The Greater East Asia Conference
Government leaders put ideas of Asian regional cooperation into practice, for instance, in the Greater East Asian Conference of 1943, a meeting of seven Asian heads of government held in Tokyo. The countries represented were neither completely independent nor treated by Tokyo as equals, but the organizers of the gathering either understood or presented them in such terms, bringing yet another influence to the multifaceted evolution of internationalism in wartime Japan. Using a combination of Wilsonian and Pan-Asianist rhetoric and structures simultaneously to fortify the commitment of the other countries of Asia to aid Japan in its war effort and to improve Japan’s image in the eyes of its enemies, the conference organizers turned these ideals to violent and imperialistic ends, but also helped solidify them in the Japanese official and popular understanding of international affairs and Japan’s regional and global role.
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