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25th July, 1945

For two weeks now the amazing American task force has raged like a typhoon along the Pacific coast of the Japanese homeland; yesterday it struck its most devastating blow so far. According to the joint army and navy communique which today, in headline type, covers fully one half of the Mainichi’s tabloid front-page, approximately 2,000 large and small American planes “repeatedly carried out attacks unprecedented in scale and scope” against four different army areas. The communique claimed only seven raiders shot down by 1:30 p.m. yesterday and admitted fires and “some other damage” in Osaka. This morning the radio said that more than 500 carrier-borne planes were back on the job.

Today’s Asahi tries to rationalize this spectacular disaster. “In coping with the latest enemy air-raids,” it says, “both our fleet and air-force have exercised patience and caution without developing a full-fledged attack. As a result a section of the public in the country has come to entertain the apprehension that the authorities concerned, in placing an excessive importance on storing up fighting power, have allowed our territory to be trampled underfoot by the enemy. Some even go to the length of doubting our fighting power itself. Such an attitude,” the Asahi says reprovingly, “is a remarkable error based on the failure to appreciate the war as a whole.”

And the Asahi argues: “In the decisive battle in which the whole of one’s fighting power is to be thrown, choice must be made of the battleground and the time. If we allow ourselves to be hastily enticed into action, we shall be playing a dangerous game. Our side is maintaining a cautious attitude in the face of the haughty challenge of the enemy and thereby avoiding unnecessary exhaustion because our side is fully confident of its fighting power when the opportunity presents itself… Moreover our side has obtained many lessons and suggestions which will contribute to our future campaigns…

“Candidly speaking,” the Asahi concludes, “the present war situation is not necessarily advantageous to us. But once the enemy attempts to land, more advantageous fighting conditions will develop before us. We can say so decisively; it is an objective fact. Then if we utilize these strategic advantages with a vigorous fighting spirit, the war situation will turn favorable to us without fail.”