Murata: First of all, I would like to confirm the particulars of your career. Did you enter the Asia bureau secretariat in Showa 46?(1971)
Nakae: Yes, before that I was in the secretariat of the Paris Embassy. I was the representative stationed at UNESCO.
Murata: Then you returned to the Foreign Ministry Asia bureau and became vice-chief in Showa 49(1974), a bureau chief one year later in 1975, and until you were transferred in Showa 53, you were bureau chief, right? So basically, from Showa 46-53, you were at the center of policy making in the Asia bureau, right.
Nakae: That is correct.
Murata: And from June of Showa 59 until your retirement in 62 you were Ambassador to China. Among the career Foreign Ministry officials, if we can assume that there was a "China faction," you got in at the first step with language training, correct?
Nakae: No, that's not right at all. No, I wasn't in the China faction and had studied no Chinese. As you see from my credentials, I took my tests in French and my first assignment was Paris. Including that first time I went and the time I was the UNESCO representative, I've worked in France two times. So I was more involved in the French faction of the Foreign Ministry.
From the 1967 Tet Offensive until 1969, I was stationed in Vietnam and after that, when I wondered where I would go next, I was reassigned to the Asia bureau. I'm not sure, but I think that was because I had been serving in Vietnam. My return to the Asia bureau was the beginning of my dealings with China.
Because one of the ingredients in my appointment to be ambassador to China was my seven year experience in the Asia bureau in which we dealt with the problem of the recognition and normalization with China, as well as the Sino-Japanese Treaty of Peace and Friendship, my appointment as ambassador was completely by chance. It had almost no relation to my credentials up to that point. I wasn't a China specialist and had performed no service speaking Chinese.
Murata: In connection, if I might gather some information about specific personnel, when you returned to the Asia bureau secretariat, who was the Asia bureau chief?
Nakae: Sunobe Yozo was bureau chief. Then came Yoshida Kanzo bureau chief. His was a relatively short assignment and Takeshita became bureau chief next, and then myself.
Murata: And who was the ambassador to China before you were assigned.
Nakae: Ambassador Katori. Afterwards he became ambassador to the USSR and then he retired.
Murata: And your successor was Ambassador Hashimoto?
Nakae: Right after me was Nakashima Toshijiro who became a Supreme Court justice, then Hashimoto.
Murata: So these people who became ambassadors to China before and after you weren't necessarily China specialists, were they? With the exception of Hashimoto.
Nakae: Even he was in the English section and had only briefly been the China section chief. The ones who had been China specialists from the start were the first ambassador, Ogawa, (the second one, Sato, was in the French department with me) and the third, Yoshida Kanzo, who had been an exchange student in China and spoke Chinese. Katori was next and he spoke German, then me with French and Nakashima and Hashimoto with English. So basically, those who had entered desiring to serve in China had still not become ambassador. Afterwards, however, that would become more common.
Soeya: So when you entered the Secretariat it was 1971, was that just after the Nixon shock?
Nakae: Immediately after it. I may have not yet received the official command to return to Japan, but I did receive unofficial notice while I was in Paris; I was told to return to the Asia bureau. On about July 15 while I was thinking about getting packed, I heard about the Nixon shock and I remember thinking that the world had now become more interesting. Soon afterwards, I returned to Japan.
Soeya: When you say "immediately after," are you speaking of July or August?
Nakae: I returned in July. I heard about the Nixon shock in July; I believe I was at lunch in Paris with the former Foreign Minister of South Vietnam and after we had talked about Vietnam for a while, he said that it looked like Nixon would be visiting China. I remember him saying that with that visit, the Vietnam problem would be solved.
Then I returned home wondering whether I would first work on China or Vietnam issues but my first trip was to Mongolia. This was extremely interesting, with that trip, talks began on Japan-Mongolia normalization and we achieved normalization with Mongolia before China. Most people aren't aware of that fact. When the first Mongol ambassador got to Japan, I remember that there was a leak to the effect that he felt that even though Mongolia had normalized before China, his delegation was not treated very well. (Laughter) I think that kind of period-specific relationship existed.
Soeya: Is it correct to assume that the normalization with Mongolia was also influenced by the Nixon shock? Or was it proceeding forward before that happened?
Nakae: I wonder. I don't know the answer to that. Only that from before the Nixon shock there were signs to that effect from the Mongolian side. Our side hadn't responded very favorably, but after the Nixon shock, it was obvious that the situation in Asia was going to change so we decided to receive their entreaties. This was before normalization so using the camouflage of a good will mission, I went to Ulaan Bataar and started by trying to feel out their true intentions. That time, although on the exterior a good will mission, was really an assignment to find out what exactly was at the center of the signs of their desire to normalize that we had received.
Soeya: On that occasion, did you give any special consideration to relations with
China or the U.S.?
Nakae: On our side there was none of that. More than that consideration, we wanted to find out this one thing about the Mongolian side: they had been saying for a long time that Japanese foreign relations were subservient to the U.S. and that Japan had no independent foreign policy; we said, "if Mongolia continues to have the same view, we have little desire to normalize with you but if your view of Japan is now more fair and impartial, we can talk." I gave them this one standard and said that if Mongolia refrained from its usual criticism of Japan at that year's UN general session, we would start considering normalization.
Then, when we saw the UN general session speeches, criticism of Japan was no longer in Vice Foreign Minister Lin Chin's speech. He said that this was for real so we quickly normalized with Mongolia. More about that was written in my book published by Yomiuri, Discussion of a Non-Conformist Ambassador. In the book, there is the inside story of the normalization process and, within that, there is information about the Mongolian case.
Soeya: Did China say anything about normalizing with Mongolia?
Nakae: It was still a bad period between China and Mongolia so they didn't say much.
Soeya: What was the atmosphere like in the Ministry after the Nixon shock just after you returned to the Asia bureau?
