The Greater East Asian Conference
Address of His Excellency Wang Ching-wei, President of the Executive Yuan of the Republic of China
November 5, 1943
(Translation from original Chinese)
The Greater East Asian Conference, which is of deep significance from the point of view of world history, is now open in the capital of Japan, our comradely nation.
Now that I have heard His Excellency Prime Minister Tojo’s speech, I cannot help but get a little enthusiastic.
The United States and the British Empire have occupied East Asia for more than one hundred years. Now is the time to get together under the flag of Japan and, counting on Japan for its military power, political, economic and cultural influence, stand up to the aggressors. Only through these efforts can we prevent both countries from putting into practice their wicked intrigue, and keep the peace in all of Asia, rejecting their intervention.
Recently we saw the outbreak of the Greater East Asian War, which led to the destruction of American and British forces of aggression. In addition, the Japanese Imperial Army and Navy have attacked and occupied their military and naval bases in an extensive area of the Eastern Pacific and the South Seas, one after another.
Japan didn’t stop there. Based on the moralistic Asian tradition, the Empire has helped Asian countries and nations to live on good terms with one another, encouraged them to translate their dream of independence and autonomy into reality and allowed them to realize their patriotic wishes. Japan made it possible for Asian countries, demonstrating their fullest ability, to cooperate in carrying out the War to a successful conclusion and establishing the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. I cannot help but pay our greatest respect, from the bottom of my heart, to the Empire for its lofty and noble ideal and for its actual brilliant achievements.
At the same time, I must make supreme compliments to our old friends. They are Manchuria [Manzhouguo], Thailand, the burgeoning Burma, the Philippines and the Provisional Government of India. Firmly resolved and making every effort, they have willingly taken their share in fighting the War and in building up the Co-Prosperity Sphere.
I am now representing the Republic of China, which of course belongs to Asia. I am very happy to be able to take advantage of this occasion to tell you all of the decision and efforts of our Government with regard to the War and the Co-Prosperity Sphere.
The father of the country of the Republic of China is Sun Wen. He had hoped until the end that China and East Asian countries would shake off the fetters of the aggressive powers of the United States and the British Empire and realize independence and autonomy in the true sense of those words. He devoted his life to this dream and did all he could for a full forty years till he left for the next world. Three months before his death, he gave two speeches in Kobe, Japan, both of which took place on November 28, of the thirteenth year of the Republic of China . In his first speech, he gave voice to his utmost principle, that is, the “Greater Asianism.”
He said, “Asia, our homeland, is the cradle of the world’s oldest civilization.
And yet, we have been occupied by Americans and Britons for the past one hundred years, prosperity declining by degrees, until at last there were few, if any, independent countries. Surprisingly enough, it was when Asian people were at the bottom of fortune’s wheel that they were met with a historic turnabout.
“This was the Meiji Restoration of Japan. This Restoration made it possible for Japan to become Asia’s leading and advanced country. In fact, we can call the Restoration the starting point of the revival of Asia. This is why Asian countries should unite their efforts with Japan. In accordance with Eastern magnanimous culture, we are required to defeat Western imperialistic culture, where the rule of might is everything. It is up to us to drive out those aggressors and, by the solidarity of Asian countries, make our independence and autonomy something other than a dream. This way, we can awaken all of Asia and lead it to glorious reconstruction.”
In his second speech, given on the same day he did the first, he said, “It goes without saying that Japan should help China do away with unequal treaties.” He added, by explaining, “Japan and China have been on fraternal terms. Once Japan, too, was laid under the restraint of unequal treaties. But the very restraint encouraged the Empire to resist those outrageous powers, making it possible to throw off the fetters. It has become an advanced Eastern country and a global power.”
“China is now following Japan’s steps, making attempts to do away with unequal treaties. That is why we are eager for Japan to lend us support. The liberation of China means nothing else but the liberation of Asia.”
These were the last two speeches given in Sun’s life. It was not long before he fell ill, and passed away in Peking [Beijing] on March 12, the following year .
In his last moment, he left his comrades a message, which said to the effect that they, in pursuance of his will, should continue making efforts to carry out the plan he had yet to complete. Most unfortunately, his will remains to be realized. The relation between China and Japan, far from improvement, has increasingly gone from bad to worse until, at last, the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese Incident in July of the twenty-sixth year of the Republic of China . It was twelve years since the death of Sun, the father of the country.
