July 2, 1942

Mr. Nakashima, Assistant Supervisor-de-Facto, has taken charge of the purchasing of spare parts. Naric needs a two-year supply, at least. Honesty is essential in this task.

Mr. Fukada reported that the Army is ready with soldiers for Nueva Viscaya purchases. Next move depends on the Naric, he stated.

The body of a Japanese soldier was found floating on the banks of the Pasig River.

Philip told us many stories about Bataan. He attributed the USAFFE’s defeat to two things:

(1) the meager, almost nil, food ration; and

(2) the complete aerial superiority of the Japanese.

“We were like rats,” he said, “only worse. When Japanese planes swept down, bombing, strafing… the only thing to do was to bury yourself under the ground. If you were lucky, you came out alive with earth all over your face and body. If you were unlucky…” He did not continue his sentence.

The ration in Bataan was a handful of “lugao” every day, nothing more. “It was a pitiful sight,” he said, “to see soldiers hardly able to lift their rifles, extending their hands to their officers, begging for food.”

Philip said there were no replacements in the front lines. While the Japanese forces used fresh troops, the USAFFE did not have enough men to cover the front lines. The same troops stood in the front from January to April, from morning to evening and morning again, till the lines finally broke before the ceaseless firing, bombing and shelling of the Japanese forces.

He explained that the only thing that kept the spirits of the boys alive was the hope of the convoy. “We were told that the convoy was on the way. And so we waited and waited. I have actually seen officers standing on the shores, scanning the seas, looking for the convoy. Sometimes they would see a wave and they would say, ‘There… that look like the spearhead of the convoy.’ We were like thirsty men in a desert, scanning the sands for an oasis. But the convoy did not arrive. Next week, they would say. Then it was ‘in a month,‘ ‘in two months,’ in three… never!”

He said that he was not sorry he went to Bataan. Aside from the satisfaction of serving his country, he looked at it as a post-graduate course in a University. It was educational, he pointed out. It was life.

Somehow man understands life better in the face of death.

June 8, 1942

Mr. Fukada, Supervisor-de-Facto, has decided to adopt the Kobatake plan for Bulacan. I agreed too but I placed on the record the following objections:

First, that Mayors will likely delegate the work of purchasing to subordinate employees. This will cause: (a) purchase of inferior quality of palay and (b) purchase of underweight bags.

Second, there will be heavy transportation expenses for palay coming from distant places.

Third, there will be great difficulty settling claims for damages from inclement weather force majeure.

A late report announced that the Japanese occupied Bohol on May 23.

Had a good supper. By next year if production is not intensified, we will have to tighten our belts.

May 4, 1942

Mr. Fukada thinks I should organize a group to visit wounded Japanese soldiers in the various Army hospitals in the city. He said: “If you help Japanese soldiers, the High Command may permit you to also help Filipino soldiers.” Told this to my wife. She will refer the matter to Mrs. Vargas.

Mr. Isagii, assistant of Col. Uzaki, wants the price of rice in Parañaque investigated. I wonder why.

Planes have been active the whole day. Japanese aerial superiority has given them the initial advantage in this war. KGEI claims American factories are now geared for large-scale production of bombers. The men in the work-shops are just as important as the men in the front. Time is an essential factor in this war. If the Japanese are not able to entirely drive the Allies out of Asia, the Allies will in due time drive the Japanese back to the Japanese mainland. American production, her factories and workmen are playing a decisive role in this total war. The Japanese claim that fighting spirit will give Japan victory. The future alone will tell which holds the key to victory: Spirit or Production?

January 10, 1942

Meeting from 5 p.m. till late in the evening with the Industrial Committee of the Japanese Army. The members of the Committee are Mr. Abe of Ohta Development, S. Fukada of Mitsui, and S. Tamura of Nippon Bazar. Yoshio Noya acted as interpreter.

The gathering of the harvest was discussed. The Japanese are for regimenting it. They want the sale of rice to NARIC to be made obligatory.

I told the committee that I wanted more time to think over their proposition and to discuss the matter in a conference with my men. I also stated that the task of handling the whole rice industry in 5 provinces was too gigantic for NARIC’s present organization.

There are many difficulties regarding the gathering of the harvest. People must have an inducement to go to the field. Their personal safety must be guaranteed. Their families must not be molested. There are too many stories of rape and abuses committed in the provinces. There is also a shortage of fuel. This will hamper threshing and the movement of trucks. Transportation is dislocated. Roads are destroyed and bridges have been broken. It will take time and persuasion to ‘round up’ skilled, semi-skilled and technical personnel. There seems to be a lot of military restrictions regarding the harvesting of palay. This expansion will also involve the enlargement of NARIC‘s personnel which means a bigger, costlier organization. It is easy to plan. It is difficult to execute. There is a long gap to be bridged from the paper and ink stage to the point of harvesting.

What’s that? The rumble of cannons. But it sounds so far. It might be thunder. Nope, it’s artillery.

Can’t write anymore. Am thinking of my boy.