime.17 Conceivably an LDP coalition with Komeito could exclude “the progressives” from government for some time to come. At least as likely would be a grouping of Komeito with the Socialists and the fourth ranking Democratic-Socialists. The uncertainty about the direction which Japanese politics will take centers around the impenetrable fog which has so far surrounded most of Komeito‘s platform. Some people fear this platform could develop an undemocratic thrust. But there is one certainty, that the governmental stability of the last decade is not to be duplicated in the next.


If Japan moves from a one-and-one-half to a multiparty system, the development of compatible values, and the preservation of economic conditions and international environment which make democracy possible today becomes more important than ever. For a multiparty system can produce responsible, effective government only if there is broad consensus on defense of the parliamentary process.

The Japanese consensus on process is weakest when considering that subject which engenders the least consensus on substance, foreign policy. American observers frequently forget that the parliamentary majority of the Liberal-Democrats is not a mandate for a strongly pro-American position. There is a broad Japanese consensus in opposition to war, so that last year, soon after Foreign Minister Shiina defended U.S. bombing of North Vietnam, an opinion poll revealed that 75 per cent of the electorate were opposed.18 But consensus is lacking on any positive steps for Japan to take. Thus the Socialists again last fall risked opprobrium for violence in the Diet to try, unsuccessfully, to block the Japan-Korean Normalization Treaty.

Only on the need for economic prosperity, and the trade which undergirds it, is their general agreement. Trade with Red China grows, therefore, despite U.S. pressures.

Americans especially need to recognize that as Japan becomes more powerful economically, her people will want to exercise more independence in the making of foreign policy.19 Greater independence for her may mean less support for American positions.

We are thus faced with a dilemma: either we attempt to frustrate the appearance of a foreign policy more responsive, through parliamentary processes, to national values, or we must accept Japanese initiatives which diverge increasingly from U.S. strategy. Yet in the long run it would seem that the preservation of Japanese democracy is the best insurance against the eruption of any fundamental conflict of interests. Essential American interests can hardly be damaged by a truly democratic Japan.


1 Ivan Morris, Nationalism and the Right Wing in Japan (London: Oxford, 1960), p. 402.

2 Robert Scalapino, Democracy and the Party Movement in Pre-War Japan (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1953). For the economic aspect, see William W. Lockwood, The Economic Development of Japan (London: Oxford, 1955).

3 The fullest account of the Occupation is by the late Kazuo Kawai, Japan’s American Interlude (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1960). For excellent interpretive summary, see Edwin O. Reischauer, The United States and Japan (New York: Viking, 1962), part 4.

4 See Douglas Mendel, The Japanese People and Foreign Policy (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1957).

5 See Hans Baerwald, The Purge of Japanese Leaders Under the Occupation (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1959).

6 See R. P. Dore, Land Reform in Japan (London: Oxford, 1959); also Dore, “Beyond the Land Reform: Japan’s Agricultural Prospect,” Pacific Affairs, XXXVI:3 (Fall 1963), pp. 265-76.

7 Chuo Koron (January 1961), translated in Contemporary Japan (March 1962), pp. 127132.

8 See Robert Ward, “The Legacy of the Occupation,” in Herbert Passin, ed., The United States and Japan (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice hall, Inc., 1966).

9 Professor Robert Ward, however, seems to imply in a recent article (“Political Modernization and Political Culture in Japan,” World Politics XV:4 (July 1963), p. 581) that this consensual decision making has “reinforced” political modernization, which in postwar Japan has been a force for democratization.

10 See David Wurfel, “The Violent and the Voiceless in Japanese Politics,” Contemporary Japan (November 1960), pp. 663-694. For an excellent discussion of Japanese decision makIng, see Nobutaka Ike, Japanese Politics (New York: Knopf, 1957), chap. 14.

11 “Basic Objectives in Politics,” Contemporary Japan (May 1961), pp. 14-24.

12 See William W. Lockwood, “Problems of Political Economy,” in Passin, ed., The United States and Japan.

13 That party’s success in 1963 was not in popular votes but in Diet members elected, based on superior electoral strategy. The popular vote actually dropped from 8.8 per cent to 7.2 per cent.

14 For a Japanese critique see Masao Maruyama, Thought and Behavior in Modern Japanese Politics (London: Oxford University Press, 1963).

15 See Robert Scalapino and Junnosuke Masumi, Parties and Politics in Contemporary Japan (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1962).

16 Herbert Passin, “The Sources of Protest in Japan,” American Political Science Review, LVI:2 (June 1962), pp. 391-403.

17 See Herbert Passin, “The Future,” in The U.S. and Japan.

18 See Nobutaka Ike, “Japan, Twenty Years After Surrender,” Asian Survey (Jan. 1966), pp. 18-27.

19 A recognition only inadequately revealed in Philip W. Quigg, “Japan in Neutral,” Foreign Affairs (Jan. 1966), pp. 253-263.

Categories Japan, General politics

By David Wurfel. In Pacific Affairs, Vol. XXXV, No.4 (Winter 1962-63). University of British Columbia, Vancouver 8, Canada.

THE OKINAWANS, LIKE MANY OTHER ASIANS, had great expectations of President John F. Kennedy. Some were impossibly optimistic, others realistically cautious. Certain Okinawans in positions of responsibility recognized that a change in top U.S. leadership changed neither the character of the bureaucracy in Okinawa nor the Far Eastern military situation, which is the official justification for both U.S. bases and U.S. civil administration in the Ryukyus. But at least one top official of the Government of the Ryukyu Islands (GRI) privately voiced a hope that there would be a proclamation from Washington of intention to return Okinawa to Japanese administration, plus the beginning of steps leading toward that eventuality. Though he recognized that it was not official policy, his hopes were clearly based on the Conlon Report.1 Others, less sophisticated, tended to consider that report official-though the section on Okinawa was written by Professor Robert Scalapino, a scholar considerably more sensitive to Okinawan opinion than Washington policymakers-and expected even more rapid steps toward reversion.

In the first two years of the Kennedy administration few of these expectations have been realized: none but the most cautious ones. Politically aware Okinawans of nearly all persuasions feel more or less “let down.” In retrospect, given the magnitude of the military establishment in Okinawa, the Defense Department’s predominant role in the policy process, and the military man’s general satisfaction with the existing political arrangements, frustration of these expectations seems practically inevitable.

But the expectations were built on more than just an overevaluation of the importance of the Conlon Report. After a brief visit to Okinawa in November 1960, Senator John Sparkman reported to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that, though the political situation seemed stabilized for the moment and the economy was prospering, the existing political arrangements could be considered only temporary. A responsible and well informed journalist had remarked shortly before that “Okinawa’s [military bases] vulnerability in a brushfire war must be considered fairly high.”2 Such reports seemed to Okinawans like straws in the wind of changeon the eve of the Kennedy administration.

Hopes were raised again after Kennedy took office by announcement of a survey to determine the usefulness of existing U.S. bases throughout the world, but were dashed within a few months. At the end of March 1961 the Department of Defense announced that fifty-two overseas bases had been classified “obsolete” and would be closed or deactivated.3 No Okinawan bases were in this list. Press reports at the same time emphasized the great importance of Okinawan bases, especially for limited war purposes. Leaders of both government and opposition parties in the GRI Legislature expressed “great disappointment.” Indefinite continuation of U.S. civil administration seemed to be implied.

But hope springs eternal, and it rose again during preparations for the Ikeda-Kennedy talks in .Washington. In February 1961, Ikeda had told the House of Councillors Budget Committee that he “would like to see” Okinawa returned to Japan “as soon as possible.”4 But he would make no promise to put pressure on Kennedy in order to help make a reality of his wishes. Despite a visit from a delegation of Okinawan party leaders,5 student demonstrations in Tokyo and Naha,6 and other Okinawan efforts to draw attention to the reversion issue, the Foreign Office announced that Ikeda would not put emphasis on Okinawan reversion in his talks with Kennedy.7

The greatest concession to come out of the Washington meeting between President and Prime Minister — though not included in the joint communique — was permission to fly the Japanese flag over public buildings on official holidays.8 (Display on private homes had previously been allowed.) To the observer unacquainted with Okinawa the question may seem even more trivial than it actually was. The “flag question” had frequently erupted into a major public debate in the previous two years. The Okinawa Teacher’s Association had led the fight to fly the Rising Sun at public schools, believing it to be a necessary part of education for patriotism. (Okinawan teachers are decidedly more nationalistic than their Japanese counterparts.) USCAR (U.S. Civil Administration in the Ryukyus), where military thinking dominates, had steadfastly resisted any such move on the grounds that it would appear to be a diminution of exclusive U.S. administrative rights and would stimulate sentiment for reversion to Japanese rule. State Department officials had a different interpretation; theirs finally predominated. The new policy was introduced in the Washington press as “a gesture recognizing Japan’s latent sovereignty,” but USCAR officials, fighting the interpretation they had feared, insisted that the flying of the flag had no relation to the return of Okinawan administration to Japan.

Despite this small concession on the flag, there was considerable dissatisfaction with press reports from Washington which made clear that Prime Minister Ikeda had not even asked Kennedy for reversion. Speaker Nagamine of the GRI Legislature, member of the conservative, pro-American government party, expressed regret that Ikeda was “still clinging to U.S. coattails.”9 Okinawan leaders were disappointed not only in the U.S., but in Japan also.

Within six months, however, Okinawan hopes were again rising. In September 1961 the White House appointed a survey mission to go to Okinawa, headed by a former Harvard professor, Dr. Carl Kaysen.10 Though the mission was officially advertised as being concerned with social and economic conditions, it was generally believed to have wider interests. Speculation was rife about the political changes that might come about as a result of the mission’s findings.

Because it was well known that important policies were in the process of being made, concerned groups on all sides increased their activity in hopes of influencing that process. Understandably the first action was taken by the GRI Legislature. On February I, 1962, the legislators appealed by unaminous vote, as they had several times before, for return of Okinawa to Japanese administration. This year, however, they directed their appeal not only to Japan and the U.S., as before, but also to all 104 members of the U.N.: “In view of the December 1960 declaration of the General Assembly assuring the right of independence to all dependent peoples, we request the member states to comply with this resolution in respect to Okinawa.” The clear implication that Okinawa was a colony became the major focus of controversy. Chief Executive Ohta himself denied that it was, but Okinawa Liberal Democratic Party leaders met shortly thereafter to endorse the Legislature’s appea1.11 Foreign Minister Kosaka, when questioned in the Diet, explained in great detail that the December 1960 U.N. declaration did not apply to Okinawa.12

But despite these criticisms, the Okinawan Legislature’s action undoubtedly provided some stimulus to the Japanese Diet. Between February 10 and 15, 1962, the Socialist, Democratic Socialist and Liberal-Democratic Parties, in that order, all presented drafts of resolutions calling on the government to demand the return of Okinawa.13 (Three such resolutions had been adopted in previous years with no appreciable results.) In 1961 the Socialist Party had also presented such a draft but it was not adopted because the Liberal Democratic Party’s cooperation was not forthcoming. The Liberal Democrats had wanted to include reference to the Kuriles and thus would not support the Japan Socialist Party draft, which included no such reference;14 the Socialists had steadfastly refused to include one. There were apparently changes in the views of both parties during the intervening year for in 1962 a compromise was possible. On March 7 the House of Representatives Steering Committee agreed on two resolutions to be supported by all three parties, one relating to Okinawa and the other to the “northern territories.”15 These were adopted by the full House a few days later.

