Murata: First of all, I would appreciate it if you would speak about your connection with the Sato administration.
Kusuda: All right. Even now I am writing a book about that subject for another purpose. I was originally a reporter for the Sankei Shimbun. The year that I entered the government and politics department of the paper was Showa 29 (1955), just at the end of the Yoshida cabinet. Well, at the time, the Sankei Shimbun had just become strong in Tokyo and my group that had been at the paper for a while became the most powerful group at the paper. As each group began implementing different systems of composition, the government and politics department became the strongest, most centrally powerful and influential department. This was already after the period when the opportunity for the united conservative party (Jiminto) presented itself. Each time that Yoshida returned to Ohiso, I followed him there, stayed at a nearby inn, and kept an eye on his residence. Because of the dissolution of the Yoshida cabinet that happened soon afterwards, I was able to be near Miki Bukichi. Miki's residence at the time was in Tokyo's Sendagaya district and we would stop the car in front of his house. We would watch who came and left from the residence. I was upset because the senior, more experienced reporters had access to the residence while I did not. While I was forced to watch with disgust at my senior's style of work, I became resigned to the task of reporting on what kind of politicians came and left the residence.
However, at that time, Miki began his election tour of the country and began to explain the idea of the unification of conservatives. I didn't go to Tohoku, Hokkaido, Chugoku, Kyushu, or Shikoku but I did go around on most of his election campaign tour. Well, I suppose that the main reason I got to go was that the paper had the motivation to quickly raise up a young reporter, but the fact was that I was able to tag along for most of the tour. Miki's public speeches were mostly held in elementary school yards or public halls. While listening to his speeches, staying in the same inns, and eating meals with him, I had many opportunities to get to know him well.
Being a young reporter, I hung on every word of the important politician. He was a person who didn't crave power for himself and had worked hard to make Hatoyama the Prime Minister, but he didn't desire position for himself. He was really the shadow behind the real power holders but, anyhow, he soon passed away, what year it was I cannot remember.
At his death, the Miki-Kono faction became just the Kono faction. Every night and every morning, we reporters would besiege the Kono residence but could not get him to speak frankly. More than that, I'm sure my ability was part of the problem too, but I could not get him to let me close to him. Because of this, my work became tedious. During Miki's time, I was personally attached to him and his words and speeches were like my textbooks. During Kono's time, however (which was after the Japan-USSR negotiations), I undertook to report on the Kono faction but it just didn't go well at all. People really do have an affinity for some personalities over others, don't they!? There are some politicians and reporters who get along well with each other but Mr. Kono didn't get along well with me at all. His powerful way of speaking especially bothered me. I know that he was a powerful politician and that the Sankei Shimbun was a small, weak paper and maybe that had something to do with it.
When I told my superior of the problems that came with this change of leadership, he told me to move and cover the Sato faction instead. This happened during the Kishi cabinet and Sato was the Finance Minister. Sato's home was in Awashima and I stayed at the Toei apartment building in Ikejiri. Sato's house was five minutes away by car, Fukuda Takeo's residence was about seven minutes away, and Hori Shigeru lived a mere three minutes from my apartment; it was a very advantageous location. My apartment was in a low-income rent dormitory, however, where you could only stay if you made less than 20,000 yen per month so, before long, I had to move to a normal dormitory.
That was about the time that I met Mr. Sato. Basically, every morning and every night I would visit his residence. Mr. Sato had a very taciturn personality and I am also not one to chatter away constantly so we got along well together. He took me under his wing and paid special attention to me. I came to understand what he was saying. He was not a direct speaker and used a distinct kind of Sato-language. This is an extreme example but, during the last meeting of the Ikeda cabinet, the biggest issue was that Sato might enter the cabinet. That morning, Sato went to consult with Mr. Yoshida and came back to his office in Tameike where his people had gathered, and he told them that he would probably enter the cabinet. (At least several people who were present told me that he said as much.) That night, at a press conference at the Sato residence, however, he said that he didn't want to join the cabinet. I wasn't at the press conference because I was busy writing a story about him joining the cabinet. When I arrived at his residence and asked what had happened, everyone claimed that Sato had said, "I don't want to do it." I said, "Doesn't that really mean that he will do it?" I further warned them saying, "if you get this story wrong it will be terrible for you!" By that time, however, there were some who had already left without hearing my words and they wrote articles saying that Sato would not be given a cabinet seat. You see, "I won't do it," and, "I don't want to do it," were two very different statements to Sato. As we got to know each other, Mr. Sato and I developed a tacit understanding of each other.
Before that time, as I've written in my book, during Ikeda's reelection campaign, there was infighting in the Sato faction. What I mean is, when Kishi quit, it would have been all right for Sato to announce his candidacy except that to have a person from the same faction succeed his "brother", is not the Japanese way. Therefore, Sato was the first to line up behind the Ikeda campaign. The Sato faction took the initiative and the Kishi faction, of course, agreed to follow, while Ono Banboku was the candidate for the other side. There is a legendary story that Kishi had written that he would cross over and support Ono. Whether it was based on that or not I don't know, but some in the Kishi faction decided to stay behind Ikeda while some went over to the Ono camp and some backed Ishii.