Nakae: It was incredible. It was a feeling like there was an exaggerated opposition between those who expressed their strong opinion that, "well, if this happened, we should normalize relations with China," and those whose opinion was, "why should we hurry and normalize with a communist country like the PRC?" We in the Asia bureau naturally felt that we should normalize while the America bureau and the UN bureau felt that the issue wasn't so simple. The Asia bureau had to argue against their negative argument that it would be wrong to give the Chinese people on Taiwan the cold shoulder when we had had such a close relationship up to that point. Shinsaku Hogen, the Vice Foreign Minister at the time, had, up to that point, been in the hawkish faction and because he said that there was no way that he would abandon Taiwan, Taiwan advocates in the Ministry probably thought that everything was all right. However, Mr. Hogen made a 180 degree turn, said that he was, "making a wise change," and changed his mind. With that, suddenly normalization became imminent.
The Vice Minister probably had various reasons to change his mind at that point. His current state is not one in which he can be interviewed, but I think that he decided that the state of world affairs had changed. It must have been that he thought useless opposition wasn't worth it.
With this development, the most surprised and angry group was those in the government that aimed for Taiwan protection; up until that point, they had relied on the Vice Minister. Even though they had said that because the Vice Minister was high up in the Foreign Ministry, everything was all right, he had changed his mind on them. Mr. Tamaki Kazuro, a member of the now defunct Taka faction in the Diet complained bitterly saying, "we have a problem with you changing your mind even though we've done everything that you've asked up until now."
It was only when it looked as if U.S. policy toward China would change with Nixon's visit that the issue of UN representation became an extremely large goal. At the time, Foreign Minister Ohira often said, "if communist China is accepted into the UN, it's all right for Japan to change its policy toward China." Also, I think there was the thought that the voices of the groups opposing normalization with China could be quieted through linking it to the idea that because one of Japan's three pillars was working through the UN, if Taiwan lost its seat to the PRC, Japan's policy toward the PRC had to change. Just as Ohira expected, the PRC was given the China seat in the UN with an overwhelming majority of the vote. With this, he said that there was no reason to avoid changing the policy and in that way began the process of normalization.
Soeya: In that case, the fact of the PRC gaining the UN seat solved the opposition in the Foreign Ministry that you discussed before.
Nakae: That is correct. Those groups who opposed it probably continued their opposition but, in reality, they had lost their power. I think the issue of UN representation was a very large factor.
Soeya: You also mentioned Taiwan as a reason, after the Nixon shock was there any repulsion regarding America from the people who had said that Japan should not move quickly to normalize with China?
Nakae: I didn't hear anyone say that America had chosen to go to China and disregard Japan. In the Japanese government generally, there was no one with enough courage to complain about America.
Soeya: Even in the Foreign Ministry?
Nakae: There was a famous saying in the Foreign Ministry. "It is doubtful that America will forevermore be on Taiwan's side. One of these days it will need the PRC's approval." That had been said from the period of Ambassador Asaumi. It is only natural that people would think that. I don't think anyone was so unrealistic as to not think that.
Soon after the communist revolution, it was unclear whether the PRC would stabilize or not. Also, everyone considered the possibility of a counter-revolution. But as we watched, the Chinese revolution became a reality and we slowly understood that Taiwan would be unable to retake the continent. In Europe, England and France had recognized Taiwan but even if more countries recognized it, the chances of retaking the continent would not increase. Also, the communist regime on the continent slowly solidified and it became obvious that America would eventually change its allegience. On the other hand, because it needed Taiwan, America couldn't easily change and when they did, Ambassador Asaumi's nightmare was that it would be a sudden thing. Kissinger's visit to Beijing was like one of those bad dreams, I think.
Murata: After the Nixon visit to China was announced, was there a lot of criticism in the Foreign Ministry directed toward the North America bureau?
Nakae: No, I didn't hear much of that. To the extent of my experience, I haven't ever heard of criticism of the North America bureau. Rather, the UN bureau, until the end, mistakenly read the situation saying that the China representation would remain secure with Taiwan. Up to the day before the vote, they said that Taiwan could win. Because of that, the UN bureau received quite a bit of criticism after the fact with people wondering what they were thinking.
Murata: This is something that came out when I inquired to someone who was involved with the Foreign Ministry at the time, when I asked about the issues relating to China-Japan normalization, and the U.S.-China normalization that followed, I asked under the assumption that the Asia bureau was pushing forward Japan-China relations while the America bureau was more conservative. That person replied that because the Foreign Ministry is a vertically organized institution, Japan-China matters are the responsibility of the Asia bureau and the North America bureau should have kept busy with things related to America. Rather, the group that strongly opposed Japan-China normalization of relations was the Information Planning Department which doesn't have a specific area jurisdiction. Did you get the same impression?
Nakae: No, I didn't really have that impression. When I returned, it was the after-math of the Nixon shock so, really, I had to decide between two players. At length, the same time that I received a message telling me to return to the Asia bureau, a group from Tokyo came to Paris and said, "Mr., Nakae, it's going to be terrible for you when you return to the Asia bureau. Right now, the Foreign Ministry is completely split." I had been doing relaxing work in UNESCO and I didn't really know what had led up to the huge issues surrounding the Nixon shock. I definitely hadn't heard anything about this opposition by the investigation department or the information department that you just mentioned.
Murata: Specifically, while the normalization was being forged, it is known that some small groups formed. Did the four person group of Bureau Chief Yoshida, Section Chief Hashimoto, Bureau Chief Takashima and Section Chief Kuriyama become the nucleus of this?
