JAPAN'S YEAR OF FREEDOM

Smythe, Hugh and Mabel

Japan's Year of Freedom By Hugh and Mabel S my the Tokyo POSTWAR JAPAN'S first year of independence, ending Apr. 28, has been marked by a noticeable growth of national pride and the continuation...

...The naval arm is increasing through the loan of 68 small vessels from the U.S...
...Japan paid in cash to America, Britain, and France on prewar debts, but it has not even completed negotiations with the heavily damaged and underdeveloped Asian countries, which complain that payment to them in "services" only, as stipulated in the peace treaty, is inadequate and unfair...
...The hope for Japan is that they will grow in articulateness until the government is the people...
...Thoughtful observers in Japan are still convinced that the people, as tradition-bound and confused by new ways as many of them are, are still the real hope of Japan...
...The Yoshida regime embarked on a determined plan to eliminate many democratic reforms HUGH AND MABEL SMYTHE have been teaching and traveling in and writing about Japan for more than a year...
...America-Japan relations, although simmering along much as under the Occupation, have been marked by a rise in anti-American sentiment...
...In foreign affairs, relations with the non-Communist West have been cemented, but at the cost of some Asian friendship growing out of the reparations problem...
...On important issues they speak up...
...II On the business front, the past year has seen the Government preparing legislation to permit the formation of cartels...
...The nation has experienced two general elections since regaining independence...
...The big landlords are regaining control in agricultural committees...
...Laws were passed or are being processed to exercise greater control over labor activity and centralize the police system...
...Although pressured by the - U.S...
...28, has been marked by a noticeable growth of national pride and the continuation of the Occupation-begun trend toward higher living standards...
...Farm reform is disintegrating to some extent as the ex-tenant, now a small landholding farmer, finds no helping hand in his new venture and falls deeply into debt...
...Pressure is being exerted to reinstate kendo, Japanese fencing banned as "militaristic" by the Occupation, in the high schools, and to eliminate social studies in favor of old-style courses in geography and Japanese history which were banned by the Occupation as nurturing nationalism and feudalism and contributing to totalitarian control...
...There has also been a good deal of haste to "reform" the reforms sponsored by the American Occupation...
...The conservative Cabinet of 75-year-old Shigeru Yoshi-da's Liberal Party fell in March, after five and a half months, and the elections in April, 1953, did not do much to change the...
...conservative character of the government...
...Living standards have climbed above 90 per cent of the 1934-36 level...
...They are experimenting, sometimes slowly, with democratic ways...
...The government also favors changing the anti-monopoly law so as to return to power such commercial and financial giants like the Mitsui, Mitsubishi, and other potent pre-Occupation zaibatsu monopolistic combines...
...they think long and seriously of Japan's place in the world, and for most of them it is a place of cooperation and peace...
...Noteworthy has been the return of more wartime officers to the armed forces and the public advocacy of military plans drawn up by high ex-Imperial officers...
...But they are learning...
...The people, however, continue to be solidly against remilitarization or any change in the "no war" and "no military potential" features of the Constitution...
...In education, all teachers in public schools are once again threatened with centralized control through the federal government's assumption of financial responsibility for compulsory education...
...Yet, despite these brighter developments, the past year has seen an ominous trend on the domestic front...
...initiated by the Occupation in favor of restoring the prewar feeling of "patriotism" and returning to strong centralization of power...
...Yet in Japan, the government is still Authority, and the people are not yet strong enough, as- a whole, to question it constantly...
...This was to be expected with U. S. garrison troops here as constant reminders of former Occupation status and of Japan's only "nominal" independence...
...However, a budding air force is training, with plans to expand to 3,000 planes...
...Both have visiting professorships in Japanese universities...
...to step up her military potential, Japan has not expanded the original 110,000-man National Safety Force...
...However, the Communists, though still a legal party, lost all their seats in the October elections and are not on hand officially to aggravate the instability...
...in January the Right-wing Socialists had acknowledged the need ( for some kind of defense force...
...The people are looking happier and healthier than a year ago, with deaths from tuberculosis dropping below 100,000 for the first time in 40 years...
...In February, for the first time, a political party, the conservative Progressives, came out flatly for rearmament...
...Independence has seen Japan become again the strongest nation in Asia and, as a result of the Korean War, able to balance her international accounts, in spite of the general slump in world trade...

Vol. 17 • May 1953 • No. 5


 
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