At that time, the Sato faction was the first to support Ikeda. Therefore, most in the Sato faction thought that Sato should challenge Ikeda when he came up for reelection. At this time, I was grabbed by Tanaka Kakuei of the Diet who said, "Hey Kusuda, please come to my office." When I went, he told me, "I don't agree with the talk that I hear of Sato challenging Ikeda next time." He was obviously sincere when he told me this. "Ikeda is strong," he said, referring to how he had fought back from his low position around the 1960 Security Treaty incident. "He puts forward plans like the Income Doubling Plan, he is very popular." Tanaka also said about Ikeda, "to challenge him now would be poor strategy I think. However, my opinion is in the minority." Kakuei was already in the cabinet and at 38 years old had been the Postal Minister so he had real power but wasn't as powerful as he would be later. But, as a manager in the Sato faction, he was one of the key government figures. The others were all in disagreement about the problem of whether to challenge Ikeda or not, so Tanaka said, "I think it would be best not to oppose him next time. and since you have Sato's ear, please inquire about it with him." I said that I would.
The timing was such that I decided to try to talk with Sato the next day when he went to Ohiso. I waited the next morning until Sato said, "hey, do you want to ride together?" I said, "yes, please." His secretary got in front and for one hour each way I rode with Sato. While his wife was serving lunch to Mr. Yoshida, I went outside with the driver and waited in a fish store in Ohiso. On the way back, I had my opportunity to tell Mr. Sato about Mr. Tanaka's opinion. When he heard what I had to say, he replied, "Yes, I feel the same way, I don't plan to run next time. It's still early on, though, it's months away still." I asked if it was ok to write a story about this sometime and he said that it was but that I should be prudent.
Soon after that, Sato was asked to attend the Nara prefectural conference. I asked the paper and received permission to go along. The bullet trains back then were different than they are now, the private rooms were just one large room. In this train compartment, I asked Sato if we could have an "informal train discussion" about the subject that we had discussed previously, and if I could then write an article about it. He consented and we talked, but I made sure that he understood my intention that the conversation was on the record. Kimura Takeo was also there, it was at the time of an election defeat but he had been Sato's Minister of International Trade and Industry. The Marshall, we later called him "The Marshall," asked what we were speaking about and I told him that I had just received permission to write in this informal setting about Mr. Sato's intention not to run in the upcoming party presidential election. When he heard this, Kimura became incensed and said that granting an interview on that subject was a stupid thing for Sato to do. "It's not necessary to give such signals to the enemy before the war even begins, isn't that the same as running away in the face of the enemy? I would have appreciated it if you first asked permission from your comrades; that's the natural thing to do." Kimura was one who would freely speak his mind and when he thus expressed his feelings to Sato, Sato replied, "It's all right, Kusuda came here to write the story so don't worry about it," and turned away.
That day, in Nagoya, the branch chief of the Asahi Shimbun (who had previously been in charge of reporting on the Sato faction) came onto the train. Thus, even though I had been having an informal talk with Sato to that point, it turned into a press conference with the two of us reporting. In fact, the branch chief basically took over. I disinterestedly asked about Sato's intention not to run but, because the branch chief was sure to report this to his paper's central politics department, both of our articles became extremely simple. As to the layout, I made half of the interview the top story and put an explanation next to it that Mr. Ikeda lasting two more years was a large issue for the government.
That was how it went, my scoop was that I understood "Sato-language." Even in joint interviews, the essence of what he was saying would come welling up to me in the meaning of his words, with the help, of course, of Hori, Tanaka, and others in his group. I felt a great debt toward him. Really, this was still during Ikeda's first two years and his popularity wasn't exactly soaring so, if Sato had run, it would have been an interesting fight, but this matter had the effect of crushing Sato's challenge in advance. Ikeda won by a slim margin, and the situation in the government changed. Then, on December 25 (Christmas night), Showa 38 (1964), (I've also written this in my book) when I went to Sato's residence, there weren't any other reporters there. Usually there would be a few there having informal conversations with him. When he saw me, he said, "come over here," and invited me to come into the cafeteria where he was doing card fortune telling while the television was on. (Fortune telling was a hobby of his) (Do you know the game Solitaire? If that goes well, all of the cards are linked, if poorly, some remain.)
I asked if he was alone and he said, "yes, my wife went to a party at Aso Kazuko's place but sometimes I like to just relax at home so I didn't go." He then invited me to go out drinking with him. It was Christmas time when, at the Ginza and Shinjuku, people would put on straw hats and make a clamor with firecrackers in an American manner, (Actually, whether that's part of American culture or not I don't know.) but Christmas is the time of year to do that sort of thing. Anyway, that particular time of the season was the peak of the period when people loved to make a clamor outside. Therefore, not only newspaper reporters but salarymen in general would go party at various bars and other drinking places. I told Sato how, from time to time, while thinking that I should be driving home, I would come here instead.
At that point in history, the LDP party's presidential election was, effectively, the Prime Ministerial election; if one became president of the LDP, he would soon be made the Prime Minister. At least during the Hatoyama, Ishibashi, and Ikeda cabinets, the election within the party was the most important. In essence, one did not have to inquire to the outside world and announce one's policy platform. I (not to copy Kennedy's example) told Sato that from now on, Japan's candidates, including himself, would have to put forth a policy platform in front of the public as well as the party cadres. He said that he really felt the same as I about it. "Well, are you preparing for this eventuality," I asked and he said, "No, I've made no preparations." When I then said, "But, aren't there study sessions every day in meetings of the Sato faction," he replied that, "meetings of politicians are mostly about strategy and tactics, the work of most factions is concerned with the problems within the faction and the topic rarely turns to what policy line should be taken." When I mentioned that if that was the way things were, I could put together a team to come up with a plan for policy discussion, he asked, "would you do that for me?"
