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From Wartime Friend to Cold War Fiend: The Abduction of Kaji Wataru and U.S.-Japan Relations at Occupation's End
Publisher: Journals Gateway
Journal of Cold War Studies (2015) 17 (3): 159–183.
Published: 01 July 2015
AbstractView article PDF
This article examines archival evidence related to the abduction and interrogation of the leftwing Japanese writer Kaji Wataru by U.S. military intelligence operatives in Tokyo in the early 1950s. The detention of Kaji became a cause célèbre in December 1952 when he publicly claimed that he had been seized in November 1951 and held against his will until late 1952, some seven months beyond the formal end of the U.S. occupation. Kaji said that U.S. officials had accused him of being a Soviet spy, but he denied those charges vehemently. As both sides presented vastly different versions of what had transpired during Kaji's captivity, the truth of the case became enshrouded within the politics of the early Cold War in East Asia. By exploring the Kaji affair through available archival sources, including two important documents released in 2013 in response to a Freedom of Information Act petition, this article casts new light on the incident and connects it to broader interpretive themes in early postwar U.S-Japan relations.