Murata: First of all, could you please give us the dates of your first period of work in the Japanese Embassy in the United States?
Okazaki: I was there from February, 1971 to October, 1973.
Murata: And you transferred to South Korea soon after that time, didn't you?
Okazaki: Yes, it was South Korea.
Murata: That closely corresponds to the period that we are most interested in.
Okazaki: Does it? It was the same time period as the Nixon Shocks, wasn't it?
Murata: Were you working at the home office in Japan until February, 1972?
Okazaki: Yes, I was at the home office. I had been the director of the Analysis Section and the Investigation Section as well as the director of the Office of Investigation [Chosa Shitsucho].
Tanaka: Our chart does not include information regarding your stay abroad.
Murata: I believe we gave you the sample list of questions in advance. They are regarding the first half of the 1970s when there were significant shifts in the structure of international politics, manifested by events such as the Nixon Shock and the Sino-American rapprochement. I would like to ask if your analysis and recognition of the world situation at the time actually reflected and matched with the policy taken by the Foreign Minister.
Okazaki: It was the period in which we had already solved the Okinawa reversion and issues regarding the 1970 U.S.-Japan Security Treaty. I wrote the Blue Paper on Diplomacy which was published in 1971 and which said for the first time that the U.S.-Japan relationship was the most important relationship for Japan. I have forgotten its exact wording. Mr. Erickson, the State Department director for Japan, told me when I took office at the Japanese Embassy in the United States, that he had quoted passages from the Blue Paper many times. Actually, the book was released a year before in April, 1970. For the first time, I was complimented by the Asahi Shimbun, saying that the content of my edition was a real Blue Paper on Diplomacy. However, they speculated that because I had not mentioned the Constitution in the book at all, I must not approve of it. In addition, they called the Blue Paper of the next year a "paper without regard for diplomacy" [Gaiko Musho]. During the university riots which took place a bit earlier, I helped make the strategy for the 1970 U.S.-Japan Security Treaty. I was actually the author of many things that are attributed to Mr. Aichi such as 'Bungeishunjyu' and 'Shokun.'
Iokibe: Do you mean Mr. Aichi Kiichi?
Okazaki: That's right. Also, I wrote some of the speeches made by Mr. Sato. That was my task as the director of Investigation Section. I had done a lot of analysis when I was the director of Analysis Section, but there were not many responsibilities for the director of the Investigation Section. Most of the jobs didn't concern me, but were in the domain of the general administrative affairs office, while I was a speech writer. In 1969, I had been dealing with the 1970 Security Treaty issue, the university riots, and the Okinawa reversion. I had written many speeches by that time and I thought that it had become a good time to write about the preeminence of the relationship between the U.S. and Japan. Japanese conventional wisdom at the time was to put the United Nations first, and then place the U.S. and Asia second and third, respectively, as the three basic pillars of Japanese international relationships. I thought that everything had been settled, and I went to the U.S. in 1971. While there, I observed the Nixon Shock. This story starts from that time, doesn't it?
Tanaka: It actually starts a short time earlier because our area of interest includes both before and after the Nixon Shock. If possible, we are interested in the period from the Guam Doctrine to the Nixon Shock, and then through the Okinawa reversion. Even though this project itself has focused on the events around the Nixon Shock, we would like to spend some time on the NDPO and Guidelines, given the fact that the period evolved into the future. For the sake of our time line we would like to listen to the story chronologically.
Okazaki: To go a bit further back in time, there was the Okinawa reversion. I had a lot of contact with scholars at that time as the director of the Investigation Section. Prime Minister Sato often listened to the opinions of various scholars through Secretary Kusuda. This group of scholars included Kosaka Masataka, Eto Jun, Yamazaki Masakazu, Eto Shinkichi, Nagai Yonosuke, and ..
Iokibe: Like Umesao Tadao?
Okazaki: Umesao and Kyogoku Junichi were senior members and often absent. I think that is about all of them. I was involved with the administrative tasks attached to this period; because I was the director of a section at the Foreign Ministry, I was doing things like speech writing and planning. That covers the Okinawa reversion.
Iokibe: That is fine, once we get going it's going to be a large task.
Okazaki: Looking at these events, it seems that it was the relationship with China that led to the Nixon Shock. I do not know how much I should go back in time for the China-related matters, but Canada officially recognized China in 1968 or 1969, didn't it?
Tanaka: Didn't that happen at the beginning of the 1970s?
Okazaki: I don't think it was in the 1970s since I went to Canada for the Policy Planning Coordination meeting in 1968 or 69. Canada and Italy both acknowledged China around that time. It was 1964 when Charles de Gaulle did it. After his recognition, the Cultural Revolution occurred and things went into chaos. Then, Canada recognized China around the time when the Cultural Revolution started to calm down.
Iokibe: But, the troubles still continued, didn't they?
Okazaki: Yes, indeed. At the time, it was more than just discord between the Bureau of Asian Affairs and the Bureau of North American Affairs as you have written in this list of questions. The Department of Information and Planning (Chosakikaku bu), which combined the duties of the U.S. INR; the Policy Planning Staff; External Research, which contacted research institutions and scholars; and the Politico-Military department. Only the Information Branch grew like INR, though, and the other branches joined in the Bureau of Comprehensive Policy (Sogoseisaku kyoku). I was doing annual policy planning with the U.S., and I think it was in 1968 or 69 when Canada officially recognized China since I went to the U.S. and then Canada. In addition, the Department of Information and Planning was pro-Taiwan and insisted on maintaining the status quo. The China Affairs section and the Bureau of Asian Affairs were pro-China and insisted on following the example of Canada by normalizing the relationship with China as soon as possible. Due to the intensive arguments and fights between them, ministers tried to call meetings in order to settle things down. I recall that the proceedings of one of the meetings was published in the newspapers. It was the Taiwan meeting which was attended by the Ambassador of Taiwan, the Consul General of Hong Kong, and the directors of the China Affairs section and the Planning section. The late Mr. Kato Yoshiaki was the director of the Planning section.
Murata: Who was the director of the China Affairs section?