I tried to come up with like-minded people to help out. Because I thought that this kind of discussion would not work well at a shallow, surface level, I decided that it would be best to find generalists. At my fingertips were several excellent people at the Sankei Shimbun in the politics department. One was named Sagawa Takeo. He was a Showa 28 graduate of Tokyo University's College of Letters. Then he went on a Fulbright Scholarship for a year and came to Sankei in Showa 29. From 35-36, he again did a foreign study on the Eisenhower Fellowship. He had just returned and had lectured to me on various U.S. political structures with the goal of convincing me that Japan should adopt similar institutions. One other person was Mr. Senda who afterwards became a lecturer at Tokai University, But he was also a political reporter. Also, since it was not best to have everyone from the same paper, I got Mr. Mitsumoto who I had been in touch with. He later became Tanaka Kakuei's secretary but it didn't work out well and he quit to start a paint store. He had that kind of eclectic talent. Those three and I made up the team and I thought that that was about the maximum number.
I told Sato that I had put together a team but, at first, the arguments of us reporters were all theory, like a student paper, and we had to learn how to put forth a specific policy. When we asked Sato to send a politician who understood policy, he designated Aichi Kiichi and told him about us. Then, Mr. Sato prepared a work place for us. It was the now defunct Grand Hotel, in the lower, official area of the building, room 414.
In Showa 39 (1965), On January 15 (Coming of Age Day), we began our deliberations. Because our discussions were so broad and diverse, we needed to add people to our group. Also, because we were all reporters, we thought it would be best to get government officials, professors, and/or business people to help gather data, collect the important issues together, and have intensive discussions on them. Because Aichi was good at information gathering, and because we did all of this slowly, on the side of our regular jobs, we couldn't do it every day. We would definitely meet at least once a week, bring together discussion material and repeat this every week. During the long Golden Week vacation in May, with the help of a friend, we got to go to the Hitachi Manufacturing plant in Koishikawa. There, together in a dormitory, we all took a retreat together. In a four day intensive discussion, we brought forward all of the points that had surfaced up until then and rearranged them. We put them together there, and since we, of course, had no word processor back then, everyone wrote them out by hand and made copies on a duplication machine.
We had named the project the "Sato Operation" on January 15. Aichi abbreviated this name and called this retreat the "S. Op. Camp." However, this S. Op. had to work secretly in order to conceal its existence. Correspondence with Sato had to be written, and when necessary, Aichi would verbally communicate between us. We announced our conclusions on June 27 under the title, "The Fight for Tomorrow," and we passed it out to all of the newspapers.
Here, this is what I'm putting together now, the Sato Eisaku Collection of Speeches. In it, I put this speech first. It looks at the world, starting about the end of the Cold War period. It is about the thinking behind the government, economy, and foreign relations. This is the process that Sagawa had promoted up until then; there had been many U.S.-Japan leadership conferences and talk about Okinawa had surfaced, but Japan hadn't asked for the return of Okinawa. Sagawa said that we should tell people that if Sato became Prime Minister, he would ask for Okinawa back. When I thought about it, although much talk had surfaced about Okinawa, the government hadn't once asked for it back. But, in reality, we never wrote that down in our conclusions. After we suggested it to Sato, he said that he did not want to use specific foreign policy issues in the election. Because he asked us not to write about it, we refrained but, during his candidacy press conference, he did talk about how he would ask for the return of Okinawa. But then, in the party election, he lost by four votes. S. Op. broke up, and Aichi was appointed Minister of Education for the Ikeda cabinet. When we were about to completely disband S. Op., however, Sato asked us not to break it up. He said that he wanted to wait to see what would happen next.
When he asked us to continue the group, we asked who we should appoint as the new captain and he gave us the name of Nishimura Eiichi. Nishimura was in the Ministry of Transportation at the same time as Sato and Sato said that Nishimura was a technician and the two had been very close. He wasn't the kind of person that would freely discuss international relations theory or that sort of modern subject that was popular in schools of the day and for Sato he was... I know it seems strange, but Sato didn't simply recommend him. I think he said that, "Nishimura would definitely be best." At that time, Ikeda lost a vote of no confidence and both Kawashima and Miki Takeo became moderators. Although it took some maneuvering, in the end, Sato was nominated and became Ikeda's successor. With that, my job in the background of anonymity ceased to exist and I thought that I could now give my full attention to my real job of newspaper reporting.
When the cabinet began, the first Secretary to the Prime Minister was Mr. Ooichi who had been in MITI for a long period of time and had naturally become a very servile person. Then, at the end of Showa 40 (1966), the cabinet was disbanded and Sato won again. From then on, his relations with the media worsened, reporter clubs can be bad that way.
As you know, the cabinet had its chief secretary as its official spokesman and at first, Fukunaga, a descendant of Yoshida, was the chief secretary. He got sick and the vice-secretary, Kimura, was promoted. Neither one could get in close with the media guys who thought that people who were only politicians or bureaucrats weren't worth much; basically, it was a bad situation. Added to that, even though I was an outsider, I had written all of Sato's speeches; from his first speech entering the race to his acceptance speech, and afterwards his first speech declaring his policy beliefs. Therefore, I was very free to enter the official residence as I pleased, but I didn't go to meetings and conferences.
