No. 646
Editorial Note

On April 28, the NSC Planning Board submitted to the Council NSC 125/5, “United States Objectives and Courses of Action With Respect to Japan”. (S/SNSC files, lot 63 D 351, NSC 125 Series) Attached to NSC 125/5 is a Progress Report on NSC 125/2 (Document 588). The paper and the Progress Report were submitted in response to NSC Action No. 761–a, taken at the Council meeting [Page 1412] held on April 8. (For extracts from the memorandum of discussion at this meeting, including text of NSC Action No. 761, see Document 642; volume XV, Part 1, page 892; and volume XII, Part 1, page 298.)

NSC 125/5 differs in only two passages from NSC 125/6, Document 657. The differences are shown in footnotes 7 and 9 to NSC 125/6. Unlike NSC 125/5, NSC 125/6 has no financial appendix. For a revision of the financial appendix to NSC 125/5, see the enclosure to Document 654.

The Progress Report submitted with NSC 125/5 was a modification of the Progress Report originally submitted to the Council on February 19 as part of NSC 125/3. (S/SNSC files, lot 63 D 351, NSC 125 Series) The revised portion is paragraph 7c., of which particular note is taken in paragraph 2 of NSC 125/6. The entire economic section of the revised Progress Report reads:

  • “5. United States economic policy toward Japan is concerned with Japan’s basic long-run economic problem—how, without undesirable trade with Communist areas, Japan can increase its trade sufficiently to become self-supporting and to maintain adequate living standards and defense forces. Progress toward economic viability is essential to political stability.
  • “6. Progress
    • “a. Industrial production has reached an index of 140 (1934–36 equals 100) and average living standards are now only slightly below pre-war.
    • “b. The achievement of self-support by Japan requires the expansion of food and raw material production in the free world, particularly in Japan’s natural trading area of South and Southeast Asia. United States and United Nations economic and technical assistance programs are assisting in this development and Japan is anxious and able to participate by providing machinery (on a commercial basis), technical knowhow and, to a limited extent, investment funds.
    • “c. In the field of the modernization and technological advancement of Japan’s industries, United States corporations have concluded numerous technical assistance arrangements with Japanese firms and have provided some dollar financing. Japan’s recently liberalized Foreign Investment Law will serve to attract additional foreign investments to Japan. A United States Government productivity assistance program is under consideration in connection with the Mutual Security Program for 1954, and off-shore procurement of military and economic aid supplies is serving as a stimulus to industrial development.
    • “d. The United States is strongly supporting Japan’s accession to GATT and is negotiating a Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation1 and a Treaty for the Avoidance of Double Taxation [Page 1413] with Japan.2 The United States, Canada and Japan have concluded a Fisheries Convention for the North Pacific.
    • “e. Japan was recently admitted to the Coordinating Committee for Export Controls and is cooperating fully in maintaining security controls over exports to the Soviet bloc.
    • “f. Within the United States Government steps have been taken to assure adequate attention to economic and financial problems affecting United States–Japanese relations. A summary of the National Security Council economic policies with respect to Japan has been circulated to all interested agencies, with a request for assistance in implementation; and a preliminary analysis of Japan’s long-range potentials for trade and industry has been completed recently and will help give guidance to United States efforts to assist.
  • “7. Adverse factors
    • “a. Foreign trade remains far below pre-war levels. Imports, in real terms, are only about one-half and exports about one-third of the 1938 volume, Japan’s commercial trade deficit totaled approximately $750 million in 1952; its deficit with the dollar area was even larger. For at least the next two years earnings related to United States military activities in Japan and Korea will probably be sufficient to offset Japan’s trade deficit and to obviate the need for economic assistance.
    • “b. The Japanese trade deficit with the dollar area results partly from its dependence for such vital raw materials as wheat, cotton, iron ore and coking coal upon dollar area sources. Its trade imbalance comes largely from being cut off from its pre-war markets in China and from the greatly reduced volume of Japan’s trade with Formosa and Korea. These factors point up the necessity for developing new and expanding old trade patterns with South and Southeast Asia.
    • “c. In the long term, Japanese economic viability is of critical importance to the security of the United States. This viability will be extremely difficult to achieve. Unrestricted trade with Communist China would not of itself solve Japan’s economic problem. Although Japan may achieve substantial gains in foreign trade, those gains will not, for the foreseeable future, be so great as to remove the necessity for substantial direct or indirect assistance, part of which could come from expenditures in Japan for U.S. forces.
      • “(1) Japan must import about twenty percent of its minimum food requirements. Although for several years it may be possible to expand food production sufficiently to offset the population increase, in the long run it is probable that the rate of population growth will exceed the rate of increase in domestic food production, thus making Japan increasingly dependent on food imports. In addition to food, Japan must import most of its industrial raw materials. Japan must trade if it is to live. The two most likely areas for Japanese trade expansion are South and Southeast Asia and the mainland of China, although [Page 1414] the United States, South America and other free world markets are likewise important.
