Online ISSN : 2424-2616
Print ISSN : 0018-2478
ISSN-L : 0018-2478
The Interdepartmental Liaison Conference on Anti-Comintern and Counterintelligence Measures
Jun-ichi Nagai
Author information

1988 Volume 97 Issue 9 Pages 1538-1555,1628-


The Interdepartmental Liaison Conference on Anti-Comintern and Counterintelligence Measures (hereafter, "the Conference") was established as a working-level conference in July, 1937, on the initiative of the Police Security Bureau of the Ministry of Home Affairs. It was one of a number of committees and other such entities arising at that time, outside the process of administrative reform. Other participants in the Conference were the Ministries of the Army, Navy, Foreign Affairs, Communications, Finance, Justice, Colonial Affairs and Education, the Bureau of Resources and the Bureau for Manchurian Affairs, the Committee on Intelligence, and Military Police Headquarters. Records are extant for four meetings of the Conference ; and there may only have been four. The Conference's existence was secret. The objective of this essay is twofold : First, by examining the structure and function of the Conference, the author delineates the actual measures undertaken in the exercise of its dual mandate. Secondly, the author attempts to place within a larger political context conditions obtaining within the Ministries of the Army and Home Affairs, which played leading roles in the exchange of information, etc., within the Conference. Among the Army representatives to the Conference was Iwakuro Hideo, who had been instrumental in the preparation of the Military Secrets Act reform bill recently submitted in the Diet. In Conference deliberations as well, the Army addressed chiefly matters relating to counterintelligence, seeking comprehensive measures for the preservation of military secrets even after passage of the reform bill. Previously, in the 69th Diet, deliberations on a General Mobilization and Preservation of Secrets Act, based on a concept of national security broadly defined, had ended inconclusively. Subsequent efforts to pass a Military Secrets Act reform bill represented a retreat to a concept of national security narrowly defined in accordance with the prerogative of supreme command. One may surmise that the Military Affairs Bureau of the Army Ministry, which was in charge of counterintelligence, saw the Conference as providing some compensation for this policy retreat. From the point of view of the Home Ministry, the original proponent of the Conference, it would appear that the Conference was envisioned as a Trojan horse for the standing committee provided for under Section III of the Protocol to the Japanese-German Anti-Comintern Pact. This was denied by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but may nevertheless be inferred from the subsequent dispatch to Rome of a Secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs with the objective of establishing just such a committee. The committee was never in fact established. The Conference thus provides a perspective on the ineffectiveness of the Anti-Comintern Pact. A further point of interest is that among the other governmental agencies represented in the Conference, the Ministries of Communication, Justice and Education, and some others, thanks to current administrative reforms, had parallel sections perfectly suited to participation in the Conference, and participated actively. The Conference was succeeded by a Committee on Counterintelligence established in December, 1938 ; a consideration of that committee will be undertaken in a separate article.

Information related to the author
© 1988 The Historical Society of Japan
Previous article Next article