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Why US Shields Japan’s WWII Denials

by Jer­ry Mel­don

Edi­tor’s Note: Over the years, we have writ­ten a num­ber of sto­ries about Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s influ­ence-buy­ing schemes inside U.S. con­ser­v­a­tive polit­i­cal cir­cles – and the fed­er­al gov­ern­men­t’s odd refusal to aggres­sive­ly enforce laws when Moon’s oper­a­tion is caught in legal­ly ques­tion­able activ­i­ties. [See, for instance, Moon/Bush ‘Ongo­ing Crime Enter­prise’.]

In this guest arti­cle, Jer­ry Mel­don exam­ines the mys­te­ri­ous roots of the mon­ey that has fund­ed right-wing Asian pol­i­tics since World War II and that has some­times spilled over into the Unit­ed States:

On Feb. 19, Japan­ese For­eign Min­is­ter Taro Aso took excep­tion to a U.S. con­gres­sion­al res­o­lu­tion intro­duced by Rep. Mike Hon­da, D‑California, call­ing on Japan to “for­mal­ly acknowl­edge, apol­o­gize and accept his­tor­i­cal respon­si­bil­i­ty” for coerc­ing 200,000 Asian women into slav­ery as “Com­fort Women” (wartime pros­ti­tutes) for 3.5 mil­lion Japan­ese sol­diers. Mr. Aso said he con­sid­ers the accu­sa­tion ground­less and extreme­ly regret­table.

Six decades after World War II, can it real­ly be that Japan­ese offi­cials are still dis­tort­ing his­to­ry and insult­ing the Chi­nese, Kore­ans, Philip­pinos and oth­ers across Asia whom Hiro­hi­to’ s forces sav­age­ly bru­tal­ized and robbed?

And why does Wash­ing­ton turn a deaf ear?

The answers may be root­ed in what tran­spired behind closed doors in Tokyo when Japan was occu­pied by the U.S. mil­i­tary in the post-war years .

Ster­ling and Peg­gy Sea­grave sug­gest a motive in their eye-open­ing – and at times stom­ach-turn­ing – 2003 book, Gold War­riors: America’s Secret Recov­ery of Yamashita’s Gold. In the war’s imme­di­ate after­math, Gen. Dou­glas MacArthur, com­man­der-in-chief of Allied occu­py­ing forces, secret­ly joined hands with Japan­ese war crim­i­nals.

Rather than con­vict, imprison and throw away the keys, MacArthur cod­dled those respon­si­ble for one of history’s blood­i­est wars of aggres­sion. When the U.S. occu­pa­tion end­ed in 1952, he released all those who were still in cus­tody.

And it may have gone a lot fur­ther than that.

Accord­ing to Gold War­riors, e ven as the Unit­ed States “intro­duced demo­c­ra­t­ic reforms and a new con­sti­tu­tion … [it ] put Japan back under the con­trol of men who were devot­ed­ly unde­mo­c­ra­t­ic … [insist­ing] that Japan nev­er stole any­thing and was flat broke … [when, in real­i­ty, Amer­i­ca had giv­en it ] huge infu­sions of black mon­ey.”

Wash­ing­ton even had Arti­cle 14 of the 1951 Japan Peace Treaty state : “It is rec­og­nized that Japan should pay repa­ra­tions to the Allied Pow­ers for the dam­age and suf­fer­ing caused by it dur­ing the war. Nev­er­the­less it is also rec­og­nized that the resources of Japan are not present­ly suf­fi­cient … [There­fore] the Allied Pow­ers waive all repa­ra­tions claims of the Allied Pow­ers and their nation­als aris­ing out of any actions tak­en by Japan.”

As his­to­ri­an Christo­pher Simp­son put it , the Unit­ed States there­by insured “that the vict ims of the war – rape camp sur­vivors, slave labor­ers and POWs – [would] be left with noth­ing.”

Fur­ther­more, accord­ing to the Sea­graves, “records of Japan’s loot­ing and eco­nom­ic con­spir­a­cy have been removed from West­ern archives and data­bas­es, remain under secret clas­si­fi­ca­tion and will not be made pub­lic for anoth­er half-cen­tu­ry.”

The cov­er-up notwith­stand­ing, the Sea­graves some­how pen­e­trat­ed the veil of secre­cy and report­ed that the source of the black mon­ey that MacArthur bestowed on the Japan­ese. They wrote that after arriv­ing in Japan, the general’s aides locat­ed $100 bil­lion in gold, plat­inum and oth­er trea­sures that Hirohito’s forces had sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly plun­dered from occu­pied Asian nations and buried deep under­ground.

When MacArthur report­ed this to Wash­ing­ton, Pres­i­dent Har­ry S. Truman’s brain trust – which includ­ed John McCloy, who as U.S. High Com­mis­sion­er for Ger­many would autho­rize the ear­ly release of many Nazi war crim­i­nals – decid­ed to devote the for­tune to covert oper­a­tions such as the bankrolling of right­ist polit­i­cal par­ties and the recruit­ment of war crim­i­nals as U.S. intel­li­gence agents for the Cold War that was just begin­ning.

One of the most noto­ri­ous crooks MacArthur embraced was yakuza god­fa­ther Yoshio Kodama. With the exalt­ed rank of rear admi­ral in the Japan­ese navy, Kodama had over­seen the wartime loot­ing of Asia’s crim­i­nal infra­struc­ture. In the process, he stashed away a per­son­al for­tune esti­mat­ed at $13 bil­lion.