Okazaki: Mr. Hashimoto. He and I always argued with each other whenever we met; When we were talking in Akasaka, we started to argue again. While he went to the bathroom, geishas came around me and said that I should not talk like that to my superior and that I should apologized to him. He is older than I am, but he joined the ministry a year later. Anyway, we resumed our fighting when he returned from the bathroom. However, we were on good terms with each other despite our differences.
Murata: What was the main reason that the Department of Information and Planning took the pro-Taiwan position?
Okazaki: It was partly due to my personal opinion. It is obvious, though, that the China Affairs section supported the pro-China position, isn't it? It was usual not to criticize the activities of other regional sections because of the strong sectionalism in the Ministry. It was believed that the U.S. Affairs bureau should deal only with U.S. matters and should not involve itself in matters relating to China. However, the Department of Information and Planning was unique in that it was the first group that could involve itself in all matters of the Ministry, and this ability brought about a power conflict. Mr. Shimoda and Mr. Ushiba became vice-minister one after the other, and were very conservative. Mr. Shimoda stood for the independence of Taiwan and taught me his opinions. I should not say more than this since he is already dead. It will come out after 50 years.
Iokibe: But, essentially, it is already known. Mr. Shimoda had a very blunt style of speaking.
Okazaki: Yes, that is partly the reason why he always argued with others year after year. During the period that we were arguing, I went to Washington, DC. It was February, 1971, and in July of the same year, the Nixon Shock occurred.
Iokibe: Weren't you arguing the position of the institution you belonged to and, at the same time, defending your own diplomatic strategy and recognition of world affairs?
Okazaki: That's right. Conventionally, the Bureau of U.S. Affairs only does things regarding the U.S., but the Bureau would not argue against the China section. This was the nature of sectionalism. The Department of Information and Policy was established in order to destroy that sectionalism. There was a lot of resistance to the Department of Information and Policy within the Ministry. I began trying to fight against the resistance, but then I left the department and, soon afterwards, the Nixon Shock happened, weakening the Department.
Iokibe: Did you pay much attention to the Guam Doctrine?
Okazaki: Yes, we did. Let me see... how did it influence Japan's policy... we thought that it was mainly about the withdrawal from Vietnam. After all, the Doctrine said that if a country is threatened by conventional forces, the country should defend itself by its own conventional forces.
Iokibe: Wasn't it that the U.S. would withdraw gradually from Asia?
Okazaki: Further back in time, I was the director of the Analysis Section and misjudged the situation during the Johnson statement in 1968. I thought the U.S. would win the war. In fact, the U.S. did almost win, and there were not many objections to my analysis at the time. After all, within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the China section had some members who weren't part of the conservative backlash.
Iokibe: Were there any progressives in the Foreign Ministry since there were many of them in society?
Okazaki: The director of China Section was a progressive. I told him that he was wrong.
Iokibe: Do you mean that even before Johnson's statement you had concluded that the U.S. would not lose?
Okazaki: To put it simply, I judged from the monthly information analyses that the U.S. position in Vietnam was getting better. I felt that Vietnam would not be able to confront the 500,000 U.S. troops, an increase from 100,000. The U.S. seemed to be recovering its control over the situation. The Tet Offensive offered the opportunity for the U.S. to attack the unveiled Vietcong who had been hidden deep in the forest. If the attack was successfully countered, the schedule would have been put back about ten years as it would have still been difficult to reorganize the resistance.
Tanaka: Now, many argue that the Tet Offensive was a complete loss from the Vietnam's point of view. However, it did effectively gave a shock on the U.S.
Okazaki: It gave a domestic shock to the U.S. At that point, Johnson made his statement which essentially indicated that the U.S. would withdraw from Vietnam. The Guam Doctrine was the extension of that.
Tanaka: The essay that Nixon wrote in Foreign Affairs before he became president is relatively famous, and people said that it was the first signal of the change in Nixon's policy toward China. How did you perceive it at the time?
Okazaki: Kissinger actually said as much, and then the U.S. attacked North Vietnam and restarted the Warsaw meetings. Later on, the U.S. stopped the meetings because it was attacked by North Vietnam. Because of that, I thought that the story ended there. Further, in Japan, intelligence and research have been focused on the enemy for thirty years after WWII. This focus included analysis of Communist countries like the Soviet Union, China, North Korea, and North Vietnam. We did not think about analyzing our allies. But, after the Nixon Shock, the research-related departments like the Department of Information and Research started to analyze the U.S. It was a big turning point since it had not been done until that time.
Murata: Were you the Councilor when you came to Washington in February, 1971?
Okazaki: I was a First Secretary before I became the Councilor.
Murata: Who was the Ambassador in the U.S. at that time?
Okazaki: It was Mr. Ushiba.
Murata: This is a vague question, but would you say that the communication between the Embassy and the home office was smooth or awkward?
Okazaki: The problem was that the Foreign Minister and the Secretary of State did not meet each other for a year before the Nixon Shock took place. Mr. Ushiba and I once discussed how the Nixon shock came. It's hard to imagine now. Mr. Sato met President Nixon briefly on his way back from the United Nations 30th anniversary ceremony. It was clear from the open information that progress had been made in the Sino-U.S. relationship. However, there were no reports about the coming Nixon Shock from the Embassy. I transferred from being the First Secretary of Economic Affairs and became the Secretary of Information and Culture a few days before Kissinger started to visit Pakistan. I had been doing an economic study until that time. Since the Bureau was sectioned vertically and I was not expected to involve myself with. As soon as I became the Secretary of Information and Culture, I went to see my old friend although I had tried not to do so before. Then I met John Holdridge who went to Beijing with Kissinger. He was in charge of Northeast Asia at the INR when I was the director of the Analysis Section so he was my counterpart. Since I thought I could move freely now in the Information Department, I immediately went to greet him. There, he, with a very serious face, said that he was going to go on an very important trip, but not turning the U.S. back on its 'old friends'.
