Statement by Chairman Jorge B, Vargas of the Philippine Executive Commission on the future of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, as requested by the Domei News Agency in Manila for publication in the Japanese papers in connection with the commemoration of the Greater East Asia War on December 8, 1942:
The outbreak of the Greater East Asia War is positively the greatest event in the history of the Orient. It was a notice served by Japan to the Occidental nations, particularly to America and England, that the time had come for the Oriental races to shake off their long-borne yoke and determine their own future under the leadership of the Japanese Empire.
The brilliant victories of Japan during the first year of the war have no parallel in the history of the world. Within the first six months of Japan’s offensive, virtually all the possessions of the Allied Nations in the East and in the Southwest Pacific fell one after another under the control of Japan. As a result of these unprecedented achievements, Japan has been able to bring within her sphere of leadership the Philippines, Hongkong, Burma, Sumatra, Java, Borneo, the Celebes, and about one half of China. The control of the enormous resources of war materials which were formerly at the command of the Anglo-American powers has passed into Japanese hands.
The brilliant military and naval successes achieved by the Imperial Japanese Forces since the outbreak of the Greater East Asia War a year ago have thus made the Co-Prosperity Sphere a working reality, with every member nation—finally liberated from the fetters of western civilization and awakened to the consciousness of its inherent vitality and culture—straining every effort to accelerate the great work of reconstruction and rehabilitation under the unselfish guidance of the mighty Empire of Japan.
Before we venture to predict the future of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, we should consider the factors by which it will be determined. Upon what, therefore, does the future of the Co-Prosperity Sphere depend? To my mind, the future of the Co-Prosperity Sphere will depend upon three factors: (1) the strength of the foundations already laid; (2) the geographical and racial affinity of the countries forming the Co-Prosperity Sphere; and (3) the nature of the policies adopted by Japan in dealing with each member.
Any project of the magnitude of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere must rest on a solid and permanent foundation. While it may be too early to say that a permanent foundation of the Co-Prosperity Sphere has already been laid, it can be said without fear of successful contradiction that with the prompt development of the natural resources and speedy spiritual regeneration of the people, the foundation already laid is both solid and sound.
The geographical and racial affinity of the peoples of the countries now within the Co-Prosperity Sphere will determine not only the strength but the endurance of the Co-Prosperity structure. Although the members possess civilization and culture differing in various degrees, all are Orientals with identical customs and traditions and all, with the exception of Japan, have suffered for centuries from Occidental oppression and exploitation. All naturally welcome the establishment of the Co-Prosperity Sphere based upon the principles repeatedly enunciated by the authorized representatives of the Japanese Empire.
The third condition, to my mind, is the attitude of Japan herself towards the members of the Co-Prosperity Sphere. Anyone who has watched closely the progress of Japan in the administration of the affairs of the countries that have fallen within the sphere of her leadership, knows how spontaneously and wholeheartedly the peoples of those countries have cooperated with Japan. With respect to the Philippines, I can say that the Imperial Japanese Forces received the necessary cooperation immediately upon the occupation. Japan has taken a friendly attitude and is proving, by her policies and practices, that the purpose of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere is to promote the welfare of all the peoples of the Orient on the basis of universal brotherhood. She can surely count on the complete, wholehearted, and continued support and cooperation of all the countries within the Co-Prosperity Sphere.
With these three favorable conditions, the future of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere is assuredly bright and promising. Resting on a sound and permanent foundation, it can unite, as never before, the countries of the Orient and restore the Oriental races to their rightful place in the concert of nations. Under the leadership and protection of the mighty Japanese Empire, determined in spirit and progressive in ideas, the countries within the Co-Prosperity Sphere, better guided and more firmly united than the nations forming the League of Nations which passed out of existence without accomplishing its objective, are bound to advance in wealth, in culture, in civilization.
But one great factor that must be reckoned with in our forecast of the future of the Co-Prosperity Sphere is the adequate precautionary measure already taken by Japan to prevent the Anglo-American powers from launching a counter-offensive in the Orient. The rapidity with which these powers have been driven from their strongholds with the enormous losses they suffered during the first year in men, territory, and material, and the strong blockade established by Japan running from the Aleutian Islands down to the Solomons, make the possibility of any counter-offensive completely out of the question. With these considerations in mind, I can imagine the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere as a formidable federation of economically self-sufficient member-states working together for the happiness and welfare of all the peoples of the Orient under the wise leadership of the Japanese Empire.
Manila, November 24, 1942.
Source: Office of the Solicitor General Library