Nakae: I really worked on Taiwan maneuvering so I didn't know many Beijing people but, those four were the Asia bureau chief, treaty bureau chief, treaty section chief, and China section chief so they, because of their positions, were naturals for that part. It wasn't simply a matter of saying, "let's make some small groups." Rather, if those who were for pushing normalization with China did so too loudly, it would excite those who were against it or who were wary of it. Because of this, we said that it would be best to find people to push this forward quietly, without a show. However, it had the opposite effect of arousing suspicion and fear and there may have been a reaction saying that we were only doing this for our own convenience.
At that time, Asia Bureau Chief Yoshida's instruction to me was, "you're in charge of the Taiwan side." He wanted me to work on Japan policy toward Taiwan, to predict what Taiwan would do as a result of normalization, to recommend what Japan should do in response, and also to decide what could be done to keep Taiwan's reaction as small as possible.
Soeya: Taketori, the Komeito party committee chief, brought over a rough draft of the China normalization in July. Did you see it.
Nakae: No, I never saw it.
Soeya: Was that something that someone from one department...
Nakae: Wouldn't that be something that was seen by those around Hashimoto?
Soeya: Is there anything special that you remember about that?
Nakae: I have a principle, just as I had during the Japan-China treaty negotiations, that I don't pay any attention to "interference" or things that are rumored outside of official channels. No matter how high up the person is, I ignore as interference anything he says off of the record. I've always operated on the principle of only seriously considering proposals and announcements made through proper channels.
Soeya: I would like to hear about Taiwan. Basically, Taiwan didn't respond well through this experience toward Japan, did it? In Japan's Taiwan policy what areas did you pay the most attention to? What were the main points?
Nakae: In a word it was saving face. The people of Taiwan aren't stupid. They understood that no matter how much they resisted this, they would be overcome by the rising tide of sentiment toward normalization with the PRC. But even though they understood this, they couldn't exactly just say "yes, yes, everything is fine with us." Basically, they resisted to the end in order to save face. They knew that there was nothing that they could do to stop the "wave of normalization" except for find a way to save face. Therefore, this preservation of their dignity and "face" was the most important thing I think.
Soeya: What did the Japanese side do to help them preserve that "face?"
Nakae: The story of the Taiwan negotiations is discussed quite thoroughly in The Approach to China, a book published by K.K. Bestsellers. Vice President Shiina had been to Taiwan. At first, when Shiina was asked to be the special envoy to Taiwan, the Taiwan side protested that they didn't need a special envoy if he was only coming to compel them to accept the situation, say "please don't take our normalization with Beijing the wrong way, or apologize saying, "there was nothing that we could do about it." Their outward reason for their repulsion of the envoy was that it was not necessary to send an envoy if Japan had already decided to cut off Taiwan and throw it away by normalizing with China due to the Tanaka/Ohira line. Anyway, at the same time... without doubt, the Taiwan side thought that they could use this opportunity of snubbing the dispatch of a big shot Japanese envoy to preserve face.
Mr. Shiina said at the time, "I won't be an envoy for children. I won't go unless you tell me exactly what I am to say when I get there." He complained quite a lot about the assignment but Tanaka Kakuei refused to tell him anything. "We'll decide when you get there so please get going," he said. With that, Shiina was very dissatisfied but felt that he had no choice so he went. The Taiwan side realized that if someone like Shiina was coming, it would be wrong to make him lose face and they showed concern for that fact.
That attitude was a very interesting, Asia-like way of solving the crisis. If you ask what part of it was Asia-like, I don't precisely know, but we had no idea what Shiina would say or whether saying it would make the leaders in Taiwan understand Japan's position or not, but both sides sort of mixed together and came up with a very good solution.
To elaborate on that conclusion, the Taiwanese knew well that normalization with China was done by Tanaka, Ohira, and a handful of other leaders but that the masses of the Japanese people continued to possess friendly and amiable feelings toward Taiwan. They put that belief in at the end of the declaration given at the time; "we believe that the citizens of Japan will continue to hold their feelings of friendliness toward Taiwan." I think that that one paragraph was the most important in the declaration. Through putting that into the end of the declaration, we avoided a large backlash from Taiwan over normalization with the PRC.
More specifically, Taiwan did not attack Japanese tankers going through the Taiwan Straits, did not confiscate the businesses of Japanese nationals on Taiwan, did not restrain Japanese citizens, or any other retaliatory measures. That was because they felt that Japanese citizens still loved them and that this problem was only the responsibility of the single Tanaka faction. This was also similar to the compensation given at the time of normalization.
Murata: When special envoy Shiina went, you say that he had little guidance from Prime Minister Tanaka. Was there anything from the Foreign Minister saying, "Shiina, please say this."?
Nakae: No, nothing. This was a political issue of the highest degree so the authorities in charge could find no fault with it.
Murata: About "the Japanese people believe" paragraph, did Shiina and Chiang Ching kuo put that in for political reasons?
Nakae: That kind of specific discussion never took place between Shiina and Chiang. I think that that is an interesting point. They didn't have the level of dialogue to say things like, "it would really help us out if you would go back and do this..." They were both distinguished people and without doing anything specific, they determined Japan's state of affairs, and Chiang related what Taiwan was feeling, that communism would definitely not take root in Taiwan or mainland China, it would surely fail. With that kind of vague talk, things were left completely up in the air. However, the concept that Taiwan only regarded the Tanaka faction as its enemy, and not the Japanese citizens, was very similar to when China did not demand war reparations from Japan saying that a handful of militarists, and not all Japanese people, were responsible. It seems to be a Chinese way of thinking.
Murata: Did the Taiwan Foreign Ministry put that in?