Also, he advised me to read the Kansas Speech by Nixon to understand the details of what was coming. Nixon had delivered his speech in Kansas the week before. I read the speech and thought that the 'old friends' statement probably meant Vietnam. Of course, I was going to send a report about it, but it was the first I had heard of it. Also, he tended to exaggerate things while putting on a serious face. If we had met each other often, I could have noticed that he had given me special information. But I just started to work for Information Department and hadn't seen him much. That fact kept me from turning the information into big news and in the end, I did not submit any report at the time. When I read the Kansas Speech now, it is obvious that it mentions U.S.-China policy. Please read the Kansas Speech if possible. The Embassy did not even do any analysis of the speech, and that is why there was no report from them. If I had immediately told people to read the Speech at the Embassy, people who had done work on policy for a long time would probably have realized what was going on. If they really read it, it would have become clear The U.S. delegation to Pakistan entered China via Pakistan soon after I was told to read the speech.
Tanaka: One sometimes hears of the "Ping-Pong Diplomacy" in Tokyo in April or May. Did you pay attention to that event while you were working on economic matters?
Okazaki: No, I did not. The Chinese played ping-pong in Tokyo and continued to play it in the U.S. I made the mistake of not realizing the importance of the "Ping-Pong Diplomacy."
Iokibe: So, did this all hit you when you read the Kansas Speech?
Okazaki: No, I skimmed through it, but I had just arrived on the job and was not experienced enough about these matters. Through reading speeches, we could understand American policy, especially from Kissinger. The Foreign Ministry saw it after the Nixon Shock. Kissinger spoke a lot and published many white papers on diplomacy. He clearly mentioned it, but no one in the newspaper companies had any interest in these materials because the newspapers assumed that the speeches would only indicate superficial aspects of policy. Thus, nobody read the speech although it contained some important implications that we needed to analyze.
Tanaka: However, it was not only the Japanese Foreign Ministry that did not see it, most countries in the world missed it too, didn't they?
Okazaki: If the Kansas speech came today, everyone would understand its implications. We would underline them and make calls to many places to clarify, and gradually, things would become clear. I developed this technique only after the Nixon shock and assuming the post of Councilor at the Defense Agency. It was not done much before this time.
Murata: At this point, it is often said that even Marshall Green was not informed of the details of Nixon's China policy, is that correct?
Okazaki: He was the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian Affairs, and Rogers was the Secretary of Defense. Who was the under-secretary, at that point?
Murata: Mr. Johnson.
Okazaki: Yes, Alexis Johnson. According to the recollections of Mr. Ushiba, he was a very honest person. Mr. Ushiba often said that Mr. Johnson frankly said that he had something he could not speak about and wanted to tell him but could not. Johnson was our close partner when I was making a strategy for the 1970 Security Treaty issue under Mr. Ushiba. He was the U.S. Ambassador in Japan. When Mr. Ushiba transferred to the U.S., Johnson became the under-secretary. Mr. Ushiba and Mr. Johnson, are in close contact with one another. I think he is still alive. He was a very sophisticated person.
Iokibe: Mr. Johnson even came to the event for the 20th Anniversary of the Okinawa reversion, but he became inactive after that.
Tanaka: There were many of stories about him at the time of the Nixon Shock, which said that he golfed very frequently.
Murata: I have heard that people could not contact Ushiba because he went to the party the night when Nixon's visit to China was announced. Was that the case?
Okazaki: I was told that I immediately had to go to Mr. Ushiba's place, and I went there alone. The truth was that Kiuchi or Murata were supposed to be there as well, but they were not. I guess they went out somewhere. Then, I made a call to Tokyo, to Mr. Kusuda's place, but I did so after Mr. Ushiba had already told him.
Murata: And, it was only three minutes before the announcement that Prime Minister Sato was informed of it.
Okazaki: That's right. It was a quite a story before the Nixon Shock, wasn't it, and it got even more intense later on. The Department of Information and Planning that I left in Japan was criticized severely by the Bureau of Asian Affairs. Because of that, everybody in the Department wrote me letters in tears. The next issue regarded China's right of representation in the UN I went to see John Holdridge about the issue and asked how the U.S. would respond. He said the U.S. would defend Taiwan absolutely and wondered why Japan was begging for China. I made a call about it to Japan immediately. People in Japan listened to it and made up their mind on the issue. The result involved, as you may know, Japan fighting about the issue of UN representation. It was overseen by Mr. Hogen, the Deputy Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs. Mr. Hogen, like Nixon and Kissinger, maintained from the old days that the U.S. and Japan should get friendly with China in order to stand against the Soviet Union effectively. When I was a section director and went to Vienna to visit Mr. Hogen, an ambassador to Vienna at the time, we argued about it and neither of us would compromise our opinions at all. Then, when we were in Japan, Hashimoto and I each took opposing opinions alternately. I was on the pro-Taiwan side. For some reason, I have forgotten why, the Foreign Ministry made Mr. Hogen the deputy vice-minister. We were supposed to put another person in the position, and Mr. Hogen was going to resign and get out of it. The major reason why we chose him was because of the authority of the Soshin-kai. Kishi Shinsuke and Kaya Okinobu, both belonging to that group and possessed a strong influence from the Sato Cabinet, especially on the Fukuda faction. Of course, the Soshin-kai maintained its pro-Taiwan stance. It would not be necessarily true that I persuaded them, but the atmosphere was inclined to the pro-Taiwan side. Mr. Hogen, in fact, said that we had an obligation to Taiwan and so we should do our best to defend Taiwan this time. After we had repaid our obligation, then we could work on the normalization of diplomatic relations with China. This was his opinion, and he actually followed it. Hashimoto was with Hogen when I went away this time. Hashimoto and I were the satellites of Mr. Hogen, and we did all that we could during the UN representation fight, but we lost. In addition, Kissinger visited China again while we were fighting about it, which significantly weakened our position. I was at Mr. Ushiba's place listening to the radio broadcast of the change of representation in the General Assembly of the United Nations. In fact, I was the only one with Mr. Ushiba at that time.
Murata: Were there any other positions in the Japan Embassy in Washington, DC in which some information analysis would have been done?
