Oftics op Strategic Services Research and Analysis Branch
THE GREATER EAST ASIA CO-PROSPERITY SPHERE
Japanese spokesmen hare variously described the Greater East Asia Co-Prospenty Sphere (OKA) as "an International order based uponprosperity" andevice for "the development of the Japanesehese expressions of high Idealism and frank opportunismthe range of motivation behind the establishment andof the GEA. Japanese scholars, businessmen, and Army leaders have Injected into the GEA both the traditional Japanese symbolism of hakko ichtu, "the eight corners of the world beneath onend the militarists' pragmatic policy of armed expansion. This fusion offinds its fullest expression In the present war In the Pacific, which the Japanese have named the "holyr the "Greater East Asiahrough their Insistence that Japanese soldiers are fighting for the establishmentew order In Greater East Asia, the officialhave linked success for the GEA with victory for the Japanese Army. Japan's military defeat will necessarily Involve the Immediate failure of the GEA program, the effectiveness of which already had been limited by the underlying divergence of purpose between its idealistic andsupporters. If, however, the Japanese have had evensuccess inolitical, economic, and cultural union In Greater East Asia, and If the people of Asia do not gain security and stability in the postwar settlement, thereossibilityimilar planan-Asia will emerge in the future.
Insofar as it Involves continental conquest the GEA is merely the latest manifestation of the centuries-old Japanese expansionist tradition. In the late nineteenth century Japanese patriotic secret societies were formed In order to promote Japanese expansion and Imperialism through mobilizing Japanese finance and trained personnel for espionage and propaganda work in Asia. Early in the twentieth century, greatly under the influence of the secret societies, the expansionist tradition wasInto the Great Asia doctrine. Although the supporters of this doctrine differed smung theselves concerning the nature and the degree of desired Japanese dominationan-Asia, they agreed that European and American Interests In the Orient were responsible for reducing Asiatic countries to semi-colonial status Agreeingheory of regionalism not unlike that underlying the Monroe Doctrine, they created the slogan, "Asia forany aspects of this doctrine wereinto the official foreign policy of Japan by thehe policy was named "New Order in Basthen the fall of France and the Netherlands0 opened to the Japanese the possibility of easy expansion Into European holdings in the Orient, this policy was restated as the "New Order in Greater Eastater, in
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order to incorporate into this policy ideas ol economic cooperation in Asia, the title became the "Greater East Asia Co-Prosperityhe policy was given even fuller sanction when the Greater East Asia Ministry was established and its first minister. Kaxuo Aoki. was charged with the administration of political, economic, and cultural affairs in China, Manchuria, Thailand, French Indochina, Burma, the Philippines, and the Celebes.
The GEA Ministry was established2 by the dominant Army groupaneuver designed to eclipse the power of the Ministry of Foreign Affairsear of military successes ranging geographically from Klska to New Guinea, the Japanese Army leaders were confident of successfully completing Japanese expansion in Greater East Asia, and they were Impatient of the less militant policies of the career diplomats in the Foreign Affairs Ministry. They appointed Aoki, known to be an Army supporter, an expansionist,reater Japan enthusiast, as OEA Minister. The new ministry was given jurisdiction over matters formerly directed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, excepting only "purelyconcerns. Both the GEA Ministry and the subsequentlyForeign Affairs Ministry were staffed largely by undistinguished bureaucrats who could be counted upon to support the military ina New Order in Greater East Asia by conquest.
With the fall of the Tojo Cabinet ineries of American military successes culminating In the capture of bases in the Marianas leas0 miles from Tokyo, the career diplomats of the Foreign Affairs Ministryonsiderable portion of their lost power and prestige at the expense of an independent GEA administration. Mamoru Shlgemltflu, who had served as Minister of Foreign Affairs In the Tojo Cabinet, was retained in that post in the new Kolso Cabinet and was appointed GEA Minister concurrently. Again in the Suzuki Cabinet, established inhlgenorlcareerwas given both posts. The appointment of Togo, who had resigned as Minister of Foreign Affairs2 when the establishment of the OEA Ministry stripped his position of its powers, indicated that the career diplomats had completely regained their former position.
Because of Its dominance by Army leadership at the time of itsthe fundamental alms of the GEA Ministry were to providesupport for the conquest of the Asiatic continent and the southern regions, and to set up administrative machinery for the conquered areas. Despite this role as an adjunct to conquest, the leaders of the OEAtheir objectives in terms of the highest idealism. Even later, when the ardor of both the militarists and the more moderate OEA Idealists had been cooled somewhat by the menace of Increased Allied military power, the professions of Idealism continued Many Japanese, both Inside the GEA movement and outside it, probably believe sincerely In working towards Asiatic cooperation, equality, and prosperity under benevolent Japanese leadership.