Nakae: Yes, of course. There was nothing from our side saying that a particular phrase was good. One interesting point that I've always thought about is that in Sino-Japanese relations, or Taiwan-Japanese for that matter, when a problem starts to deteriorate, skillful means and wisdom to solve the problem will come from the Chinese side, not from Japan. Japanese people don't seem to have the capability to put forth that kind of wisdom, nor the resources for it. In short, our field of vision seems to be too narrow. Chinese people, whether in Taiwan or Beijing, put forth skillful conflict management plans. This also holds true in business; it was so during the negotiations for the Treaty of Peace and Friendship, and also for the aviation agreement. It's also this way in various levels of government relations, in the end comes a good compromise from the Chinese side. I really think that this is an impressive ability, I think that there's little hope for Japan in this area as our hearts are too narrow. Japanese people tend to brood over things and brooding people are uptight and have little room in their hearts so when an impasse like this occurs, they think, "well, there's no hope for a positive resolution." The best examples of this, I think, are the Taiwan problem and the China war reparations issues.
Soeya: I'd like to ask one more thing about relations with Taiwan. While the you were in contact with Taiwan, was there any concern from the Taiwan side about the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty, or the extent of U.S. Far East military presence?
Nakae: None. Strangely, there was no talk about the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty , U.S.-Japan relations, or the Far East security arrangement.
Soeya: And this didn't emerge at the Foreign Ministry level talks either?
Nakae: Not there either. The reason was that Sino-Japanese normalization was not negotiated against a highly sophisticated background. It was really motivated by embarrassment. As to what that means, in Japan, a strong voice to "normalize with the PRC" came welling up, you see. People were saying, "what about Taiwan?" but especially from the business community, there were more voices saying, "if we go on and on without normalizing with the PRC, that huge market will be exploited by Europe." The economic world especially put the pressure on for normalization and it got stronger and stronger each day, even stronger as the UN situation got worse. On the subject of being swept along by public opinion, everyone is now looking back with hindsight and saying things about how Japanese public opinion affected decisions relating to the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty, the SDF, and the stability and prosperity of the Far East, but in reality, the people who actually made those decisions, especially Tanaka Kakuei, had none of this noise from public opinion in his head at the time. He included in a public pledge during the party presidential election that he would normalize with China. I think he got to the point where he had no choice but to normalize. It wasn't a "philosophy" of his and if there was a "philosophy," it was held by Ohira, not Tanaka. Ohira Seikichi held, to a strange degree, a belief that we should treat China very carefully. Tanaka gave him the outline of normalization with the PRC and left the sticky details to his group.
Mr. Ohira had a singular philosophy or belief I think. However, that was his personal matter and if you asked if the Tanaka cabinet had a unified philosophy regarding this subject... well, if I said "none at all" I would be scolded, but... (Laughter) I really can't think of one.
Soeya: Wasn't there any anxiety or worry at the time of normalization about what China would say about the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty.
Nakae: That... well, I think the game was already over by that point. Hadn't China already said that the U.S.-Japan treaty was necessary?
Murata: Have you heard that Mr. Aichi said that discarding that security treaty was an "entrance, not an exit"?
Nakae: I'm not exactly sure.
Soeya: When Mr. Takeiri returned with the Chinese rough draft and there was no mention of the security treaty, I've heard that he felt a weight come off of his shoulders.
Nakae: When you look at the fact that the security treaty caused absolutely no hindrance or obstruction to the normalization process, it seems that the decision had already been made. Or Rather, China said that the security treaty was necessary but, as _______ said, "Japan should remilitarize and work hard to maintain the security treaty, if it doesn't, it'll be beaten by the Soviets." For China, when you look at it from a regional point of view, the USSR was much more important than Japan or the U.S. Policy regarding the U.S. and Japan was also important in the context of China's relations with the USSR but I think that those in Japan who worried about the future of the relationship with China saying that it would be this way or that way were thinking in a completely unglobal manner.
Soeya: At that time, during your contact with Taiwan, did you hear what kind of contact or what kind of talks the U.S. was having with Taiwan.
Nakae: I didn't know that at all. There was no discussion of what America was doing. As to why there was none, even when we would touch on the subject, it was of such a delicate nature that we didn't hear much about it. Mr. Shiina would not dwell on small things, his motto was to stick to things that were important to the Ministry. He felt that the roots of trust toward Japan were ruined in Taiwan and would speak however he pleased on a variety of subjects, it seems that any subject was fair game to him. When Shiina went to Taiwan he didn't know anything about the situation but he spoke with Chiang Ching kuo about various things and returned. With that, the Taiwan issue was settled. I caught on that that was the way thinks worked.
Murata: The Washington bureau of the Yomiuri Shimbun obtained newly declassified documents pertaining to the exchanges between Sato and Nixon at their summit meetings of January 1972 so they printed part of it two days ago, Feb. 20, 1996. Reading these, it seems that Nixon said that if Japan and the U.S. competed for the improvement of relations with Taiwan, then that couldn't be helped. America first opened a dialogue with China but after doing so, the fact that Japan moved toward normalization first was only natural. Because he said that we must cooperate closely with each other, the subject matter of the summit suggests that Nixon approved of Japan's moving toward normalization. This was Jan. 1972 but when you went back to the Asia bureau, did you not have the impression that America was encouraging normalization?
Nakae: First, as someone recently said, the Foreign Ministry was vertically divided. Those in the America bureau were very concerned about the issue you just mentioned and they may have said various things but I did not get the impression that the Asia bureau really took it very seriously. There may have been concern on the bureau chief level but until just after I returned, I was put into Taiwan affairs and received my provisional authorization from the Sato-Nixon summit. Many have spoken and written about how Japan could relax and normalize but I don't really know anything about that. Personally, I think that Tanaka Kakuei began with the idea that regardless of domestic politics, Japan had to normalize with China, and only afterwards wondered if it would really work.
On the minute surface of things, people like Takeiri and Furui Yoshimi and others like them threw things into disorder but China was already decided so the most important thing was that it would be awful to for an unthinkable problem to occur in our relations with Taiwan. Therefore, Mr. Ohira said all that year that the Japan-China dilemma was, in essence, the same as the Japan-Taiwan dilemma. I think that this interpretation was correct.
