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31st March 1945

A French countess, sitting beside me in the elegant foyer of the Fujiya, apologized for the paper package beside her. “It doesn’t smell so nice,” she said with a moue. “But it’s meat.”

In Tokyo the new government party was formally inaugurated yesterday. Its name: the Great Japan Political Association, replacing the Imperial Rule Assistance Political Association. Its president: General Minami, as reported. Its purpose: to bring the people back into the war after the old party had screened them off. The I.R.A.R.A. was invented to free the government from the diet. The result was that the government lost all contact with the people. In his inaugural address General Minami said frankly: “The new organization should serve as the instrument of national unity, securing the closest possible cooperation between the government, the fighting services, and the people. The national unity of the customary type is no longer adequate to meet the situation. There must be confidence in and respect for the government and the fighting services.” But so far the reaction has been weak. No one seems to be very enthusiastic about a “people’s party” headed by an old fire-eater like Minami. What is the difference between an admiral and a General?

The ordinary man in the street is probably more interested in the awards for the best motion picture and phonograph records of 1944, which have just been announced by the ministry of education:

Motion pictures — “Kato Hayabusa Fighter Unit”, first prize of 7,000 yen; “Gochin” (based on submarine operations in the Indian ocean), second prize of 6,000 yen; “Shoot Down That Flag” (based on the Bataan campaign), third prize of 5,000 yen. A scientific film on detonations and shell fragments was given the fourth prize of 3,000 yen.

Among the prize-winning disks were recordings of songs like “You join the air-force and I’ll join the navy”, “The young cryptomeria tree on the mountain”, and “Until the day of victory”.