Between Incompetence and Culpability: Assessing the Diplomacy of Japan's Foreign Ministry from Pearl Harbor to Potsdam

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University Press of America, 1997 - History - 227 pages
This study of the Pearl Harbor attack clarifies the debate in two important ways: first, it definitively exposes who delayed Japan's notice of war to the United States, a serious blunder which stigmatized Japan for launching a premeditated "sneak attack", and second, it examines how the Foreign Ministry has dealt with this blunder from the immediate postwar period to the present. Sugihara's aim in both instances is to reevaluate just how costly this error by the Foreign Ministry has been for Japan, and to show how its cover-up and mishandling have distorted postwar Japanese diplomacy.Sugihara demonstrates how the protracted cover-up of the bungled war notice to the United States has severely distorted the way Japan understands its recent past. Deeply concerned with the Ministry's continuing lack of apology to the United States (and the Japanese public) for causing the "sneak attack", he presents its misguided handling of several war-related issues, such as its role in the portrayal of the Nanking Incident in high school textbooks, and its treatment of ministerial visits to Yasukuni Shrine. While due credit is given for the Ministry's overdue attempt in November 1994 to address this shameful episode, the author suggests future directions for Japanese diplomacy and delivers a strong moral message about diplomacy and justice.Significantly, Sugihara's is the only extensive analysis in English that exploits newly-declassified documents concerning the suppressed 1946 internal Foreign Ministry investigation of the blunder. Under mounting public pressure, the Ministry in November 1994 made these materials public, and they reveal for the first time precisely when Ministry officials determined whose negligence had caused the delay at Japan's Washington embassy. Critically, the author shows that the ultimate blame for the drawn-out concealment of these documents lies with former prime minister Shigeru Yoshida, whose shameless protection of Katsuzo Okumura and Sadao Iguchi, the embassy officials responsible for

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