Conspiracy At Matsukawa
Conspiracy At Matsukawa

Conspiracy At Matsukawa

  • Binding: Hardcover
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University of California Press
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Dust jacket notes: In 1949, in American-occupied Japan, the president of the Japanese National Railroads was run over by a train. His death may have been a suicide; it may have been a murder; it has never been explained. A few weeks later several other crimes involving the railways were committed. The most important of these was the wrecking by sabotage of a train at Matsukawa in which three persons died. The Matsukawa incident produced the greatest cause celebre in the history of law suits in Japan. Twenty workers, nineteen of them either Communists or trade-union leaders, were charged with the crime and brought to trial. Their case remained before the courts until 1970, when they were not only exonerated but paid damages by the Japanese Government for possibly having been victims of a frame-up by the prosecution. Mr. Johnson uses this comprehensive study of the Matsukawa case to analyze the Americans' attempt during the Occupation to introduce Anglo-American adversary proceedings into Japanese criminal trials, the change in Occupation policy that occurred in 1949 when the Americans became committed more to Japanese economic growth than to 'democratizing' Japan, the radicalization of left-wing politics in Japan, and the relationship between the Occupation and Japan's present status as the world's third-ranking industrial power. An exhaustive case study, the book examines in detail one of the most controversial criminal investigations and trials in the history of Japan. It also fully investigates the charges made in post-Occupation Japan that clandestine American agents may have committed the sabotage at Matsukawa. The account draws on many hitherto unused sources and memoirs, including the archives of the United States Occupation of Japan, and provides the first analysis in English of the Matsukawa case.

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