Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Wednesday, 27 February 1952

Mr J R FRASER . - The honorable member for Flinders (Mr. Ryan) sought to chide his colleague, the honorable member for Angas (Mr. Downer), apparently for having suggested that the occupation of Japan should be continued for a further period. The honorable member for Flinders has apparently abandoned the view that he expressed on his return from Japan, which he visited as a member of a parliamentary delegation. That view was that the occupation should be continued for twenty years.

The debate has been lengthy and the pros and cons of the subject have been well argued by speakers on both sides of the House. We are now much better informed on the subject than we were, as a result of the able speeches that students of Asian affairs on both sides have made. I listened with respect and interest to the Minister for the Interior (Mr. Kent Hughes), who spoke strongly in favour of the ratification of the treaty. Later in the debate the honorable member for Angas spoke feelingly and eloquently against his Government's decision to ratify it. I do not propose to canvass their arguments, but I find extremely interesting the difference in the viewpoints that have been expressed by two honorable members who have had greater experience of the Japanese than, fortunately, most of us have had. Both of them suffered severely at the hands of the Japanese as prisoners of war, and were forced to become acquainted with the characteristics of the Japanese. Yet we have one speaking in favour of the ratification of the treaty and the other speaking vehemently against it. That divergence of opinion shows only that an intimate knowledge of the Japanese does nor, by itself weigh in the argument.

I also have some knowledge of the Japanese. I have met a number of them, though not in the most favorable circumstances. I assume that the Japanese with whom I came in contact were, as members of the Japanese army, drawn from the ranks of the average Japanese. They came presumably from ordinary Japanese homes in town and country, in civil life worked on farms or in factories or shops. They served their Emperor obediently, but willingly, in the army. I found them low in mentality, bestial in conduct, and certainly lacking in the traits and concepts that we normally regard as civilized. I could not regard them as human beings. They were like animals that had been dressed up and drilled in fixed procedures. It ha.5 been claimed that the Japanese have been democratized. Indeed, the Generalissimo made such a claim only eighteen months or two years after hostilities had ceased, as though the waving of some five-star wand had worked a miracle! How the Japanese must have laughed at the gullibility of their conquerors ! How they must be laughing now!

I do not believe that there has been any miraculous change in the nature of the Japanese. I believe that, given the opportunity and, indeed, the encouragement that is proposed to be given to them by this treaty, they will again follow their leaders blindly and fanatically in whatever adventures those leaders dictate. I do not believe that the leaders of the Japanese have undergone any change of heart. In Japanese eyes their crime was that they were defeated. Their only aim will be to wipe out that defeat, restore the prestige of Nippon, reconquer its island empire, and re-establish its leadership in Asian waters. What a golden opportunity they will be given to do so by a treaty that will allow unlimited rearmament! Te believe that the people of a rearmed and resurgent Japan will be on the side of the west against the Communist Asian continent is to be incredibly foolish. Indeed, so far as Australia is concerned, it is a most dangerous thought. Japanese power and armaments will be exercised only in the interests of Japan itself. I believe that sincerely. I also consider that every honorable member must share that belief.

This afternoon the honorable member for Wide Bay (Mr. Bernard Corser) urged the rearmament of Japan so that the Japanese might deal first with the Communists in their own country and then with the Communists in the rest of Asia. Does he, as a representative of a Queensland electorate, really believe, and expect his constituents to believe, that that is the direction in which Japanese arms will turn? Let honorable members look to the record of the Japanese in relation to international treaties and agreements for information on the question of whether they can be trusted. That record was admirably recited last night by the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley). I do not consider that there is great value in treaties, as such. They may be regarded merely as documents which assess and express only a present intention. History shows that treaties have been of little value when national interests and aspirations have cut across the solemn obligations that they have imposed. The treaty which this Government proposes that we shall ratify is a complete negation of the war-time aims of the Allied powers in the Pacific. It is a negation of the armistice terms, and I oppose its ratification. Look at the people with, whom the Government proposes to join in this treaty, the people in whom the Government puts its trust! When the honorable member from the Australian Country party corner says, "Why bother about this one?" let us remember that honorable members on the Government side have said that they do not believe that this treaty is all that it should be, and have seemed concerned about Japan's future actions. Yet by supporting the ratification of the treaty they approve of everything that will be done under it. They approve of the rearmament of Japan and of the principle that Japan may use its rearmed power in any direction it chooses.

Japan News,a newspaper that is circulated among the Allied forces in Korea and Japan, in its issue of the 12th February last, printed an item which reads as follows: -

The Japanese Government would take steps tu tce that the purged Communists would remain purged even after the Peace Treaty, State Minister Katsuo Okazaki told the Lower House Budget Committee on Saturday.

First they purged them, and then they de-purged them. This is disclosed in theensuing sentence, which reads -

On Saturday, the Government announced the de-purge of three-time Foreign Minister Hachiro Arita and 137 high-level Army and Navy officers.

Most of the officers were former admirals and generals.

The list included former Military Governor of Korea ex-General Kazushige Ugaki and Emperor Hirohito's aide-de-camp ex-General Ban Hasunuma

Under this treaty we say to the Japanese that they may rearm. They have anticipated us by saying, " Some of our best generals have been purged as Communists. We shall de-purge them ". Again, on the loth February, Japan News reported as follows: -

The Government yesterday de-purged former navy Minister Ex-Admiral Zengo Yoshida and 135 other military men and four politicians.

