Shigenori Togo was appointed minister for foreign and Greater East Asia affairs yesterday. Shigemitsu could not stay after the Soviet disaster. Togo, who has a German wife, was foreign minister under Tozyo when the war broke out. He left the Gaimusho in a huff when the Greater East Asia countries were taken out of his jurisdiction and placed under the new Daitoasho. As ambassador to the U.S.S.R. at the time the explosive border incidents were barely blanketed out, he is now being built up as a Soviet expert. Indeed relations with the U.S.S.R. now take precedence over all other foreign affairs in Japan. Shigemitsu, the China expert and Daitoa exponent, has been shoved out by events. There is now little talk of a second Daitoa conference like the one in November 1943. Premier Aphaiwongse of Thailand was scheduled to come to Tokyo this month but the Okinawa operations seem to have postponed his visit indefinitely. If it had gone through, a conference of Daitoa heads of state would have brought together three new members, the Tai premier, the Chinese president, and Koiso himself. Now it is more probable that, as a feeble gesture against San Francisco, a conference of Daitoa ambassadors may be called this month. But the feeling is general that neither China nor Daitoa will decide Japan’s fate so much as the U.S.S.R. Shigemitsu is now being criticized as having been too “steady”; Togo is expected to be more “positive”. What that may imply is obscure. At any rate, to complete press comments on the soviet notice of abrogation, the Asahi, possibly because it had more time, possibly because official inspiration has become more acute since the change in the foreign ministry, came out today with the best editorial on the subject.
“Of course,” says the Asahi after sketching the facts, “there is not the slightest doubt that the current notice served by the Soviet Union is a perfectly legal measure based on the stipulations of the treaty itself. But what we regret is the fact that recently the Soviet Union, perhaps from a military viewpoint in connection with the shifting war situation, perhaps from a political viewpoint in connection with her relations vis-a-vis America and Britain, has corrected her previous friendly attitude toward Japan and that eventually she has resorted to such measures as may seem to betray the trust and friendship of the Japanese people. Since the speech of Premier Stalin on Revolution Day last year up to the Crimea conference, a conspicuous change in the Soviet Union’s attitude toward Japan could be recognized. “But this”, emphasized the Asahi, “was not because of a fundamental change in the relations between the two countries but merely on account of a change in the subjective attitude of the Soviet Union herself.” After pointing out the advantages derived by the U.S.S.R. from the pact in its darkest days, and dangling the usual invitation to renew it, the Asahi concludes: “How the Soviet Union will act hereafter is entirely up to the free will of the Soviet Union. However we should truly like to know whether the Soviet Union intends to become a collaborator in the construction of East Asia or an enemy of it.” The Asahi’s editorial has one merit: it recognizes the initiative of the U.S.S.R. and the trend it has taken against Japan.