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Japan in 1960

Almost all of the news in 1960 was "inspired" by the signing of a revised United States-Japan security agreement.

Population in 1960 93,540,000
Chief of State
Emperor Hirohito
Head of Government Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi (to July 18); Hayato Ikeda

On January 19, 1960, Foreign Minister Aiichiro Fujiyama and U.S. Ambassador Douglas MacArthur II signed in Washington, D.C., a new security treaty in which the two nations agreed to abide by provisions of the United Nations charter and to cooperate in defense, political, economic, and other areas. For the first time the United States expressly agreed to defend Japan, which was in turn expected to act in territories under its administration and only to the limit of its "no-war" constitution. In addition, Japan agreed to allow the United States to maintain bases in Japan in order to "guarantee international peace and security in the Far East." In a communique issued by Japanese Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi, who witnessed the treaty's signing, and U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the latter assured Japan that the United States had no intention of acting contrary to the wishes of the Japanese government with respect to matters requiring "prior consultation," including changes in deployment of Japan-based U.S. forces, major changes in equipment (especially nuclear arms), and the use of bases other than for the protection of Japan. The term of the treaty was set at ten years.

Prime Minister Kishi displaying the security treaty after it had been signed in Washington, D.C.
Prime Minister Kishi displaying the new U.S.-Japan Security Treaty

The new treaty was introduced into the Japanese House of Representatives on February 9 and the clauses "peace and security" and "the far east" became immediate subjects of debate. The long term of the treaty was also opposed. The treaty was also opposed by many in the general population. On April 27, about 6,000 university students broke police lines and surged around the Diet. Despite the protests, the treaty was approved by the House of Representatives on May 20, after 300 policemen removed opposition deputies. The treaty's approval fueled further demonstrations, including a May 25 "parade" in Tokyo by tens of thousands of students, unionists, and others.

Police battling students on June 3.
police battling student protestors

A student demonstrator injured on June 3 as left-wing parties rioted in front of the Diet and the residence of Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi.
student demonstrator on June 3

On April 12, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that President Eisenhower would be visiting Japan on June 19. On June 10, demonstrating students gave James Hagerty, the President's Press Secretary, Thomas E. Stephens, his appointments secretary, and Ambassador MacArthur a preview of the hostile reception the President could receive when a crowd of 10,000 surrounded their official car and they had to be rescued by a U.S. Marines helicopter. On June 16, in an emergency meeting, the Cabinet requested a postponement of the President's visit.

Demonstrators in front of the U.S. embassy in Tokyo during Hagerty's visit to make final preparations for President Eisenhower's arrival.
demonstrators at the U.S. Embassy

Hagerty photographing demonstrators attacking his car at Tokyo Airport.
Hagerty photographing demonstrators

A U.S. Marine Corps helicopter landing at Tokyo Airport to rescue Hagerty, Stephens, and MacArthur.
Hagerty and others being rescued

Despite the bitter opposition, Foreign Minister Fujiyama declared the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty in effect as of June 23, the day ratifications were exchanged in Tokyo. On October 12, an 18-year-old right-wing fanatic assassinated Inejiro Asanuma, chairman of the Socialist Party, as he spoke at a political rally in Tokyo. Asanuma's party had been in the forefront of the fight against the treat's ratification, and his assassination proved to be the climax of the unrest the treaty had stirred.

An 18-year-old right-wing fanatic attacking Asanuma at a political rally in Japan.
assassination of Inejiro Asanuma

Other News

On February 23 Crown Princess Michiko gave birth to a son. Prince Naruhito became second in line to the imperial throne after his father, Crown Prince Akihito.

After ratification of the security treaty in June, Prime Minister Kishi announced his resignation. He narrowly escaped assassination on July 14, and formally stepped down the next day. He was succeeded as leader of the Liberal-Democratic Party by Hayato Ikeda, who was elected Prime Minister by the Diet on July 18. General elections were held on November 20, the results of which left the Liberal-Democrats with a majority in the Diet and Ikeda as Prime Minister.

SEE ALSO
In the Year 1960
Emperor Hirohito
Dwight D. Eisenhower

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This page was last updated on June 25, 2017.