When we were in Okinawa, (at this time the chief secretary was Hashimoto), Hashimoto called me up and asked me to come look at a speech. I think it was at the Otani Hotel. I went there early and studied the speech throughout the morning. The phrase that, "as long as the whole of Okinawa was not returned, the end of the war will not be over," was half-way through the paper. When we had landed in Okinawa, the phrase hadn't been in the speech, but during a rally for LDP supporters in Okinawa Prefecture, the phrase was first used. He told me to first take the meaning of this phrase and then figure out how to say it better from then on. I counseled Hashimoto to let me have a shot at it and he did. I ended up only making a few corrections to it and that's what happened on the trip.
Soon, talk began to surface about the prudence of appointing a chief private secretary from the mass media who had been part of S. Op. Ikeda's chief private secretary Ito had been a Nishinihon Shimbun man. It wouldn't have been good to appoint someone from one of the big three newspapers, Asahi, Yomiuri, and Mainichi, because they had too much rivalry between them. Anyway, the discussion turned to my appointment. Sato's wife Hiroko asked Miyazawa Kiichi who, in turn, asked Mizuno Shigeo of the Sankei Shimbun if it would be possible for me to leave. You see, Mr. Miyazawa was close to Mr. Mizuno, Mizuno had tried to become the ambassador to Argentina in the past.(What was that woman's name, there's an Argentine opera singer who is the wife of the president, her name has slipped my mind) Anyway, Mizuno had said, "please send me to be ambassador to that woman's country." He was probably at least half-way joking, of course, but there was a time when he went drinking every night with Miyazawa, so, because of their close relationship, when Miyazawa called Mizuno about me, he said, "one way or the other it'll only last a year or two until the government loses so go ahead."
He said to me, "take a sabbatical during your time in the government," but I replied, "I will go, but more than that, I want you to allow me to completely quit the paper." You see, the chief private secretary of the Prime Minister has to be without other commitments. I couldn't let other reporters believe that I was biased toward another paper. I had just bought a ready-built house so I had monthly payments to make and I asked Mizuno for my retirement money. He gave me 2,000,000 yen in retirement pay and with that, I became Sato's chief private secretary. That's how it happened.
Tanaka: I've read your book, Chief Secretary, and I have some questions that I'd like to ask about it. Especially, today I am interested in a little bit about the security treaty and Japan-China relations. First of all, I wrote in my book, Japan-China Relations, that the way Sato's early administration looked at China was not as negative as China afterwards claimed in its criticisms of the cabinet. Actually, Sato looks to have attempted to improve relations with China. Considering the S. Op. matter that you just mentioned, what were you thinking about China at the time?
Kusuda: Before the Okinawa issue came forward, we first discussed our foreign policy toward China. Our professed goal was that we must improve relations. We discussed it... in fact, Sato, from the time that he was Minister of Transportation, was interested in the subject in a farsighted way. When he became Prime Minister, there were other peripheral circumstances and he couldn't speak as openly as when he was a mere politician. When he received political authority, though, he made the China problem a priority. Therefore, what to do was hotly debated and we talked of a separation of politics and economics but the problem was that we needed relations in both areas. We said that it was probably impossible to separate them during the Ikeda administration but that it would happen during the Sato cabinet's tenure so we got down to the business of debating and discussing that separation.
Our minds were very much forward-looking but, no matter what, there was the ROC-Japanese Peace Treaty and the problems of the Yoshida letters so the talk on the subject went very stiffly during the Sato period. In the end, we hoped that Communist China would take the route of peaceful coexistence and shun nuclear armament, and we changed to the simpler, manageable line of deepening bilateral relations through immediate economic, cultural, and interpersonal relations. Sato was extremely concerned about this issue.
Tanaka: I'm just looking for your perception at that time when I ask this, but what was your perception of what influence the advancing of relations with China had on relations with the United States?
Kusuda: In Japan at that period we had what was called the "nightmare of the Foreign Ministry." One day, out of the blue sky, American and China were shaking hands, although that was only realized later. The objective condition of the base of U.S.-Japan relations was basically that Japan could not make a move until the U.S. did.
Tanaka: How fully did you realize U.S. intentions before the first Nixon shock that suddenly moved the period into the "nightmare" that you just spoke of? In my research, it seems that somehow, Aichi Kiichi, while he was Foreign Minister, heard that the U.S. was going to get together with China, but he says that he didn't think that it was possible. From where you sat, what kind of sense did you have of this period before the Nixon shocks?
Kusuda: Before the Nixon shocks?
Tanaka: Yes, before. What I mean is, the Nixon shock was July 15, 1971, so by April, what is called "ping-pong diplomacy" was beginning. How was it, from roughly the period just before that, when the Chinese team played with American ping-pong players?
Kusuda: As an issue of reality, it is difficult to get a good grasp on this period in question. Slowly, the internal public opinion was changing and I put together some discussion groups an international relations. Really, the young Tanaka and Nakajima Mineo were the organizers of them. Others, including Ishikawa Tadao and Eto Shinkichi got together many China specialists for the discussions. Anyway, these discussion groups were composed of very busy people and it was difficult to get them together on such short notice. Thus, they started later than planned. But from that point, with these discussions as a base, our thought was to create a theory with regard to Japan's government and foreign policy that would formally advise us on what to do about relations with China.