Seeing China and Japan at odds with each other, Americans and Britons tried to take advantage of the situation. They forced their way in between, prompting China to be hostile to Japan and vice versa. They maneuvered in the background for the purpose of preventing the Incident to coming to an early conclusion. Our comrades became worried that Sun’s dream would be long in coming true and that China and Japan were getting less and less cooperative, such that such they were almost thrown into a state of despair.
To the great joy of the Chinese, the Japanese government declared its policy to bring about the cessation of hostilities as soon as possible. Among others things, it pledged its word that Japan’s aim was not to reduce China to ruin but to help China become prosperous. It added that Japan wanted China to play an appropriate role in the establishment of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. The Japanese government made it clear that Japan would surely assist us with the realization of our desire for independence and autonomy.
We heard the Japanese government declare its true aspirations. Japan understood that China would cooperate with Japan in improving the relation between both countries and fulfilling Sun’s will. It was because of this that we asked the Chungching[Chongqin] government to cease hostilities and to seek peace. It was regrettable that those concerned would not listen to us and that we had no choice but to break away from Chungching[ Chongqing] in order to contribute to the movement to peace on our own. It was not long before we moved the Kuomingtang government to Nanking and began to try our utmost to cement friendly relations between China and Japan with which to promote the entire Asia’s rehabilitation.
As I have just said, Americans and Britons tried to pit the two peoples of the Western Pacific against each other and concocted a plot to encourage both to continue the Incident. Since the government of the Republic of China moved to Nanking, the two wicked powers have become more and more aggressive, and by pushing their plan forward, have given a hand to the Chungching[Chongqing] puppet government, to go on fighting such that they would not make peace with Japan.
Seeing the outbreak of the Greater East Asian War, Americans and Britons knew their rights and interests were disappearing and, in order to turn the tables in their favor, made up their minds to use the Chungching[Chongqing] government to bring Japan under control. All the world knows of their wicked stratagem, which we are certain will go up in smoke.
From the beginning, most of the officers and men and the public under the rule of the Chungching[Chongqing] government are devout believers in the teachings of Sun Wen, the father of the country. Now, Japan has taken up a friendly attitude toward China, especially since January 9 this year. It gave its settlements back to us,
relinquished extraterritoriality and more recently replaced the Sino-Japanese Basic Treaty with the Sino-Japanese Treaty of Alliance, nullifying all amendments. This means that Pan Asianism, which Sun Wen proposed, has taken its first steps toward realization.
The father of the country wanted Japan to help China relinquish unequal treaties. Now, we see his merciful prayer has come true. However, Americans and Britons coaxed the Chungching[Chongqing] government as well—but they won’t be able to prevent their puppet from waking up. They could succeed in pulling the wires for a little while more, but it won’t be long before the puppet will refuse to dance as they wanted it to. It will understand that depending on Americans and Britons will add up to betraying Asia and selling Sun Wen out. That day, Chinese people, military or civilian, will surely know where they can find right and justice.
At this most important juncture, the Kuomingtang government is making a serious effort to putting into practice the policies that we have already been enforcing.
We are making every effort to call on the military and the people under the rule of the Chungching [Chongqing] government to come back to us. Our purpose is to complete unification and, on the other hand, to establish model districts in places where our political power exists. Our work puts emphasis on the following three points:
First: to correct thought of people.
Second: to maintain public peace and order.
Third: to increase production.
The thought correction means clean sweep of utilitarian thought and instead to re-introduce the moralistic spirit which we Asian people have traditionally valued. The essence of our ideal consists of recovery of Asian values, with which we will do our best, to make reality of the dream of coexistence and co-prosperity of Asian peoples.
Speaking of the maintenance of peace and order, its essence consists of keeping the people out of harm’s way so that they can help the military of our friendly nations to prosecute the Greater East Asian War. And it includes sending our soldiers to the front to take our share of responsibility.
In order to increase production, China should work out careful economic and financial plans to become more powerful in all-out war. I said “Increase production,”but the phrase also refers to efforts to restriction consumption and the utilization of waste material.
These are the three important points that the Kuomingtang government lays emphasis on with which to contribute to prosecution of the Greater East Asian War.
The Kuomingtang government understands that, in today’s situation, war and construction are synonyms. Both terms mean we should prepare to share our lot with each other—we are in the same boat—to get together with our comrades and friends in Asian countries. First of all, the business at hand is to drive out our mutual enemy, that is, Americans and Britons, and put a damper over their vicious intentions. Our next business will be, within our Asian community, to take our share of esponsibility by making a maximum effort to establish the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere with daring and indomitable spirit.
As for the Greater East Asian War, all we want is victory. When it comes to the establishment of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, we hope for nothing but co-prosperity.
