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Forum Discusses Japan's Strength

Speakers Agree That Japan Is Very Formidable Force


In a forum sponsored by the Crimson Network last night in the Winthrop Junior Common Room, four authorities on Japan, discussing the timely question of "How Strong Is Japan?", reached the conclusion that "we are faced with a country much more formidable than has been indicated by the press and radio."

Mrs. Elizabeth B. Schumpeter, speaking upon the economic strength of Japan, warned that while Japan's resources were inferior to ours, the great distance between the United States and the scene of the battle might make our material superiority slow in being felt.

"The element of tremendous fanaticism and the well-trained forces, totally out of proportion with the size of the country, make Japan a dangerous military opponent," stated William H. Chamberlin, former foreign correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor.

Comparing Japan with Russia, William S. Howe '10, former member of the United States consular service in China, pointed out how the military strength of both countries had been underestimated. Howe criticized the Japanese strategy which called for the attack on Pearl Harbor and said that it did more to awaken and unite our people than anything else.

Dr. Edwin O. Reischauer, faculty instructor in Far Eastern languages, who was born and raised in Japan, gave a complete picture of the Japanese people, emphasizing their loyalty and thoroughness, and he added: "They were better prepared for this war."

In the panel discussion which followed the four-minute talks by each speaker, all agreed that if Japan could take Singapore the attack on Pearl harbor would appear to be very strategic. But they split on the question of whether Japan might be able to take Singapore. Howe said that the thin Malayan peninsula, with its thick jungles, made a successful land attack more improbable than "Hitler taking Europe"; Chamberlin and Reischauer were not in accord with this view, and Chamberlin pointed out that the Japanese had been trained for jungle fighting.

For the last 10 minutes the speakers attempted to answer the questions of the audience.

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