It was not only the Okinawans and Japanese who were attempting to influence the outcome of deliberations in Washington. Others were more successful. On March I High Commissioner Caraway told the press that “the Okinawa people’s right of self-determination could be considered as being adequately assured under present conditions.”16 He strongly implied thereby opposition to any change in the Executive Order. It is perhaps no mere coincidence that Caraway’s statement was made on the same day that Attorney General Robert Kennedy returned to Washington. The latter had remarked when he left Japan that he had been particularly impressed by the widespread opposition among Japanese youth to continued American administration in Okinawa. Since he also said that he would attempt to inform administration leaders in Washington about what he had learned during his trip, his remarks were another cause for optimism among those expecting significant changes. On March 2, Kennedy conferred with Secretary Rusk; and at the same time the State Department announced that General Caraway had been given no prior clearance for his remarks.17 The Attorney General thereafter joined the panel reviewing the Kaysen Mission’s findings.

But judging from the results of the review, neither the President’s brother nor the State Department were as influential as the General and his military friends.

After the Mission had returned to Washington, “informed sources” variously reported that it would recommend: appointment of a civilian High Commissioner (including mention of persons of Okinawan descent now in the U.S.)18 GR1 jurisdiction over all matters not directly involving defence19 and direct election of the chief executive.20 Though other reports were more cautious, warning that “not too much can be expected,” appointment of a civilian High Commissioner is almost impossible,21 or “American administration over Okinawa will not undergo any substantial change,”22 the more optimistic vein seemed to be dominant. Even those who had personally conferred with Mission members were in this latter category. One Washington Kyodo dispatch predicted “the first sweeping reform of U.S. policy in Okinawa.”23 Expectations were such that the Okinawa Times,24 which had been partly responsible for encouraging them, commented quite accurately after the issuance of a presidential statement that “so much was reported about the new policy beforehand that people who looked for substantial reform were greatly disappointed at the actual announcement.”

President Kennedy released his official statement on March 19. At the same time he signed an executive order amending Executive Order No. 10713, which is the closest thing that Okinawa has to a constitution. These were the political results of the Kaysen group’s survey, apparently embodying only the most cautious of its findings-which are still secret. Though the manner of their implementation will be crucial, the statement and the “constitutional amendment” do not add up to any substantial change in U.S. political policy. There are some indications that there may be the beginning of a trend in tho direction of greater civilian participation in policy-making and less American interference in purely Okinawan affairs. Though these indications are commendable, those who were prepared to measure progress with a yardstick have been forced to switch to a micrometer.

Perhaps the most notable phrase in Kennedy’s statement was the following: “I recognize the Ryukyus to be a part of the Japanese homeland and look forward to the day when the security interests of the Free World will permit their restoration to full Japanese sovereignty.”25 The President studiously avoided the use of any terms which have precise meaning in international law, but psychologically his wording was effective. In essence he said nothing more than Dulles did ten years ago when he coined the term “residual sovereignty” to describe Japanese rights in Okinawa. But to say “I recognize the Ryukyus to be a part of the Japanese homeland” has a more positive flavor; this part of the statement was well received. The most cautious hopes were realized. He also referred to “the anticipated eventual restoration of the Ryukyu Islands to Japanese administration.” But making “restoration of full sovereignty” contingent on “the security interests of the Free WorId” merely seemed to confirm existing policy and was less palatable to the Japanese. At the same time he reemphasized “the importance the U.S. attaches to its military bases in the Ryukyu Islands.”

Kennedy’s statement announced action, and policies to be the basis of future action, designed in a spirit of “reconciling the military imperative for continued U.S. administration with the desires of the Ryukyuan people to assert their identity as Japanese and obtain the economic and social welfare benefits available in Japan, and to have a greater voice in the management of their own affairs, [as well as] the desire of the Japanese people to maintain close contact with their countrymen in the Ryukyus.” The amendment to the executive order was apparently the U.S. compromise with the Okinawan desire “to have a greater voice in the management of their own affairs.” It was a compromise very heavily weighted for “military imperatives,” probably a substantial modification of the Kaysen recommendations.

In fact, the amendments issued failed to meet Okinawan expectations on three crucial points. While most observers had predicted a revision of the requirement that the High Commissioner must be a military officer on active duty, it was not revised. Only the Civil Administrator — not mentioned at all in the original Executive Order — who previously was also a military officer, was designated as a civilian. But the Civil Administrator has only such powers and duties “as may be assigned to him by the High Commissioner.” In all official duties he is subject to the command of a military officer. Gen. Caraway has described him as “an assistant to the High Commissioner .”26

This is certainly not the “civilian administration¬Ľ proposed in the Conlon Report, though even this step was opposed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington and the incumbent High Commissioner in Naha.27 Under this arrangement-and in this atmosphere-any civilian will have extreme difficulty in making significant changes in either policy or the spirit of its execution, even though he is appointed in the same manner as the High Commissioner himself. All that can be said at this point is that the first civilian Civil Administrator appointed, Dr. Shannon McCune, is a person who can probably make the most out of the limited opportunities available to him. He has an intimate knowledge of the Far East — as well as considerable administrative experience in government, not to mention his high posts with the University of Massachusetts and UNESCO. But if a truly civilian administration is a “necessary transitional stage prior to any Japanese administration,” as claimed by the Conlon Report, present policy is clearly not a step in a process of “gradual reversion.”

The more serious disappointment to those Okinawans looking forward to greater autonomy came in the failure of the amendments to permit the popular election of the chief executive. The method for selection of the top official of the GRI was changed, but only to bring the Executive Order into congruence with a practice inaugurated nearly two years ago. The chief executive continues to be appointed by the High Commissioner, though the GRI Legislature may make a nomination. Such a nomination does not constitute a restriction on the High Commissioner’s appointive power, however, for if the Legislature “does not make an acceptable nomination within a reasonable time as determined by the High Commissioner, or if by reason of other unusual circumstances it is deemed by the High Commissioner to be necessary, he may appoint a Chief Executive without a nomination.”28 As pointed out in the Conlon Report, the U.S. stand on this issue is politically vulnerable. “Having established Okinawan democracy, we are now saying that we do not trust it.”29

Greater autonomy for the GRI, through restraining the heavy hand of the High Commissioner, had been expected by many. The President’s statement itself reported that the High Commissioner’s veto power had been restated “to emphasize its restricted purposes.” This meant, in effect, that one phrase, “The High Commissioner shall give all proper weight to the rights of the Ryukyuans,” was added. But there was no change in the statement of the High Commissioner’s power: to promulgate laws, ordinances or regulations, to veto any bill of the GRI Legislature or portion thereof, to annul any law or any portion thereof within forty-five days of enactment, to remove any public official from office, and to assume full authority in the islands if necessary for security reasons.30 Whether the added phrase acquires any meaning at all will depend largely on the High Commissioner. So far the incumbent has usually given priority to military, not Ryukyuan, interests.

The only significant step taken in the direction of greater autonomy for Okinawans was the repeal of Civil Administration Ordinance No. 145, not part of the President’s executive order. By this Ordinance USCAR, following an investigation by CIC, gave or withheld final approval for the registration of labor unions. (Unregistered unions were then denied collective bargaining rights.) Though USCAR officials explained that their investigation was undertaken to determine whether union officers were likely to “serve the interests of the employees,” unionists, pointed out that the political orientation of union leaders was usually the main point in issue. USCAR’s power to deny registration had been challenged by the daring opinion of three GRI judges who declared the ordinance to be in conflict with the Executive Order.31 The ordinance had also frequently been the subject of protests by ICPTU representatives in Okinawa. Its repeal is the removal of a major barrier to the freedom of association in Okinawa.

Nevertheless, for those who were looking for changes in U.S. policy which might either modify Okinawa’s international status or increase its local autonomy, March 19 was truly an anticlimax. Though there were significant developments in the field of economic and social policy which will be discussed later, Kennedy’s political stance was wholly unsatisfactory to Okinawans seeking reunion with Japan. It was, in fact, widely believed that this reunion had actually been delayed.31 This view had also characterized the Japan Socialist Party’s reaction to the permission granted for flying the Japanese flag on public buildings. They charged that the new order was merely aimed at tempering the anti-American feelings of Okinawans and thus permitting the prolongation of American rule. This is probably a fairly accurate interpretation of American motives. Some experienced observers of the Okinawan scene do, in fact, believe that granting one of the symbols of unity with Japan, official display of the flag, will relieve pressure for the granting of the administrative substance of that union — but only for a while. In the long run this concession may actually tend to solidify the determination to demand the substance.

The desire for reversion to Japan is almost universal in Okinawa; though surface manifestations may fluctuate, feelings run deep. Okinawa is in many respects a classic example of European irredentism, caught in the political riptides of the contemporary Pacific. Because irredentism is the basic issue, therefore, the salutary effect-from the U.S. point of view — of a concession such as freer flag-flying can at best be short-lived.

In the midst of widespread sentiment for reversion among politically conscious Okinawans, we must recognize differences in social status and occupation which provide variations on the basic theme. Among all status groups the intensity of the sentiment varies in response to American policy. In sum, we can say that desire for reversion is an attitude determined basically by the common cultural experience of these island people, with social and economic factors contributing contrapuntal elaboration.

Though Okinawan group experience in the last three generations has, for the most part, had the effect of developing their sense of identification as Japanese, their cultural tradition up until that time had already created in them an Okinawan consciousness unparalleled in intensity by any regional feeling in other parts of Japan.32 Several centuries under a peculiar dual suzerainty of both China and Japan tended to produce a certain ambivalence toward each. The Japanese educational system, introduced in the 1890’s, gradually erased Chinese influences but it did not succeed in eliminating the ambivalent attitude toward Japan. While the schools taught Okinawan children to be patriotic Japanese, bureaucrats and businessmen from the mainland often treated Okinawan parents as second-class citizens. The reaction was, in some cases, the ultra-patriotism of the insecure; in others, quiet resentment. (Some persons harbored both attitudes simultaneously.) The youth, for whom a rapidly modernizing Japan was the only path to progress, were frequently patriots; the older generation, feeling a threat to their traditional way of life in the influences from Tokyo, more often exhibited the second reaction. To some extent this pattern continues and the postwar experiences have, in a different way, served to reinforce this ambivalence. For several years after 1945 Okinawans were separated almost completely from their cultural homeland, ruled by a people whose traditions were utterly unfamiliar. Travel to Japan was severely restricted; the flow of literature was limited; in certain respects school curricula were altered. Again there were two reactions, a revival of “Okinawa culture” as indicated, for example, by the increased use of hogen (the Okinawan dialect) and an intense thirsting after the forbidden elixir, reunion with Japan. Both were a search for cultural identity.

Quite naturally the attraction of Japan has been much greater than that of local tradition. In the last few years cultural contact with the main islands has greatly increased. Travel is more frequent; more than two-thirds of all monthly and weekly periodicals are imported from Japan;33 and the school curriculum has been revised again so that it is practically identical with that prescribed by the Ministry of Education in Tokyo. More students are attending Japanese universities than the University of the Ryukyus, which has an enrollment of over 2,000. Added to all this is the now popular media, television. A majority of programs come from Tokyo; the recently completed micro-wave relay system permitting direct broadcast to Okinawa will draw Japan even closer. (Insofar as baseball and sumo wrestling retain their present high viewing rate, however, TV’s political influence may be negligible!) In the long run, cultural integration with Japan through education and the mass media will serve to draw attention to Okinawa’s “unnatural” political separation.

But even as Okinawa is inevitably drawn closer to Japan, criticism of Japan is revived. Okinawan Legislator Kiyonori Shinzato recently described Okinawan-Japanese relations in romantic simile: “As two lovers conceive deeper affection for each other when they are forcibly separated … , so Okinawa, separated from Japan, cherishes deeper affection for Japan.”34 He might have added that the greater Okinawa’s affection, the greater her expectation of affection from Japan. Thus when Okinawans are treated with lack of respect or even indifference, Japanese are the object of bitter criticism. This criticism seems to be growing.35 An end to separation may cool the affection.