Okazaki: It was conducted by the Councilor of the Political Affairs, Mr. Kiuchi, and it was Mr. Murata who followed him.
Tanaka: This topic will bring us back in time some, but what should our perspective be regarding Japan's recognition of China around the time of the Nixon Shock if we look at the issue from Japan's national security interests? I believe there were some people in the public domain who insisted on the recognition of a threat from China. What kind of status did China have from a Japanese national security standpoint during the period from the Cultural Revolution to the Nixon Shock?
Okazaki: There was no recognition of a direct threat from China after the Nixon Shock. However, Japanese experts at the time of the Cultural Revolution were disturbed by the possibility that China was indirectly invading Japan. Mr. Shimoda, supporting this perspective, always told us as much even though he did not speak out in public before the actual publication of his opinion in a newspaper. Vice-Minister Ushiba also followed this argument. As you may know, Mr. Ushiba was conservative and, thus, did not like the Communist Party. Furui Yoshimi, on the other hand, worked very hard on Japan's normalization with China around the time before the Nixon Shock, didn't he? He also went to Beijing and wrote the communiqué that implied that the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty was disturbing the peace of Asia. At the time, I often met with Mr. Aichi. He told me that Furui came by to make an apology. Furui made clear that he had accommodated the position that the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty was the common enemy of Japan and China and the enemy of Asia. Mr. Aichi forgave him because he bowed deeply at the corner of the Minister's room.
Tanaka: What was the military affairs evaluation of the situation in China? If we think about it now, it seems that China did not have capability to conduct a direct invasion of Japan.
Okazaki: I was doing politico-military analysis when I was the director of Analysis Section. At the time, the CIA was coming to Japan, and together we were analyzing China's development of nuclear weapons and the capability of China's missile technology. As I think of it now, we were fairly paranoid about it. We concluded that China had made a liquid missile which required two days to fill and we tried to evaluate how far it would be capable of reaching.
Murata: Did you complete these analyses with the cooperation of Defense Agency?
Okazaki: No, people at the Defense Agency were not even recognized as human beings at the time. If the newspaper had published an article claiming that the Defense Agency was in contact with the CIA, it would have been disastrous. Because of that, the CIA briefed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs without informing the Defense Agency and just passed its analysis memos to the Agency.
Tanaka: Was China regarded as a threat to the security of Japan to some extent, although the analyses might have been exaggerated? Or, on the other hand, was the only threat considered to be that of an indirect invasion, if there was any threat perception at all?
Okazaki: The threat was seen in the form of an indirect invasion. Even so, you probably will not find a document stating that clearly. Moreover, there was definitely no one who insisted that China was a threat after the Nixon Shock. As a matter of fact, Mr. Fujiyama, returning from his visit to China after the Nixon Shock, contended that the abrogation of the Security Treaty did not have to be the entrance of the diplomatic normalization between Japan and China but it could be the exit to it. In other words, the normalization would naturally lead to the abrogation of the Security Treaty, which should not have been a problem. People in Japan were convinced by his statement. I was mad, of course, and I wondered what would happen if the Treaty was actually abolished. However, the argument went eventually to the point where people began to say that we would not have to abolish it after all. People had become convinced enough of that at this point. From that time on, it was decided that the joint statement between Japan and China would not include an anti-Treaty statement no matter how much the Socialist Party of Japan and the Komeito insisted that it must be included. In fact, the Socialist Party had begun to face hard times by this point.
Iokibe: Politicians in the Socialist party were begging with tears in their eyes to have it included, weren't they?
Okazaki: That's right. They were totally frustrated. On the other hand in Japan, there was a rumor that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs initiated a study to eliminate or loosen the military aspect of the Treaty. Mr. Ushiba became furious about it.
Tanaka: Was it after the Nixon Shock?
Murata: Was it started by the Bureau of North American Affairs?
Okazaki: I cannot say where it began.
Iokibe: Was it the Komeito which initiated the argument about the creation of the crisis-situation bases?
Okazaki: I think it was the Komeito and Minshato that started that in the 1960s. Anyway, the revision of the Security Treaty was often argued about. At that point, Erickson, who was director of the Department of Japan, told me that it would be impossible to revise the Treaty in the way that was being argued. He maintained that the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty was like a thin piece of rubber that was stretched out very much and tied up. Once cut, it is impossible to tie it again. I asked what exactly he meant by that, and he went on to say that the U.S. wanted more reciprocity with Japan, and Japan had focused most of its attention on its economy without any concern about its military. The ties between the two countries would never be the same again once they were cut due to such a revision.
Murata: You mentioned Erickson and John Holdridge earlier. When you were in Washington, DC, what did you think about Japan and China specialists after the Nixon Shock as far as you could tell? Did Japan specialists have a sense of crisis?
Okazaki: Erickson had a bad feeling about it. Holdridge, of course, gained enthusiasm since he was now part of things. Dick Solomon hung around Holdridge and later became the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian Affairs.
Murata: Was Mr. Winston Lord also there.
Okazaki: He should have been. Yes, he was there. He came to my house with his wife.
Murata: Were the Japan specialists more isolated?
Okazaki: Marshall Green and Erickson were the only specialists at the time. Who else would have been a specialist besides Erickson? I forgot his name, but there was the Consul General in Hong Kong, and there was also a person who was the First-Secretary or Councilor and later became the Consul General, wasn't there? He served as the Minister to Japan.
Murata: David Osborne.
Okazaki: Yes. Osborne spoke Chinese, but he liked Japan also. When the time came for the Nixon Shock and, later, Tanaka's visit to China, Osborne tried to ensure that neither Japan nor the U.S. went too far so that a return could be made to the countries' previously cooperative relationship. However, Japan did not listen at the time and became more anti-American, saying that Kissinger had deceived Japan.
Iokibe: This happened in the Tanaka era?
Iokibe: When the Tanaka Cabinet was established, Prime Minister Tanaka went to Hawaii to see Nixon before he went to Beijing. According to Yanagida Kunio, Kissinger, at that time, was for defending Taiwan. Did he said that Japan had a free-hand as far as that subject was concerned?
