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Extract from a Speech to the Japanese Diet

by the Prime Minister, Mr. Shigeru Yoshida,

Presenting the Peace Treaty for Ratification

12th October, 1951

The fear expressed by some delegates of Japanese competition after the restoration of peace is something which surprised me and which I found difficult to understand. It is unthinkable, as I stated in my acceptance speech, that Japan defeated in war and handicapped on all hands owing to loss of territory, scarcity of resources, war devastation of land, loss of shipping, deterioration of industrial plants and equipment, and the reparations obligations she has undertaken, could ever be an economic menace to any country. As to our working conditions, we have enacted, as referred to by President Truman and Mr. Dulles, labour legislation of the highest order in the world, setting up unprecedented working conditions that would seem too idealistic for the country's actual state of affairs. Again, in the peace treaty Japan is Pledged to observe all internationally accepted fair trade Practices. Such being the case it is puzzling indeed why Japan's entry into world markets should occasion any apprehension or why any restrictions should be proposed on her economic activities in the international field.

It is no easy task for Japan after independence to maintain a self-supporting economy without making herself a burden on another country. Even victor nations are willingly submitting to austerity living for the sake of replenishing their national strength and rebuilding their economies. 1 hope our people will reappraise the county's needs and resolve afresh to dedicate themselves to the task of laying the foundation for the new Japan by dint of thrift and hard work. Fortunately, the world is showing a marked degree of understanding and sympathy toward Japan as a nation reborn. So long as we shall persist in our honest endeavour to share equitably in the fruits of peace and prosperity with all countries, our road ahead will be, I believe, clear and bright.

Mr. Gromyko, delegate of the Soviet Union, attacked the peace treaty on the score that whereas one of the principal tasks in connection with a peace settlement with Japan should the prevention of a rebirth of Japanese militarism, the draft treaty contained no guarantee in that respect. He proposed amendments comprising 13 points.

On these Soviet proposals the American delegate, Mr. Dulles, commented to the following effect: One of the Soviet proposals says that Japan shall be bound to put obstacles in the development of democratic tendencies - that is to say the Communist Party. By prohibiting Japan from taking any measures against the destructive activities of the Communist party within her borders, it is the aim of the Soviet Union to render Japan defenceless internally. Other proposals, while allowing Japan a token defence force, deny her any benefits of a collective security arrangement. Under still another proposal the four straits around Japan may be only used by the navy of such countries on the Japan Sea -that is to say, the navy of the Soviet Union. These proposals reveal a design to keep Japan defenceless internally and externally and make her an easy neighbour nation.

The treaty does not restrict Japan's sovereign rights. It does not bar the way for Japan to have its own armed forces. Because of this fact the Soviet delegate dwelt on the danger of a rebirth of militarism in Japan. But if possession of armaments were militaristic, all countries of the world would be militaristic. As a matter of fact, Japan of today lacks the necessary basic resources for the production of modern arms. And our nation would not be able to stand the levying of additional taxes for rearmament. Moreover, Japan is yet to recover from the wounds of war. We have not relaxed our vigilance over the possible revival of militarism and ultra-nationalism. In face of all these facts, the talk of the Japanese militarism by the Soviet delegate cannot but be dismissed as a piece of absurd and groundless propaganda.

The Japanese-American Security Pact was signed on the same day as the peace treaty. This will assure the security of our country for the immediate future following our recovery of independence. It is quite proper that an independent nation should insure its internal security by itself. But a collective defence system is today a universally adopted means to combat aggression from outside. Irresponsible militarism is still rampant. Upon her recovery of independence an independent but unarmed Japan is obliged to seek protection in a collective defence arrangement with other free nations. And to put Japan beyond the reach of aggression is one postulate to the peace of the Far East and to the peace and prosperity of the entire world. Herein lies the reason for our conclusion of a security pact with the US.

There are even today some Japanese who advocate neutrality as a means of defending our independence. The current international situation surrounding our country is such that the possibility is remote of an agreement among the nations concerned to guarantee our security. Even if such an international agreement were made pledging to respect Japanese neutrality, we should not forget the fact that there are governments whose pledge cannot be trusted.

Again, there are others who would see our way out in a general security guarantee under the UN. The UN is the greatest and highest organ in existence for world security. But the major powers of Europe and America are at this very moment preoccupied with the task of perfecting their own security systems to supplement the guarantee furnished by the UN. I would say most definitely that I do not know of any other means for assuring our security after the peace other than by a collective guarantee with another peace loving nation or nations - in the present case, the USA.

The details for the implementation of the Japanese-American Security Pact are to be agreed upon by negotiation between the two countries. That is to say, the substance of the agreement is yet to be determined. Full explanations will he given to the Diet when the negotiations have been concluded, and the occasion arrives for submitting the necessary bills and appropriations.

In certain quarters dissatisfaction is being still expressed regarding the disposition of the Nansei Archipelago. We should recall that on 14th August, 1945, Japan surrendered unconditionally, leaving the matter of territorial disposition to the Allies. Now the Allies have written down their decision in the peace treaty - a decision that was made after taking into consideration as far as possible the wishes of our nation. I regret to see some Japanese still go on repining, though I can understand how they feel. That is not the way to respond to American good-will and understanding. Nor is it becoming to Japanese pride and prestige. Moreover, there is a danger in such behaviour to play straight into the hands of the vicious schemers bent upon obstructing the establishment of friendly relations between Japan and America. Let me urge upon these people to keep cool, to trust the good intentions of the American government, and to wait for the conclusion of a mutually satisfactory arrangement between our two countries relating to the status of these islands.

From the Japanese standpoint the contents of the Peace treaty may leave many things to be desired. But the fact remains that it is a fair and equitable peace treaty without a parallel in history, which reveals the trust and expectations of the Allied Powers in our nation who have courageously carried out the terms of surrender during the past six years. United in our efforts to execute completely the intentions and commitments of Japan as are set forth in the Treaty, we should go on vigorously with the task of national reconstruction.

Mr. Dean Acheson, President of the Peace Conference, in his closing address said as a friend of the Japanese people: `A great broad highway to a position of equality, of honour, of friendship in the world lies open to you. All the obstacles on that highway have been cleared so far as governments can clear them away. The obstacles that remain only you can remove. And you can remove those if you act with other peoples with understanding and with generosity and with kindness. All those qualities are inherent in the nature of your people'. Will Japan march the world highway of equality, honour and friendship? It will all depend on ourselves - our will and action.

I wish to request of the Diet speedy deliberation and approval of both the Peace Treaty and the Japanese-American Security Pact so as to hasten their ratification by the powers concerned and the realisation of Japan's complete independence.

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