in Japan Mr Gareth Jones submitted a number of questions to the Naval
Minister, Admiral Osumi and the War Minister, General Hayashi. Today we
publish Admiral Osumi Mineo ’s answers.
March 4th 1935. Published
would you consider to be fair and just terms for a naval treaty with
Great Britain and the United States?
is earnest in her desire for a new limitation treaty that shall be fair
and just. Japan,
Great Britain, and the United States, the three leading sea Powers of
the world face one another in the three important sections of the world
and are in a position to co-operate for the furtherance of world
peace. I believe they ought
to shake off the shackles of past circumstances, discard competitive
ideas and prejudices, stand on equal footing, and make united efforts
for accomplishing the common mission of peace.
So far as the problems concern the Navy, I think it is absolutely
necessary to fix a common upper limit of fighting power for the three
Powers by taking into account their geographical relation and the
increased mobility of modern maritime, forces, and so to attain the
common aim of co-operation. As
an answer to the universal
desire for the limitation of armaments these great naval Powers should
take the initiative in fixing such upper limit as low as possible, then
proceed either to abolish or drastically to cut down those units
characterised by formidable offensive power so as to render defence
effective and offence difficult. Thus
they would pave the way to the consolidation of peace and the lightening
of the financial burdens on all the peoples of the world.
This is our firm faith and will be the governing principle of our
attitude in the forthcoming naval conference.
Being convinced of the impossibility of reaching a just and fair
agreement unless the parties approach each other in such a spirit, we
must stand firm in our position, and I trust the U.S.A., England, and
other Powers will appreciate the sincerity of our motives and give us
their unstinted support. Thus
we think and feel and I do not believe the forthcoming conference will
end in failure.
will be your policy in the event no
treaty being reached?
do not wish to speculate on the basis of an assumption that the next conference
is going to fail.
would you explain Japan’s reasons for denouncing the Washington
Washington Treaty was concluded under the peculiar circumstances
following the Great War. Fourteen
years have since passed. Times have changed, manners as well.
The progress of science and new international developments in
that period have made the terms of that Treaty inadequate to meet the
requirements of altered conditions
can no longer depend on that Treaty for security so we have taken steps
to terminate it in strict accordance with the express provisions of that
N, Suetsugu states in the “Osaka Mainichi” (Quoted in the Far
Eastern Review January, 1935): - Japan’s geographical position makes
it impossible for any prospective invaders effectively to blockade the
Island Empire. Japan
is an easy country to defend, but a difficult one to invade from
without. If this is
so why does Japan claim a navy as big as that of U.S.A. or of Great
are liable to misquotation. I do not care to comment on a newspaper
story of this kind.
not Japan’s financial situation force a
reduction in naval expenditure?
minimum of defence power is something absolute.
Our people fully understand it.
is your attitude towards the strengthening of the Singapore Naval
Singapore fortification does not conflict with existing treaties. I do not
like to touch on this subject. But, how would you feel if you were in the
position of the Japanese people.
is your attitude towards American plans for developing bases in Alaska and
on the Aleutian Islands?
do not wish to comment on this subject in the light of mere newspaper
reports. With regard to the
Aleutian group the provisions of the Washington Treaty remain effective to the end of
part would the Japanese Navy play in counteracting an air attack?
aerial arm of the Navy takes charge of the defence in co-operation with
the floating units. On the
Navy first devolves the duty of fighting in defence against aerial attacks
Japan’s leaving the League of Nations mean that she with consider
herself free to fortify the mandated islands in the Pacific?
withdrawal from the League will not in any way affect our policy of
strictly observing our obligations regarding
the construction ef fortifications and naval and military bases in the
Suetsugu states: “If America washes her hands of the Philippines as the
rest of the world hopes, the islands door may be opened to ambitions young
men, particularly from Japan for further developing the untapped resources
of the island.” Would
the Japanese Navy be prepared to maintain the independence and neutrality
of the Philippines, if that neutrality were guaranteed by an international
as in the case of the earlier question I have nothing to say on this
subject. I will assure you it
is co-existence and co-prosperity that Japan wishes to attain.
Aggressive thoughts are not with us.
would your attitude be towards the formation of a European Air Police
wish all success to the formation of European Air Police Force. .