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The reason was the failure of both Japan and China to understand each other and the inability of America and the European powers to sympathize, without prejudice, with the peoples of East Asia.
The main American naval forces were shifted to the Pacific region and an American admiral made a strong declaration to the effect that if war were to break out between Japan and the United States, the Japanese navy could be sunk in a matter of weeks.
The causes of the China Incident were the exclusion and insult of Japan throughout China, the exclusion of Japanese goods, the persecution of Japanese residents in China, and the illegal violation of Japanese rights.
On October 18, 1941, I suddenly received a mandate from His Majesty to form a new cabinet. This was completely unexpected, and when I was summoned to the Imperial Palace I thought I would be questioned on the army's point of view.
Nevertheless, China was unfortunately unable to understand Japan's real position, and it is greatly to be regretted that the Sino-Japanese War became one of long duration.
Justice has nothing to do with victor nations and vanquished nations, but must be a moral standard that all the world's peoples can agree to. To seek this and to achieve it - that is true civilization.
It goes without saying that when survival is threatened, struggles erupt between peoples, and unfortunate wars between nations result.
In dealing with the China problem, the British and American side, which had particularly strong interests in China, should have based its judgments about the origins of the problem on direct observation of the actual circumstances at the time.
I would point out that the cultural advance of these people has been suppressed in the past and continues to be suppressed in the present by policies designed to keep them in ignorance.
I would point out that Japan's proposal at the Versailles Peace Conference on the principle of racial equality was rejected by delegates such as those from Britain and the United States.
However, even during the preparations for action, we laid our plans in such a manner that should there be progress through diplomatic negotiation, we would be well prepared to cancel operations at the latest moment that communication technology would have permitted.
From the point of the view of the nation's power, it was obvious that while we were fighting the Sino-Japanese war, every effort was to be made to avoid adding to our enemies and opening additional fronts.
Even military ministers have no more than a certain amount of control. It is customary that they have the right and the power to participate, from a political and military point of view, in the planning of actual operations.
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