Okazaki: No, he did not say it clearly like that. Mr. Ushiba explained in his memoirs that Prime Minister Tanaka was not going to accept all of the Chinese demands this time, but would bring the demands back to Japan to decide. Kissinger, then, thought that these things could be discussed again, but then Tanaka made the decision without Japan. That's the story. He told me about it and wrote about it in that book. Anyway, I still cannot forgive Kissinger because of that. The policy of the U.S. and Japan was really matched until the Nixon Shock from the occupation era. Then, the China school and Yoshimi Furui together argued against the U.S. Mr. Ushiba explained and convinced them what kind of damage the U.S. would receive if Japan switched its position to China in the UN general assembly. He persistently defended that position, but, while he was defending it, Kissinger went to China first. It provoked the intense anti-U.S. atmosphere in Japan.
Iokibe: Was that attitude prevalent inside the Ministry as well?
Okazaki: In all of Japan, from the media world to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. After all, Mr. Ushiba and I were left alone in the Embassy.
Murata: Did the Embassy lose face or trust with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs because it had not gained a good grasp on the situation?
Okazaki: I did not know about it since I was in Washington. Mr. Ushiba got angry when somebody told him about it.
Iokibe: Prime Minister Sato endured it with silence, but he and Mr. Hori became furious at first. They then suggested that Japan should normalize with China before the U.S. did. Both made mistakes so they failed and that caused quite a situation during the Sato government, is that right?
Okazaki: Yes, it is.
Tanaka: Then, the diplomatic relationship between Japan and China was normalized. From the U.S. point of view, what was the right course for the situation in Japan after these events, considering that some had said that the Security Treaty should be made more moderate?
Okazaki: In the U.S., Kissinger became the Secretary of State soon after this. Frankly speaking, Kissinger was an anti-Japan diplomat. Thus, we can say that, from that time on, Japan had an unimportant position within American diplomacy for a period. Mr. Ushiba was discharged from his position and he told me that he had been fired. He went to ask Mr. Ohira why he had been discharged and was told that someone at the Prime Minister's residence had ordered it. Then, Mr. Tanaka told him that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had suggested that Ushiba be let go. Later on, I went away to South Korea, after all, since I had no place else to go.
Murata: You say that you went to South Korea? Were you were there from 1973 to 1976? Was there any difference in your view on the U.S.-Japan relationship or the U.S.-Japan-China relationship when you were in South Korea?
Okazaki: What happened at that time is beyond imagining now. Japanese newspapers were terrible, but I cannot find the articles that I remembered reading. The newspapers we read overseas were the earliest edition which tended to be fairly controversial. That edition got cleaned up several times by the time they published the latest and preserved edition. It was a cunning strategy. People in the Embassy had the fear that South Korea might be next after Taiwan, and the posture of the Kishi-Sato era that prioritized South Korea and Taiwan was changed. At the time, I said to the home office that I regretted the fact that there were people who said that we had to correct our attitude toward South Korea. After that, nobody ever said it again. It's almost impossible to imagine, isn't it? The Kim De Jun Incident had hurt our diplomatic relationship. There was an argument that Japan should terminate its diplomatic relationship and eliminate its Embassy with this country that had violated the sovereignty of another country. This, of course created a panic in the Embassy. I encouraged people by saying that we were fighting for Korea where we would win if we dug in, regardless of our loss of Taiwan. Meanwhile, unwanted events happened such as the Hayakawa-Tachikawa Incident, the demonstration by the Japanese leftist students, and the assassination of the wife of President Park after the Kim De Jun Incident. Since Japan was somehow responsible for the assassination incident, things settled down.
Murata: Who was the Ambassador in South Korea?
Okazaki: It was Ambassadors Ushiroku and Nishiyama. I was absolutely opposed to any attempt to hurt Japan-Korean relations. I ignored my opponents and sent many requests asking for the signing of a commercial treaty with South Korea, as we had no commercial navigation treaty between us at the time. I knew that I was right even though everybody said that South Korea would be cut off after Taiwan.
Murata: During the period when there were no diplomatic relations between Japan and South Korea, normalization talks between the two countries lasted for 14 years, didn't they? In the meantime, the Kennedy Administration went to both Japan and South Korea as a mediator to put some pressure on the discussion. Were there any pressures or interventions from the U.S. in the 1970s when the relationship between Japan and South Korea was not smooth?
Okazaki: Since this happened during the Sato Administration, the normalization was accomplished by Shiina and Akagi in 1965. Every treaty and motion was forcefully passed... at least every procedural motion. Every Cabinet member had a prioritized motion and each was cleared by an enforced vote. Then, the Diet passed the Treaty once all the motions were cleared. It was an unbelievably successful management of the Diet. Under the Sato Administration, there was 'the era of choa-choa' backed by Shinsuke Kishi and Kaya of the Japan-South Korea Parliamentary Union (nikkan giren). 'Choa' means good, by the way. It was a honeymoon period between Japan and South Korea. Even when I was there, all of the tasks with Korea were done in Japanese. Korean people with whom we worked were familiar with the pre-war period when Japan had its best relationship with South Korea. The U.S. was trying to mediate our attempt to normalize when I was there. At the time, Erickson was in Korea. He proposed some ideas about how normalization could be achieved. It is difficult to think now, but Tokyo strongly complained about why the U.S. would possibly try to intervene in the Japan-South Korea relationship. Really, people in the Ministry literally called Erickson stupid for trying it.
Tanaka: So, Japan, including the Foreign Ministry, was very anti-U.S. as a whole?
Okazaki: That's right.
Iokibe: I think the Foreign Ministry was not very anti-U.S. compared with the mass media or the rest of society. Well, with the exception of Mr. Hashimoto and Mr. Nakae of the Bureau of Asian Affairs, at least. The Foreign Ministry as a whole, though, especially the Treaty Bureau and the Bureau of American Affairs, was still on the pro-U.S. side.
