Gareth Jones

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Interviews with Amau (Amô).

The Japanese Foreign Affairs Spokesman.

Taken from Gareth Jones notes. February  1935

A letter of introduction from the Japanese Ambassador in London led Gareth to contact Eliji Amau (Amô) the spokesman at the Japanese Foreign Office as soon as he arrived in Tokyo.  One year previously this Japanese had proposed the “Amau Doctrine”.  He stated that Japan had a special mission to maintain peace and order in East Asia and opposed any financial assistance to China by foreign countries.  This statement was accurately termed in China and elsewhere as “the Japanese Asian Monroe Doctrine,” which boldly and openly challenged the Open Door Policy and Nine-Power Treaty system.  

Gareth described Amau’s office as being in a terrible wooden shack.  He had lots of black hair, a roundish face with big glasses and looked rather serious.  At his first Press Conference there were about 50 journalists assembled to talk with Mr. Amau.  Amau introduced them to young Japanese diplomats who appeared very embarrassed.  They bowed to the journalists, and some went to the English and some to the Americans.

Amau stated that: “The Japanese policy to China is to maintain peace and friendly relations.  Benefit to Japan to keep peace in East Asia.  Japan has been standing like a watchdog in East Asia.  We have fought several times for that.  Other powers have an interest in China, but ours is more vital.  The Chinese question to us is a matter of life or death.  The British have a considerable interest, which is not necessarily vital.  The U.S. is interested but only economically and commercially.  China is a vast country.  At the beginning of the Washington Conference, Briand asked,  “What is China?”  China failed to answer.  In 1920 Soviet Russia compiled a Treaty with Outer Mongolia, by which each control ports in respect of recognising benefit Government.  Since then Outer Mongolia sent Ambassador to Moscow and Moscow sent to Korea Government representatives. 

In 1924 Government commanded Treaty at Peking and Mukden with China authority, by which the Government respected temporary integrity of China.  Government was helping the Sun Yat-sen Government in Canton.  Borodin represented the Government in Canton, and Canton government with dealt independently.  Therefore at the time Canton was the Facto authority.  1920 Mongolian conclusion treaty with Soviets.  In 1924 Mukden concluded Treaty with Government.  Today Sinkiary is virtually under the influence of the Soviet Outer Mongolia.  Other day Chinese Consul in Novostrik was returning home to China and had to apply for visa from the Soviet authorities.

 In Tsarist times there was a conference in the presence of the Tsar and they discussed to find the way of penetration of the Far East and ungroup port. A route was finally decided upon through Siberia, Manchuria, Harbin, Dairien and Port Arthur.  1895 we fought with Japan for the lease of Liaotung peninsula.  In 1895-1905 China concluded a secret alliance with Russia.  China promised materials for building of the Russian Court.  The Russians promised to help China in the war between China and Japan. 

“We have been endeavouring to maintain peace in the Far East.  China has had a civil war for 25 years, but we desire China restored some day.” 

We expect equal opportunities for foreign powers. League of Nations attacked Japan, because Japan closed door on China to make the China Sea a closed sea.  It is not Japan, but the League of Nations who closed the doors to Japan. 

At the time of the Manchurian Incident it was resolved by the League of Nations (Feb 24th, 1932) that the China boycott since September 18th 1931 is recognised as a reprisal.  The China boycott is legalised by the League of Nations decision and the principle of open door was closed to us.  It was instigated by the Euro-American powers.  

We are concerned about any communist presence in East Asia, but we have no intention of interfering with Chinese internal affairs. Manchukuo will separate China and Soviet Russia.  We estimate there are 200,000 Soviet troops on the border.  We have no intention to fight, but if the Soviets interfere with Manchukuo affairs, we will fight.  We must defend Manchukuo”. 

At a later press conference Mr Amau discussed British dominions attitude to racism.  In South Africa the restriction of the Japanese immigrant was strictest.  There, even the consul had the greatest difficulty in entering a restaurant or finding a hotel.  Australia was very much better.  Japan only wanted free entry of their merchants and was not going to invade Australia.  Japan imports more from Germany than she exports as Germany is restricting Japanese goods, and in banking and shipping they have a number of regulations by which they impose many different conditions on Japanese traders.  Germany proposes to buy soya beans from Manchukuo and wants to sell more to Japan but at present there is no political arrangement with Germany.” 

At the press conference Amau reviewed the current aviation situation in Japan.  In Britain and U.S. it was different owing to the mountains, atmosphere and conditions.  In Manchukuo aviation is getting on very rapidly, because there are plenty of landing places and atmospherics is good.  The Japanese Army and Navy have made great progress.  They were one of the five largest aeronautic powers, but civilian aviation was very poor.  There was a lot of rivalry between civilian some of whom are without jobs and army and naval aviation.  In Japan it was difficult to find landing places as the land was over cultivated.  He emphasised the quality of the pilots, the number of planes and aircraft carriers and the faith in German airships.  He informed the journalists that the Pacific Aviation Co. would be organised in June or July to fly from Tokyo to San Francisco, via the Aleutian Islands and Alaska using Zeppelins.  Since the Manchurian and Shanghai troubles, the military flying corps had improved greatly and they had increased their equipment.  In the recent Jehol conflict in Manchuria the corps took part in the battle by bombing and carried ammunition to the advancing army.  In this region, where the transport by land was very difficult, the supply of goods and arms to the advancing army by aeroplane was the only means available at the time.


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