There were various logical reasons for normalization when one looks at things in retrospect, but at the time, there was no easy way to resist the loud voices of so many citizens who looked forward to normalization with China. There was no thought of whether the voices were right or wrong or whether they understood the implications to U.S.-Japan security relations. Putting aside whether it was right or wrong, I think that it was a typical move by Tanaka's political group. That group dissolved soon afterwards.
Soeya: There was no direct mention of the Sino-Japanese peace treaty in the joint communiqué on cooperation between Japan and China, and Foreign Minister Ohira dealt with that fact with a declaration at a press conference that, "it had lost its continued significance." Had Taiwan been told of that stance beforehand?
Nakae: About that, Taiwan was so crazy with anger at the time that there wasn't really any reason to tell them about it. No matter what we said it would have been taken the wrong way and it was not a subject that could be negotiated so we kept quiet about it. The government on Taiwan felt that everything the Tanaka cabinet did was a mistake and that Japan was just going to go off by itself.
Murata: I'm sorry but I'd like to return the discussion back to when the Albania proposal for Chinese ascension to the UN came out. Even though Japan knew it would lose, it chose to support Taiwan to the end. Was the main reason for that decision the saving of face that you mentioned before?
Nakae: Yes, it probably was. That was something that Sato Eisaku determined in the end. The act of casting our vote for Taiwan to the end was a sort of obligatory human kindness for Japan. It went past rationality and was an expression of ethics or morality. At least I think that's what it was.
Soeya: I'd like to have you change now to the Sino-Japanese Treaty of Peace and Friendship.(hereafter TPF) I feel that, when it comes right down to it, the anti-hegemony clause was the focal point of the TPF. When was it that Japan decided to accept this clause along with the "Japan as a third person country" clause?
Nakae: This is my personal view of that. There was no fundamental reason to hurry the conclusion of the TPF. I still don't know exactly why that was negotiated at that point. I don't think Asia Bureau Chief Takeshima was told much about it at that time either.
The Aviation Agreement negotiations reached their limit and Ohira went to Peking during New Year's of 1974. Afterwards he said that he suffered so much that he urinated blood. The final stages of the Aviation Agreement, you see, were really terrible negotiations. For some reason, at that time the Japan side suggested to the Chinese that they begin negotiating a conclusion of the TPF. I think this was because they felt that by doing it, they could capitalize on the intensity of the Aviation Agreement negotiations. With Ohira's death, however, we'll never know the answer to this.
Soeya: Is that something that Ohira himself said?
Nakae: Of course it was his mouth that said it but whether it was his thoughts or something that was told to him, I don't know. I could not believe it at the time. "Why must we tie ourselves to something like that?" I thought that the TPF was not something that Japan should initiate, but that it would be best to wait for China to ask us to do it. Nonetheless, he brought it up, and we had to start negotiations.
At New Year's of the year following the beginning of these negotiations, a certain experienced Japanese cabinet member went to Washington and during an "off the record" chat with some reporters made a slip of the tongue saying, "when the negotiations for a conclusion of the TPF begin, the anti-hegemony clause will become a problem." In February of that year, a Japanese newspaper reported about that in the top story of its special edition.
Soeya: That was a Tokyo newspaper wasn't it?
Nakae: I always say that the article was seriously contrary to the interests of Japan. Newspaper people might use the logic that they are obligated to report what they know, but they'll never know how much of Japan's diplomatic energy was lost by doing so in this case. Especially, it gave a great boost to Sino-Soviet relations. Mr. Nakashima made the comment that because of the article, Japan-Soviet relations might worsen on all fronts, didn't he? Japan placed itself between the troubled relations between the PRC and USSR and received rebukes from both sides. Japan had to expend valuable energy on the trivial task of trying to get past this clause.
It may have been acceptable for China to be anti-Soviet, but Japan was in the middle of important negotiations with the USSR so it could not. Because Japan was trying to figure out a way to spin the clause to make it look like it was not anti-Soviet (regardless of Chinese claims that it was) the third country clause and other wise passages were born, but I think that the thing that forced Japan into a situation where it had to come up with that excessive cleverness was that newspaper article.
It is important to understand what made things that had originally not been at issue into very strong issues. Japan was worried about how to de-emphasize this issue so many negotiations were begun and various ideas, such as Miyazawa's 4 principles were advanced. These things were thought up and put forward by Japan on its own, but China was not in a position to think about them much. The storm of the Cultural Revolution was raging and that atmosphere was not conducive to completing a treaty with Japan so China kept putting off suggestion after suggestion. Miyazawa became upset when Mr. ** Qiao Guan hua **, chief of China's foreign department, would not answer him but I think that demanding an answer was the wrong tactic to take in the first place.
Japan only thought of itself in this situation without thinking of the interests of its partners, and said that even tough the Foreign Minister was trying to speak with China, no reply had been sent to him which Japan felt was a very rude, conceited attitude. Anyway, there was that period and then, of course, China came to believe that the treaty was necessary to them as well.
The reason that it became important is that Romania bolted from the Soviet camp. The PRC seized this opportunity and tried to drive a wedge into the Soviet camp by sending Hua Guofeng to Romania and Yugoslavia. During Hua's visit to Romania, I've read somewhere that he wanted to carry along a copy of the "anti-Soviet clause" of the TPF in his bag.
Therefore, China had gained the will to do this. Like I said before, I had thought that China would eventually ask for the treaty and now it was pushing forward with the initiatives and no matter what Japan said about where to draw the line, there was no way that China was about to say, "Yes, we understand, Japan's compromise suggestion is good, let's accept it." The last compromises were all suggested by China so it could save face. That was China's method of operation.
