28th August 1945

Overhead the planes were roaring past, flight after flight, so low that the identification letters and numbers on the stately bombers could be read with the naked eye, so low that the swift black fighters almost grazed the trees in the park. Outside the city, on Atsugi airfield, the air trains were dumping their first Americans on Japan. But here in the heart of Tokyo, in the sunlit dining-room of the Imperial Hotel, one could only hear the planes. The guests chatted softly of little things. The steward in his black coat checked his ration tickets. Waitresses in wartime slack-suits walked by swiftly, balancing the graceful jugs of Japanese rice-wine on their pink hands.

I was having lunch with the editor of the Times and we were at the fish course when the door at the end of the room was opened and four Americans in green cover-alls, streaked black with sweat and the dust of the road, entered slowly. It was suddenly quiet. A fork clattered on a plate. These were the first Americans in Tokyo. What would they do?

One of them turned and stared at me. Hesitantly at first, and then with rapid decision, he advanced toward our table, hand outstretched. I uncertainly. Then: “Dave!” By some freak coincidence it was an old friend from Manila, David T. Bugoslav, formerly editor of the Tribune, now correspondent for the Chicago Sun.

As everyone stared he explained rapidly that he and three other American correspondents had slipped through the cordon around Atsugi; they wanted to be the first into Tokyo. Could they have lunch?

The steward, his hands trembling a little, bowed gravely. Did the gentlemen have ration tickets? No? He shook his head reprovingly and took them to a table. He would have to ask the manager.

Abruptly Dave laughed. “Tell them,” he said, “Who won the war.” The steward bowed again. “The gentlemen will be served.”


24th January 1945

The mysterious Mr. Yokoyama has been arrested. The story is that his daughter and his secretary were picked up too. It only complicates the already tangled and twisted puzzle of this inscrutable personage. Who is Mr. Yokoyama? What is he after? Where does he get his money? For months the diplomatic corps in Japan has been asking itself these questions. Now it must answer another, why has he been arrested?

When we arrived in Tokyo Mr. Yokoyama’s activities were already in full swing. He was more familiar with foreign diplomats than the foreign minister himself. He invited us to elaborate theater parties, the best entertainment in the capital. He gave large and small dinners with all the luxuries of a prosperous peace, Virginia ham, thick juicy steaks, imported Scotch, His funds seemed inexhaustible, as inexhaustible as his generosity. And he asked nothing, no favors, no questions.

The social columns of the Times almost daily linked his name with one or the other ambassadors but he was no mere snob; he protected the needy foreigners in Tokyo, got them jobs, slipped them pocket money, introduced them to his own special teacher in Nippongo, perked them up with a drink of his imported Scotch. And all the time, this baldish, stoutish, round-faced man with the firm handshake seemed to ask and get nothing for his pains; he laughed, whispered intimately, showed his protruding teeth, bowed, clasped hands and embraced shoulders, and left it at that.

Where did he get his money, money for the black market, money for his luxurious suite in the Imperial Hotel, money for his thoughtful gifts? Some said that he was being subsidized by the foreign office, by the kempei-taiby the metropolitan police, by a “foreign power”. Was he a spy, an agent provocateur, a propagandist, or Just a jolly good fellow who had made his pile in the theater business and wanted a good time? Was he a leader in the “Black Dragon” Society? Or was he, as others whispered, a scoundrel who had waxed rich on opium smuggling in China, on arms-running to various countries, on blackmail? One or two said definitely that he had “taken the rap” for an important personage accused of high crimes before the war. What personage, what crimes? That is still a little vague.

Meantime the members of the diet have also been asking questions and getting answers that are only a shade more precise. Speaking for them, Mr. Chu Funada probed into the aircraft production problem at yesterday’s session of the budget committee.

Funada: “What is the future outlook on munitions production?’

Premier: “At present the supply is short but we are confident that a full supply can be secured if we concentrate our efforts.”

Funada: “We hear it said that we are short of aircraft. How about it?”

Munitions Minister: “Compared with 1943, 1944 has already shown a considerable increase in production. But due to the demand of the fighting fronts for as many planes as possible, we are making added daily efforts for further increase…. I should like to refrain from giving concrete figures but it is a fact that our rate of increase in production has been better than that of our enemy America.”

Funada: “We hear it said also that many of the aircraft produced are defective. Is this true?”

President of the Board of Technique: “Even in America only 30 per cent of the planes manufactured are good for fighting.”