We have already noted Speaker Nagamine’s criticism of Ikeda in 1961. The failure of this year’s U.S. policy to make significant changes was also partly blamed on the lack of Japanese government pressure. (Japanese newspapers also gave this interpretation.)36 An incident like that reported by a legislator visiting Osaka is even more galling to the Okinawans. At a professional meeting he was handed a program in English; when he asked for an explanation, he was told that “Okinawans are foreigners.” He lamented that “the people of the mainland have little understanding of the actual state of affairs in Okinawa, despite the fact that they say Okinawa belongs to Japan.”37 Some Okinawans also express concern about the possibility of the Okinawan economy again being dominated by men from Tokyo and Osaka.

Even technicians sent by the Japanese government at the request of the GRI have not always contributed to friendly relations. The Okinawan Teachers Association, a leader in the reversion movement, was largely instrumental in bringing Japanese “teacher consultants” to Okinawa in 1959. But by 1960 Okinawan teachers, for the most part appreciative of the consultants’ work, would sometimes admit in private an irritation at the superior attitude which some Japanese teachers showed. Japanese doctors sent to Okinawa under a similar program returned home within a year because of such problems.38 The strong psychological need for acceptance into the larger national community makes Okinawans especially sensitive to Japanese slights.

The nuclear weapons issue has particularly revealed Okinawan ambivalence toward Japan, as well as the mixed quality of Japanese attitudes toward Okinawa. The decision to introduce Mace-B missiles into Okinawa, with nuclear warheads, was made in 1960.39 By the spring of 1961 construction on launching sites had begun and in March the GRI Legislature passed a unanimous resolution demanding an immediate halt.40 The Defence Department reaction was that the whole thing was “cleverly inspired” by Communists or Socialists.41 But for Okinawan political leaders, right as well as left, nuclear bases were most unwelcome, in part because of the likely delay they would cause in reversion to Japan.

If Japan maintains its strict policy against the introduction of nuclear weapons, then reversion of Okinawa without removal of U.S. bases would become impossible unless the U.S. were willing to withdraw its nuclear missiles, a most unlikely prospect. This dilemma which Okinawans feared in 1961, must now be faced as a reality. When asked in the Diet in March what he would do about the nuclear armament of Okinawa, Prime Minister Ikeda answered, “That is America’s business.”42 Meanwhile he and other cabinet members confirmed that the government was standing firm in its policy against nuclear weapons on Japanese soil. On March 20 Foreign Minister Kosaka drew the necessary corollary: if Okinawa should be returned to Japan it would have to be without nuclear bases.43 Okinawan’s have justifiably suspected that the Japanese government is treating the Ryukyus as a sacrificial lamb on the altar of Japanese nuclear purity. The more candid Japanese officials will admit this privately. They believe that the maintenance of U.S. nuclear bases in Okinawa will relieve pressure on Japan to allow them in the main islands, a most explosive political issue. The more conscientious among those who realize the true nature of the situation have a guilt complex toward Okinawa.

Differing interpretations of the “Tanaka slip” in February gave another indication of the gap between Okinawan and Japanese points of view. In a meeting with Robert Kennedy, Kakuei Tanaka, chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party Policy Board apparently asked: “What do you think of the United States’ asking Japan, in order to return Okinawa, to revise its Constitution and to rearm itself, and to suggest that if the request is not actually met, it will not return Okinawa?”44 Tanaka went on to say that it would not be possible for Japan to accept a U.S. proposal to return the Ryukyus under the prevailing situation because the Japanese constitution bans Japan from possessing arms, especially nuclear arms.”45 These statements caused a political uproar in the Diet which was not quieted until Tanaka apologized.46

Japan Socialist Party critics emphasized the impropriety of making such a proposal to the U.S. They also attacked the statement as revealing the government’s true attitude on constitutional revision, an attitude contrary to the public statements of the Prime Minister. When asked about the implications for the government’s Okinawa policy, Prime Minister Ikeda — avoiding direct reference to the Tanaka statement — said that “the return of Okinawa was a cherished desire of the Japanese people and that the demand for its return should have no bearing on rearmament.”47 He added that Japan was seizing every opportunity to ask the U.S. for the return of Okinawa, a statement few informed observers took at face value.

From the Okinawan’s point of view Tanaka simply revealed the Liberal Democratic Party’s willingness to delay return of Okinawa until after revision of the Constitution. Said Speaker Nagamine, “this would mean sacrificing the Ryukyus for the Japanese mainland.”48 It was thus surprising to find a leading Japanese weekly maintaining that “Okinawans are probably more sympathetic to the Tanaka statement than we imagine.”49

Though U.S. observers have sometimes misunderstood criticism of Japan to signify a desire for separation,50 it should now be clear that it is, in fact, an outgrowth of the desire for reversion, a corollary of the wish to be wanted, and respected, by the Japanese.

Irredentist feeling, as we have noted, varies considerably among different social status and occupational groups. Some American officials in Okinawa have characterized the reversion movement as simply an elite phenomenon. Of course, in any political movement the articulate elements are at the top. The Okinawan economic elite, however, are clearly not reversionists, at least in the normal political usage of the term. They have in some sense “reverted” already. They make frequent trips to the naichi” (mainland); many have houses in Tokyo. Their children go to university, or sometimes even high school, in Japan. One oil company executive who might be placed in this category frequently warns his American friends of the dangers of Communism should Okinawa revert to Japan. Such persons, prospering under American rule, do not feel the same psychological separation from Japanese national culture as do their less affluent countrymen.

Marxists analysts consider “reversion” a sentiment voiced, and a movement supported, only by the “masses.” But if one were to succumb to a class analysis of the reversion movement at all, the best case can be made for a middle-class base. Even within the middle class, however, distinctions must be made. The only tenable generalization is that those persons who feel most strongly a dimunition of economic and social status as a result of the American administration are the leaders for reversion.

The clearest example of this general rule is the case of government workers. People’s Party leader Hiroshi Senaga himself admits the economic motivation of their political discontent in Chapter IV of his recent book, Report from Okinawa.51 Using government figures, he claimed that the take-home pay of Okinawan school teachers (including fringe benefits and adjusted for differences in price levels) ranged from 65 per cent of the Japanese scale for junior high school to 51 per cent for high school teachers, with those in elementary schools getting 50 per cent of the Japanese rate. The differences between other GRI salaries in 1958 and comparable government employment in Japan was, he claimed, about the same. Though Senaga’s interpretation of government statistics may be somewhat exaggerated, no one has attempted to challenge his basic point. Both USCAR and GRI officials recognized the discrepancy. It is no mere coincidence that government employees’ unions provide a large part of Senaga’s organized support. This, in Okinawan terms, is for the most part middle class, not “mass,” backing.

Ryukyuan employees of U.S. forces — about four times the number of GRI employees, or 13 per cent of the total Ryukyuan labor force — fared even worse in comparison with their Japanese counterparts. In 1959 U.S. forces employees in Japan got a take-home pay more than 15 per cent higher than Japanese government employees, while in Okinawa military employees received an average wage nearly 20 per cent lower than that paid by the GRI. The average wage of U.S. forces’ Okinawan employees was $52.00 a month; wages among base workers in Japan averaged 55 per cent higher, even when not including the much more generous Japanese fringe benefits.52 But reversion activity by military employees is curbed by a well-grounded fear of being dismissed from their jobs. Though some may believe, as their employers tell them, that administrative reversion would necessarily mean abolition of their positions, their lack of political activity does not generally reflect their true sentiments.

There are, of course, some occupations which clearly would not benefit from reversion, even if it would not mean withdrawal of bases.53 Many small manufacturing enterprises which have been fostered by a preferential tax system would suffer from the unrestricted entry of Japanese goods unless they develop greater efficiency of production than they now display. Both owners and workers have cause for concern. Other small Okinawan businesses fear increased competition from branches of large Japanese firms which would undoubtedly accompany reversion.

Certain categories of bureaucrats would also become casualties in the event that Japanese administration were reestablished. In some cases, the GRI organization does not parallel the governmental structure of a Japanese prefecture. Personnel of superfluous agencies, e.g., certain courts or the office controlling immigration from Japan, could not easily be absorbed into the ken government. Only a portion of the remainder could be given national government posts. Furthermore, civil servants of the top three ranks would face competition for appointment from the mainland; though their employment would probably be secure in the event of reversion, their present positions would not be. Officers in these ranks are not members of the pro-reversion Kankoro (Council of Government Employees).

The causes of Okinawan irredentism include a feeling not only of economic disadvantage but of diminished social status as well. This is a factor which works most strongly among the political elite and among those who work under Americans. Americans not only receive, from the Okinawan point of view, fantastic salaries, but they are in command, directly for military and USCAR employees and indirectly for the GRI. This inevitably breeds a sense of frustration within the psyche of the person in a subordinate position. Subordination, so some extent inevitable, would be more acceptable to Okinawans if it were inside the framework of Japanese culture. But now it is clearly outside that framework and is alien-imposed.

Economic interest creates distinct attitudes toward reversion among different social groups; economic policy produces fluctuation in those attitudes within each group. A comparison of election results in March 1958 and November 1900 reveals an example of this pattern. In 1958 U.S. commandeering of Okinawans’ land without adequate compensation was still a burning issue. The Okinawan People’s Party was able to link oppressive land policies to the necessity for reversion. By 1900, however, new land acquisition had been nearly stopped and payment terms had been greatly liberalized. In the intervening two and one-half years more than $17 million was actually paid in rentals to landowners,54 but the Okinawan People’s Party continued its anti-American immediate-reversion refrain. Its popular vote dropped from nearly 28 per cent in 1958 to less than 17 per cent (together with the allied Socialist Party) of the total in 1960. But the drop was not evenly distributed. While the Okinawan People’s Party held its own or even gained strength in most parts of urbanized Naha, its decline was most spectacular in legislative districts 10 and 11.55 It was precisely in those two districts that the volume of cash payments to landowners had been highest. This and other evidence seems to indicate that, though this was not the only factor, solution of the land question was the most important element in the voting shift from 1958 to 1960. Nor has any other economic issue arisen which is an equal stimulus to reversion sentiment, either in Okinawa or Japan. Other economic policies, however-while incapable of exciting such human sympathy as does forcible expropriation of the land — can continue to create the discontent which provides support for the reversion movement.

In the last few years there has been increasing recognition by American officials of the affect of economic and social policy on reversion sentiment. This recognition culminated in the social and economic portions of President Kennedy’s statement of March 19, 1962. In that statement he promised to ask Congress to amend the Price Act so as to remove the present $6 million ceiling on annual assistance to the Ryukyus, to submit to Congress plans for the support of higher wage levels for GRI and U.S. military employees, and higher levels of public health, educational and welfare services, and to request an increase in loan funds to develop the Ryukyuan economy.

In the field of government wages and social welfare benefits Kennedy was willing to admit as proper a goal which the Okinawans had long been proclaiming, to reach a level “obtaining in comparable areas in Japan.” Even though “comparable areas” is a term pregnant with many meanings and can be used to U.S. advantage, the President was not willing to apply this goal in the area of general economic development. Actually Okinawa is already “comparable” with the poorest Japanese prefectures. Though this is only one of the indices which might be used, the per capita real annual income56 of Okinawans in 1957 was $166. This put Okinawa third from the bottom among Japanese prefectures:57 only Miyazaki-ken, with a per capita annual income of $161, and Kagoshima, with $149, were lower; no other prefectures were recorded with less than $180 per capita and only four with less than $190. The Japanese average for that year was $250; thus if this were the basis of comparison, the task of catching up would be formidable.

