Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung

Interview With The Japanese Socialists
On The Theory Of The
Intermediate Zone

August 11, 1964

[SOURCE: Japanese journal Sekat Shuho, 11 August, 1964]

Chairman Mao first raised the following subject. Japan and China should act jointly, work together one with the other. Japan is a country which is relatively developed industrially; therefore she can aid us in many ways. But we must also support each other politically. Why should we oppose each other as was the case a few years ago?

Exchanging remarks with Kojo Sasaki and other political leaders about past Japanese aggression against China, Chairman Mao broached the question of American imperialism and of intermediate zones, and developed the following thoughts:

As a result of the war, Japan came under the domination of American imperialism, exactly as American imperialism rules South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, and so on. The hands of the United States have stretched out into the western part of the Pacific Ocean and into South-east Asia. These stretched-out hands are very long.

The United States rules over Europe; it rules over Canada; it rules over Latin America, except for Cuba. Its hands reach all the way to Africa.

All the nations of Asia, Africa, and Latin America are rising against imperialism; even Europe, Canada, and other countries are rising against imperialism. Imperialists are even rising against imperialists. Isn’t that what De Gaulle is doing?

At the present time, there exist two intermediate zones in the world. Asia, Africa, and Latin America constitute the first intermediate zone. Europe, Northern America, and Oceania constitute the second. Japanese monopoly capital belongs to the second intermediate zone, but even it is discontented with the United States, and some of its representatives are openly rising against the United States. Though Japanese monopoly capital now is dependent on the United States, the time will come when it too will shake off the American yoke.

The Japanese people are a great people. They waged war with the United States, with England and France. They carried out the attack on Pearl Harbor; they occupied Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaya, Indonesia. Their advance reached the eastern part of India.

Obviously, this by no means indicates that I favour repetition of aggression by Japanese imperialism.

However, I do not think that Japanese monopoly capital will allow the United States to sit on its neck forever. Wouldn’t it be best for Japan to be completely independent, to establish relations and enter into cooperation with those forces in Asia striving for national independence?

On the Sino-Soviet Dispute

Referring to the so-called Sino-Soviet dispute, Mao raised the question of Soviet military aid to India, of the withdrawal from China of Soviet specialists and technicians, and so on. Noting that ‘relations between us and the Soviet Union have been getting worse and worse since the Twentieth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1956’, he further declared:

They challenged us to this, and we are responding. They proposed that we halt open discussions, even for only three months. We indicated that we would not stop them even for three days. We have waged war for twenty-five years, twenty-two of them civil war and the war against Japan, and three of them the war in Korea. Earlier I was a teacher; I did not know what war was. Three instructors taught me what war is: Chiang Kai-shek, Japanese imperialism, and American imperialism. We know this about wars  —  when one fights them, people die. As a result of twenty-five years of war, the losses of the Chinese people amounted to several tens of millions of killed and wounded.

But when it comes to wars on paper, in such a war no one gets killed. We have been waging such a war for several years now, and not one person has died. And we are ready to continue this war for another twenty five years.

On the Territorial Question

Tetsho Ara, head of the delegation of the staff of the Socialist Party on the island of Hokkaido asked: ‘At a time when we had no knowledge of it, the Kurile Islands were taken from us, according to the Yalta Agreement and the Potsdam Declaration. We demand their return, and we would like to hear the opinion of Chairman Mao in this connection. ’

The following was said in response:

The places occupied by the Soviet Union are very many. In accordance with the Yalta Agreement, the Soviet Union, under the pretext of assuring the independence of Mongolia, actually placed that country under its domination. Mongolia covers an area much greater than that of the Kurile Islands. When Khrushchev and Bulganin were in China in 1954 we raised this question, but they refused to speak to us about it. They annexed a part of Rumania. They cut off a part of East Germany and chased the local inhabitants into the western part. They cut off a part of Poland and included it in Russia, and as compensation gave Poland a part of East Germany. The same happened in Finland. They cut off everything that was possible to cut off. Some people have declared that Sinkiang Province and the territory north of the Amur River should be included in the U.S.S.R. The U.S.S.R is concentrating troops on its borders.

The Soviet Union covers an area of 22 million square kilometers and its population totals 200 million people. The time has come for it to stop annexations. Japan covers an area of 370,000 square kilometers and has a population of 100 million. It has been only 100 years that the land east of the Baikal has been Russian territory, and it is from those times that Vladivostok, Khabarovsk, Kamchatka, and other points can be considered territory of the Soviet Union. We have not yet presented accounts on this score. As far as the Kurile Islands are concerned, the question is clear for us  —  they should be returned to Japan.

Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung