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4th January 1945

The chancery was deserted today. All the Japanese employees have disappeared; nobody expects them back until the 6th or even Monday the 8th. The official slogan is.”No New Year holidays” but it is hard for the Japanese to get used to the idea that they cannot take the traditional five days off.

It seems that the New Year will also bring new American techniques in the bombing of Japan. Commenting on the heavy raid on the Nagoya, Osaka, and Hamamatsu areas yesterday afternoon, the Asahi warns that, judging from the tactics used there, “the enemy will not merely bomb the important factory establishments with explosives but will also carry out blind bombings of cities, chiefly with incendiary shells. It is therefore necessary,” exhorts the Asahi, “to be prepared to limit damage to a minimum by perfecting all preparations especially for the extinction of fires.”

But it will take an honest-to-goodness raid to wake Tokyo up. The sidewalk ditch-shelters in our vicinity are still uncovered although some neighborhood associations are Starting to shovel out the garbage that has accumulated in them, most of the women and some men carry or wear fire-fighting quilted hoods but it is more to protect themselves against the cold than anything else. As for fire-fighting equipment, our apartment building is supposed to be equipped with long hooks and rope-flailed staves but all we have seen are a dozen pails stacked up in the basement.