Tanaka: Discussion groups? Wasn't the beginning of those delayed until after the Nixon shock?
Kusuda: Yes, they began during chief cabinet secretary Takeshita's period. They were created during chief secretary Kimura's period, however. Therefore, when the question came up about opinions of the reversion of Okinawa, this was much earlier, it was decided at the leadership meetings of 1969. Before that, we realized that we had to read the situation from Japan's perspective and we first started to feel like Okinawa would be returned. I don't think that we had the power to determine the other issue. Including the Foreign Ministry, even if some individuals did anticipate the Nixon shock, in actuality, it was not discussed in official circles. The big issue was when America made the decision to return Okinawa, Japan didn't have the ability to examine what they meant with regard to American international policy and foreign relations with Asia.
Tanaka: Well, after the Nixon shock, (this has relation to the members of those discussion groups) during the middle of the so-called "Ahiru no Mizukaki" (concealed "under water" active negotiations) incident that happened in the Sato period. Regarding the Hori letter from this period, (and this is written about in some detail in Kishimoto's book) regarding this letter, Nakajima Mineo said that he wrote it, is that true?
Kusuda: Well, saying that he wrote it is a bit strong. Mr. Hori did ask me to write a draft and since I knew little about China, I had Nakajima Mineo go over my first draft... that much is true. But the version that Nakajima edited did not, in that form, become the Hori letter. Hori and Fukuda first proofed the document and it was decided that it would be sent by way of Mr. Minobe.
Tanaka: In Kishimoto's book, he published what he says is the Hori letter. Is it correct to assume that this is the final version of the letter?
Kusuda: I have that book but I don't have it here so I can't really say. I do have a copy of the real letter, though. I'm not a very organized person, however, so I'm not sure where it is.
Tanaka: In any case, when I do the historical research, I think I need to figure out the point in which it became Kishimoto's type... whether this version is the real one.
Kusuda: Well, as far as I can remember, this looks correct. Not that I recommended it but, as it turned out, he was Mr. Hori's secretary at the end. He was the secretary of the Speaker of the lower house.
Tanaka: Therefore, you think there is no reason to doubt him?
Kusuda: Yes, I think he would be in possession of the same things I have.
Tanaka: Would it be too much trouble to search for your copy of the letter?
Kusuda: I've been lazy since I was young. Dr. Umesao's book... what was it... Intellectual Production Techniques? I read that but it just didn't make sense to me.
Tanaka: Similarly, returning to the "Ahiru no Mizukaki" matter in Eto Bankichi's book, there is a discussion of a person named Eguchi Makiko. What kind of person was Eguchi?
Kusuda: I've never met Eguchi, as far as I can recall. There was a Diet member named Kogane Yoshiteru who came with Eguchi once but he has since passed on. When I was gathering news for the Sankei Shimbun, I met him... I'm not sure if you've looked at that or not.
Tanaka: Is that Sankei Shimbun meeting with Eguchi?
Kusuda: Yes, in a column called "Postwar History Revealed."
Tanaka: That's running now. It's been made into a book you know.
Kusuda: Yes, it's several volumes I think. The column that I am speaking of was this year in the Spring I think.
Tanaka: Oh really, I was in England all last year and wasn't keeping up with things.
Kusuda: I talked about the Okinawa reversion and Eguchi was later on. If you check with Sankei, they probably met with Eguchi. The reason that I'm not sure is that I was concentrating on the Okinawa reversion and those Sino-Japanese relations people (I think there was one named Nishiwaki Akira who is president of the Foundation for Economic Cooperation), he says that he won't speak but he is the key person to get into that group.
Tanaka: On the subject of relations with Okinawa, shall I tell you something I don't understand? At the time of China's representation in the UN, the end of Sato's period in office... was it September?... he made the decision not to change his policy, didn't he?! What was his frame of mind in this period? I think there were many with the opinion that he should have abstained from voting. Why do you think he decided not to alter his policy at that point?
Kusuda: Well, to put it emotionally, that was the postwar problem of others holding a grudge. We had the Chiang-Ishino proposal, signed the ROC-Japanese treaty, and had a proposal for the resolution of Albania; little by little, the state of affairs was becoming disadvantageous. At that time, the U.S.-China dialogue was already underway. Thus, even by a clear, objective counting of the votes, there was no way to win. This was really a matter for the Foreign Minister so Foreign Minister Fukuda met with Secretary Rogers at the time of a U.S.-Japan trade and economics conference where they discussed this issue. They discussed taking steps to work together and it became a reciprocal program. However, even though they looked at the situation from that objective viewpoint and tried hard on the prospect that they could win the "two-fold approach," there were only 15 or 16 neutral countries that hadn't made up their minds and even with all of them it would have been only enough to break even.
Because of this, Hori and Fukuda (who were old friends) decided to try to get Tanaka on their side, he was part of the Sato camp that had broken away. Hori, possibly under instructions from Sato, was told to call and have Fukuda return home without reaching a conclusion with Rogers. Then, he told me to call Fukuda. I understand this idea of me being the one to call very well. It would seem that the party, together, was calling and making the request.
Then, after I called, the situation changed yet again. I was the chief secretary and had good relations with Fukuda so Hori was told to call me because I could best relate the atmosphere in Tokyo in a benign way. Therefore, I called Fukuda and asked him to return without resolving the issue. Sato intended to make Fukuda his successor so he realized that it was important to keep him free of political injury. He said, "either way I'm quitting so I should take the brunt of this decision and shield Fukuda." I think Sato had genuine concern for him.