To put it concretely, each of the Asian nations is required to love themselves and their neighboring nations and the whole of Asia. We Chinese people made a motto of reviving the Chinese race and protection of Asia. It is only when China has become an independent and autonomous country that it will have the ability to take our share of the responsibility to protect Asia and, not until Asia becomes stabilized will China’s independence and autonomy be guaranteed.
This is why we feel it necessary to do everything, each of us, we can to make our own country a independent and autonomous one strong enough to contribute to the prosperity of Asia. Since every Asian country has a unique quality of its own, it has the responsibility and the right to develop its individuality. Thus, we must secure the independence and autonomy of each Asian country, respecting each other’s independence and autonomy. It is incumbent on all Asian countries, because they have an idealistic purpose in common, to unite ourselves, sparing no labor to achieve our common aim, that is, coexistence and co-prosperity of Asian countries.
Japan is an advanced country, in the lead of Asia, which is gloriously known all over the world as an independent and autonomous power. Recently it has vigorously labored for the achievement of such an aim for all of Asia. I wish Japan would advance it a step forward and make still more efforts for our common dream. After we have won political independence and autonomy, I believe it is fairly easy to attain mutual purpose, as long as we follow the same diplomatic policy and band ourselves against a common enemy in war.
Let’s consider the cultural aspect. We cannot help but take our hat off to Japan for achieving three important results. Firstly, Japan, as an advanced country, has based its development on its traditional culture. Secondly, Japan has paid respect to Asian culture and helped to raise its value. Lastly, Japan has spared no labor to absorb culture from all over the world. I believe newly-risen countries in Asia will follow Japan’s steps in order to continue forward, together.
We Chinese are sure that what is most important is the revival of culture, for which we should do our best. The fusion and creation of culture is a key factor to encourage nations to be friendly with each other and to have them band closely together.
Take Indians and Chinese, for instance. China introduced Buddhism from India, and it is through religion that both countries have communicated and exchanged thoughts.
Within the cultural history of Asia, this can be said to be a distinguished example of international exchange.
As for economic problems, we Asian countries should base our mutual relations on the principle of reciprocity. Why not think of some way or another to help one another and make up for what other countries lack? In this manner, we promote our common interests.
For one thing, China produces a lot of cotton, which neighboring countries are eager to import, while the South Pacific Islands produce “gasoline” and “gum” and “rubber,” which could be exported to their neighbors.
If only we assume a point of view of interdependence, then all of our economic problems can be solved.
The United States and the British Empire have adopted policies to sweat Asian people and to pit Asian countries against one another. Now is the time to put an end to their unjust and wicked policies and to create a new, humane world where right will prevail.
If we bring into effect what I have just said, it is certain that each Asian country will be able to promote the public good to the extent that we can rest assured that we Asian people are enjoying cooperative co-prosperity. Moreover, no doubt it would lay the foundation of eternal world peace. Such glory being well within our reach, we, Asian nations, must ensure that this comes true if only we go ahead hand-in-hand.
Before closing my speech, I have something to add. In some parts of Asia under Japanese occupation live many Chinese nationals, numbering about seven or eight million or more. These areas are Thailand, Burma, the Philippines and former British and Dutch colonies. These Chinese inhabitants are well treated by the governments there and are working hard along with the natives. In particular, many are engaged in and devoted to the business of transportation development and resource development.
They are making efforts to strike up friendship with the natives and their hard work is appreciated. Indeed, they are contributing to bringing natives to their senses. It is true that Chinese people have their own defects, but at the same time they have many strong points. Chinese people in such countries are peaceful, earnest, hardworking and ingenious, ready to share their lot with the native people. They admit and respect their mutual merits and cover their mutual defaults. Now the riendship established between them is vital and indispensable to both sides. I believe that the Greater East Asian War in progress will make a contribution in the development of this beautiful relationship, put through a trying ordeal, and to the unification of all of Asia, still more will be of help to the establishment of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.
On November 30 of the twenty-ninth year of the Republic of China , Japan, Manchuria and China issued a joint declaration. Looking back at that day, I cannot help but be moved to tears by the idea that we have made steady progress in achieving its spirit.
Today, in this “Greater East Asian Conference,” I can see Thailand, Burma and the Philippines taking part and the presence of India as an observer country. The area of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere has been enlarged.
Now my speech is nearing its close. Here, I am full of love and respect for you all and pray for the prosperity of the countries represented by each of you and for the welfare of the people of the respective countries.
史実を世界に発信する会 茂木弘道氏 のメールから全文をコピペした。