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Okinori Kaya

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Okinori Kaya was a Japanse government official, who had been Finance Minister at the time of the decision to launch the 1941 war. He was subsequently rehabilitated and became an important postwar leader in the Liberal Democratic Party, and had strong ties to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Throughout his career, he was a fervent anticommunist, a factor not always given strong attention in discussions of prewar Japanese militarism.


He was Minister of Finance, 1937-1938 in the Prince Konoe cabinet, and later President of the North China Development Company.

World War II

Kaya had been finance minister in Japan's wartime cabinet. In conferences with Prime Minister Hideki Tojo, he disagreed with the immediate need for the Strike-South. While he agreed the people might be willing to starve, Japan could not meet its military needs. Only extreme exploitation of conquered territories would hold off runaway inflation at home.

While Indonesia might provide the raw materials Japan needed, Japan could not provide Indonesia with the manufacured goods it now imported from Europe. He also was unconvinced the United States would use its full force against Japan. [1]


Department of State records refer to him as a Class A war criminal, and wartime Finance Minister. [2]

Convicted as a war criminal, he was sentenced to life in prison. Paroled in 1955 and pardoned in 1957, he became one of Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi's closest advisers and a key member of the Liberal Democratic Party's (LDP) internal security committee.

U.S. intelligence involvement

Kaya started to work for the Central Intelligence Agency around the time of his election to the Diet in 1958. After his recruitment, he wanted to travel to the United States and meet Allen Dulles in person. Kaya came to visit Dulles at CIA headquarters in 1959, and asked the director to enter into a formal agreement to share intelligence with his internal security committee. "Everyone agreed that cooperation between CIA and the Japanese regarding countersubversion was most desirable and that the subject was one of major interest to CIA", say the minutes of their talk. Dulles regarded Kaya as his agent, and six months later he wrote him to say: "I am most interested in learning your views both in international affairs affecting relations between our countries and on the situation within Japan". [3]

Kaya's on-and-off relationship with the CIA reached a peak in 1968, when he was the leading political adviser to Prime Minister Eisaku Sato. Kaya was instrumental in a CIA action intended to swing the Okinawan election to the LDP, an action that failed. Okinawa was a key U.S. base, both for Vietnam War operations and a variety of strategic operations (e.g., SR-71 and other reconnaissance in Asia). Kaya played a key role in the CIA's covert actions aimed to swing the elections for the LDP, which narrowly failed. Okinawa itself returned to Japanese administration in 1972, but the American military kept a strong presence, although some major units are now relocating to Guam and elsewhere.

He supported close Japanese relations with South Korea and Taiwan, because "Communism means only a dog's life."[4]


  1. David Bergamini (1971), Japan's Imperial Conspiracy, Morrow, p. 802
  2. National Archives and Records Administration Interagency Working Group (IWG) (March 2002), Implementation of the Japanese Imperial Government Disclosure Act and the Japanese War Crimes Provisions of the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act: An Interim Report to Congress
  3. Tim Weiner (2007), Chapter 12: We Ran It in a Different Way, Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA, Doubleday
  4. "Milestones", Time, 9 May 1977