Wednesday, May 06, 2015

"ponder the path of life" - In the Case of Nobusuke Kishi

Around Tokyo (44 km and 42 km to the sea)

In the Case of Nobusuke Kishi

Nobusuke Kishi, a grandfather of incumbent Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, made his first trip to the US in 1926 to attend the Sesquicentennial International Exposition hosted by Philadelphia.  At the time, Kishi was a young and rising elite bureaucrat of the Imperial Government of Japan.
In 1926, Philadelphia hosted the Sesquicentennial International Exposition, a world’s fair, to commemorate the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Although it opened to great fanfare, the exposition failed to attract enough visitors to cover its costs. The fair organization went into receivership in 1927 and its assets were sold at auction.

Kishi was impressed by the scale and power of the American industry.  For instance, automobiles were regraded as a kind of luxury in Tokyo at the time.  But Kishi saw many used cars piled and deserted in fields and suburbs in America.  The rising Japanese government official realized that the US had industrial power beyond comparison with the Empire of Japan.  GDP of the US was more than 10 times larger than that of the Empire.  So, though there were many things to learn from the US, those advanced features of America could not be simply introduced to Japan.  The industrial base was so different.

Kishi left the US for Europe after attending the Exposition in Philadelphia.  His business trip extended from the UK to Germany.  His memory about the UK was that it was very cold in London.  And, as walkout and strikes were going on in factories around London, he could not encounter then-famous black fogs there.  

In Germany, Nobusuke Kishi found a clue to boost the Japanese industry and the society.  Germany did not have abundant natural resources in contrast to the US.  But German industrialists, scientists, and engineers were fully exercising their talents to develop advanced technologies.  Kishi thought the German way of boosting industry could apply to Japan.  America was too large and rich with too lucky circumstances in terms of natural resources and democratic systems.  The American way could not fit Japan, though the Empire of Japan was successfully promoting its industrial revolution, the only and first example in Asia.  But, Japan could adopt the German way by concentrating resources to key industrial fields and technologies.

When Kishi returned to Tokyo, He submitted a report to inform senior bureaucrats of what he had observed and thought in the business trip to the US and Europe.

The Empire of Japan progressed to a great extent in the industry sector till 1941 when the Empire entered war with the US as part of WWII.  But, all the Japanese bureaucrats and military leaders, who shared the same view on the US as Kishi's, never dreamed of starting war against the US to occupy Hawaii and California and destroy the American industry.  All they aimed at in their strengthening the Imperial military was to prevent advancement of the US military force, which allowed the US to colonize the Philippines at the time, to the Far Easy including the Empire of Japan, Manchuria, and mainland China.  From the beginning, the Imperial Government of Japan had no intention to enter an all-out fatal war with the US.

Nonetheless, the US Government wanted to join the UK in the war against Nazi Germany, since WWII had already started in Europe.  As the Empire of Japan was a military ally to Nazi Germany, the US Government wanted the Empire to start a war against the US.  The war between the Empire and the US would automatically lead to the American entry into the war against Nazi Germany.

Accordingly, the Roosevelt administration imposed various stern economic embargo against the Empire of Japan, in addition to a conventional racist policy against Japanese immigrants.  Specifically, when the Imperial Government sent troops to Vietnam through negotiations with France, the colonial master of Vietnam at the time, President Roosevelt stopped all oil export to Japan.  The Imperial Navy lost its main fuel source.  The world second largest naval fleets of the Imperial Japan would be unable to sail in a year or so.  The Imperial Government was driven into a corner; it had to decide to whether it should withdraw all the troops from Vietnam and China as the US so demanded, or it stood against the US to check and suppress the US navy while advancing to Indonesia with big crude oil fields under control of the Netherlands. 

Kishi, who became one of top officials of the Imperial Government at the time, and other leaders of the Empire thought that if the Empire had accepted the US demands, the US always determined to enter the war against Nazi Germany would further pose new difficult requests.  So, they planned and executed the Pearl Harbor Attack, hoping that the US Navy would be simply unable to interfere the Empire's advancement to Southeast Asia to obtain crude oil and other natural resources they could not import from the US anymore.

Nobusuke Kishi was promoted to a state minister by Prime Minister Hideki Tojo immediately before the Pearl Harbor Attack carried out in December 1941.  When the Empire was defeated in 1945 after long and fierce battles and suffering Hiroshima/Nagasaki atomic bomb attacks, Kishi, as with Tojo, was arrested as a war criminal by the US military stationed in Japan and led by General MacArthur.  Eventually, General Tojo was executedin December 1948, but Kishi was in prison in Tokyo only for three and half years.  Kishi was acquitted and freed in 1948.

Kishi later became a lawmaker through winning general elections.  And, in 1957, Nobuuske Kishi was elected in the Japanese parliament as the 56th prime minister of Japan.

Now, one of Kishi's grandsons, Shinzo Abe. is prime minister of Japan.  PM Abe looks like being strongly proud of his grandfather Kishi.  Shinzo Abe is very pro-American despite the fact of Kishi's aversion to General MacArthur who ruled Japan for several years after WWII and under whose name Nobusuke Kishi was arrested and put into a jail as an A-class war crime suspect.   

The point at issue is that Nobusuke Kishi thought that the Imperial Japan's war against the US was a kind of defense war like General Tojo thought.

The Pearl Harbor Attack was a justifiable act of defense for leaders of the Empire of Japan at the time, no matter how aggressive, adventurous and destructive it was.   

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Pro 5:4 But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword.
Pro 5:5 Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell.
Pro 5:6 Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them.
Pro 5:7 Hear me now therefore, O ye children, and depart not from the words of my mouth.