41. Memorandum From Richard B. Finn, Director of Japanese Affairs, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs to the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs (Green)1


  • Japan in 1970

After three weeks in Japan, attending two conferences, traveling widely, and talking to a lot of people from senior officials to newsmen and ordinary citizens, I came away with the impression that U.S. relations with Japan are in very good shape. The Okinawa settlement of last November is recognized by everyone, even the left wing, as a remarkably astute and effective piece of diplomacy. Just about every Japanese I talked to felt this agreement had put our Security Treaty with Japan on a solid footing and had greatly reduced the chance that our bases might become a political issue. Japan today is stable and [Page 124] prosperous, considers that in the decade of the 60’s it settled its basic political and economic problems, and looks forward to the 70’s with confidence and assurance.

Textiles is the one real issue in our relations and is beginning to hurt. All Japanese make much of the arguments that their exports of synthetics constitute merely one per cent of U.S. consumption and that we have not made a case that Japanese exports are doing injury to the U.S. industry. Our position gets very little credence, even though Ambassador Meyer has worked very hard in presenting our case.

I was struck by several other points. Most Japanese including conservatives want to explore every avenue for bettering relations with Peking, though they will nearly all agree Japan should retain good relations with Taiwan. There is considerable concern that the U.S. may through the Warsaw talks somehow get ahead of Japan in improvement of relations with Peking (despite Japan’s $600 million trade with the mainland last year and high level mission it now has in Peking). I spent an evening with Defense Minister Nakasone, who may well be Prime Minister within ten years, and his views support the general impression that Japan has no desire to acquire nuclear weapons or to greatly expand its defense forces. He is incidentally very eager to come to Washington soon to talk over defense planning and the situation in the Far East.

A word about EXPO. It is a great show, livelier and better coordinated than the other two world fairs I have seen. The U.S. pavilion is the top attraction; even though it is quite unprepossessing from the outside, our exhibits are in good taste and low key, topped off by the Apollo 11 spacecraft and a moonstone, with Babe Ruth’s uniform for good measure. By contrast the Soviet exhibit is enormous, must have cost three times the money, and as one Japanese said is like a department store with everything in it. The hotel and traffic situation at EXPO is in good shape but the waiting lines for everything are long, averaging several hours for the U.S. pavilion.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL JAPAN. Limited Official Use. On March 27 Green sent this report to Rogers under a memorandum that stated, “What he [Finn] has to report in the brief attached memorandum is worth your reading. Overall the situation looks very good indeed with the notable exception of textiles.” (Ibid.)