This is said quite often but Japan had four suggestions as to what clauses could be inserted into the treaty to diffuse the impression that the anti-hegemony clause was anti-Soviet... I can't remember now if they were numbered 1,2,3,4 or A,B,C,D. This was during Prime Minister Fukuda's administration and in the end, he held these four suggestions. It was decided in a council in the Imperial Presence that the first of these was the most desirable.
Sonoda Nao went to China, but the Foreign Policy chief **Qiao**, although not trying to let the air out of his sails, said that he thought China would react adversely to the third country clause and he made a suggestion from the China side. The contents of his suggestion concerned that first suggestion that I mentioned. Japan went from hoping for the adoption of all four suggestions down to hoping for only one.
The reason for this was something that not many people talk about. It was that, as I have said, Hua Guofeng had to go to Romania. In order to drive a wedge into the Soviet-led world, China established the TPF with Japan that included the anti-Soviet clause; in effect, China was clarifying its opposition to Soviet hegemony. It said that it welcomed a change of policy toward Romania, a country which also opposed Soviet hegemony, and then tried to play up the fear of Soviet hegemony and domination.
The TPF was signed on August 12 but Hua Guofeng's departure from Romania was August twenty-something and I have read that the Treaty was signed before that. In the last stages of negotiations, there was an evening banquet. When someone at the main table remarked, "I hear that Hua Guofeng is going to Eastern Europe, when will that be?" one of the people from their Foreign Relations department replied, "it has been decided that he'll go in the middle of August." With that, and this is only my personal interpretation, I felt stringer than ever that the Treaty would be signed for sure.
I thought, "there is no reason to worry, China will surely compromise." And above that, I thought that China would compromise on the point which would make Japan the happiest. I thought that whether they compromised on the first suggestion or on all of the suggestions, the anti-hegemony clause was a good thing for China and it would compromise to get it, and this fact made it important for us to continue to negotiate hard. There was also the issue of saving face for Foreign Minister Sonoda and the others and it turned into a case of publicly saying that Sonoda's hard work was what had made the negotiations succeed.
Although for Japan the anti-Soviet clause in the TPF was a dimension that needed to be played down, for China it was the first tool to be used in its global plan of Soviet opposition. Therefore, I felt that I should bargain under the assumption that they would compromise when the timing became right. The dimension of Mr. Fukuda, Mr. Sonoda, Ambassador Sato, and all the others above me seemed to be pushing in the opposite direction. Therefore, even if I had said something to them at the time, they would probably have replied, "what on earth are you talking about?"
Soeya: What do you mean when you say "dimension?"
Nakae: The Japanese side, from Fukuda on down, strictly adhered to the language of the Treaty. In order to play down the anti-hegemony clause, they argued over which was best, to say that it did not concern third party countries, or to say that it wasn't designed to cause any harm. I couldn't exactly tell them that it didn't really matter either way because China was going to compromise no matter what. I thought that no matter what happened in the treaty negotiations, there had to be policy judgments made during them. In that way, I think they were extremely interesting negotiations. The one who applied the heat was Nagano, I'd say that he took the negotiations to a good place in the end.
Soeya: In the off-the-record proclamation that Nagano made, who... are you uncomfortable giving us names?
Nakae: I will take that information to the grave. (laughter)
Murata: In a weekly magazine retrospective section, Mr. Sonoda said that he asked Brzezinski to put pressure on Fukuda which hastened the signing of the TPF. Do you agree with that statement?
Nakae: I have no idea. There will soon be a ceremony marking the 13th anniversary of Sonoda's death. I will be there because he was someone who I worked closely with. I don't want to find fault with him but he is an interesting story. He is famous for coughing up phlegm in front of Deng Xiaoping and interrupting him when he wanted to speak about the Senkaku islands. This is all well documented and very interesting.
Murata: About this subject, did you feel that there was pressure from the American side besides what Sonoda had asked Brzezinski to provide?
Nakae: I have often heard that there was but I don't really know... I don't think there was much of that actually. Politicians speak politically and put their own opinions here and there so I don't take most political speech very seriously. Politicians are in their own little world where things like embellishment and decoration of the truth are fair game so they basically say whatever they like. I personally only believe those things that I have written down myself and there is no mention of this foreign pressure in my writings so I don't know.
Soeya: The established theory is that after Brzezinski's China visit in May 1977, the U.S. and China moved toward normalization. On his way home from that visit he stopped over in Japan. In his memoirs, Brzezinski wrote that he tried to convince Japanese leaders to move toward the TPF and hge also wrote that after his talks, Japan began to move in that direction. There are many in our field in America who espouse this theory.
However, in a book written by Professor Ogata, there is a suggestion that even before Brzezinski's visit, Japan had fundamentally decided its attitude toward the hegemony clause and, by extension, its attitude toward the TPF so there was not much American influence in the decision. Ogata says that pressure from America is not key to this debate. Do you agree?
Nakae: Yes, I would say so. Prime Minister Fukuda, the leader of the Fukuda faction which was the faction for the protection of Taiwan, stepped away from the TPF and it became very difficult to bring it together. Into that situation, Foreign Minister Sonoda put his influence; he wanted to say that he had been able to get it done but, by my estimation, on the day after his inauguration, Fukuda began to study the TPF more seriously. I was called to his residence in Setagaya almost every day and each night until just before the New Year there was a study session about the TPF. I remember thinking that "Fukuda is really determined about this, isn't he!?"
Anyhow, he was a politician and would tend to delay things saying, "No, no, the Taiwan problem is going to make this very difficult." Politicians' speech can be looked at from many points of view and sometimes things that seem obvious are actually quite dubious.
Soeya: So you're saying that neither you nor Fukuda placed too much thought on the impending Sino-U.S. normalization?
Nakae: We didn't think much about it at all. The trend in the world was toward normalization at the time. China's quick move in that direction came later on so other countries figured that normalization would come sooner or later. I felt that way too.