Tanaka: Do you think it was possible that he considered the vote during the meeting of the signing of the Okinawa reversion agreement? Or, more than that, as you said, was it a case of trying to avoid hurting his successor, Fukuda?
Kusuda: What time are you referring to?
Tanaka: The Nixon shock was in July so the UN vote was in September. The date that Sato made his decision was September 21. I think the Okinawa reversion approval was shortly thereafter.
Kusuda: That was because it was ratified the following year in May. Also, that was before the National Diet for Okinawa Reversion began to meet. After that, in the new year, it was still the period when the after-effects of the issue continued to shake U.S.-Japan relations. In order to dilute the tension, he made Tanaka Minister of MITI and stopped buying some textile products. In short, because textile businesses were mostly small and medium sized, he was able to treat the domestic situation gently and respond to Nixon's demands. From soon after it opened, the Sacramento Summit had a homey feel to it.
Tanaka: Would you say, then, that the textile issue was much more important than relations with Okinawa? MITI Minister Tanaka quickly resolved the textile issue. On the textile matter, Ambassador Ushiba wrote in his memoirs that Alexis Johnson said that if the trade issue went poorly, so would the Okinawa reversion issue, if you look at it from the position that America could refuse to pass it. If looked at from that action, do you think it's correct to conclude that the textile issue was more important?
Kusuda: Well ,it is true that it leans largely that way. What month was it ratified in? I can't exactly recall, only that it was sooner than in Japan.
Tanaka: The lower house approved it on November 24.
Kusuda: The reversion agreement was passed on December 22, right? But, the related bill became a continued deliberation. In that bill, the day for reversion was first set. On March 15 the forms were exchanged, right?
Tanaka: I should have more fully investigated the dates before I came. During the time of the UN representation issue, to the extent that you participated, if it was a situation where you felt you would lose something important, did you recognize that it would be best if you took the fall instead of Fukuda?
Kusuda: Yes, I recognized that. From then on, I felt that if we acted with humanity and justice toward Taiwan, it would have life into the future and it would turn out to be a positive result for Japan-Taiwan relations.
Tanaka: Turning to the security guarantee, during the Sato cabinet, there were various defense plans discussed, but, in general, what kind of a realization of a threat did Sato have in his mind? What were, if there were any, the threats to Japanese security that he perceived?
Kusuda: As you might think, those were the Soviet Union and the Chinese Communists. Also, for the security of Asia as a whole, that the U.S. keep bases on Okinawa. But, he realized that in order for those U.S. bases to function effectively, Okinawa had to be returned to Japan so Japanese citizens would cooperate. Without that cooperation, the bases would not necessarily run so smoothly. Also, there was the problem of the furtherance of nuclear science on Okinawa. For example, Sato didn't know what kind of nuclear capability was on Okinawa and felt that it was probably ok not to keep it there anymore. From the start of the negotiations, this issue about the Okinawa bases not losing their effectiveness was a key point.
Tanaka: In the case of the Soviet Union and communist China, which did he feel was the larger threat.
Kusuda: I wonder... , when you speak of a threat, is it military threat or political threat... I would think that China, communist China would have probably been his biggest threat.
Tanaka: In the Sato government of the 60s, how much of a realization of the possibility of military attack was there?
Kusuda: Not much.
Tanaka: In the late 70s, early 80s, for example, you heard some talk of the Soviet Union trying to occupy Hokkaido. Was this theory of threat...
Kusuda: The talk about the Soviet Union taking Hokkaido came out during that Fukuda cabinet, when the Japan-China peace treaty was formally worked out. During the Sato cabinet, there was absolutely no talk of the Soviets going to Hokkaido. there were various discussions about the public opinion of who Japan's political enemies were and the Diet, Okada Haruo of the Socialist party brought up debate about whether Japan did or did not have potential enemies. In any case, it was politically impossible to say that Japan definitely had potential enemies.
Murata: The three arrow plan became clear at this time, didn't it? I think it was Okada. At that time, are we to understand that Prime Minister Sato had absolutely no knowledge of it? When the Diet opposition party questioned him about this plan moving forward in the SDF, was he terribly surprised?
Kusuda: This was the realm of the bureaucracy so it really wasn't a political concern. You see, SDF information was not directly reported to the Prime Minister. That would be different if a National Defense Council had been opened, but, basically, security treaty issues were under the jurisdiction of the Foreign Minister.
Tanaka: What about members of the Self-Defense Agency coming directly to the official residence and consulting with the Foreign Ministry's North American Bureau security people when the Sato cabinet was discussing the security treaty?
Kusuda: There was none of that. I don't think there is any of that today either, is there?
Tanaka: Probably not.
Kusuda: Policy decisions, policy decisions about the security treaty did not center on the self-defense forces.
Tanaka: In the 1969 joint declaration of Sato and Nixon regarding Okinawa reversion, there were terms about prior consultation regarding Korea and Taiwan. According to the talk we have heard from the SDF relating to this, they had done a lot of estimates about a possible emergency on the Korean peninsula. They inquired that they had thought about what they would do if there was advance consultation in such a case, and I guess they also told this to the Foreign Ministry and this kind of work came to the attention of the Prime Minister's office around the time of the terms on Korea and Taiwan. I wonder if this talk of , "what would you do in that situation," ever got to the Prime Minister himself.