The gap between Okinawa and the Japanese average has not been significantly narrowed since 1957 because of Japan’s phenomenal growth. It could widen in the future, depending on future growth rates. While Japan expects an annual average growth rate of at least 9 per cent in the next decade, GRI economic planners in 1961 were figuring in terms of 6 per cent for the Ryukyus. Such a discrepancy would clearly have resulted in an accentuation of the difference in economic levels. Recently, however, sights have been raised and an Okinawan growth rate of 13.6 per cent is now planned.58 Even this may not be sufficient to catch up with the Japanese average, if the Japanese economy weathers its present slump and returns to the growth rates of 1960 and 1961. But perhaps it would be more “comparable” to cite growth rates of the more backward Japanese prefectures. Even they have been growing at faster rates than the past record of Okinawa, and nearly as fast as the projected rate. For example, Kagoshima in 1959 grew 8,5 per cent over the previous year, Yamanashi, 11.9 per cent, and Miyazaki, 13.0 per cent.59

At any rate, there is no doubt that if the Okinawan economy is to progress rapidly enough to give Okinawans a sense of advancement in relation to Japan, massive economic assistance is necessary. U.S. aid to the Ryukyuan economy, only $.8 million in FY 1957, had grown to $5.37 million by FY 1962. This was still a small amount, however, in comparison to the magnitude of dislocations in Okinawan life caused by the U.S. presence, or in comparison with the task of economic development. The first step to recognize the need for expanded aid was passage of the Price Bill in 1960, authorizing $6 million for economic assistance-though Congress did not appropriate the full amount. This was an insignificant increase, however, in comparison with the proposal of the Kaysen Mission. Soon after the President’s March 19 statement, the Defense Department asked Congress to authorize an annual appropriation of $25 million for development loans and economic aid.

President Kennedy not only recommended increased economic aid but also announced a plan to work more closely with Japan in coordinating Japanese and U.S. economic and technical assistance program in the Ryukyus. Japanese-American cooperation in these fields was not new; it had been going on for nearly three years and had been discussed by Kennedy and Ikeda in Washington last year, but it is henceforth to be much expanded. In the State Department’s view administrative cooperation, as well as the economic impact of the programs, should help stave off pressure for reversion. As a result of a Japanese survey mission which went this spring to Okinawa to study the economic picture and confer with USCAR officials, it was revealed that plans were being drawn up for a five-year development program costing $4014 million, with the U.S. to underwrite 30 per cent of the cost, Japan 10 per cent and GRI the remainder.60 This would amount to annual assistance from the outside of about $34 million. The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs had estimated in 1961 that annual assistance of $30 million would be necessary to treat Okinawa like comparable Japanese prefectures; thus this would seem to be rather generous:61 Since Japan is now allotting less than $3 million a year in aid for Okinawa, this would also mean more than a 100 per cent increase in her contribution. In fact, however, for 19l>3 Japan has still budgeted only slightly more than $5 million. for this purpose, despite USCAR prodding.62

Overall increases in aid are helpful, of course, but in the fields of social security and wage policy there is still much to be done. The great discrepancy in wage-rates between military employees in Japan and in Okinawa has been noted above. This situation was improved somewhat in February 1961 when the Army-Air Force Wage Board decided to raise wages by an average of 11 per cent.63 Nevertheless, though the differential has been reduced, the basic relationships have not been changed. The new average wage of $58 a month still places U.S. forces Okinawan employees in a position substantially below that of GRI workers, and Japanese base employees still receive an average nearly 40 per cent above that of their Okinawan confreres. It was unlikely that such a modest raise could long divert Okinawan attention from the discrepancies which remain. Recognizing this fact-having been reminded by a large demonstration of the military employees unions-the Kaysen Mission apparently recommended an additional raise. Another Wage Board survey mission is to be sent to Okinawa soon. In the meantime “language differentials,” i.e., bonuses for English-speaking Okinawans, were increased. (Some union members viewed this, however, as an attempt to buy off union leaders.) It was apparently recommended that GRI salaries should be raised also, which is certainly in line with the policy of “catching up” with a Japanese prefecture, but the only recent change in this respect has been the distribution of $1 million to teachers out of Price Act funds in May and June. Amounts varying from $50 for low-ranking primary school teachers to more than $400 for high ranking professors at the University of the Ryukyus have been paid out (educational administrators received nothing). If the increase does not become permanent, its political effect will be worse than no increase at all.

Okinawan social security measures are far below the level of those in Japan. While Japan has the most extensive social security coverage in Asia, Okinawa has only an unemployment insurance scheme begun in 1960. As contact between Okinawa and Japan grows, an understanding of what this difference means to the average family grows also. The demand for comprehensive social insurance is rising. Nearly two years ago a few top USCAR officials, analyzing the reversion movement primarily from the standpoint of economic motivation, were calling social security the most important political issue facing USCAR.

To most Okinawan politicians, however, USCAR has appeared to be blocking establishment of a social security system. A bill in the GRI Legislature for the establishment of a comprehensive medical insurance plan was sidetracked in 1960 because of USCAR disapproval. The major grounds for objection were rational enough, i.e., the insufficient number of doctors in Okinawa to implement the promises which the bill makes to the people, but USCAR has thereby gained the reputation of being “opposed to medical insurance’” The unfavorable propaganda which this incident produced was considerable.

Other social security proposals emanating from GRI have been frowned on by US CAR for the reason that the cost would be too great given the current level of GRI resources. Here U.S. officials are on shaky ground for the immediate Okinawan response is, “Then why don’t you give us more aid?” GRI officials hasten to point out that a large portion of the land and other taxable property has been removed from Okinawan jurisdiction thus narrowing the local tax base.

Fortunately, since the Kaysen survey the Kennedy administration has taken the position that more adequate social security programs are necessary and the U.S. can afford to help put them into operation. It is to be expected that GRI legislative proposals will receive more sympathetic USCAR consideration in the future. U.S. aid for a GRI employees’ retirement system is contemplated for FY 1964.

The major controversies over land were settled in 1959, as has been mentioned. But one issue remained undecided, i.e., payment for the use of and damage to land by U.S. forces before the signing of the San Francisco Peace Treaty. Claimants formed the Association to Acquire Compensation for Damages Prior to the Peace Treaty and hired the services of an experienced American lawyer and former State Department official, Noel Hemmendinger.64 After years of hearings and negotiations a joint U.S.-Ryukyuan Committee was appointed in April 1961 to examine and review claims, then report back to the High Commissioner. In October 1962 the Committee’s report, recommending payment of $21.9 million, was officially transmitted to Washington,65 and should be presented to Congress with a request for appropriations sometime this year.

There is thus ground for belief that most of the economic issues which could provide major stimuli to the reversion movement are in the process of being solved. 1Dere are still remaining danger spots, however, e.g., the large number of landowners who received approximately $9 million in nine-year and ten-year lump-sum advanced rentals during FY 1959, 1960 and 1961. This is not a recurring outlay. Since most of this has not been invested, as it was supposed to have been, but was spent on non-durable consumption items, there is thus a danger of economic slump — and consequently of political unrest — in the next few years in the towns and villages most affected if there is no compensating increase in aid from some other source.

It must be reiterated, however, that the reversion movement is not purely economic in origin. Activity of Communist propagandists is also, of course, a contributing factor. The Okinawan Peoples Party leaders, speaking informally, admit by implication that some of their members are Communists. This factor has already been frequently exaggerated, however, by American officials and journalists, and need not be stressed here.

Irredentism is most basically a search for cultural identity of a people cut off from the nation to which they feel they belong. Deputy Under-Secretary of State Johnson seems to have recognized this, calling it the “psychological problem.” It is not accurate to say, as Brig. Gen. Ondrick, then Civil Administrator, did two years ago: “The feeling for return to Japan is being replaced by the strong argument of rising economic opportunities in the Ryukyus.”66 Economic satisfaction cannot replace irredentism; they are two different categories of human motivation. It can, at most, delay its active political expression. This distinction seems to have been ignored in much of the thinking behind recent U.S. policy changes.

There is considerable evidence for the conclusion that the growing politicocultural attraction of Japan is stronger than economic trends which might exert opposite influences. Unquestionably economic conditions have improved in the last five years. Nevertheless, despite some fluctuation, the reversion movement is stronger than it was five years ago. Once the special badge of the radicals, reversion is now a slogan of conservatives as well. The only differences which remain are on timing. As Joseph Harbison of the Defense Department told Congressmen, “You cannot say any party is a reversionist party. They all are.”67 The Reversion Council, including a broad spectrum of social, as well as political, organizations, is now more active than ever before.

In the last two years reversion has also become a more significant issue in Japanese politics. Though the vast majority of Japanese, if asked, would favor reversion, this sentiment is not entirely the result of spontaneous mass concern, but also of calculated opposition party strategy. Other clubs with which the opposition may swing at the government have been scarce recently. Still the Japanese government has not attempted to put pressure on the U.S. for return of administrative rights.

The reasons for the Japanese government’s reluctance are numerous. The dilemma involved in nuclear weapons policy has already been mentioned. There is also a strong Tory desire not to rock the political boat. They fear that a strong effort for the return of Okinawa could do just that. The policy of the Japan Liberal Democrats — as well as the Okinawa Liberal-Democrats — ostensibly favors the return of administrative authority to Japan, even though U.S. bases remain. The vast majority of Okinawans recognize that total U.S. withdrawal now would mean economic disaster, and thus oppose it. But conservatives, in both Japan and Okinawa, are not willing to accept the “all or nothing” argument that, if U.S. forces in Okinawa were brought under the terms of the Japan-U.S. Bases Agreement, their usefulness would be so drastically reduced that, on purely military grounds, withdrawal would be advisable, though this is the position taken by many U.S. military officers. The more imaginative Okinawan leaders are now thinking in terms of the possibility of a separate bases agreement for Okinawa-giving U.S. forces greater freedom of operation than in the main islands, and longer tenure. Now would seem to be the most propitious time for such an agreement, for as the Japan Socialist Party grows in power — its popular vote expands steadily at each election so that, according to the present growth curve, in ten or twelve years they should achieve a majority-concessions for the U.S. over and beyond the present bases agreement will become more difficult. Yet Japanese government leaders, with the bitter struggle over the “improvement” of the Japan-U.S. Security Pact still fresh in their memory, do not relish the thought of trying to push a special bases agreement through the Diet. Their attitude toward Okinawa might be characterized as one of letting sleeping dogs lie. They believe that any formal revision of Japan’s “no nuclear weapons” policy (even for Okinawa, and even though sugar-coated with the prospect of reversion) would generate intense political controversy with unpredictable consequences.

Economic interests of the Japanese elite constitute another important factor in the Japanese government’s hesitancy in pushing for reversion. A Japan hard-pressed to maintain its dollar reserves welcomes the approximately $75 million earned every year in Okinawa. This makes Okinawa second only to the U.S. itself as a dollar-earning area, the source of nearly one seventh of Japan’s annual dollar credits. It is the large firms with political influence which are the main dollar earners — and users. They are understandably opposed, therefore, to any move which might reduce Japan’s dollar earnings. Thus conversion from “B Yen” to dollars three years ago, which was justified in terms of its effects within Okinawa, has increased Japanese reluctance to request reversion by assuring dollar credits from sales in the Ryukyus.

Furthermore, because Okinawan bases are physically so intertwined with civilian life in Okinawa, any attempt to create a separate “bases area” to remain under U.S. jurisdiction might entail considerable expense in relocating facilities. Thus U.S. military officials are opposed to any such plan, apparently with Congressional backing.68 It has been given the respectability of “an alternative to be considered” in the State Department, however.

Thus both Japanese and U.S. government leaders favor a maintenance of the status quo. What will the consequences of this policy be twelve years from now in the event the Socialists should achieve power? “Then it will no longer be possible to use bases in Japan and the utility of U.S. administration in Okinawa will be proven,” answer the Joint Chiefs. From the military standpoint this is an understandable view. Yet is the military prepared to maintain its position in Okinawa despite frequent protests and constant pressure from the Japanese government? Such a position would ultimately become untenable.

Clearly none of the choices are easy ones. We should remember, however, that if Okinawan reversion is an important political issue which the Socialists can use against the Japanese government, then maintenance of the present status quo can actually contribute to the materialization of this future impasse.