Okazaki: Yes, the Department of Information Research was really trying hard to maintain a positive attitude toward the U.S.
Iokibe: Was the Department still trying hard at this in the Ministry after you left? Who else was there in the Department?
Okazaki: Kato Yoshiya. He was basically doing it alone.
Iokibe: The Treaty Bureau was also trying, wasn't it? People like Mr. Takashima and Kuriyama?
Okazaki: The job for the Treaty Bureau after all became the review of the Security Treaty to make it more moderate.
Tanaka: How did you assess the attitude of Prime Minister Tanaka Kakuei on diplomacy?
Okazaki: He himself was very conservative, but the mass media portrayed him as the hero of the anti-U.S. nationalists. In fact, he was not that at all. He just followed the atmosphere of society. If he could have transformed that into power, it would have been beneficial for Japan.
Iokibe: Mr. Tanaka was to deal with the issues of China and to adopt a pro-Arab diplomacy in the next Oil Shock, and Kissinger tried to stop him. Tanaka began to adopt his independent diplomacy at about that time, didn't he?
Okazaki: By that time, we did not have any intention to listen to the U.S., especially Kissinger.
Iokibe: When Kissinger told him not to do it, Tanaka shot back an insult by asking the U.S. whether the it would guarantee the supply of oil.
Tanaka: So, do you think Japan in that period was the most severely anti-American that you can remember?
Okazaki: I think so. Again, this will be a personal story, but the Oil Shock happened during a week when I was going to move from Washington to South Korea. I had no doubt that I was going to South Korea, but Mr. Asao, the director of the Personnel Section, told me not to go to place like South Korea, supposedly a demotion post, since there was a position in Tokyo for a section director. The position was, in fact, the director of the Middle East Section which was right in the middle of the Oil Shock. This was around October 10. I ran away from that responsibility by making an excuse that I could not work under a Cabinet which had fired Mr. Ushiba.
Iokibe: Mr. Tanaka was very much a conservative, and, for instance, he insisted that he would stop by Hawaii before he visited China in order to do everything he could before taking action on China. However, he went in order to maintain his freedom by taking an action in response to the betrayal that Japan had received from Kissinger. Was that the same for Mr. Ohira?
Okazaki: Mr. Ohira tended to show off to some extent. He liked to show us that he really listened to the mass media and the academics. Mr. Tanaka did not care about these things at all.
Iokibe: So, did he consider the power of the U.S.?
Okazaki: He simply thought that his actions would suit the then existing domestic atmosphere.
Tanaka: Did Mr. Tanaka have his own perspective on the state of international politics?
Okazaki: The only thing I remember was that he went to the funeral when the wife of President Park was assassinated. The Ambassador at that time told him that he might sit next to the minister from Taiwan since South Korea still had a diplomatic relationship with Taiwan. Tanaka said that that was why he came. He came to talk with Taiwan. He was like that. The mass media created his image, but he did not mind such things.
Iokibe: He went around the world to check on natural resources later. Did the U.S. get nervous about that?
Okazaki: They did worry that it would hamper the Arab peace process. The U.S. had always been involved with it; basically, it became necessary to put pressure on the PLO in order to attain peace, but they thought that Japan was doing the opposite by giving it encouragement.
Iokibe: Were there worries that Japan's independent diplomacy had become more anti-U.S. than ever?
Okazaki: There may have been, but the general atmosphere had been like that for some time... since the time when I was in Washington and Erickson talked to me about the tightly stretched rubber not ever returning to its original shape.
Iokibe: Was there any concern that Japan might attempt to be independent militarily after it attained independence in its acquisition of natural resources? Kissinger was shocked even though he had always thought that Japan should reduce its dependence on the U.S. Once Japan took action on natural resources, Tanaka moved on the Japan-China matter sooner than Kissinger thought. He said so when I asked him at an interview during the Okinawa reversion.
Okazaki: I think Kissinger failed on that point, but it was successful if Kissinger's intention was to put some distance between Japan and the U.S., and to adjust its distance with China.
Iokibe: Was that a response to the fact that Japan was so slow to take action on the textile issue during the Sato Cabinet?
Okazaki: Yes. There was a legend that the interpreter had made a misinterpretation when Mr. Sato replied to Nixon that he would do his best on the textile issue in the Sato-Nixon Summit at the Okinawa reversion. As a matter of fact, Mr. Sato made a more specific promise.
Iokibe: Was it done by Mr. Wakaizumi and others?
Okazaki: I don't know.
Murata: Did you read the story of the Okinawa reversion in Mr. Wakaizumi's book?
Okazaki: Yes, I did.
Murata: What was your response? Do you think the story made sense when you combine it with your memory of the time?
Okazaki: Yes, I don't think that it is nonsense, but I have not made any comment about it, although many have asked. That's because he had kept his silence for about 20 years. When I met him last time, I could not understand what he said. I don't see anything mysterious about the story itself. But, I cannot say anything due to my impression of him at that time.
Murata: Did you realize what was going on with Mr. Wakaizumi's secret contact with the U.S.?
Okazaki: Of course I knew about it, but I only saw him once. I went to see Kissinger with Mr. Ushiba, and we waited in the waiting room. After waiting for a while, we then got into a room to see Kissinger. I did not know from where he entered, but we saw him with Kissinger in the room.
Tanaka: But, in his book there was a document with a picture which only Mr. Wakaizumi, Prime Minister Sato, Kissinger, and Nixon possess.
Okazaki: Was there a picture?
Tanaka: The picture was on the front cover.
Murata: Kissinger was very furious about it since he put Kissinger's picture with his name without his permission.
Okazaki: Does it really have signatures from all four people?
Tanaka: No, it does not, it is just a manuscript.
Okazaki: I don't quite understand what happened after that point.
Tanaka: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs refused to accept the story, didn't it?
Murata: The official response regarded it as just a personal perspective, but there was no such secret promise as far as the Foreign Ministry is concerned.
Okazaki: The response would be like that one way or the other.
Iokibe: Was there a comment to that effect?
Murata: Yes, there was.