Kusuda: No one ever asked him that. Basically, you see, the Korea/Taiwan terms weren't actually in the joint declaration itself. When it was reported in the papers, I came out against it. I was in charge of the press club so I said that it would be best to wait until this was reported to the Diet. In other words, if the terms are going to be in it at that point, isn't that all right? The Foreign Ministry was troubled by the wording of it and it took them over ten days to decide on it. The vice-minister and executives gathered at the Prime Minister's official residence with the chief cabinet secretary. When we allowed the press club in, I knew that this was something decided by an official conference and I couldn't say no, so I consented to let them run the story. They put in the words of the terms just as they had been sent by the Foreign Ministry.
Tanaka: What kind of discussion took place among the executives when the articles were put in? Was it that, "we should put the terms in because the Korean peninsula is so important to Japan's security," or rather that, "America said that even though Japan doesn't want to say this, if they don't, the reversion of Okinawa negotiations won't go well, so there is no way around it. We don't like it, but we'll put it in"?
Kusuda: It was the latter. Concentrating on the Foreign Ministry and U.S. ambassador, the advanced preparations for what to do in the event of a situation on the Korean peninsula (especially regarding the U.S. 2nd division) had already taken place. The U.S. felt that Korean peninsula was their biggest worry, and the Diet had discussed wide ranging Far East issues and even before that, on the occasion of the Taiwan Straits crisis, the government had answered in the Diet that the security treaty did apply. We didn't persist in the Taiwan Straits problem much but this came at us all at once, accompanied by the Korean Peninsula situation. I don't have a recollection of the Taiwan Straits issue causing much debate in Japan. Only whether or not Japan could give support based on the security treaty to UN forces, basically the U.S. army, in Korea.
Tanaka: In the event of prior consultation, what kind of answer would be given, at the highest levels?
Kusuda: "Yes." The tatemae is that if there is a "yes", there is conceivably also a "no", and it would have been bad to crush that ideal. When we told our feelings about that to the U.S. side, they agreed to put it in the treaty, and said that they would tell that specifically to the press club In order to do that, the Undersecretary of State held a press briefing and told the reporters to first read Sato's speech before the briefing began. He appealed to them that this was very important, (I'm not sure if he used that word or not.) but he said that it was the same as the joint declaration.
Murata: Back to Okinawa, Wakaizumi Kei was a professor at Kyoto Industrial University and, at the time, played the role of Prime Minister Sato's "brain." According to Wakaizumi's memoirs that he wrote last year, even after Okinawa's reversion, he thought there was a secret agreement between Sato and Nixon in which the Japan side recognized that the U.S. military carried nuclear weapons in Japan. Wakaizumi, completely on his own from the Foreign Ministry, mediated the negotiations with Kissinger. In an effort to exclude the Foreign Minister, they advanced the talks with just the four of them. He has written that it was at the 69 summit that the Prime Minister and President exchanged letters. I think the Foreign Minister announced later that it had been only a private citizen's opinion. To the extent that you, yourself took part, did you actually see or hear anything about that situation, or nothing at all? What about these things?
Kusuda: We appointed Wakaizumi to be a special envoy so it is true that he had discussions with Nixon on occasion. You see, that was because I set things up for him. However, we had an agreement between us to keep those things secret. I haven't said or written anything about them until now. But, Wakaizumi wrote about why he changed his mind. It seems that Kissinger wrote about a special envoy named Yoshida. Everyone in Japan knew that that was Wakaizumi Kei but there was no evidence to prove it. What I can say is that he wrote that at the end, the two entered a small room and exchanged notes. The American side says that it doesn't know what happened to that piece of paper. In other words, they are holding on to it for later, When the deadline expires to publicly open it, maybe it will come out. There's not much chance of it coming out from the Japanese side first. Sato probably burned his with a match, or didn't tell even his family about it, either way, its definitely not in the Prime Minister's official residence. As for my interpretation, I say that it was a private note between Nixon and Sato and even if it was produced today, it would not have been binding to the next government in power in Japan.
Murata: Did you hear anything about that memo directly from Prime Minister Sato?
Kusuda: Nothing. Sato never told me anything about it and I don't think he wrote anything about it in his journal either.
Murata: And you've also never heard anything about it from other close associates?
Kusuda: But you see, if I didn't know something, there's no way anyone else would have. Sato and Wakaizumi's arrangements and phone intermediation was all done by me. The secretariat and Foreign Ministry people knew nothing of it. That's why when I saw the book I said, "Huh, all this happened?" Wakaizumi hasn't even said anything to me about it. As a political scientist, what does that make you think about it, Mr. Tanaka?
Tanaka: By what I read in that book, I'm sure there are still other things that he still has to write, but, I felt that what he wrote had at least a measure of truth to it. Especially that he would dare write such a thing. After writing all of that I wouldn't think that he would have any reason to lie. But, even Wakaizumi did not see what happened in the room. Sato and Nixon have died and Kissinger probably wasn't in the room either.
Murata: But doesn't he write that Kissinger entered the room and took the memo?
Tanaka: Afterwards, as Mr. Kusuda said, it was probably filed in America, So, after 10 more years we'll know for sure if it will be had or not.