Soeya: Returning to what you said about the Senkaku island problem, what did you think about it when it came up so suddenly?
Nakae: I don't know. That will be a mystery forever, don't you think? I don't think they even understood it in China. I'm not sure whether it was an isolated act of excess, if orders were given by headquarters, or, and I think this is unlikely, if it was just some fishing boats all the way out there. The Chinese are good at putting on the appearance of not knowing about things and I'm not sure, but I think that if the result was good, what's wrong with it? In Japan we often call it "investigating truth" even though merely investigating the truth does not always lead to better understanding. The most obvious negligence on the Japanese side was the way we patched things up. We tried to investigate this incident to death... there were some good things that came out of the investigation but it was too much.
I also don't understand the talk about 200 fishing boats converging on the Senkakus. The formal theory is that the boats made a mistake and didn't arrive there intentionally. That may be true but China certainly would not have said, "we did it on purpose." China would never admit that no matter how much the issue was pursued so there was a feeling that pursuing it with such vigor was foolish.
Soeya: What did the Japan side make of the Senkaku problem? What kind of answers did it come up with?
Nakae: It was quite a hindrance. I remember thinking, "don't do anything stupid!" When it happened, I wondered what China's plan was and what they were trying to achieve. It ended in two days though and that was the end of it.
Mr. Nakasone, Chief of Government Regulation, was the chief secretary and said to me, "Nakae, with this the treaty is dead." I'll bet that was the aim of China. In effect, China was testing whether or not Japan really had the will to negotiate a treaty no matter what. Interestingly, the other negotiations to that point were similar. During the Aviation Agreement negotiations, in fact, there were several examples of the same thing. China would do something outrageous just to see how their counterparts would react. Generally, Japanese negotiators would get blue in the face, and proclaim that this was no small matter.
By sending fishing boats to the Senkakus, China wanted to see how strenuously Japan would object. If Japan objected strongly, they would pull back the boats and say, "Yes, Japan is serious about this," and continue talking. If Japan had, at this point, said that it would no longer meet with China, China would have replied that it couldn't trust Japan and may have left the table itself. I think that was one of China's purposes in doing this.
Soeya: I would also love to hear about the Fukuda Doctrine. I think that the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam had a lot to do with Japan increasing its attention in Southeast Asia. I would like to approach this from several points of view, first, from the standpoint of America, when Fukuda was preparing his doctrine, the U.S. gave little consultation and didn't really say much about it. Did Japan prepare it alone.
Nakae: It was completely on its own. During the preparation, with Tanaka's visit to Southeast Asia, there were many anti-Japan demonstrations. As an after effect of that, it was said that Japan had to completely rethink its policy toward Southeast Asia. I think that the Fukuda Doctrine was born out of that effort to rethink policy toward Southeast Asia.
Soeya: You say that Vietnam was an important part of this, was there opposition to this in the government.
Nakae: There was no opposition to that. I mean, in 1975 the South merged with the North and Vietnam became one, so the aftereffects of the war on the Indochinese Peninsula were over and the peninsula was in a state of peaceful coexistence between ASEAN and the three communist Indochinese countries. The militant anti-Communist line was no longer valid and the result was the third clause of the Fukuda Doctrine.
The first clause was necessary to get rid of distrust, the second was a reaction to the idea that Japan only sent money but really didn't regard Southeast Asia well. In the last Japanese Asian visit, Lee Kwan Yu said that it seemed that Japan's heart was not in its efforts to rehabilitate Southeast Asia. The third clause affirmed that Japan would continue to cooperate with ASEAN and give it assistance but also ststed that from then on it would also give aid to Indochina and that it wanted to lend a hand to help the peninsula continue its peaceful coexistence.
Regarding Southeast Asian policy in general, up to a point it was concerned with profit; it was all right for Japan to get involved with the economic construction of these countries but traditionally, that is where Japanese help would end. The demonstrations during Tanaka's round of visits to Southeast Asian countries resulted from this policy.
Thus, without American intervention... in fact, into the vacuum left by U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam and before any trouble could be started by China or the USSR... we had a feeling that we should make a strong stand that Southeast Asia should be left alone by these major powers.
Soeya: Did China say anything about this?
Nakae: Nothing. In fact, I would think that they welcomed it. I don't remember exactly, though.
Soeya: Did this plan go off as you expected with no international or domestic problems?
Nakae: Yes, but afterwards was bad. Tomoda wrote about this in his book. Vietnam invaded Cambodia and our anticipated goals changed. I do think, however, that the results have been basically as we expected.
Soeya: Do you mean that the doctrine is being reborn again?
Nakae: The important clauses were one and two but clause three made this look like the TPF. That treaty, in the structure of the Cold War, vowed that capitalist Japan and communist China would try to cooperate as friends. This was a decision that transcended political bent and ideology. The Fukuda Doctrine is essentially the same in that it seeks peaceful coexistence between democratic ASEAN and communist Indochina. I think that this way of thinking is extremely important and should be done more today.
But today is different. The value system of Europe and the U.S. has been deemed "correct" and socialism and communism have "failed." We see that many of these countries have mustered up the discipline to say that their system has been wrong and are moving toward the capitalist system. However, there is still the possibility of a fight over value systems. Regardless of these differences, the fact that countries can peacefully coexist and improve relations with each other is very encouraging. The TPF did just that.
In the postwar world, the only two countries that peacefully coexisted despite these differences were Japan and China. Also, in the post-Cold War world order, the best examples of that cooperation are the TPF and the Fukuda Doctrine. Regardless of the fact that they showed the path to peaceful coexistence despite political differences, the world again seems to be moving toward a system of values that praises one form of politics over another and refuses to tolerate differences. There are various things which determine, in the end, what the ideas and value systems in the world will be, but as many Asian countries say, the process of getting there is different. We are walking the path that the early industrial countries walked before so we should be able to understand others' desires to be judged on their values after they have run their full course.