      • “(2) Trade with South and Southeast Asia will be limited for a time by such factors as political instability, the difficulty of speeding economic development, balance-of-payments problem sensitivity to outside “interference”, and antipathy for and fear of the Japanese. In addition, the need of the United Kingdom and Germany for expanding export trade may result in increasing competition for the export markets of Asia.
      • “(3) Before World War II about 18 percent of Japanese exports went to the China mainland (including Manchuria) and about 25 percent of its imports came from there. Even if Japanese strategic trade controls were relaxed, the extent to which this volume of trade could be restored is problematical, partly because prewar trade rested to some extent upon Japanese political and economic control, and partly because the Communist Chinese may not themselves be willing to allow extensive trade with Japan unless strategic goods can be included. Nevertheless, if all restrictions on trade with Communist China were removed it could probably be developed to a volume of $200–300 million each way in two to three years.
      • “(4) Such an expansion of Japanese trade with Communist China would threaten attainment of United States strategic and political objectives by providing the sinews of war to Communist China and would also increase Japanese vulnerability to Communist pressures by creating a dependence upon Communist China either as a market or as a source of raw materials.
      • “(5) China is important to Japan not only as a supplier of raw materials but as an outlet for Japanese manufactured goods. Although China could become an important supplier of iron ore, coking coal, soybeans, salt and other items of lesser importance, it is not an important potential source of Japan’s major imports (in terms of value) such as rice, wheat, cotton and petroleum. Japan must continue indefinitely to import large quantities of these materials from the dollar area; therefore Japan’s economic dependence upon the free world will remain.
      • “(6) Strong pressures already exist within Japan for freer trade with the Chinese mainland, and as a result of the present obstacles to Japanese accession to GATT, its fear of a drastic decline in United States special procurement following a Korean armistice, and its failure to regain more than 30 percent of its prewar export volume, the pressures for relaxing restrictions on trade with Communist China are expected to increase. These pressures have been intensified by the recent change in Communist tactics and could be increased further by anticipated Communist trade overtures to Japan.
      • “(7) In order to give some chance of viability to an economy deprived of the raw materials and markets of the Chinese mainland, Japanese efforts in their own behalf must include rigorous measures to divert Japanese resources to the most essential purposes, increasing food production within Japan, improved [Page 1415] efficiency of production in Japanese industry, and possibly some moderate decline in living standards. These efforts would be aided by:
        • “(a) An expanding economy in South and Southeast Asia, so that necessary food and raw materials can be procured there instead of from the dollar area, and so that Japan, as well as other industrialized countries, can find an increasing market there for its manufactured products:
        • “(b) Increasing access to markets in the United States and the rest of the dollar area, including necessary and appropriate action by the United States on tariffs and Buy American legislation;
        • “(c) Japanese accession to GATT as soon as possible, and a general lowering in the free world of trade barriers against Japanese products; and
        • “(d) A general and sustained increase in world trade, accompanied by convertibility of major currencies.
      • “(8) There is no assurance that the foregoing measures will produce economic viability for Japan in the face of the 70% increase in the Japanese labor force which will come about in the next 25 years. Since economic deterioration and falling living standards in Japan and the lack of a foreseeable solution will create fertile ground for Communist subversion, the United States may be faced with the necessity of providing direct or indirect economic aid to Japan. One important element of indirect economic aid which should be set in motion as soon as possible is a long-term program of offshore procurement in Japan of military supplies for Japanese forces and for other free world forces. This program, which will probably require Congressional authorization, should be so planned as to build an adequate industrial base in Japan for the contemplated Japanese defense forces.
    • “d. The most difficult immediate problem is reach an understanding with the Japanese Government with respect to rearmament. This problem is essentially but also involves important economic considerations, the chief of which is the level of budgetary support for rearmament which the economy can afford. The Cabinet has approved and sent to the Diet a request for an appropriation of 145 billion yen (the equivalent of $400 million) for defense for the fiscal year beginning April 1, 1953. This includes the yen equivalent of $180 million for maintenance of United States forces stationed in Japan, which is the same amount that the Japanese provided in the previous year. In addition, a carryover of approximately 65 billion yen ($180 million) will be available for defense in the coming year. Although these funds will be adequate for the maintenance of present Japanese forces, they are not considered sufficient to provide all the equipment, facilities, and training areas which will be required.”

The remainder of the Progress Report is primarily a summary of trends and developments.

  1. See Document 640.
  2. For text of the Convention for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion With Respect to Taxes on Income, with exchange of notes, signed at Washington on Apr. 16, 1954, see 6 UST 149.