Kusuda: I don't know if you saw it or not but there is an NHK hour and a half special program that I've been on three times or so. Their information gathering team focused on that question and tried to turn something up. The designated reporter went to the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff headquarters where the chairman told him that they should ask scholars in Japan.
Tanaka: I regret that this is another vague line of questioning but, as you know, the three non-nuclear principles came out of the Sato cabinet. Regarding the third principle, "don't bring them into Japan with you," especially after Reichauer's announcement, various opinions surfaced in the 80s. Did you ever think about what the meaning of that phrase was when it was first part of the initial "three principles"?
Kusuda: The phrase, "three non-nuclear principles," first came out, at least from Sato's mouth, at the agreement for the reversion of Ogasawara when he answered the JSP member, Narita Tomomi's question by saying that Ogasawara would be the same as the main islands and not allow the bringing of nuclear weapons, or recognize the right to do so. That was the first place where he said that it would be the same as on the "mainland." He came up with the actual words himself but I wrote the phrase in the next year's government policy speech in the Diet that, "Today, we are living in a nuclear age." At the time, I had solicited help from Wakaizumi, I consulted him about exactly what "nuclear age" meant. Our original text read, "don't make, don't possess (nuclear weapons)" I didn't go as far as to write "don't bring them in" in the text. At the same time, Sato said that the nuclear problem was important so we should show our rough draft to Fukuda, who then consulted the Committee on General Affairs. When it was said that Japan's nuclear policy was made in this manner, Ikeda Masanosuke had already died. He put forth the argument, "why are there two standards? If you mean that they can't bring them to Japan, why not write it down?" The people in that session agreed and after the cabinet met again to rethink things, two or three cabinet members led by Nakasone, said, "that's right, we should put in the phrase, 'shall not bring.'" At that, it was added to the end of the agreement.
Tanaka: At that time, what did everyone think was meant by saying that there would not be permission granted to bring them into Japan?
Kusuda: I understand, "don't make," and, "don't possess." I guess the third one meant that it was not allowed for the U.S. military to bring nuclear weapons into Japan. I don't think people went as far as to realize that there many warships were already armed with nuclear weapons. In short, the gist of it was that we don't have them and the U.S. can't bring them in.
Tanaka: In that case, when you consider that Mr. Nakasone endorsed this wording as better than before, then he would have suggested the expulsion of any U.S. aircraft carrier that came to Japan loaded with nuclear weapons. It seems that what people have said afterwards shows that he wouldn't have actually gone that far.
Kusuda: That becomes a problem later. There is what was called the Laroque testimony which said that aircraft carriers docking in Japan had nuclear weapons aboard. The talk was that this wasn't about the third principle, it was the 2.5 principle. Thus, the way that the three principles themselves were worded was changed unilaterally, that's harmonious, isn't it? At that, the JSP thought that this was just great and proposed a resolution saying that this will not do and that this is a Sato cabinet policy that will not be binding in future foreign relations. I felt that this was just like the many times that we had to adopt a "free hand" policy and roll with the punches, and Sato felt the same. He asked me what was best to do so I consulted with Wakaizumi again. It's clearly prudent to associate his name with this, he advocated these four things: non-nuclear weapons, maintaining the U.S.-Japan security treaty, peaceful use of nuclear energy, and nuclear reduction. It would have been better to have written these into a government policy speech from the start but until the JSP started talking about its resolution, it was unnecessary to write it down. I only wrote the Sato cabinet policy toward non-nuclear states. Because it looked impossible to deny that there would be a Diet resolution, in consultation with Wakaizumi, I answered that, really, we were all the same in wanting the three principles in the security treaty. The Diet resolution washed away everything else at the time.
Tanaka: I am again returning to Wakaizumi's story, when I hear your story, it seems that Wakaizumi's opinions had influence in the Sato government's treatment of the security treaty.
Kusuda: With regard to the nuclear issues, yes.
Tanaka: How much importance should we place on the input of the Foreign Ministry?
Kusuda: At that time, there were no consultations with the Foreign Ministry.
Tanaka: Thus, from the standpoint of the Foreign Ministry, they wouldn't understand why things happened this way?
Kusuda: They would have no idea. Usually, the gist of the Diet reply is basically the same as the manuscript brought by the Foreign Ministry. However, during my time, we'd receive the material and stay up all night summarizing it to make it easy for Sato to read, then he'd have it read in the plenary session. If we didn't do that, it would all come at us in the morning. There is no way that he could read it all while eating breakfast. Therefore, the night before, we would arrange it all. We had to score his answers to Diet questions... "If it's a Socialist member do this, if it's a Democratic Socialist do this, while you're answering their questions you must put forth your government policy. In the Diet, you can't refuse everything that you're asked. To some extent, there is a mutual score-keeping going on. You do that planning and arranging, bring the important things from the Foreign Ministry to the Secretary and ask if the logic of it is all right. If it is, Sato says it using the phrases and words I give him. He really appreciated that... reading and writing memo's for him, although I wasn't very good at it.
Tanaka: Did you write all of Prime Minister Sato's speeches?
Kusuda: 21 of them. All the Diet speeches were written by me. But it's not like I wrote every word and phrase in them. In other words, I took responsibility for what came up from the various ministries. Naturally, though, while entering things from a historical or international perspective or writing political ideas, I would say, "this is the policy for this year, so we have to enter all of the ministries' policies into it." I did that because it had an influence on the final result.