Murata: I believe it was given at an earlier time at the press meeting of the Foreign Ministry.
Tanaka: This is another topic of that period. I think we can tell you the story we got a little while ago from Mr. Nishihiro at the interview before he died. He said that he did some research about the crisis in the Defense Agency regarding the South Korea-Taiwan Clauses. He did some simulated case studies and said that he gave them to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but he said that he didn't know where it went later on.
Murata: The Councilor for International Affairs in the JDA was supposed to have it?
Tanaka: That's right, but he didn't know about it after the Councilor brought it back to the Foreign Ministry. He said that he examined and covered most of the conditions which were applicable to the research conditions at the time. Did you have a chance to take a look at it or examine it?
Okazaki: I don't think I ever saw it. You're speaking of the documents about the Okinawa reversion, right?
Tanaka: Do you think that it existed?
Okazaki: Of course, it would have been natural for it to exist.
Murata: But, when he brought it to the cabinet meeting and showed it to the Minister and Vice-Minister of the Defense Agency, they refused to accept it as the official view of the Agency. He said that this fact was probably the reason that the Councilor handed it off to the Foreign Ministry.
Okazaki: I see.
Tanaka: In such a case, how high would something like this go in the Japanese government? Do you think the Prime Minister would have looked at it?
Okazaki: No, I don't think such documents made it all the way up to Prime Minister Sato. I think they probably stopped at the level of the director of the Security Treaty Section and the director of the Bureau of American Affairs.
Iokibe: Didn't you interview Mr. Kusuda about this topic?
Tanaka: He said he didn't know about it.
Okazaki: It would not have gone to the office of the Prime Minister.
Murata: Lastly, I would like to ask you briefly about the period when you were the Councilor for International Affairs in the JDA.
Okazaki: The Guidelines study had started already before I went. Who was the Minister who started it?
Murata: Michita Sakata.
Okazaki: I was not there at that time. The negotiation already started when I got there and the discussion had already become extremely technical.
Tanaka: At that point, the research for the Guidelines included the Fifth and Sixth Clause Conditions of the Security Treaty. I was told that considerable progress had been made in the examination of the Fifth Clause Conditions but not much in the Sixth Clause examination.
Okazaki: I was in charge of intelligence, not defense policy, so I just listened. However, we had finished Article 5, and Article 6 was not of much interest to the Defense Agency. Because the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was interested, though, I remember that we did do some work on it before letting it go.
Tanaka: How did the Ministry of Foreign Affairs do with Article 6? The impression was that it did not make much progress.
Okazaki: They could not have made much more progress than that they did because Article 6 was about issues of diplomacy. The thing that interested the Pacific Force and the Defense Agency was how they were going to manage a joint action in case of crisis. In addition, we all needed to focus on the Soviet Union which had already gone into Afghanistan and the Northern Territories, causing serious tension. We didn't even have to deal much with the Korean Peninsula, and it had already become taboo to examine a scenario involving Taiwan at the time.
Murata: How about the Middle East?
Okazaki: That was not an issue at all. The only thing we needed to contemplate was the possibility of a Soviet Union attack on Japan. That was why we considered only Article 5.
Murata: How was the relationship between the Defense Agency and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs when you were at the Defense Agency? According to what you mentioned earlier, there was the period in which people in the Agency were regarded as something less than human. Did those people gain more influence at this compared to the earlier period?
Okazaki: It became completely different of course. By this point, the DIA did not even consult with the Foreign Ministry, but went directly to the Defense Agency instead. People at the Foreign Ministry were upset about it.
Murata: Had this begun at the time you were there?
Okazaki: You see, before I started at the Agency, really the only job there was liaison work. In this liaison work, officials had contact with the U.S. military in Japan and the diplomatic corps. After I had been in my new position for three months, Vice-Minister Maruyama asked me to take charge of the First and Second Divisions of Intelligence. The Bureau of Defense includes the Defense and Operation Divisions and the First and Second Intelligence Divisions. The First and Second Divisions are in charge of all intelligence activities. Maruyama told me to take care of both Sections, which is unthinkable now. Mr. Maruyama was from the Police Agency, wasn't he? Intelligence was its soul. It is hard to think that he told the Foreign Ministry to do that. For example, there was a severe turf battle as to who was going to take the posts of the director of the Cabinet Research Office. It was unthinkable to let the Foreign Ministry take in charge of it. Moreover, the First Intelligence Division was a very delicate division, and the Second Intelligence Division, I guess, was one of the best central government bodies, more than the others in intelligence matters. The First Intelligence Division, by the way, was doing the job of Kempeitai. But, Mr. Maruyama was the last Internal Affairs Ministry bureaucrat who had passed the High Academic (Koubun) Examination. His immediate successors were less capable until the generation of Sasa's. Mr. Maruyama was very clean and innocent, and everything he cared about and did was for his country. He continued to do most of the leader's position after retirement. He thought he could not let his Police agency successors do the work for the First and Second Intelligence Divisions. Thus, he told me to take charge of Intelligence.
Murata: Was this intelligence part of your job title, or did you just have that responsibility in addition the intelligence that you were basically in charge of anyway?
Okazaki: I received a request to supervise the First and Second Intelligence Divisions. After that time, I took over the total supervision of the intelligence-related offices including the First and Second Intelligence Divisions.
Murata: Is it still called the Councilor for International Affairs?
Okazaki: That's right. Since the name, Liaison, has no elegance, the name was changed a few years before I started. Thus, the Councilor for International Affairs is essentially the director of Intelligence now. I started there in July, 1978 when General Kurusu was fired for speaking out that the Soviet Union had taken puzzling action in the Northern Territory.
Tanaka: Was it true that the Soviet Union augmented its presence in the Northern Territories in 1978.