Arrest­ed as a Class A war crim­i­nal, he made a deal with MacArthur’s intel­li­gence chief, Gen. Charles Willough­by. Kodama hand­ed the CIA $100 mil­lion in return for his release from Sug­amo Prison. Return­ing to the under­world, he regained con­trol of the Asian hero­in traf­fic.

Accord­ing to the Sea­graves and oth­ers, he also remained a CIA asset until his death in 1984. It was appar­ent­ly in that capac­i­ty that he became a major behind-the-scenes polit­i­cal force, pri­mar­i­ly in Japan but, indi­rect­ly, across the Pacif­ic as well.

Togeth­er with his fel­low rack­e­teer and Class A war crim­i­nal Ryoichi Sasakawa, Kodama under­wrote the cre­ation of two Japan­ese polit­i­cal par­ties that lat­er com­bined to form the Lib­er­al Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty (LDP). Except for a brief hia­tus when vot­ers had had their fill of cor­rup­tion, the con­ser­v­a­tive LDP has ruled Japan ever since. Accord­ing to sources cit­ed by the Sea­graves, the LDP secret­ly con­tributed to the 1960 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign of Richard M. Nixon.

The LDP was not the only orga­ni­za­tion which Kodama and Sasakawa bankrolled, that lav­ished the gang­sters’ ill-begot­ten wealth on Amer­i­can politi­cians. They also under­wrote the Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s Uni­fi­ca­tion Church, which owns the right-wing dai­ly, the Wash­ing­ton Times.

When Gen. Park Chung Hee staged a coup and installed him­self as South Korea’s dic­ta­tor in 1961, he des­ig­nat­ed the Uni­fi­ca­tion Church to be his polit­i­cal arm. Suc­ces­sive South Kore­an lead­ers have used it to influ­ence U.S. for­eign pol­i­cy.

A 1978 con­gres­sion­al inquiry found that Moon’s orga­ni­za­tion, in coor­di­na­tion with South Korea’s CIA-mold­ed intel­li­gence agency, the KCIA, paid off sev­er­al U.S. con­gress­men. Rep. Richard Han­na, D‑California, and Otto Pass­man, D‑Louisiana, accept­ed approx­i­mate­ly $200,000 each.

Han­na was slapped with a six-to-30-month sen­tence and spent a year behind bars. Pass­man man­aged to have him­self tried in his home town and was acquit­ted. For­tu­nate­ly for Reps. Cor­nelius Gal­lagher, D‑New Jer­sey, and William Mar­shall, R‑Ohio, the five-year statute of lim­i­ta­tions ran out before they could be pros­e­cut­ed. Three oth­ers con­gress­men were rep­ri­mand­ed for lying about their gifts.

Kodama and Sasakawa, togeth­er with fol­low­ers of Rev. Moon, also under­wrote the Asian People’s Anti-Com­mu­nist League (APACL) as a pro­pa­gan­da mill for the dic­ta­tor­ships of Tai­wan and South Korea. In 1966, the APACL expand­ed to become the World Anti-Com­mu­nist League (WACL) . Euro­pean neo-nazi ter­ror­ists and Latin Amer­i­can death squad lead­ers attend­ed WACL con­fer­ences in the 1970s and 1980s.

Ronald Rea­gan – whose 1981 pres­i­den­tial inau­gu­ra­tion was attend­ed by the god­fa­ther of Cen­tral America’s death squads, Mario San­doval Alar­con – sent the fol­low­ing mes­sage to the 1985 WACL con­ven­tion in Dal­las:

“I com­mend you all for your part in this noble cause. Our com­bined efforts are mov­ing the tide of his­to­ry toward world free­dom. We must per­se­vere and nev­er fal­ter. I send all you who help in your cru­sade for lib­er­ty my best wish­es. God bless you.”

The pre­vi­ous year, Con­gress had blocked con­tin­ued White House fund­ing for the counter-rev­o­lu­tion­ary Nicaraguan con­tras. Undaunt­ed, the Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion solicit­ed dona­tions from pri­vate right-wing sources, includ­ing the two orga­ni­za­tions that Kodama and Sasa
kawa had spawned. WACL and the Uni­fi­ca­tion Church each oblig­ed the Rea­gan team with gen­er­ous dona­tions that kept the con­tras afloat.

In that same peri­od, WACL also con­tributed heav­i­ly in the Unit­ed States to right-wing can­di­dates run­ning against pro­gres­sive incum­bents. One such ben­e­fi­cia­ry, WACL con­fer­ee Steven Symms, unseat­ed the chair­man of the Sen­ate For­eign Rela­tions Com­mit­tee, Frank Church, D‑Idaho. A promi­nent Viet­nam War crit­ic, Church had chaired a 1975 Sen­ate inves­ti­ga­tion that uncov­ered CIA plots to assas­si­nate for­eign lead­ers.

Putting the pieces of the puz­zle togeth­er, a pic­ture emerges of CIA-con­trolled Japan­ese wartime loot being fun­neled by Japan­ese war crim­i­nals, via right­ist Asian con­duit orga­ni­za­tions, to Amer­i­can politi­cians.

Maybe that explains why Wash­ing­ton turns a deaf ear when Japan­ese offi­cials san­i­tize their country’s wartime atroc­i­ties. After all, the bruised feel­ings of a cou­ple of bil­lion Asian main­lan­ders is a small price to pay for keep­ing a lid on the truth.


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