In the meantime increased cultural and political contacts with Okinawa reinforces sentiment for reversion. One might then argue that these contacts must be reduced. But the time when such a policy was feasible — whether or not desirable — has passed. The political consequences of any attempt to turn back the clock — especially after Kennedy’s more open commitment to ultimate reversion — would be disastrous.

We must conclude that the question of reversion cannot be permanently avoided. Carefu1 planning and the development of workable political strategy cannot be postponed until that mythical day when there is no longer “stress and tension in the Far East.” European history shows that irredentism is a political problem which ultimately has only one solution. This fact must be faced squarely in the formulation of New Frontier policy in Asia.

If Okinawa’s ultimate disposition is not to be decided now, there are numerous pitfalls on the path of present policy which should be avoided. The record since March 1962 is not good, however. The President’s statement itself bred discontent, because of its failure to meet growing expectations. Even the implementation of the March policy has been inconsistent, primarily because of Congress’s refusal to cooperate. Not only were requested appropriations for economic aid of $12 million cut to seven, but in the course of the hearings Representative Passman produced comments that could scarcely have been more effective in infuriating Okinawans.69 The electoral results in Okinawa in November were predictable: the relatively pro-American Okinawa Liberal Democratic Party lost five of its 22 seats in the GRI Legislature.70

Though the figure of $34 million of economic aid annually, calculated as essential for an economic growth rate that would enable Okinawa to catch up with Japan, has not yet been met, the Administration has presented a budget request of nearly $20 million for Okinawan economic development in fiscal year 1964. If Congress, confused by the unfortunate fact that this request is presented together with the foreign aid bill, should cut drastically again, intensified Ryukyuan criticism would inevitably result. Failure to provide funds for pre-treaty land claims would bring an even sharper reaction. Political peril awaits if expectations which Americans have created are not adequately fulfilled in policy.

Irredentism is a phenomenon with which U.S. policy-makers are not familiar. But if they will not meet its demands, they must expect eventually the classical consequences.

University of Missouri, December 1962

The author wishes to thank Professors Kuni Shimabukuro and Kanwa Hokama of the University of the Ryukyus, as well as Mr. Isamu Shimoji, for invaluable assistance to his research in Okinawa.


1 U.S. Senate, Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Foreign Policy: Asia. By Conlon Associates, Ltd. Committee Print. Washington, 1959. The brief section on Okinawa recommended “gradual and ultimate reversion of Okinawa to Japan” and a civilian U.S. civil administration in the meantime (pp. 104-109).

2 Dennis Warner, “Our Fire Brigade on Okinawa,” The Reporter, Oct. 13, 1960, pp. 37-38. Though he hastened to add that military leaders did not consider this vulnerability sufficient cause for evacuation.

3 New York Times, March 31, 1961.

4 Japan Times, February 17, 1961.

5 Ibid., May 12, June I, 1961.

6 Ibid., May 19, 1961.

7 Ibid., May 15, 1961.

8 Ibid., June 25, 1961. For text of Ikeda-Kennedy joint communique, see New York Times, June 23, 1961.

9 Japan Times, June 24, 1961. Whereas the Eisenhower-Kishi joint communique of 1957 stated that “The Prime Minister emphasized the strong desire of the Japanese people for the return of administrative control over the Ryukyu … Islands to Japan,” the Kennedy-Ikeda communique included no such provision.

10 New York Times, September 4, October I, 1961.

11 Asahi, February 8, 1962, in Daily Summary of the Japanese Press (DSJP), U.S. Embassy, Tokyo.

12 Japan Times, February 13, 1962.

13 For texts see Yomiuri, February 11; Nihon Keizai, February 13, February 16, 1962, in Daily Summary of the Japanese Press.

14 Japan Times, May 12, 16, 17, 1962.

15 Ibid., March 8, 1962. The Japan Socialist Party and Democratic Socialist Party resolutions originally made no reference to the Kuriles, while the Liberal Democratic Party specified a demand for Habomai, Shikotan, Kunashiri and Etorofu. The Liberal Democratic Party made no reference in its draft, however, to support the GRI Legislature’s resolution, whereas the Socialists did. The compromise referred to the GRI resolution without specifically supporting it; at the same time, the vague phrase “northern territories” was substituted for the names of islands since the Japan Socialist Party does not believe Japan should demand Kunashiri and Etorofu.

16 Japan Times, March 2, 1962.

17 Ibid., March 3, 1962.

18 Tokyo Shimbun, February 16, 1962. Sankei Shim bun, February 19, 1962, DSJP.

19 Sankei Shimbun, March 9, 1962, DSIP. A Kyodo-Reuters dispatch from Washington (Japan Times, February 9, 1962) claimed Kaysen recommended “complete jurisdiction over civil affairs” for the GRI.

20 Tokyo Shimbun, March 16, 1962, DSJP.

21 Nihon Keizai, March 9, 1962, DSJP.

22 Asahi, March 11, 1962, DSJP.

23 Japan Times, March 20, 1962

24 March 22, 1962.

25 USIS, Tokyo, March 20, 1962.

26 House of Representatives, Committee on Armed Services, Subcommittee No.2, Hearings, May 9, 1962, p. 52-54.

27 Caraway was officially quoted as having said be “saw no advantage to changing to acivilian civil administrator.” Ibid., p. 5255.

28 See. 8 (B).

29 Op. cit, p. 108. 10 Sec. II.

30 GRI, Central Circuit Court, Case of Makishi, Yoshida, et aI., Oct. 24, 1959.

31 Under-Secretary of the Army Stephen Ailes testified on Capitol Hill that the Kaysen task force recommendations were designed “to put our military position on a more stable basis.” House of Representatives, Committee on Appropriations, Hearings on Ryukyu Islands, Department of the Army, August 8, 1962. p.852.

32 See George Kerr, Okinawa (Tokyo: Tuttle, 1958).

33 USCAR, Office of Plans and Programs, Ryukyu Islands Facts Book (Oct. 1960) pp. 135-6.

34 Quoted in Mainichi Shimbun, March 26, 1962. DSJP.

35 Perhaps the strongest outburst was four years ago, however, when Mayor Kaneshi of Naha, a political maverick., asked a visiting Japanese mayor, “What has Japan ever done for Okinawa? Japan pawned Okinawa in return for independence [in 1952].” Japan Times, November 26, 1959.

36 E.g. Kahaku Shimpa, March 21, 1962; “It is very regrettable that the Government does not seem to have been endeavoring for the solution of the Okinawan question with any great enthusiasm,” Takya Shimbun, March 21,1962, DSJP.

37 Mainichi, March 26, 1962. DSJP.

38 Asahi Journal, February 18, 1962, in Summary of Selected Japanese Magazines, US Embassy, Tokyo; Japan Times, December 28, 1962.

39 Japan Times, June 7. 1961.

40 Ibid., April I, 1961.

41 Ibid., April 2, 1961.

42 Yomiuri, March 9, 1962. DSJP.

43 Okinawa Times, March 21,1962. in Okinawa Press Summary.

44 Tokyo Shimbun, February 8, 1962. Tanaka later challenged this version of his statement.

45 Japan Times, February 7, 1962.

46 Ibid., February 10, 1962.

47 Japan Times, February 8, 1962.

48 Ibid., February 9, 1962.

49 Asahi Journal, February 18, 1962, Summary of Selected Japanese Magazines.

50 The Ryukuan Nationalist Party, advocating separation, gained 1.19 per cent of the votes in the 1960 election. (Figures from USCAR, Liaison Office). Deputy Under-Secretary of State Alexis Johnson made it clear in testimony to the House Armed Services Committee, however, that the State Department is now wdl aware of the insignificance of Ryukyuan nationalism. Hearings, p. 5227.

51 Tokyo: Iwanami, 1959. (Translated in part by USCAR, Office of Public Affairs.)

52 See Central Committee, USCAR Employees Labor Union, Resolution, Dec. 9, 1960. Also USCAR, Labor Dept., “Memorandum: Labor Statistics,” Sept. 15, 1960, p. 8.

53 For a somewhat exaggerated analysis of the disadvantages of reversion. see interview with Chosoku Ogimi, Nationalist Party leader, Japan Times, Nov. 9, 1960.

54 USCAR, OfIice of Public Mairs, Press Release No. 1537. Dec. 23. 1960.

55 Chuo Senkyo Kanri Iinakai, Rippain Sosenkjo Kekka Shirabe, 1958, 1960.

56 Adjusted for price level differences. See GR!, Department of Planning and Statistics, “Nihon Ken to Okinawa to no Hitori Atari Kokumin Shotoku Hikaku” (Comparison of Per Capita National Income in Okinawa and Japanese Prefectures), January 1961.

57 In terms of “expenditures for consumption,” however, Okinawa was at the bottom of the list. Okinawa Press Summary, March 4. 1961.

58 According to Deputy Chief Executive Senaga, Okinawa Times, May 13, 1962, in Okinawa Press Highlights.

59 Economic Planning Agency, 1960 Kokumin Shotoku Hakusho (“1960 National Income White Paper”), pp. 190-1. This is increase in personal income, not adjusted for price. But price levels rose less than 1 per cent in the same period. See Committee on Armed Services, Hearings, pp. 5225, 5229.

60 Japan Times, June 24, 1962.

61 Okinawa Press Summary, May 3, 1961.

62 For a detailed breakdown of the 1961 Japanese budget for the Ryukyus, see North and South (Published by Nampo Doho Engokai), Tokyo, January 15, 1962. See also Japan Times, December 28, 29, 1962.

63 Okinawa Press Summary, February 10, 1961.

64 For the details of the claims and the legal arguments behind it, see the comprehensive brief, “The Pre-Treaty Ryukyus Land Claims: Petition and Brief submitted to the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense,” December 19, 1958, Stitt and Hemmendinger, Attorneys.

65 USCAR, Press Release No. 27, October 16, 1962.

66 House, Committee on Armed Services, Hearings, p. 5224. 88 Asahi Evening News, November 23, 1960.

67 Committee on Appropriations, Hearings, p. 879.

68 Rep. Rhodes asked Army Under-Secretary Ailes, “If we can make proper agreements with Japan as to the rights for bases, why do we not let the islands revert to Japan?” Ailes replied, “The answer is that they could not perfect the proper agreements for bases under the current situation.” House Committee on Appropriations, Hearings, p. 878. The sense of Congress is probably expressed in House Report No. 1684 (1962), of the Committee on Armed Services. p. 15, “U.S. administrative control of the Ryukyus and the continued maintenance and operation of the U.S. bases there are inseparable.”

69 Passman’s comments included: “I think a lot of people in the Ryukyus are getting along a lot better than some people are in the States”; “They have learned to like the taste of caviar, pink champagne and fillets and do not want to go back to hamburger…” Elsewhere he accused Okinawans of “diplomatic blackmail.” See House, Committee on Appropriations, Hearings, pp. 852-3, 876, 878.

70 Japan Times, November 13, 1962.

Categories Japan, Foreign policy

By David Wurfel. In Contemporary Japan, Nov. 1960.

THE CONTROVERSIAL PASSAGE OF THE REVISED Japan-U.S. Security Pact, student violence, and postponement of Eisenhower’s visit received top billing in headlines from Tokyo this spring. These events do not signify a strong anti-American movement, or even growing Communist strength in Japan, but they can, and must, be recognized as manifestations of a deeply rooted political crisis. The factors underlying this crisis are not new, but in the past few months new dimensions of their seriousness have been revealed to all. If we understand these factors, we have the basis from which we might better grasp the real meaning of the recent events and the likely trends in Japan’s political future.

The sum of these factors is marked polarization of both political forces and ideologies. The polarization is not, as the Marxists would like to think, simply a result of sharp class divisions, though these divisions do exist. It is primarily a result of differences between urban and rural societies-the first largely attuned to the latest Western cultural developments while the latter is still guided by centuries of tradition, between the younger generation and the old-with experiences so different that they find it nearly impossible to communicate, and between intellectuals-among whom Marxism is a sure sign of a “progressive”-and great numbers of people in all walks of life whose view of Communists has not changed much since a wartime government taught that they were criminals. As can well be imagined, the points at which these divisions reinforce each other the polarization is most intense. In between these extremes are millions of Japanese, in both city and country, who are politically apathetic, or, at best, inarticulately lukewarm.


