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-tai, by 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.”