The arguments in favor of the first plan were:
It is understandable that the United States proposal dated 2 October cannot be accepted as is. Moreover, in view of the attitude taken by the United States Government thus far, and in view of the newly established policy governing negotiations with the United States, it is perhaps impossible to break the deadlock through diplomatic negotiations unless the United States changes her attitude. In other words, there is no assurance that a rupture in negotiations can be averted. However, even in the event of a rupture, it would be unwise for Japan to enter immediately into a state of hostilities with the United States, Great Britain and the Netherlands. The reason is that the China Incident, which was started more than four years ago, has not been settled yet. To wage war with the United States and Britain when this nation is still involved in the China Incident, is foolhardy from the standpoint of Japan's national strength and also in view of the sacrifices her people would have to make. War should be avoided at all cost. The nation should concentrate all her efforts on the settlement of the China Incident at the moment. Therefore, Japan should not take arms right away even if nego-
tiations should fail, instead she should bide her time until the last moment. Another reason is the extreme difficulty Japan is facing today in maintaining the livelihood of her people and, at a time when she is engaged in the China Incident, in producing war supplies and equipment. The moat vital problem is the acquisition of liquid fuel. If only this problem were solved, we should be able to get along somehow. Therefore let us begin the production of synthetic oil and thereby satisfy our minimum requirements.
Those who opposed this plan asserted:
All hope of acquiring critical materials that are indispensable to Japan's existence, especially liquid fuel, has completely vanished since the blockade by the United States, Britain, and the Netherlands. At this rate, both the Navy and Air Force will be compelled to stop their activities within two years. This would place Japan's national defense in serious jeopardy, and it would also prevent the settlement of the China Incident. If prompt expansion of production facilities could solve the problem of synthetic oil, that would be the most desirable way.
This matter has been seriously studied, and the conclusion reached that it would take from four to seven years for Japan to produce four million tons of synthetic oil, annually, the minimum annual requirement even if a large portion of her vital munitions production were suspended. During this four to seven years, Japan would have to rely upon her stock supplies. However, Japan is in no position to rely upon her reserves for such a long period at time. The suspension of a vital portion of war
production is absolutely intolerable to the Army and Navy, which are presently conducting the China Incident. Under these circumstances, to wait means the collapse of the Empire. Japan should risk death and break through the blockade to find a way out rather than sit here and be destroyed. In addition to more than four years of the China Incident, it is an unbearable agony for the government to take up arms against the United States and Britain in view of the further burden it will impose upon the people. Nevertheless, we believe that the people will willingly accept this added burden for the sake of the Empire's integrity and dignity.
Arguments in favor of the Second Plan, or the plan calling for immediate war were as follows:
Needless to say, the United States proposal of 2 October is not acceptable nor is there any hope of improving the United States-Japanese relations and overcoming the crisis by adopting the "Policy Governing Negotiations with the United States". To continue negotiations would merely be aiding the delaying tactics of the opponent. With the passage of time the odds of the military preparations between these two countries will become increasingly greater.
Our country's gasoline reserve is dwindling day by day, and there is no hope of replenishment. If the deadlock cannot be broken through negotiations, we must resort to arms. From the military standpoint, November is the moat suitable month, climatically and otherwise, for commencing operations. In December, landing operations would become difficult
but still possible. After December there would be no opportunities for a period of one year. During this period Japan's liquid fuel reserve would be exhausted, while the United States' naval strength would increase greatly in the latter half of next year.
The above-mentioned views were expressed by members of the High Command.
Those opposed to the Second Plan presented the following operation:
So far as military operations are concerned, the decision to fight should be made as early as possible. However, we do not agree that the is no hope in diplomatic negotiations. Difficulties are expected, but as long as there looms a hope for success, the nation should continue diplomatic negotiations to the extent permitted by military requirement. This may cause operational inconveniences to the military. In that case why not carry out military preparations while the United States-Japanese negotiations are being held? In fact, such a procedure would cause the United States to reflect more carefully upon her conduct. Furthermore, if this plan were followed, there would be no hindrance to our military operations should we decide to fight.
Arguments concerning the Third Plan, or the plan calling for the continuation of the negotiations on the one hand while making military preparations on the other with the intention of opening hostilities in the event of a rupture in negotiations, were the same as the arguments given in regard to the first and second plane. The Third Plan was ulti-
mately adopted at the Liaison Council. Until the adoption thereof, the major issue was the choice between the first and third plans.
Although the Third Plan was tentatively decided upon at 0200 hours, 2 November, Foreign Minister Togo and Finance Minister Kaya did not vote. Finally, the next morning, both Ministers agreed to the Third Plan.
In accordance with the purport of the Third Plan, the outline for the execution of the future national policy was also decided upon at the Liaison Council. After the necessary arrangements, the plan was finally approved at the Imperial Conference of 5 November.