The gap in ways of thinking between the young urban intellectual and the retired landlord, or senior bureaucrat, is so great that it is often impossible for the most diligent student of Japanese affairs to fathom it. However, the participants themselves are some times more perplexed by their inability to understand each other than is the foreign observer.

The story is told of a certain Canadian professor who was watching students demonstrate in front of the Diet. As one group came zigzaging by under red banners and anti-Kishi slogans, a portly Japanese gentleman of late middle-age who was standing next to him obligingly explained through an interpreter that these were “all Communists.” It so happened, however, that those particular students, moderates by Tokyo standards, were the professor’s own. When he told them later about the portly gentleman’s comment, their first reaction was utter amusement at such an absurd remark. They then hastened to reassure their professor that the man must have been a “reactionary,” since only reactionaries had such views. These well-meaning non-Communist students, instead of attempting to understand popular criticism and modify their behavior to meet it, as their professor advised, dismissed this as an impossible task, cast more than one-third of Japanese public opinion into the purgatory of “reaction,” and marched off to another demonstration the next day.

The ambivalent symbolism of the red flag brings sharply into focus the contrasting views of Communism in Japan. For the rural population and for the older generation in city or country a red flag is generally considered to be a badge of Communism. The group which carries the scarlet banner is so identified simply and unequivocally, with no need for further inquiry. In fact, however, the question is not nearly so simple.

Red flags in post-war Japan have been used by labor unions of all political complections. ICFTU-affiliated Zenro does ideological battle on many occasions with the much larger Sohyo, now showing increasing evidence of Moscow-Peking orientation, but both carry battle flags of the same hue. Nor is the use of the red flag limited to labor organizations. It is carried by student groups as well, and not only Zengakuren. Though some non-Communist labor and student organizations are beginning to understand the value of distinctive identifying marks, many not-so-left students defend their continued use of the red flag as being a symbol of “progressivism” — a word with Marxist connotations but not necessarily Communist ones — which they counterpose to all that is bad in the old order.

The younger, urbanized, better-educated Japanese often remember the Communists as a group which consistently opposed Japan’s disastrous militarism in the 1930’s and ’40’s. The Party is frequently viewed by non-Communist reformers as a necessary ally in the struggle against well-entrenched conservatism. The real character of Communist behavior in East Europe, China or Southeast Asia does not have a substantial impact on the imagery of most intellectuals. They have had little opportunity for contact with persons who have experienced Communist rule.

These subtleties of usage and attitude are understandably lost on the farmer-though American journalists have no right to claim a similar exemption from discretion. The stereotypes of the red flag persist. Unfortunately non-Communist Japanese intellectuals do not adequately appreciate the damage which this persistence is doing to their position. Some observers, however, do note that today there is an ability to criticize Communist ideology and tactics in certain intellectual circles which would have been nearly impossible only five years ago. The Communists’ recent establishment of dominant influence over Gensuikyo, the Japan Council against A- and H-Bombs, has been an eye-opener for many.

To speak of sharp social divisions and gaps between Western- and tradition-oriented segments of society may shatter some people’s conception of Japan as the most modern industrial nation in the Orient. It is that, indeed, but it has achieved this place only as the result of unprecedentedly rapid change, change again accelerated since the war. No nation in modern times has equalled the speed of social, economic, and political progress of Japan in the last fifteen years. Since it is a rule of history that rapid change is accompanied by tension and social conflict, the remarkable thing about Japan is that this tension and conflict has been so limited.


In large part its eruption just at this point can be explained in terms of the vastly differing experiences of the generations who now find themselves in competing roles. The universities for the last two years have been admitting students who have been educated entirely since reform of the school system by the Occupation. (It is in this sense that some commentators, with tongue in or out of cheek, have blamed the student riots on Gen. MacArthur.) They have swelled the ranks of and given new spontaneity to an already deeply dissatisfied younger generation: those in their 30’s who “lost” their youth in the suffering and severe discipline of the war period and blame the older generation for it, and those in their late 20’s who remember the horrors of war as children -they share in blaming older leaders for the tragedy -and then, while they were in high school, saw the country transformed. Now comes the new youth which knows only the greater freedom and weakened authority of the post-war period. Often an abomination to their elders, they practice their brand of “democracy“with a vengeance, frequently equating it, consciously or unconsciously, with absence of regulations and persons to enforce them. Nevertheless, if their energy and political concern could be channeled into peaceful and constructive organizational activity, they would be the hope of democracy’s future in Japan.

The main reason it has not been so channeled is that Japanese youth is suspicious of the national political leadership and thus of governmental institutions themselves. Most top officials today had admimstrative responsibilities, either major or minor, during the war, and are thus among those held to blame for that disaster by the youth. Prime Minister Kishi himself was a top war criminal, the only class A indictee still in government service as late as 1960. No one who forgets this fact could possibly understand contemporary Japanese politics. Kishi probably would not have been popular even if he had distributed ¬•1000 notes on the Ginza; and he did not try it. He was a symbol of all that is politically evil in the eyes of the younger generation. Nor was Kishi particularly well equipped to understand his political foes. His previous experience was bureaucratic and he lacked the politician’s ability to evaluate the role of popular attitudes.

This suspicious younger generation is not a great deal more confident in the leadership of the minority parties, which is also “older generation,” than it is in that of the majority. This fact is made most abundantly clear in the behavior of Zengakuren. Zengakuren mainstream leaders do not consider themselves followers of either Socialist or Communist Party direction. Their running ideological battle with the Communists, ever since their expulsion from the Party in late 1958, descended to student charges of Communist thievery-apparently well-founded-and a subsequent street brawl in June of this year. Zengakuren’s “left-wing deviationist” fulminations against the Communist Party have been rewarded by concerted counter attack, which leaves the students undaunted. Socialist Party leadership seems to have no greater influence over Zengakuren’s main stream than the Communists. Liaison with the Socialist Party’s Youth Division is rather good, but whenever Socialist Party notables have attempted to preach moderation, they have been singularly unsuccessful. Zengakuren is fundamentally dissatisfied with the parliamentary process to a greater extent than the most radical Socialist Diet members. Apart from Zengakuren militants, students generally are in support of the Socialists’ ideology, but still distrustful of their leadership.

The failure of the parties of the left to control Zengakuren does not mean that they do not make continuing efforts to influence this self-announced “vanguard of proletarian youth.” These efforts na.turally have some effect on their own party policy and thus contribute to still greater political polarization.


Just as the generational gap can be seen to contribute to the tensions of polarized politics, so also does the chasm between city and countryside. The foundation of Liberal-Democratic strength is in the villages, where voting behavior is largely determined by loyalty to local leaders, not by national or international issues. In the May 1958 elections, the most recent one for the all-powerful House of Representatives, Liberal-Democratic candidates were found to mention foreign policy questions in their official

campaign platforms only one-third as often as Social ists, according to a study by British political scientist I. I. Morris. About 40% of the Liberal-Democratic hopefuls made no mention of foreign policy at all. For most, satisfaction of local interests proved suffi cient for election. It is interesting to note, however, that only 11% __of the 100 conservative candidates studied advocated rearmament for Japan, and slightly more than onefourth bothered to plug for alliance with the West, while over half promised to work for “world peace.” One-fifth pledged support for disarmament, cessation of nuclear tests, and opposition to nuclear weapons.

Thus, even though the Liberal-Democrats won 58% of the popular vote and 61% of the seats in that election, it would be a bit far fetched to call it an endorsement of Kishi’s military alliance with the U.S. At that time negotiations for Security Pact revision had not even been begun. Yet it was on the basis of the May 1958 elections that Kishi claimed a mandate for ratifying the revised pact.

This evidence leads one to ask the fundamental question, to what extent do elections represent public opinion? This has been a perplexing question for students of democratic politics for many years. Many discussions of the subject have hinged on the degree of accuracy with which the distribution of seats in the legislature adhere to the distribution of the popular vote. Because of multimember constituencies, the Japanese situation has not suffered seriously from distortion at this level. Liberal-Democratic seats are now only 3 % more than that party’s popular vote. But for Japan, as for other countries, the equation between public opinion and the election returns is a more difficult one to construct. The equation could certainly never be a simple one, and according to one of the most outstanding students of the subject, M. Duverger, its quantities are, in fact, always unknown. In a relatively homogeneous society such as the U.S. or those of Western Europe this unknown distor,tion is not believed to be a fundamental ailment of the political system; but in Japan it is.

There are, of course, many “public opinions.” There is a different public, i.e. a different grouping of concerned people, for every public question. Obviously too, opinion is divided differently on various questions: opponents on military policy may join to support social security. Elections can never pretend to reflect in the legislature the proper proportions of public opinion on all issues of the day. The legislature is a composite in which some pieces in the national mosaic of attitudes are more correctly mirrored than others. This is a necessary imperfection of representative democracy. The motives of those who demand perfection are suspect.

Nevertheless, in Japan the imperfection is greater than desirable. Though political scientists and sociologists have in recent years disparaged the significance of policy differences in determining voting behavior in the V.S., policy questions would seem to be a much more important factor in the voting decision of most Americans than it is in such a decision for rural Japanese. In addition to socio-economic and psychological factors which, often unbeknown to the individual voter, help decide American elections, in Japan there is still a large percentage of rural voters whose vote is determined, quite consciously, by personal loyalty to some superior in the local hierarchy. Japanese farmers are not uninformed about events in Tokyo; they are newspaper readers and usually own a radio. But the farmer or fisherman does not conceive of government in Tokyo as being “his government.” National policy debates are something he observes, not something in which he participates; they are not related to the electoral decision. Local obligations-occasionally with monetary reinforcement-and interests are decisive. Thus for a sizable proportion of the Japanese electorate-rural residents count for about half the total population-foreign policy issues have not been adequately presented by the candidates, nor would such issues be able to influence voting behavior if they had been.

An electoral majority in Japan cannot be easily equated with public opinion, especially in foreign policy questions. _Ur_ban youth and intellectuals are only too well aware of this fact. It serves as justification for their distrust of the government.

Though its causes are fundamental and long term, this situation is also aggravated by a Socialist Party which emphasizes international questions almost to the exclusion of domestic issues, but is unable to make them intelligible to rural voters. Welfare programs, vote getters in any country, have received less attention from the Socialists than from the conservative Liberal-Democrats. Though the Socialist Party’s left-heavy neutralist position has won intense support from many in urban areas, it has, as we have noted, made little or no impact on the farmers. In fact, Socialist behavior this spring may only have served to further alienate “the people of the countryside.” Socialist spokesmen have done a very poor job of explaining the party position, lapsing frequently into doctrinaire phrases comprehensible only to “the elect.”

Even the neutralist intellectuals without party affiliation, who were willing to give much time and effort to anti-government activity in Tokyo, have not been willing to make an equal investment of energy to try to communicate their views to people outside Tokyo, and partly because they don’t know how. Those few students who actually carried out plans for summer vacation kikyo undo, an attempt to build rice roots support for opposition to the Security Pact, were crowned largely with failure. An unintended dividend, however, for student participants was a valuable education in the opinions and attitudes of farmers.

A crucial question remains unanswered. If foreign policy issues were more adequately communicated to farmers, and if policy views did determine voting behavior, would rural voting patterns be substantially altered? Perhaps not.

Thus the rural-urban gap persists. Intense opposition among organized urban workers and intellectuals is ignored by a government which gets its mandate primarily from rural people who are detached from foreign policy controversies. The government’s disregard for minority opinion leads to frustration, and frustration among those who hold extreme views strongly often leads to violence.