In that vein, Japan, even before the end of the Cold War, had peaceful relations with communist China and was working toward peaceful coexistence with communist Indochina and ASEAN through the Fukuda Doctrine. I would like people to think and write more about that but no one will. (laughter)
Soeya: It's just that the people in the Foreign Ministry seem to be speaking about the actual rebirth of the Fukuda Doctrine.
Nakae: Mr. Owada was the Prime Minister's secretary at the time and Nishiyama, who had since passed away, was the Asia bureau regional policy section chief. They were friends and thought about things in and objective and level-headed manner. The time when they worked together was the best time for the bureau as far as I'm concerned.
Soeya: So from the point of view of the Foreign Ministry, the third clause was their goal from the beginning?
Nakae: Yes, it was.
Soeya: And the first two were pushed hard by Fukuda. Is that correct?
Nakae: The first one was a habitual phrase for Fukuda. The second... there's an English phrase, "heart to heart contact," that was coined later that was used for the second... I wonder where it came from. Among scholars, there was an analysis that when more that 25% of one's economy is dominated by one country, dislike for that country will inevitably follow. I thought, "well, maybe that is true," and I wondered whether we had a problem of the heart... our #1 goal was to figure out what to do with Indochina after the unification of Vietnam.
Soeya: Recently I asked Professor Tomoda about his interview with former Prime Minister Fukuda and he said that Fukuda didn't seem to think that the Fukuda Doctrine was only the third clause and he specifically mentioned that he thought "heart to heart diplomacy" was important.
Nakae: That may be true. Japanese Prime Ministers are like that.
Soeya: To go back some, in September 1973, we normalized diplomatic relations with North Vietnam. I've heard the analysis of section chief Miyake, could you please describe that process, Ambassador Nakae?
Nakae: About normalization with North Vietnam, I don't remember much but, on the obvious level, I don't have the impression that anything unreasonable was done or that it was done in a defiant manner. We knew that America had many remaining issues to deal with in Vietnam like the MIA issue but I didn't feel that that should have direct influence on Japan's normalization with North Vietnam. People who were constantly worrying about what the U.S. would think about everything probably worried about this a lot but I did not, and to someone, like me, who basically ignored the big global superpowers, normalization was neither fast nor slow, it was merely the natural progression of the situation.
Miyake was still trying to behave as in the Cold War and his idea was probably to send a special envoy to North Vietnam, normalize relations, and successfully bring the war to an end in a way that was advantageous to Japan. I was the counselor for the Asia bureau at the time and was willing to go along with this action but because Nixon decided to withdraw I thought that before long the Viet Cong would take the South. For some reason, though, the Viet Cong did not take it right away and in the end, Hanoi annexed the South. I thought that communism there must be very strong.
Murata: My own interest enters into this question, but, in 1977 the Carter administration called for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Korea and then reversed its decision after the process had actually begun. How did the Asia bureau see this turn of events? Was it something that centered in the American bureau or did it concern you as well?
Nakae: I have no recollection of it at all. The Northeast Asia section may have been deeply involved but at that time I was bureau chief and my biggest concern was the TPF and the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Korea didn't leave a lasting impression on me.
Murata: So you're saying that the issue of U.S. troop withdrawal from Korea had no influence in the TPF treaty negotiations?
Nakae: It was completely unrelated. Unfortunately, there was no influence from the U.S. during my 7 years of working with Sino-Japanese relations. There may be some who say that U.S. influence in other areas also influenced Sino-Japanese relations but I have no recollection that it ever did.
Soeya: This is an obvious question, but do you also have no recollection of influence from the 1975 "Pacific Doctrine" of President Ford and the other declarations at Honolulu?
Nakae: There sure were a lot of doctrines during that period! (laughter) Maybe it is because of my war experience, but I tend to ignore all of that stuff about military strategy and the like. I don't like that stuff at all. I am sick of war and I strenuously oppose taking things by force. If people say that one who opposes such things cannot be an effective diplomat, I say that that was only true to a point and that now we must try to put that attitude as far away from us as possible. I feel that Japan leave power games to others, we simply don't need them. The way that Okazaki is approaching things now won't meet much success.
Soeya: Finally, this has nothing to do with this project but what do you think about the recent talk of the theory of China as a threat?
Nakae: I think that it is completely mistaken. In short, it is a theory for those with an ax to grind, those who would be put out if China was not seen as a threat. I think that countries who say that China is a threat think that they have something to gain for themselves by saying it. Japan really should not gain anything by making China a threat and I don't understand those who say that it would. I don't even see where the threat would be.
Soeya: For example, many talk about the Spratley Islands.
Nakae: Any country would use force to demonstrate its control over territory that it claimed as its own. For example, if to prevent China from seizing Kyushu we dispatched ships around the island, that would be a threat. It may be a controversial subject but China will use force to protect what it claims as its own territory. Whether it's Japan, Takeshima, the Senkakus, or the Northern Territories, if we assume that protecting one's own territory with force is normal behavior, China's actions seem perfectly normal. Also, when we look at it as a normal action and get rid of the word "threat," we'll come up with better theories about China I think.
Furthermore, the perception that China's nuclear weapons make it a threat is also mistaken. American has nuclear weapons and it is not a threat to Japan. It is short-sighted to say that China is a threat simply because its military is strengthening and it has nuclear capability. It would only become a threat when, along with nuclear power and military might, it perceived that Japan was an enemy. Because of that, I think that the most telling factor in deciding whether or not China is a threat is deciding whether it considers Japan as its enemy. Who in the world feels that Japan is an enemy? There are few, so many say that North Korea is the one but I also think that this is mistaken.
Soeya and Murata: Thank you very much.