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Power and Primacy

Abridged and Updated Edition

A.B. Abrams

Today the Asia-Pacific region stands on the verge of major change, with centuries of western dominated regional order being seriously challenged and quite possibly nearing its end. The emergence of a potential new order dominated by regional rather than extra-regional powers - an «Asia for the Asiatics» in the words of Japan’s pan-Asian scholars - means it is now more than ever essential to understand the history of the current western-dominated system, the full implications should it continue and the nature of the West’s intentions towards the region.

This book undertakes the task of elucidating the complex and little-known history of western intervention in the Asia-Pacific, providing information critical to understanding contemporary developments

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Chapter 13

Modern Japan and Western Policy in Asia


Why must the State Department insist that only the lives of American boys be used? Why cannot other peoples of the earth be used also to help create the necessary seawall of blood and flesh and steel to hold back the communist hordes?1


It was still difficult to imagine a sovereign Japan as anything other than dependent on and subordinate to the United States – a client state in all but name.2


Following the defeat of the Japanese Empire and the occupation of most of its former territories by Western military forces, the United States took over and continued to employ much the empire’s apparatus for its own ends. The U.S. continued to operate Japanese imperial assets to serve its foreign policy designs in the Asia-Pacific, examples of which are numerous. Japanese military forces stationed in China were, following the empire’s surrender, kept armed and co-opted into the United States’ war effort there. Japanese imperial soldiers were placed under U.S. command to fight alongside 50,000 U.S. Marines and allied Chinese Guomindang forces against the Chinese communist movement. This was described by U.S. President Truman as ‘using the Japanese to hold off the communists.’3 Japanese military scientists who had worked on developing weapons of ←435 | 436→mass destruction by experimenting on Chinese civilians, including several leading figures from Japan’s infamous Unit 731 biological warfare unit, were also absorbed into the United States’ own biological weapons...

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