The Prewar Leftover with a Postwar Mission: Hatoyama Ichirō

  • Bert Edström


When Yoshida Shigeru retired, the basic traits of Japan’s foreign policy were in place. It is hard to say that policies were solidly established, however. The Japanese politicians, who had been active during the prewar period and purged by the occupation authorities, began to return to politics. Many depurged politicians found Yoshida’s foreign policy distasteful and wanted change. The first showdown came with his successor, Hatoyama Ichirō, who was elevated to the political top-spot mainly because of his resistance to Yoshida. Hatoyama’s Liberal Party triumphed in the general election in 1946 and it was generally expected that he would become premier but in a surprise move SCAP purged him on the eve of his appointment and Yoshida became premier.1 Later, Hatoyama claimed that he and Yoshida had an agreement that the latter would give up his position when Hatoyama could return to politics. Whether this was true or not remains unclear.2 What is clear is that Hatoyama felt betrayed, and he turned into one of Yoshida’s political enemies (Nakamura, 1993, pp. 453ff).3 In his first public speech after his depurge Hatoyama announced his opposition to Yoshida’s policies (Hatoyama, 1957, p. 116). He argued that Yoshida had ‘sold out’ Japan’s national interests in the negotiations with the Americans. His aversion to Yoshida surfaced in his maiden policy speech when he denounced the policies of the previous government as not having reflected popular will (541, 22.1.1955).


Prime Minister Foreign Policy National Goal United Nations Security Council World Peace 
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Copyright information

© Bert Edström 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bert Edström
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Pacific Asia StudiesUniversity of StockholmSweden

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