Altered States: The United States and Japan since the Occupation

By Michael Schaller | Go to book overview

5
CHINA AND JAPAN, 1952-60

IN July 1953, as the Korean armistice took hold, the Japanese Diet unanimously passed a resolution favoring increased trade with the People's Republic of China. Conservative and Socialist politicians joined business and labor groups to demand that Washington release Tokyo from special restrictions that forbade Japan from selling to China many products that Europeans sold freely. With the "exception of the problems arising from the presence in Japan of United States Armed Forces," embassy counselor Frank Waring reported, "no other single issue affects Japanese-United States relations so adversely." In their desperate search for increased trade, Japanese saw neither "justice or reason" in demanding greater restraints on them "than from other allies."

In August, Bank of Japan Governor Ichimada Hisato told John Foster Dulles that although sales to China would probably remain limited even if trade controls were relaxed, the "problem had become a political issue of first magnitude." The China trade question assumed symbolic overtones of sovereignty with the result that the partial embargo contributed to a "growing spirit of anti-Americanism" that threatened all aspects of the alliance. 1

Western and Japanese trade with the Soviet bloc was regulated by the Coordinating Committee of the Paris-based Consultative Group (COCOM) established at the behest of the United States in 1949. During the Korean War, COCOM created a special China Committee (CHINCOM) to control exports to the People's Republic. Japanese resentment focused on restrictions covering 400 items that the United States pressured Japan to include in a secret bilateral accord of September 1952. Relaxing these rules, Waring estimated, would yield additional Japanese sales to China of only $25 to

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