Because of recent widely-publicised allegations that Japan has been involved in breaking the United Nations economic sanctions against Rhodesia on a major scale, leading Japanese businessmen met with foreign office officials at the Keidanren Building in Tokyo on Wednesday (17 July) to discuss the problem.
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Background: Because of recent widely-publicised allegations that Japan has been involved in breaking the United Nations economic sanctions against Rhodesia on a major scale, leading Japanese businessmen met with foreign office officials at the Keidanren Building in Tokyo on Wednesday (17 July) to discuss the problem.
The head of the Middle Eastern and African Affairs Department in the Ministry, Mr. Teruhiko Nakamura, was the main speaker at the meeting. Officials at the Department denied the meeting was scheduled to take place, claiming they knew nothing of it. Japanese newsmen were not allowed into the meeting.
The meeting was sponsored by the African Committee of the powerful Japanese Federation of Economic Organisations (Keidanren). The Federation provides the main financial support for the ruling conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). In recent elections for the Upper House, the Federation provided candidates as well as cash contributions.
The meeting was described on the agenda as "The discussion of problems arising from trade relations with South Africa", but most observers believed that it would involve talks on Rhodesia. Discrepancies in South African-Japanese trade figures published recently, inferred Japan was importing about half of its chrome ore from Rhodesia through South Africa.
Papers smuggled out of Rhodesia recently by a Rhodesian merchant bank employee, Mr. Kenneth McIntosh, were published in a leading English newspaper and passed on to the Japanese Foreign Ministry. Among the revelations, the papers showed that a major Japanese automobile manufacturer, Nissan Ltd., was engaged in exporting dismantled cars to Rhodesia through Mozambique.
Mr. McIntosh is now awaiting trial in a Rhodesian Prison for his part in revealing the papers.
Some weeks ago, a meeting of Japan's ambassadors to African countries advised the Government that it was important to retain the goodwill of the raw material producing countries of Africa, in order to guarantee Japan's supplies for industry.
Following the meeting of envoys, it was decided that the Japanese Foreign Minister should tour the black African states later this year on a goodwill mission. The Minister, Mr. Masayshi Ohira, later announced that he would make the tour in September.
Because of their rich mineral resources, including oil, uranium and iron, African states are becoming increasingly important for Japan's economic and industrial well-being.