The fullest statement of GEA ideals Is the Joint Declaration adopted by the Assembly of Greater East Asiatic Nations Inhis five-point declaration,reamble announcing the hope of the countries of Greater East Asia of liberating themselves from "the yoke of British-Americaneads as follows:
he countries of Greater East Asia through mutualwill ensure ihe stability of their region and construct an order of common prosperity and well-being based upon justice.
he countries of Greater Bait Asia will ensure the fraternity of nations in their region, by respecting one another's sovereignty and Independence and practicing mutual assistance and amity.
S. The countries of Greater last Asia by respecting one another's traditions and developing tho creative faculties of each race, will enhance the culture and civilisation of Greater East Aata.
he countries of Greater East Asia will endeavor to accelerate their economic development through close cooperationasis of reciprocity and to promote thereby the general prosperity of their region.
' ft. The countries of Greater East Asia win eulUvaie friendly relations with all the countries of ths world, and work for the abolition of racialations, the promotion of cultural Intercourse and the opening of resourced throughout the world, and contribute thereby to the progress of mankind."
Within the framework of this announcement of Intentions, the GEA Ministry set up political, economic, and cultural programs which were designed to secure the maximum cooperation from the conqueredof Greater East Asia.
The GEA Ministry Is organized in accord with tbe regional theory that supports the entire GEA concept. The Ministry Is divided into Ave bureaus: the Secretariat, tbe General Affairs Bureau, the Manchurian Affairs Bureau, the China Affairs Bureau, and the Southern Affairs Bureau Each bureau is charged with tbe administration in Its ownof all GEA functions, which are defined as the execution of political affairs other than purely diplomatic affairs, the protection andof Japanese commerce and Japanese nationals, the supervision of colonization, the administration of colonial enterprises, and the direction of cultural programs. GEA embassies and consulates in the variousImplement the authority of the bureaus.
In establishing the political administration of Greater East Asia tbe OEA Ministry gave the outward appearance of observingf the Joint Declaration which promised mutual respect of "one another's sovereignty andhina. Burma, and the Philippines were "declared ^dependent" by Octobernd puppet governments were established French Indochina was "declared an autonomouso present the appearance of respecting the political autonomy of those regions where "independence" was not granted, the OEA Ministryoint, ofumber of native administrators. In Java, for example, several native officials were made mayors of theirAlso, the Ministry established Institutes both in Japan and In the
GEA areas for training natives to be "leaders of their people.'behind this facade of autonomy and independence, however, the GEA Ministry has steadily maintained firm control of tbe political administration of the regions under its Jurisdiction. The puppet regimes of China. Burma, and the Philippines were amenable to this control because of theirupon the Japanese Army for their security. The GEA Ministry2 dispatchedapanese government officials to the southern regions to administer local governments.umber of Institutes were created for the purpose of training Japanese officials "to direct localomewhat less directly, Japanese already living In the southern regions were indoctrinated with thefor gaining the confidence and respect of the native populations. Finally, political associations modeled upon the Japanese pattern, such as the East Asia Assistance Association In North China, were established to aid in maintaining political control of the GEA areas.
f the Joint Declaration promised that the nations of the GEA would "endeavor to accelerate their economic development through close cooperationasis ofhe GEA Ministrythis article to mean that the economy of the GEA should beunder the control of the Japanese. Accordingly, plans were made to divide the GEA Into three Industrial rones. The central or chief zone, comprising the Japanese Home Islands, was planned to engage In the manufacture of light machinery, precision instruments, chemicaland the bulk of heavy industrial production. The second zone, including China and Manchuria, was to engage In certain heavymining, light metal production, and the production of power. The third zone. Including all of the occupied territory of Southeast Asia, was primarily to deliver raw materials to the industrial areas but was to be permitted to engage in such manufacture as would benefit fromto raw materials, such as crude Iron production and aluminum production. Fiscal policy was to make the Japanese yen the standard of all GEA currencies and the basis for all financial transaction* Under the direction of the GEA Ministry Japanese banks establishedranches In the southern regions, andercent of all bank deposits In the area were deposited in Japanese-owned banks. Furthermore, the Special Wartime Corporation was established to finance and control the development of resources in the Philippines, Malaya, Borneo, the Celebes, East Indochina, and Burma.
