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MacArthur vows long punishment for Japan

By HUGH BAILLIE, President of United Press
MacArthur vows long punishment for Japan
General Douglas MacArthur signs as Supreme Allied Commander during formal surrender ceremonies on the USS MISSOURI in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1045. Behind General MacArthur are Lieutenant General Jonathan Wainwright and Lieutenant General A. E. Percival. Photo courtesy of United States Navy

TOKYO, Sept. 21, 1945 (UP) Japan will never again become a world power, Gen. Douglas MacArthur said today in an interview with the United Press.

"Japan industrially, commercially, militarily and every other way is in a state of complete collapse," Macarthur declared. "Her food supplies are scarce and she faces conditions in this emergency that may well become catastrophic. Her punishment for her sins, which is just beginning, will be long and bitter."

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The supreme commander told me that war criminal trials will commence very shortly. Japan's army will be absolutely abolished by Oct. 15. The remnants of Japan's navy are doomed to destruction except "minor specimens which may be retainable for scientific or museum purposes."

All Japanese munitions and all munitions plants which survived the war will be destroyed, MacArthur said. Japan will be kept on an austerity basis regarding sports, entertainment and luxuries.

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The Japanese are not being treated brutally but the surrender terms, no matter how harsh, are being rigidly enforced, MacArthur emphasized. Furthermore, he said, Japan can expect no relief, no food, clothing or supplies from the Allied powers this winter.

MacArthur pointed out complete execution of the terms imposed by the Allies is expected to take many years.

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The man who pursued the Japanese from Australia to Tokyo plans to remain personally on the scene enforcing, directing and administering Allied rule over the Japanese.

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Reiterating that he has no political aspirations, MacArthur said that he started as a soldier and intends to finish as one.

"I'm on my last public assignment, which when concluded will mark the definite end of my service," he said.

MacArthur received me in his new headquarters in Tokyo. His paneled office is in one of the few large buildings which survived the bombings. Oil paintings hang on the walls. From the room where a Japanese insurance magnate once operated, the general directs operations throughout the Japanese empire and the regions which Japan once seized.

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The general is keen, magnetic, decisive and intolerant of delays or inefficiencies. He radiates energy and driving force.

My own observations are certainly in accord with his estimate of Japan's condition as far as visible evidences are concerned.

The nation's cities and industries are pulverized and paralyzed. Lacking outside assistance, recovery will be extremely difficult. Vast areas, many square miles of which were once teeming business districts and extensive residence areas, are now hideous ruins and seemingly endless jungles of weeds and rubble.

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The masses of people appear stupefied by this devastation and defeat which has been visited upon them, although some leaders obviously are attempting the first steps toward reconstruction and rehabilitation. But anything they do seems almost futile in face of the massive job confronting them.

The dominant feeling among the masses appears to be relief that the war has ended before all were killed, but death will stalk the land this winter for lack of food and shelter.

With her cities, factories, navy and air force mostly gone, Japan's only weapon at the finish consisted of a big, formidable army which was prepared to fight American landings to the death - Okinawa style. But this is the very army which now is laying down its arms in droves. Latest figures show now that 73 per cent are demobilized.

MacArthur told me how 150,000 American troops went ashore without loss of a single life. The American armed total will soon exceed the Japanese, after which landings will be continued until 500,000 Americans are on Nipponese soil.

MacArthur said this bloodless occupation was impossible without retention of the emperor for surrender purposes and he declared that maintenance of the emperor during the disarmament proceedings had resulted in an "untold saving of American lives, money and time."

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During the interview MacArthur vigorously batted down various reports regarding the occupation such as that the Japanese were hiding arms, the Japanese soldiers were sneaking into the gendarmerie, that the Japanese fail to realize they are thoroughly licked, or that the Americans have not yet come into actual possession of surrendered Japanese arms and munitions.

He revealed that the Japanese military and secret police were being abolished, that no permanent Japanese army for policing purposes will be maintained, that nothing will be done regarding the employment of 3,000,000 Japanese soldiers who must exist or die as members of a civilian population which is already without houses, underfed and heavily unemployed.

MacArthur pointed out that the Japanese Diet was permitted to meet briefly only to transmit capitulation instructions to the populace.

I asked what would be done with the remnants of the Japanese navy.

He replied decisively, "all of it will be destroyed except minor specimens which may be retained for scientific or museum purposes."

In conclusion I asked Gen. MacArthur whether the policies which governed a defeated Japan would be determined by him or by a higher authority.

He replied, "All major policies will be determined on the highest governmental level by the Allied powers and will be executed by me as their agent, as I may be directed."

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