【PART 3】 The Mystery of the Security Treaty Village (1): The Showa Emperor and the Constitution of Japan


【18】 “The safest way (for the Emperor himself) is to take a risk.”


I assume the Emperor’s statement in the Atcheson report is authentic — that he had no intention of avoiding responsibility, that as the leader of the Japanese he had a responsibility for the actions of Japanese citizens.

In fact, there was a long prelude to this statement. Japanese peace advocates and pro-Japan Americans had conferences many times through various channels from several months before the end of the war on how to terminate the war and how to treat the Emperor. It was, so to say, the prehistory of the “Security Treaty village.” (The Security Treaty village, therefore, began as a “good thing,” a longing for peace.)

One of the major examples is the peace movement in Switzerland. An important fact about it was the presence there of U.S. negotiator Allen Welsh Dulles, a virtual founder of the CIA after the war and a younger brother of John Foster Dulles (U.S. chief negotiator of the San Francisco Treaty and the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty.)

The brothers supported the U.S. global strategy centering on the “anti-Communism” of the Cold War period in the 1950s. Japan got actively incorporated into this. Also, Allen Dulles succeeded in building a strong post-war relationship between the CIA and the Japanese authorities, based on his network of connections made within the peace move in Switzerland. The result was the CIA’s influence over Japan’s national policy. Allen Dulles is pretty much one of founders of the Security Treaty village, and in forwarding the peace movement he gave a piece of advice to Japan the safest way (for the Emperor himself) is to take a risk.

Which means, how the Emperor acts will decide the destiny of himself and the Imperial family. The best way for the Emperor is to show the U.S. citizens his effort to cooperate with GHQ by persuading the Japanese military to end the war. In short, to act as a representative of the moderates in Japan, with an understanding of the U.S. scenario. (Allen Dulles by Tetsuo Arima published by Kodansha)

We can see the Emperor’s “intelligence” and “bravery” to execute what Allen Dulles suggested as the best plan: his “imperial decision”(*1) to terminate the war, his remark at the talk with MacArthur that “I am responsible for the actions of Japanese citizens,”(*2) and so on.

It is indeed difficult to state firmly that “I have a war responsibility” in front of someone who could put you to death, even knowing that such a confession would be the most likely way to save you. It was probably one of the biggest gambles for the Emperor, next to the “imperial decision” to terminate the war. I presume it was true that MacArthur was impressed by and highly respected the Showa Emperor’s attitude and character.

As a result, the two worked closely together on the joint project of “The U.S. occupation policy = Japan’s national renewal plan.” It was, at the same time, the birth of the basic structure of the Security Treaty village: “the Emperor and the U.S. military forces.”


*1  ・・・ The Emperor Showa is reported to have said to Army Minister Korechika Anami as follows on August 12, 1945, two days before Japan’s acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration, when Anami was stubbornly opposing the country’s surrender on the grounds that no guarantee had yet been made about the continuation of the emperor system, i.e., the preservation of the kokutai (national polity): “Don’t worry, Anami. I am confident about [this issue of continued existence of the emperor system].” (Daihon’ei Rikugunbu (10) [The Imperial Headquarters Army Unit (10)]; War History Section of the National Institute for Defense Studies, ed., Senshi Sosho [War History Library]: Asagumo Shimbun-sha, 1975)
*2  ・・・ Perhaps the emperor seems to have set the acceptable “line of defense” by meticulously studying how Wilhelm II was handled after the end of the First World War.