JAPANESE INTELLIGENCE AND PROPAGANDA IN THE UNITED STATES DURING 1941 (Prepared by the Counter Subversion Section, Office of Naval Intelligence, from information received from various sources) December 4, 1941

"The [Japanese] military and naval espionage system is organized into more than one independent de-centralized machine. Information sought may be classified as professional, commercial, domestic, and political, and while the duty of each section is practically the same, the detection and destruction of one group will in no way lead to the destruction of the remaining ones.

"In addition to the organized machines operating under their respective chiefs, there are many individual agents whose trail will never be picked up. If they are apprehended, they can never be proved to be anything but irresponsible individuals operating without pay, authority, or direction. It is also well to remember that every Japanese commercial organization is an actively functioning information unit for the Japanese Government. Their normal business activities are nationwide, as are their contacts, and the Japanese Government exercises direct control over these groups through its Embassy in Washington as well as through its many consulates.

"Approximately one year ago, Japanese Consulates on the West Coast began to collect information about the movement of British, French and American naval and air forces, stressing the importance of having eye witnesses make reports. At the same time, it was suggested in Tokyo that a naval officer be assigned to each consulate in the United States as a "clerk" to secure information for the Naval Ministry.

"Mitsubishi is one of the fourteen semi-official organizations specifically designated to collect and report intelligence information formerly sought by Tokyo through regular Military and Naval agents. Reports of ship and troop movements, arrangements of inspection trips for visiting Japanese officials to important American plants and military establishments and the collection of all available information about the National Defense effort are illustrations of the "extra curricula activities" carried on by this organization. The same general pattern holds true with respect to other Japanese business houses.

"Of the many and varied types of Japanese organizations in the United States, by far the most active and subversive to the interests of this country are such military organizations as the NANKA TEIKOKU GUNYUDAN (Southern California War Veterans), Los Angeles, NIPPON KAIGUN KYUOKAI (Japanese Naval Association), Los Angeles, SAKURA KAI (Patriotic Society), Los Angeles, HOKUBEI BUTOKU KAI (Military Virtue Society of North America) Alvarado, California, and the HOKUBEI HEIEKI GIMUSHA KAI (Association of Japanese in North America Obligated for Military Duty), San Francisco.

"These organizations are intensely nationalistic and until recently made heavy contributions to the Japanese War Chest. Members of the NANKA TEIKOKU GUNYUDAY, NIPPON KAIGUN KYOKAI, AND SAKURA KAI are suspected of being either veterans of or reservists in the Japanese armed forces. They have co-operated closely with official Japanese Agencies in the United States and the arrest of Commander Tachibana disclosed that the last two organizations, together with the SUIKO SHA (Reserve Officersí Club) in Los Angeles, were supplying him with intelligence information to be sent to Tokyo.

"Although their membership is drawn from a younger age group, such organizations as the HOKUBEI BUTOKU KAI and HOKUBEI HEIEKI GIMUSHA KAI are none the less loyal to Japanese principle, particularly to the expansionist program of the present military regime in Tokyo. In both of these organizations, internal friction has been noted and in those branches where the conservative element is dominant, there has been a tendency to de-emphasize military activities and in some cases to sever altogether affiliations with headquarters in Japan. On the other hand, where extremists have retained control, a marked increase in attendance to military sports, to local intelligence activities, and closer co-operation with the home government have been noted.

"Many local branches of these organizations have changed their names during the last few months in order to avert suspicion. In the event of war between the United States and Japan, Japanese organizations of this general type are certain to be delegated important espionage and sabotage functions in the area where they now operate."

These and other reports from the Office of Naval Intelligence, the Armyís Military Intelligence Division and the FBI are reproduced in their original form and cover in some detail:

  • The nationwide organization for intelligence gathering
  • The security threat at Terminal Island in the Los Angeles Harbor involving Japanese Americans
  • Japanese involvement with other Axis intelligence organizations, Fascist, Communist, anti-Semitic, Negro and labor organizations
  • Seditious acts by Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor
  • U.S. deference to rights of citizens and reluctance to prosecute seditious acts
  • The size and intentions of Japanese Military organizations in the U.S.
  • The use of Japanese businesses, civic and religious organizations and newspapers
  • The use of interlocking directorates to establish an espionage network using seemingly disparate business organizations.

Intelligence reports, excerpt 1 of 2