Okazaki: That was what I did not understand at the beginning. Mr. Kurusu made the statement in the summer, but I thought it was just a military drill. There was the background to this; previously, there had been discussions on the subject of the Sino-Japanese Peace Treaty. Mr. Takashima, who was Vice-Minister at the time, was very concerned about the split within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In order to avoid it, he gathered all councilors from each Bureau. I was in the Middle East Bureau and was, therefore, not related, but I joined the discussions because everyone was called. I was the only one who opposed the ratification of the treaty in its current form. It was apparently anti-Soviet Union. I would not have minded if everybody had understood it well, but no one did. Mr. Fukuda also did not grasp the situation when he went to see Zhou Enlai and said that Japan had now completed the normalization process. Zhou Enlai then said that the normalization was already done. He told him that the important thing was the Anti-Hegemony Clause, and that we were going to make it anti-Soviet Union.
Mr. Fukuda was surprised. He thought that we would produce a peace treaty because it was good and progressive for us to have good terms with China. The Soviet Union warned Japan many times about it. I was transferred to the Defense Agency, and then the Soviet Union made moves toward the Northern Territories. It was clearly retaliation for the Clause. It became more apparent around November, 1978 to January, 1979 that the Soviet Union had truly developed the troops there rather than just training. We were discussing what we were going to do about it because I was in charge of intelligence at the time, and we decided to make an announcement about it.
It caused quite a stir in the Diet. One reason for the stir was that the Defense Agency rarely gave out such information. When we announced it, the Socialist Party asked many questions and asked why it had been publicized at this time. I replied by asking back whether we should have announced it a little later. As we were discussing the problem, the Minsk got into the Sea of Japan on the day of the Tokyo Summit in 1979 and embarrassed us again. Furthermore, the Soviet Union attacked Afghanistan at the end of that year, which changed the atmosphere. Japan soon decided to boycott the Olympics and I was then able to say whatever I wanted to say at the following Diet. I mentioned about the potential threat of the Soviet Union, the Japan-U.S. alliance, the deterrent, and so on. I used all of the words that I had been previously unable to use.
Murata: Did you use the word alliance in the reply at the Diet?
Okazaki: In public, anyway. It might have been somewhere else. The reason why things turned out this way was not because of the Northern Territories problems. There was the Iranian Revolution in November, and many in the American Embassy became hostage. The U.S. requested its allies to apply an economic embargo to Iran. We answered yes, but the Japanese business companies continued to purchase oil. When I checked it, the six biggest business companies were all buying. In November, Secretary of State Vance remarked at the press conference, 'Japan is insensitive.' That remark scared the office of the Prime Minister because the U.S. had finally become furious. Then, while we were discussing what we were going to do, the Soviet Union attacked Afghanistan and we thought that we should use this opportunity to get back the points we lost to the U.S. This was basically what happened, I said everything I could and used the words that I just mentioned. In fact, Mr. Suzuki produced his famous speech when he visited the U.S. in the next year.
Murata: Did you write it?
Okazaki: Well, I was somewhat involved. That speech had all of the words used in the Diet reply the year before. Since he did not know about the whole story, he asked what it was about, and they said to him that this was what had already been said at the Diet. He said OK without any doubts, and then delivered the speech in a relaxed manner and earned cheers and an ovation from the Press Club. He was very happy for its success. On his way back, in Anchorage, he received and looked at the top stories in the morning newspapers, and most of them said that he had made hawkish statements. Actually, Prime Minister Suzuki told the President repeatedly that Japan is a peaceful country, so he was wondering why the press did not print what he had said. He also said that the U.S.-Japan relationship was not, among other things, an alliance. He basically said that he wasn't a bad child. Foreign Minister Ito eventually had to resign because this caused such a stir.
Tanaka: People started to use the word, "alliance", around 1980 according to what you have said. Was the word, "deterrent", used earlier?
Okazaki: Yes, We did use "deterrent" earlier. I started to use it in the Sato era. There was a column that did not hesitate to criticize the government's use of the word, "deterrent". Also, the potential threat of the Soviet Union began to be discussed openly.
Murata: Defense Agency Minister Yamashita used that word if I remember correctly.
Okazaki: I believe that I said it with the permission of the Foreign Ministry. Bureau of Europe and Asia Director-General Kato was my partner and supported me in obtaining that permission. Later, Kato was criticized in the Foreign Ministry for it. Hashimoto, then the director-general of the Bureau of Asia, asked me why I had not told him first if I was going to do thing like that. I replied that it was because I knew that he would have objected to it if I had told him first.
Iokibe: Was this in the second half of the 70s?
Okazaki: It was after Afghanistan, so the incentives were the Soviet attack on Afghanistan and the Olympics.
Iokibe: However, people had often made remarks on the potential threat of the Soviet Union, hadn't they?
Okazaki: That kind of talk was only allowed in the Diet from that time... you can check it if you like. Also, we couldn't use the words, "hypothetical enemy." Even though I did not use it, I just put the Soviet Union in place of where the words would be placed... such as "if the Soviet Union attacks," etc.
Murata: I ask this last question completely out of my own personal interest. What did you think of the withdrawal of the American troops from the South Korea by the Carter Administration when you were the Councilor at the Defense Agency?
Okazaki: I opposed it even before it happened. However, Holbrooke said that Japan did not have any veto in the matter. Although I was close to Mr. Fukuda, he said that it was a decision that should be left for the U.S.. When I asked if he really told them that, he said he just read what was given on the paper by his followers. Since then, I became more distant from Mr. Fukuda because I had expected more from him.
Tanaka: Mr. Fukuda should have known about the SS-20, shouldn't he?
Okazaki: But, he did not know it indeed. I was anti-Tanaka and Ohira, and thus, I was pro-Fukuda. I gave up on him, though, since he was not dependable.
Iokibe: What was he doing later? Did he suggest that Carter should take more consideration even if he had already told Carter that the U.S. should make the decision?
Okazaki: I don't know about that. I told Brzezinski to stop it, as soon as Carter became President. He had spoken with Carter at breakfast, then Carter told him that Democratic administrations have a reputation of often becoming involved in wars, and he wanted to correct this past impression. American troops, after all, should not necessarily be in places that have a high risk of war, like Korea.
Iokibe: I cannot believe that, Brzezinski said so?
Okazaki: No, actually Brzezinski told me that it was Carter who said it.