The cultural program of the GEA Ministry has been diversified and energetic. Although Hp service was paid to the policy of respecting the various cultures of the GEA, in actual practice the Ministry worked steadily toonsiderable degree of Japanese culture upon the other members of the GEA. From the very beginning strenuous efforts were made to establish Japanese as the official language of the GEA. Large numbers of Japanese school teachers were sent overseas "tothe younger generations of the southern regions through theof Japanesehe GEA Ministry also arranged for the education In Japan of college and university students from the GEA. It
was estimated in3 thai thereuch studenLsln Japan. At the same time the purpose of this educational program was made clear by the statement that in obtaining future foreign students "excellence in scholarship Is important, but selection must also depend upon the suitability of the students to become leaders in the construction of the OEA "
In addition to formal classroom teaching, the OEA Ministrya highly diversified program of cultural instruction. Culturaland culturalof them, such as the one In Bangkok, luxurious andestablished for the purpose of displaying "correct" Japanese culture through exhibits, lectures, and motion pictures Cultural "missions" made up of representatives from the OEA countries made three-month Investigation tours ofistory of Greater Easthousand-page volume requiring two years to write and edit, undertook to clarify "the position of Japan as leader of thennual OEA Literary Conferences were held with the announced purpose of considering "practical" means for blotting out the influence of Anglo-American culture in EastEAAssociation, indicating tbe political possibilities of the culturalsponsored two new musical compositions, "Thend "The Philippines Independence March."
The religious policy of the OEA Ministry was "to recognize allof Southeast Asia as they are, for the time being at least, and give them every possible aid andhile exercising constant efforts to guide themealthy path step byhe goal to which this "healthy path" was to lead, according to one spokesman,ommon OEA "primitive religion" which would embrace Shlntolsm. For the benefit of the Buddhists In the OEA, the Japanese havethat Buddhism Is widely practiced in Japan. An East Asia Buddhist Research Institute was established In Tokyo and missions were sent abroad "to study the affairs of Buddhism in all parts of thehe nonreiigious aspects of these missions were emphasized by thethat one mission was toear In Burma, Thailand, and the southern regions "to increase amity and cooperation among the natives."
The racial policy of the GEA Ministry was based upon the portion off the Joint Declaration which called for "the abolition of racialhe Ministry announced that this was to be "not mere mechanicallan enabling "all peoples lo live In contentment andhe dynamic idea expressed In thisof Intention, however, was put Into practiceelatively small scale. In Shanghai the foreign YMCA, formerly closed to Japanese and Chinese, was renamed "The GEA Home" and opened lo "all GEAut the policy remained implicit In the entire GEA program aimed at "liberating the region from the yoke of British-American domination"
Despite the grandeur of tbe visionEA, the popular appeal of the slogan "Asia fornd the energy and diversity with which
the Japanese have sought to establish the OEA, the plan lor Joining nearly one billion peopleolitical, economic, and cultural union hasailure. The most obvious source ol this failure is the decline of Japanese military fortunes Aside from the prospect of ultimate defeat, the necessity foritter hemispheric war while attempting to establish the Pan-Asiatic Ideal has been an impossible handicap for the Japanese. Military security prevented them from permitting any genuine autonomy among native populations; military necessitythe establishment of any genuine economic reciprocity; military urgency Interfered with their attempts to attain cultural understanding with the peoples of the OEA.
Another source of failure perhaps equally important was the lacknified motivation behind the OEA Ministry. The Ministry was dominated from its inception by Army leaders determined to exploit the ideology of Pan-Asia for Immediate advantages. Its policy was Inevitably two-sided. This dichotomy of purpose was perhaps reflected In theof Japanese businessmen overseas who, despite the cautions of the GEA Ministry to be careful In their treatment of the people with whom they lived, saw in the GEA only an opportunity for economic exploitation. Also, despite their indoctrination, Japanese officials sent to administer OEA regionsendency to disregard the sensibilities ol native peoples. Repeated warnings were sent out to these officials "not to show superiority even when they know they areapanese soldiers were even worse offenders In this respect andarticularly bad reputation in Burma, where they desecrated religious shrines andBurmese ecclesiastics Part of this misbehavior may be attributed to the Inability ol the average Japanese to perform the Intellectualnecessary to see that in conquering vast portions of the Astatic continent and the South Seas he was fightingoly war" and"an order of common prosperity and well-being based upon Justice."
What future the planEA holds may well rest upon the degree ol security and economic stability achieved In Asia after the war. The Japanese have recently been pleading that the exigencies of war forced them to exact certain requirements from the GEA member nations, but that the war had to be won In order to free the whole GEA from western imperialism. They have maintained that in the postwar world, regardless of Japan's victory or defeat, Japanese leadership In the GEA would assure Independence, security, and economic stability. Although the peoples of the OEA who have been antagonized by Japanese domination during wartime may reject these promises now, they may turn toleadership at some future time if something approaching these promises Is not forthcoming In the postwar settlement. Life In the GEA under Japanese supervision may seem less grim in retrospect,when viewed in context with the Japanese promise of better things In the postwar world. Whether or not the Japanese are ever able to make another attempt atEA. the dreaman-Asia, an "Asia forill undoubtedlyotent appeal for the people of Asia.Original document.