WASHINGTON – A group of former high-ranking Imperial Japanese Army officers plotted in July 1952 to assassinate Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida, according to recently declassified U.S. documents.
Takushiro Hattori, the late former planning chief of the army staff office, and five others hatched the plot in defiance of what they saw as Yoshida’s pro-U.S. policy, according to CIA documents dated Oct. 31, 1952.
The group planned to install Yoshida’s rival, Ichiro Hatoyama, as prime minister after killing Yoshida, who was thought hostile to nationalists and others removed from public office after World War II, the documents said.
The documents were released by the National Archives in the United States, where records of the General Headquarters of the Allied Forces and the CIA are kept.
Opposition by Hattori’s friend, former Col. Masanobu Tsuji, prevented the group from carrying out the assassination. Tsuji insisted the Socialists, not conservatives like Yoshida, head of the Liberal Party, were the “real enemy,” the documents said.
Both Hattori and Tsuji were dissatisfied with Yoshida’s refusal to pursue Japan’s rearmament. They were also backed by rightwing tycoon Yoshio Kodama.