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Series Two: British Foreign Office Files for Post-War Japan, 1952-1980
(Public Record Office Classes FO 371 and FCO 21)

Part 5: Complete Files for 1963-1965
(PRO Class FO 371/170743-170800, 175999-176054 & 181067-181112)

Part 5 covers the files for the years 1963 to 1965. It was during this period that Japan truly established herself as a dominant global economic power, overtaking the leading European nations in economic growth and in many areas of industrial production. In 1964 Japan became a member of the International Monetary Fund and the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development, further signalling her arrival as a major global economic force. These developments are well covered in the FO 371 files.

It was also a period of increased world instability with many areas potential of crisis. Cold War tensions in Asia - especially in China, Korea, Laos and Vietnam - were played out within striking distance of Japan. The documents show that these issues were a source of constant worry both to Japan and her western allies. 

There is ample material for scholars to assess Japan's role:

  • The emegence of a self-assured and increasingly prosperous nation, firmly wedded to the western powers and the democratic ideal.
  • The adoption of western political principles tempered by many traditional Japanese political institutions (most notably the retention of the Emperor as head of state).
  • Japan's strong alliance with the United States.
  • Confidence to pursue her own policies when necessary.
    Nowhere is this more visible than in Japan’s dealings with the
    People’s Republic of China, with whom successive Japanese administrations continued to develop economic ties.
  • The success of the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
  • Policies on defence and the armed forces.
Car manufacture in Japan

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