Further moves on the peace popularization campaign: the banks have been kept open and no restrictions placed on withdrawals, new 100-yen bills have been printed to meet the demand; one billion kan sweet potatoes, earmarked for fuel production, will be released for civilian use; grapes kept for the same purpose will also be distributed free; wartime restrictions on the choice of crops to be planted, the use of leather and aluminium, and the sale of watches, have also been lifted and as a result black-market prices for these commodities, especially shoes, have gone down considerably.
Three trouble-spots have been cleared. A small riot in the provinces was easily suppressed. A strike by railway workers was solved by diplomacy and an issue of beer for the men and lemonade for the girls. These workers, the first to be organized in a volunteer fighting corps, protested against the peace, which they considered a betrayal of their sacrifices. Finally, a threatened hold-out by cadets in the military academy has been dispelled by prompt and careful action.
It seems the corps was on maneuvers around Mount Fuji when the announcement came that an imperial rescript would be granted and read personally by the emperor. The young Japanese cadets, hurrying back to school, looked forward to an in inspiring imperial command to fight to the end. When, instead, the proclamation of peace came over the radio, they burst into tears. One instructor died of heart failure. Two cadets, at least, were found afterward in the school shrine, in full uniform, their bellies cut open and their throats pierced.
The reaction of the others was less despairing but no less unmistakeable. Some announced they would henceforth devote their life to science and discover a weapon better than the atomic bomb. Others said they would turn school-teachers to train the younger generation for “the next time”. But the more reckless stole pistols from the academy armory and disappeared at night, hunting for the elder statesmen who had “misled” the emperor. In the daytime they organized guerrilla units that would take to the hills and continue resistance when the Americans landed.
The heads of the academy tried to cool these hotheads, invoking the sacred name of the emperor. Matters came to a head finally when a young captain, the leading spirit of the insurgents, assassinated a major-general, one of the school heads, and then committed suicide. After that things simmered down. With full equipment to mollify their pride, they will be moved to a more secluded center in Nagano.
The government seems to have matters definitely in hand. Only isolated and sporadic incidents are now to be feared; attempted assassinations by fanatics, waves of panic raised by false rumors, small riots in the provinces. Behind most of these will be ignorance rather than malice. Today I heard that in one distant village the farmers were sharpening their bamboo spears. No barbarian, they swore, would defile the sacred imperial land while one of them was alive.