Radio Speech by the Japanese Prime Minister (Prince Konoye)85

Tokyo, November 3 [, 1938, No. 6].—(Domei)—Addressing the nation over radio for fifteen minutes from 9:10 o’clock this morning from his official residence on the occasion of the birthday anniversary of the late Emperor Meiji, Premier Prince Fumimaro Konoye enunciated the Government’s policy to meet the new situation created as the result of the fall of the Wuhan cities into Japanese hands and [Page 479] urged the nation to make a fresh determination to attain the objectives of the current crusade in China. A translation by Domei of the Premier’s radio speech follows:

“It is my great pleasure, on this occasion of the birthday anniversary of the late Emperor Meiji and once more remembering the high virtues of the Emperor, to enunciate the views of the Government in connection with the establishment of peace in the Far East the work of which has been bequeathed to us from the late Emperor. Following closely on the heels of the fall of Canton, Hankow, which forms the heart of the interior of China came under Japanese control. A vast area involving the seven important cities which control the functions of modern China is in the hands of the Japanese army. There is a well-known saying that ‘those who control the vital areas of China control whole China’. The Chiang Kai-shek administration has practically been reduced to a mere local regime. While reserving her sufficient fighting power for rejecting interference from outside Japan has secured the brilliant achievements. This is due to the strenuous efforts on the part of the brave officers and men under the august virtue of His Majesty the Emperor and the sense of gratitude of the people has never been moved so profoundly as on the present occasion. The people’s gratitude goes to a great number of those who have fallen or [been?] wounded in the incident. We feel that we are doubly duty-bound toward this priceless sacrifice. First of all, we must attain the objectives of the current fighting by succeeding to the will of those who have been sacrificed in the incident. Next, we must not forget to repay those families and relatives of the sacrificed. Japan holds the key to the disposal of China. However, what Japan sincerely desires is the development and not the ruin of China. It is China’s cooperation and not conquest that Japan sincerely desires. Japan desires to build up a stabilized Far East by cooperating with the Chinese people who have awakened to the need of self-determination as an Oriental race. No country desires or understands as Japan does perfection of China as an independent state and China’s racial aspiration and sentiment. History shows that Japan, Manchukuo and China are so related to each other that they must bind themselves closely together in a common mission for the establishment of peace and order in the Far East by displaying their own individuality. It is a matter for deep regret, not only for the sake of Japan but also for the sake of the Far East that the realization of this ideal between Japan and China was hampered by the wrong policy pursued by the Nationalist Government. The keynote of the policy pursued by the National Government is very superficial because it was based on the trends of the temporary reactionary period following the termination of the World War. This policy was not based on the tradition and intuition which are so characteristic [Page 480] of the Chinese nation. The National Government did everything in order to maintain its power and did not care for steady bolshevisation and colonisation of China. This is not in accordance with the way pursued by China’s zealous patriots who have fought at the sacrifice of their own lives for the construction of a new China. This is the reason why Japan which is so closely affiliated with China as one of the two greatest races in the Orient has risen in arms to crush the Chiang Kai-shek administration although she does not want to have a tragedy of fighting with the brother nation, China. Japan sincerely desires that China will awake. Those who are jealous of the future in China should rise up for the execution of the common mission of the Far East by pointing the Chinese people to their destined path and guide the rejuvenated China. Rehabilitation is steadily on its way in Peking and Nanking while the spirit of rejuvenation pervades the Mongolian frontier districts. The Chinese race which on many occasions during its history extending over five thousand years held a guiding torch for the civilization of the world should leave behind it a history compatible with the great deeds left by China’s forefathers by bringing a new light to the civilisation of the world and sharing with Japan in the mission for the construction of a new Far East. If the National Government regains the original spirit of the Chinese race, effects changes in the policy it has pursued and the personnel and emerges as a new administration for the reconstruction of China Japan would not reject the participation of the National Government. All countries of the world should have a clear recognition regarding the new situation in the Far East. History shows clearly that peace and independence in China have been frequently menaced as the result of the struggle for supremacy among foreign Powers which was based on imperialistic ambitions. Japan sees the necessity of effecting a fundamental revision in this situation and desires to establish a new peace fabric in Far East on the basis of justice. It goes without saying that Japan will not exclude cooperation of foreign Powers. Neither she intends to damage the legitimate rights of the third Powers in China. If the Powers understand the real intentions of Japan and devise a policy in accordance with the new situation in the Far East, Japan does not grudge to cooperate with them for peace in the Far East. The world knows that Japan is earnestly determined to fight it out with communism. What the Comintern intends to do is bolshevisation of the Far East and disturbance of world peace. Japan expects to suppress in a drastic manner the sources of the evils of bolshevisation and their subversive activities behind the socalled long-term resistance of the Chiang Kai-shek administration. Fortunately, both Germany and Italy which are our allies on the anti-Comintern front understand the intentions of Japan in the Far East and have extended their moral support in the current incident which has greatly encouraged [Page 481] the Japanese nation. In this respect we extend our deep gratitude to these countries. The current incident had convinced us of the necessity of further tightening the bonds. Japan is determined also to cooperate in the reestablishment of world order guided by a common view of the world. What the world at present needs badly is the establishment of peace on a fair balance of power. There is no denying the fact that various principles in the past have forced the maintenance of the status quo marked by an unbalanced state. That the international treaty such as the covenant of the League of Nations has lost its prestige is fundamentally due to this irrationality. Without making international justice a mere slogan on paper a new peace fabric must be formed which can keep pace with the progress of history for the basis and in accordance with international justice established all phases of human life such as commerce, emigration, natural resources and culture. We believe that the only means to break the current general crisis is to perfect the above-mentioned conditions. The Japanese people are placing absolute confidence in the members of the fighting services on the front and engaged in the various activities behind the gun and are perfecting the necessary conditions to meet Japan’s protracted hostilities. This is very characteristic of the people. Japanese history shows that the vicissitudes of the country have always depended on the people’s self-consciousness about the national structure. When we realize that the Imperial Throne is concerned about the establishment of permanent peace in the Far East we subjects cannot but feel that our moral mission is indeed heavy. The Japanese people at this very juncture must face their respective duties solemnly. They must also have a clear understanding and should not err in their recognition about what kind of sacrifice and preparations is necessary for the construction of a new fabric on a moral basis in the Far East. If there is any one in Japan who holds the idea that the fall of Hankow and Canton will immediately bring an era of peace he does not really understand the important meaning of the current incident. Nothing is more dangerous. Japan which is entrusted with the task of constructing a new Far East has entered upon a new stage of creation in all fields of human life. In this sense, the actual fighting has just started. In order to be a great nation we must proceed with the perfection of various preparations for reconstruction both at home and abroad with a firm faith and determination.[”]

  1. Copy made by the American Embassy in Japan of a mimeographed document distributed November 3, 1938, by the Domei news service.