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The Sources of Protest in Japan

Herbert Passin

Abstract: The massive demonstrations of May and June 1960, which forced the resignation of the Kishi Cabinet and the cancellation of President Eisenhower's trip to Japan, alarmed Americans as much as they elated the Chinese Communists. The complacent American view of Japan as a sturdy conservative force loyally allied to the United States through a wise and benevolent Occupation and generous economic aid was rudely shattered. Coming at a time when student unrest precipitated the overthrow of governments in South Korea and Turkey—also allies—it was natural that many Americans saw communist plots and a Japan in the grip of a “revolutionary situation.” But if they were wrong—and it has taken a great deal of soul-searching for informed opinion to understand fully what happened—they were no less wrong than the Chinese Communists, who read the situation in much the same way. After a two-week trip to Japan in August 1960, Liu Ning-i, Chairman of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, reported jubilantly that the revolutionary situation in Japan was well advanced. “The Japanese people's future is full of brightness and hope,” he wrote.
Keywords: trip to Japan / allies / wrong / Americans / Chinese Communists / revolutionary situation

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