Representative democracy makes no constitutional provision for measuring the intensity of opinion. Yet in a nation with a loosely organized party system, such as the V.S., well-organized minorities with strong views may exercise disproportionate influence in the policy process. The legislator’s first loyalty is to his constituency-and he usually listens to the most articulate elements, not to his party. In the Japanese Diet, on the other hand, largely because of the electoral system, party discipline is relatively strong in comparison with the U.S. and national party organization, centralized. Thus direct popular pressure on an individual legislator is less likely to produce a change in his position, and is consequently less often attempted. Since this approach is unfruitful, if militant minorities in Japan cannot achieve a sense of participation in the democratic policy process by some other means, Japanese democracy is in continuing danger. Fortunately, “sense of participation” may be as effective an antidote to violent frustration as achieving goals.

Unfortunately, two such minorities on the left, Zengakuren and the JCP, and several smaller groups on the right, do not seek true participation; they do not want the democratic process to succeed. Even more serious a threat to the democratic policy process is that elements in both major parties seem willing either to obstruct or circumvent it if it does not serve their ends. Democracy requires that government and opposition agree on means even while they seek different ends. But perhaps there is not so much disagreement on method as the foreign observer might first conclude. The object of agreement may be inappropriate, however.


Decision-making in national politics, a curious blend of Japanese and Western democratic traditions, is also suffering from the polarization of Japanese society, one consequence of rapid social change and uneven progress. The customary method of group decision-making in Japan is sometimes compared to a Quaker business meeting, but is even more similar to the Indonesian mufakat. The group discusses a question until it feels there is a consensus, which may or may not be precisely formulated by the chairman. Differences of opinion, if any, are not stated directly; confrontation is avoided. Lengthy deliberation, which is often exasperatingly vague to a Western observer, finally succeeds in delimiting the area of agreement. Harmony is the supreme virtue, the appearance of unanimity its accepted form, and compromise its corollary.

If all participants are of equal status, the system has great democratic potential. But Japan is a hierarchical society, and in any small group there will be recognized differences. The degree to which one is expected to compromise depends on his status; the opinion of high status persons, after some qualification, usually prevails.

This method of decision-making is still standar in rural communities and, with some variations, is to be found, in fact, in most medium and small organiza tions in urban areas as well. Though perhaps more time-consuming than Western methods, this J apanes one also has distinct advantages and generally work. satisfactorily-if there is already a consensus on basi goals within the group. It is in the context of thi fundamental consensus that compromise is possible status is respected, and the appearance of unanimity is achieved (even though some relatively low statu persons may be privately unhappy with the result).

< missing text to be inserted here >

Those willing to answer public opinion polls proceeded to put primary blame on Kishi and his party. Though neither a critical press nor the Socialists themselves charged Kishi with any specific violations of Diet rules, there was a widespread feeling that the number of police introduced into the Diet building to carry out Socialist sit-down strikers was excessive and established a dangerous precedent. There was also keen disappointment that Kishi had allowed no floor debate, even though there were still certain objections even from members of the government party and ample time for debate remained.

The cause for shock and condemnation of Kishi can best be explained, however, simply as the reaction to the rapid and unexpected conclusion of a long drama in which the Prime Minister was portrayed as the “villain.” His “villanous” reputation before May 19th was partly of long-standing, as we have noted. In addition it had been built by the press, radio and TV, first of all, on his refusal to dissolve the Diet and his reassertion of the adequacy of the very shaky mandate given him in 1958. Secondly, though he had made a rather unconvincing defense of some aspects of the treaty in televised committee hearings, he flatly refused to allow the Diet to make any reservations to the Treaty’s text, despite the fact that suggestions for such came from Liberal-Demo cratic ranks. He had clearly refused to play the role of compromiser, and thus was blamed for the Diet’s failure to reach a decision harmoniously. It seems clear that Kishi could have substantially reduced the scope of opposition to the Treaty and to his own government, if he had been willing to accept even minor compromises, had handled Socialist questions with more skill and more evident seriousness, and had agreed to floor debate. Under such circumstances public opinion would have been more ready to condemn the anti-democratic nature of some Socialist tactics and more generous in its assessment of the ruling Liberal-Democrats.

Though Kishi was condemned implicitly for failure to maintain Diet harmony, harmony was certainly not the goal of some of the mass organizations which began on May 20th to lead a crescendo of demonstrations against both Mr. Kishi and the Pact. The Zengakuren main stream, possessed of an ideology which is a peculiarly Japanese blend of Trotskyist Marxism, nationalism and anarchism, openly declared their desire for classical proletarian revolution, then carried placards urging “protection of democracy.” The Japan Communist Party and its, satellite, the Zengakuren anti-main stream faction, though much more discreet in proclaiming their ultimate goals, were nonetheless loyal to the principle of class conflict. Sohyo’s motives, more mixed, were certainly not harmony-centered.


The part played by the JCP in these demonstra tions has been the major theme of those journalist and diplomats who have a tendency to escape from the complexities of Japanese politics into the mol” familiar territory of over-simplification. It has thus been misunderstood by many friends of Japan abroad. The Kokumin Kaigi — short title of the National Council for Joint Struggle against the Security Pact, under whose aegis most demonstrations were held — did not count the JCP among its scores of affiliates, mostly “non-political” organizations. JCP representatives, however, sat as “observers” in executive committee meetings, exercising considerably more influence than this title suggests. Though its more extreme proposals were openly rejected by the Council, the Party attempted toward the end of the crisis to identify itself publicly as an ally of Kokumin Kaigi. In addition, there was a well-recognized Party effort after the Hagerty Incident — which was spearheaded by the JCP — to direct demonstrators to the U.S. Embassy to shout anti-American slogans. Unwitting participants in one such “guided” demonstration reported that there was, however, a noticeable feebleness in the crowd’s rendering of “Yankee go home.”

It would probably be a mistake to conclude that the JCP was primarily responsible for the demonstrations at the Diet, even though Chou En-Iai and Dwight D. Eisenhower have both reached this conclusion. The party made the moE3t of a tense and rapidly changing situation, the direction of which they undoubtedly influenced, but could not control. We must remember that the June 15th riot at the Diet, which was apparently the crucial factor in Kishi’s decision to ask the postponement of Ike’s visit, was the work of Zengakuren’s main-stream faction, the group that the JCP had been trying to expell from the Kokumin Kaigi on the amusing charge that it was an “agent of American Imperialism.”

Zengakuren and Sohyo, the two largest Kokumin Kaigi affiliates, did directly organize a majority of the demonstrations. In both organizations Communist Party members play irilportant roles, though, except fqr Zengakuren’s anti-main stream, not dominant ones. But it is quite incorrect to think of the individual demonstrators in such blanket terms as “leftist.”

After May 19th the major issue was no longer the treaty itself, but the method of its enactment. On this basis opposition to Kishi widened. To indicate the diversity of groups which felt impelled to march in the streets it is necessary to take note of the demonstrators organizationally unconnected to Kokumin Kaigi in any way. To name a few, there were Christians in Kyoto, the faculty of Tokyo University, and various neighborhood women’s organizations. Students from several private colleges and universities in Tokyo, including the Christian ones, demonstrated despite the fact that their student associations were entirely unaffiliated with Zengakuren. To believe that any significant number of students marched because they were paid is to be grossly deceived.

Though such tactics touched off lengthy campus arguments, some independent student groups decided to demonstrate on the same day as Zengakuren and even chose to follow the Zengakuren line of march. Because tbey lacked political sophistication, they failed to realize that such a demonstration could be, and often was, .assumed by the public and the press to. be part of the Zengakuren effort. Other unaffiliated moderates were more cautious, selecting times and places for their . demonstrations separate from the, “unified effort,” thus being in a better position to preserve their distinctive identities.

Street demonstrations by Christian groups were unprecedented in Japan and have been the object of severe criticism, mainly by Christians. They were motivated in part by the general anti-war feeling and concern for democracy which generated anti. Kishi action in other circles. But many were also spurred on by a deep sense of guilt because Christians had not protested with sufficient vigor against the rise of the military in the 1930’s. Such persons are determined that Christians will not again lapse into political passivity. Since Christian leaders could be confident that their non-Communist identification was generally recognized, many felt that their public protests would make a unique contribution to a clarification of the situation, by dramatizing to Liberal-Democratic leaders that opposition to the government in the streets was not simply “red” and was therefore a force deserving of respectful consideration. They felt that only the shock of protest from moderate constituencies could move Mr. Kishi to constructive compromise. It is difficult to judge from the events which transpired subsequently whether this purpose was, in fact, served, but the tactic was not without rationale. Those who charged that to demand Mr. Kishi’s resignation would help the Communists and hurt the government party need to consult recent public opinion polls; after Mr. Ikeda’s assumption of office Liberal-Democrats reached a new high in popularity.

We must conclude, then, that the strong leadership exercised by Kokttmin Kaigi and its affiliates in organizing demonstrations against the treaty, and against Kishi and his tactics, did not lure students, intelligentsia and organized labor in directions which they were entirely reluctant to travel. Kokumin Kaigi, which must be admitted as essentially leftist in leadership, acted mainly as a catalytic agent in the midst of much discontent. The willingness of groups of differing ideological persuasion, but advocating some of the same immediate goals, to protest quite independently of the Council is evident of the fact that absence of this particular catalyst could not have exempted Prime Minister Kishi from severe public criticism.


If leftist-led organizations did gain considerable popular support, at least in cities, must we also conclude that the demonstrations of May and June marked a widespread outburst of “anti-Americanism”? If the term is meant to include general antagonism to the country and its people, the answer is clearly “No.” There are several different kinds of evidence.

We have already noted the instance of the demonstrators who believed they were going only to the Diet, but who were then led unknowing to the V.S. Embassy, where many promptly lost their voices. John D. Rockefeller IV in an article in Life has testified to the personally friendly treatment he received from demonstrators. Many other Americans could give similar testimony. The most striking evidence is the fact that only after May 19th, when slogans were directed primarily to the domestic political issues of the method of treaty ratification and Kishi’s resignation did demonstrations reach mass movement proportion. Before that time mere opposition to the treaty had not even aroused excitement among Tokyo students, at least outside the hard core of Zengakuren activists.

It must be admitted, however, that after May 19th most demonstrations still included anti-treaty slogans in their repertoire. This, of course, constitutes criticism both of Kishi’s foreign policy and of the foreign policy of the Eisenhower’s administration, with many Japanese feeling that the former is a mere duplication of the latter. But opposition to military alliance with the U.S. probably did not mean for most demonstrators a blanket rejection of all aspects of American policy; it certainly did not imply hostility to the American people.

Though many Americans have not yet grasped this, even opposition to Eisenhower’s visit was not a general manifestation of anti-Americanism, despite the fact that the Japan Communist Party tried hard to make it appear so. Most Japanese who asked for cancellation or postponement of Ike’s trip to Japan did so on the ground that Eisenhower was being used by Kishi to bolster his own political position; they wanted the Kishi regime brought to a close, not prolonged. Though the U.S. Embassy vigorously rejected at the time this interpretation. of the portent of Ike’s visit, it has subsequently been revealed that Ambassador MacArthur had suggested the possibility of postponement to Kishi sometime before the Prime Minister actually asked for it. One might presume that a Prime Minister more interested in Japanese/American friendship, in America’s prestige or in Japan’s international reputation, than in his own political future, would have asked for postponement much earlier.

Some Japanese who appealed for postponement did so out of the fear of the damage which an insult to Eisenhower might do to Japanese-American friendship; among these persons were some of America’s best friends in Japan. The Ambassador’s attitude toward several such persons has not improved his effectiveness as an emissary of good will.

To give balance to the picture it must be added that among hundreds of thousands of demonstrators there were undoubtedly some who harbored pure, unadulterated, anti-Americanism. One instance was reported of damage to an American’s car. But a more fundamental motivation of political extremism, especially in the Zengakuren, a motivation about which we have seen little comment, is nationalism.