Sixty-eight of the men were former gendarmes.

Two of the de-purged politicians ex- Agriculture Minister Tatsunosuke Yamazaki and exTransportation Minister Maoto Kohiyama are no longer living.

Those are the people who will lead the armies of Japan and will re-establish the naval might of Japan. They are the people whom we may expect to meet in combat in future years.

Another item from Japan News gives some hint of the direction in which the interests of Japan lie. On the 15th February, under the heading, "Investments in SE Asia" the paper printed a statement that was made by a spokesman for the Economic Stabilization Board. According to the report he said -

Japan will give all aid it can to her business men tohelp develop her resources in South-East Asia.

The report continued -

Japan would be able to underwrite $91,250,000 over a period of five years for Japanese firms to invest in the development of mining, lumber, salt and other industries in the countries of South-East Asia.

India: For developing iron ore resources, it would require about $16,600,000 which would from the third year produce sufficient iron ore for Japan to import 1,500,000 tons a year.

Indonesia: An investment of $60,000,000 over a five-year period would be needed to develop coal resources and Japan will import 1,000,000 tons of it during the first and second years and 200,000 tons after the third.

A $2,660,000 investment in two years would he required for developing Indonesia's lumber resources that will allow Japan to import about 720,000 cubic feet yearly from the second year.

The Philippines: For copper ore production, an investment of $416,000 would allow Japan to import 1,000 tons in the initial year and 2,000 tons thereafter.

Development of iron ore deposits in the Philippines will need about $1,000,000 for an importation of 620,000 tons in the first year and 1,000,000 tons from the second year.

And we are still merely talking about bauxite.

Malaya: Japan will be able to allot $5,830,000 to three iron mines over a period of from two to four years to produce 100,000 tons in the first year, 600,000 tons in the second and 1,200,000 tons in the third.

Japanese investments for developing bauxite miningis expected to reach $1,160,000 for producing 200,000 tons in the first year, 400,000 tons in the second and 500,000 from the third.

Thailand: An investment of $1,660,000 in four years will be needed to boost salt production to allow Japan to import 30,000 tons in the first year, 100,000 tons in the third and 150,000 tons after the fourth year.

Indo-China: A $5,550,000 investment in salt production over a four-year period will allow Japan to import 120,000 tons in the initial year, 240,000 tons in the second, 360,000 tons in the third and 500,000 tons from the fourth year.

Those figures show the direction in which Japan's interests lie and in which its armed forces, if necessary, will be used. The following items relating to proposed trade talks in which the Japanese Government will participate appeared in Japan News of the 14th February : -

Japan is expected to press for the following imports; 300,000 to 500,000 tons of wheat from Australia:

I wonder whether that fact accounts for the interest displayed by members of the Australian Country party. Has the prospective re-entry of Japan into our waning wool market influenced the speeches which members of the Australian Country party have made in the course of this debate? The item continued - 800,000 tons of salt from India and the Mediterranean area, including Aden; 200,000 tons of rice from Burma. 900,000 tons of iron ore, and 1,000,000 tons of coking coal.

I shall now quote from an American source, the journal Time, of the 10th December last, which was the 10th anniversary of the attack by Japan on Pearl Harbour. Incidentally, this article opens with a few lines that were written by Emperor Hirohito after the fall of Japan. The honorable member for Bowman (Mr. McColm) quoted them in his speech. They are worth repeating. The Emperor said -

Man should be like the manly pine

That does not change its color

Though bearing the fallen snow.

The article went on -

Pearl Harbour Day, 1951, finds Japan a rising sun once more, and the snow on the manly pine melting fast. The most dynamic, aggressive and industrialized people in Asia are again preparing themselves for the responsibilities and delights of sovereignty. Already the scene is changing. Trim, alert members of the National Police Reserve (nucleus of the army Japan must inevitably raise to defend herself) train with U.S. carbines, mortars, bazookas and light machine guns. The old zaibatsu (financial cliques) are reviving under new names. Recently a dozen offspring of the old Mitsubishi Commercial Co. combined into four large firms.

Are these only the normal manifestations of a vigorous people coming once more into their own? Japan's approaching independence portends an all-important shift in the balance of power in Asia.

For the present and for the foreseeable future. Japan is solidly encamped with the free world. But she is going to stay in that camp on her own terms.

As that statement has been published in an American journal of the standard of Time, it should carry considerable weight.

I believe that the occupation of Japan by Allied forces should be continued.

Mr Leslie - The honorable member means by the " Yanks ".

Mr J R FRASER - No ; I mean Allied forces. I doubt whether the cost of maintaining troops in Japan would be as great as that now being incurred in respect of the national service training scheme in Australia. I distrust the Japanese and hope that the people of Australia will not be fooled by their present smug, "so-sorry" attitude. I say to the Government, "Sign this treaty, if yon must " - I do not doubt that the Government will use its numbers in this chamber to ensure that the treaty shall be ratified - but I add, " For goodness sake, do not he deluded and do not delude the people of Australia into believing that the Japanese have changed, and that now they are all sweetness and light and are the friends of the "Western democracies ".

Mr Leslie -. - No honorable member has made that suggestion.

Suggest corrections