The suggestion of such a sentiment among students is usually rejected with a tone of horror by students themselves. The author’s own suggestion has already brought just such a reaction. Often the most basic motives in politics are unconscious ones. It is a popular myth in Japan today that nationalism is confined to the right-wing. The myth is bolstered linguistically by the common use of kokkashugi to refer to “bad, rightist” nationalism, found in Japan, and minzokushugi, “good, progressive” nationalism, usually found only outside Japan. Though the two words do describe different phenomena, they obscure the fact that both are still nationalism.

There is a tendency to forget that ultra-nationalism of the 1930’s arose in part with a “Socialist” label. The classical Marxism so widespread among Japanese intellectuals today provides no ideological justification for nationalism on the left. Thus its existence is not admitted. It has come close to the surface, however, in the heretical rantings of Zengakuren. That they could charge Khrushchev with being the “betrayer of the proletariat” even as they riot against “Eisenhower, the warmonger” is hardly evidence of internationalism. The recent Chinese Communist delegation to Tokyo is reported to have recognized the Zengakuren main stream as kindred soulsnationalism has always been given a respected place in Maoist doctrine-but the Chinese would no doubt find them as difficult to control as have their Japanese comrades.

Historically, of course, the right has given leadership to nationalist movements. Dntil recently the post-war significance of rightist groups was insufficiently recognized, especially by foreign observers. Now goon squads, two stabbings and a successful assassination makes it clear that, while very small in numbers, they are a potent anti-democratic force. Rightist violence has unfortunately long been a tradition in Japanese politics; it is deeply imbedded in the feudal remnants within the national culture. vVe should not be surprised, therefore, that, stimulated by leftist disorders, it has again raised its ugly head. It is encouraging, however, that there has been almost universal condemnation of these acts. The assassin as hero is a disappearing role.

Right-wing boryokudan attacks in June on anti-Kishi demonstrators did not mean support for Kishi’s policies, a fact clarified by the stabbing of the Prime Minister himself in July. Pro-Americanism is hardly an appropriate attitude for groups which suffered a severe setback from U.S. Occupation policies. In fact, Col. Tsuji, the extreme right’s leading Diet spokesman, joined the Socialists in opposition to the Security Pact revision. He opposed U.S. bases in Japan not because he is a “pacifist,” but because he wants to see the forces which defend Japan’s shores marching under the banner of the rising sun.

But nationalism is not even confined to the extreme right and the extreme left. R. P. Dore, the British sociologist, has found in questioning farmers that a substantial majority still agree to statements like: “Such questions as the Rhee Line … will never be solved until Japan gets a powerful army and demonstrates its strength,” and “It’s not China or India, but Japan, which should become leader of Asia,” and “… American troops should be got out of Japan as soon as possible.” Nor are such views found only on farms. They are revealed in indirect ways even by those Japanese in the most international circles. It is perhaps not without good reason that Socialists have persisted in the fundamental inconsistency of advocating unarmed neutrality for Japan while they spent most of their time in Diet debates criticizing the new Treaty on the grounds that it didn’t give the Japanese government more control over the utilization of U.S. bases here. To appeal to both pacifism and nationalism at the same time reaches a wider portion of the populace. Elections are seldom won with consistencies. In 1958 “greater independence for Japan” was a major Socialist campaign slogan, surpassed in importance only by “peace,” “disarmament,” and “improved Sino-Japanese relations” A certain degree of nationalism is almost universal in modern societies today. Though it has a disastrous history here, contemporary nationalism in Japan is not abnormal. Japanese nationalism can in no sense be considered a threat to world peace, nor is it likely to be in the foreseeable fufure. As I.I. Morris has pointed out in Nationalism and the Right Wing in Japan, even those rightist groups that have reemerged since the Occupation have not advocated foreign conquest.

But nationalism, along with the internationally recognized anti-war sentiment in Japan, will continue to be a much more important irritant to Japanese-American military alliance than communism. Given nationalist sentiment, whichever power appears to have the greatest influence over the Japanese government, whichever power has the closest contact with the people, whichever power insists most frequently on Japanese cooperation and assistance — this is the foreign power which will be the object of the negative aspects, of nationalism. For many Japanese of the older generation, who remember the Russo-Japanese war, nationalism means fear and hatred of, Russia. But as long as Russians are not conspicuous in Japan, as long as the Japanese government asserts its independence by resisting the Soviet’s demands jmdprotesting their incursions, nationalist distrust and criticism will not generally be focused on the USSR.

If the U.S. presence in Japan — especially the military one — were less obvious and the U.S. as an ally were less demanding, the rate of verbal fire on Washington could undoubtedly be reduced. This principle, pushed to its logical conclusion, results in the ,thesis that America’s best friend would be a neutralized Japan. But logical conclusions are seldom the stuff of which policies are made. A partial application of the principle could also reap rewards. At any rate, we must not forget that Japan was once a first-rate power. Though most Japanese do not aspire to their country’s previous military prowess, there are very few who would not like to see Japan’s diplomats speak more forcefully and more independently in world politics. Thus any nation which asks of allies that they share its analysis of the world crisis, as well as its formula for solution, will find that inherent in the Japanese alliance is continuing friction of significant proportions.


Nationalism is not only the most important source of this friction, but probably poses in the long run — again linked with anti-war feelings – a more serious threat to Japanese democracy than Communism. Warnings of the danger of Communist take-over in Japan, short of World War III, have not been based on a realistic assessment of the factors likely to be operative in Far Eastern politics in the foreseeable future. Full-scale Communist military invasion could not be halted in limited action either by . Japanese forces. or by a combination of U.S. and Japanese, whether one calculates on the basis of present allied strength in Northeast Asia or of a likely augmentation thereof. For Communist forces to invade on a small scale, and thus risk immediate defeat as well as world war, would be a more foolish decision than the non-Communist planner is able to rely on. The geographical situatjon rules out infiltration or “indirect aggression,” as Nasser tried in Lebanon or the Vietnamese are attempting in Laos. Any military action against Japan would have to be overt and large scale. It is thus Communist strategists’ fear of world conflagration, not primarily the size of forces in Japan, which deters, and will continue to deter, armed intervention here. Communist military action against Japan would either mark the beginning of World War III or be the result of its outbreak elsewhere. Whether the U.S. maintains its worldwide atomic deterrent, which does not depend on Japanese bases, or whether disarmament negotiations are successful, intentional world war is most unlikely.

Furthermore, attempts to predict Japan’s fate on the basis of events in either China or Cuba reveal a profound ignorance of conditions in those countries. Despite strains and frustrations resulting from rapid change and a traditional tendency toward violence, Japan is essentially an orderly society, one, in fact, in which order is still a superior virtue. While disorder was the fertile soil which produced Communist success in Cuba and China, Japan’s longterm threat is too much order. The sneers of Time magazine notwithstanding, efficient and well-disciplined Japanese law enforcement agencies — which include the Self-Defense Forces, or Jieitai, in times of emergency — are quite capable of preventing left-wing violence from reaching dangerous proportions. (Even though they are not always on the alert against rightist assassins.) The question that remains, however, is whether they could do so in the confines of the democratic process.

The re-occurrence of mass demonstrations against the government is a real possibility. Most Japanese commentators believe that the U.S. wants to use Japanese bases for nuclear missiles, a belief reinforced by recent statements of Prof. Kissinger. It is clear from the exchange of notes at the time the revised Treaty was signed that a U.S. decision to introduce missiles would have to be made subject to the approval of the Japanese government. It seems likely that any Japanese prime minister who sought an election mandate for such approval would not receive it, and that if the approval were granted without an election, we would see a political storm in Japan that would make the most recent one look like the lull before. The fear of nuclear weapons was already an element in opposition to the revised treaty. There is perhaps no event in Japanese history capable of generating more intense emotions today than the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. The presence of nuclear weapons on Japanese soil, it is generally considered, would constitute an invitation to a repeat performance.

Thus the announcement of imminent or accomplished introduction of nuclear warheads and their installation in American bases would probably set off demonstrations with an even wider basis of mass support than the recent ones. The Communists, like the diligent cultivators of unrest they are, would be able to make hay with the benefit of more Japanese sunshine than they have heretofore enjoyed. Ultra rightist tactics would be both to provoke and be provoked by the Communists. Some violence would be likely. If it reached sufficient intensity the government would feel obliged to use the Jieitai, a step nearly taken last June 18. Military leaders would then be in a position to insinuate themselves into the political councils of government and the first steps would have been taken on the road back to the 1930’s.

The virtue of unity, a corollary of nationalism, would contribute to this outcome in two ways. In the first stage it would accelerate the spread of demonstrations, as efforts were made to foster the image of “a united people rising in protest,” and, after violence had passed a tolerable maximum, it would be used again to justify suppression of leftist activity and the emergence of the military, first “temporarily,” then permanently. In the long run nationalism supports those efforts designed to prevent the disruption of the social fabric. It seems ironic that opposition to militarism, much of it quite sincere, might contribute to militarism’s rise. Violence of the left clearly breeds violence of the right, though the fact is not widely enough admitted. This results from the simple equation, maintained by so many Japanese, between democracy and anti-militarism: a failure to conceive of democracy primarily as method. Thus it is possible that when political groups focus on an end considered “demo cratic,” such as blocking the installation of nuclear missiles, and are impatient to achieve it, the democratic means to that end may be exceeded.

We see, therefore, that in the context of latent nationalism, given an intense anti-war and especially anti-nuclear weapon sentiment, democracy could be greatly weakened by those nuclear weapons ostensibly introduced to defend it. Furthermore, though some might view the installation of nuclear warheads as adding “strength” to the Japan-U.S. alliance, it would certainly destroy much of the popular basis for partnership.

The degree to which such a crisis might actually weaken Japanese democracy would, of course, depend on economic conditions at the time. The recent crisis was kept within manageable proportions largely because of unprecedented prosperity. In the midst of rising unemployment any similar outburst of opposition to the government would probably be much more violent. Unemployment would be the result of any reduction in exports.


Having viewed the conditions which could again touch off a crisis in Japanese democracy, one might become overly pessimistic. But when comparing Prime Minister Ikeda’s cabinet with that of his predecessor, this mood becomes mixed with cautious optimism. Perhaps such conditions will not develop. It appears, for instance that Mr. Ikeda understands the popular expectation that a leader will seek to create and maintain harmony in the Diet. His Justice Minister seems to realize that attempts to strengthen the Police Duties Law would simply stir additional unrest and has thus apparently determined to limit himself to administrative steps which can be taken within the existing law. The Minister of Finance has recognized that intellectuals’ frustration stems partly from an inability to share in the nation’s material progress-in addition to the factors already mentioned-and has thus decided on salary increases for government university professors, and for civil servants as well. The assurance of continuing rapid economic growth has been the broad objective of the new government.

If this is not merely a pre-election stance and these programs are carried to fruition, and if Mr. Ikeda adequately recognizes also the depth and breadth of the fear of nuclear weapons, then Japan’s immediate future will be a peaceful and prosperous one. There is at the same time an indication that some of those intellectuals who participated in spring demonstrations have, on selfreflection, been seeking for more constructive and more consistently democratic methods of expression. The shock of Mr. Asanuma’s assassination may have stimulated both major parties to spurn undemocratic allies and restrain violent minorities on their flanks.

But the basic factors which induce a voiceless majority and violent minorities to live side by side in this “narrow land” still exist. In part they will be remedied only by time itself. Generational differences will narrow, for example, as the catastrophe of war and defeat fade into the background and the pace of social change slows down. The emergence, however, of a strong political group which self-consciously assumes the role of mediator between the two extremes and of spokesman for the middle could speed the remedial process.

DAVID WURFEL, Ph. D., Instructor in Political Science at International Christian University, has specialized in teaching and writing on U.S. Far Eastern Policy. He has resided for more than two years in the Philippines and Japan.

Categories Japan, General politics