OSU Navigation Bar

The Ohio State University

University Libraries

II. SOME PROCEDURES AND PROBLEMS OF THE PO&SR DIVISION, CIE, SCAP

A. Problems of Administration and Policy in CI&E

8 August 1949

Attended another regular Monday staff meeting this morning. These consist of all the Division Chiefs and Nugent, the Section Chief. They are both funny and infuriating, as stupidity and unimaginativeness can only be. Here you have the group in charge of the reorientation of the Japanese people--who administers their re-education, gives them information, movies, and supervises their religious life--or at least is supposed to. They sit around talking about such things as when the Town Meeting of the Air is coming to Japan; or whether or not they should counteract Communist propaganda by putting up information centers near universities, and why Japanese teachers should not join unions (would create another fifty thousand members of the CP!), whether or not a certain SCAP news story actually appeared in the weekend edition of the Tokyo papers, etc., etc. Once in awhile a matter of importance is discussed, and sometimes someone shows some intelligence. On the whole it is sad, but one can say that some of the individuals are not bad as individuals. But they turn into shadows when they are faced with the administration. Nugent is not a tyrant, but as a Lieutenant Colonel of the Marines he is the weakest chief [most were Major Generals] in SCAP, and must cover his tracks. CIE has in a sense failed in its mission, except for a few basic structural educational reforms and for the fairly successful democratizing of textbook content. I guess they've been fairly successful in converting much of Japanese radio to the American patterns of programming, whatever that means. Nobody has any idea of what policy really means in an Occupation, nor have they any concrete program. Just pass along from one small problem to another, solving each one as they go, with a lack of vis ion or purpose other than the vague one of doing everything the American Way. [Actually, the Japanese usually went ahead and did what they wanted.]

B. The Tokyo Transport Workers Strike: A Special Journal Extract

13 June 1949

Note: In addition to performing long-term research projects, the PO&SR Division also responded to emergency situations by accepting commissions from Occupation offices to investigate ongoing social and economic affairs. The Transport Workers Strike of 1949 was such a case. With the help of our analog agency in the Prime Minister's Office, we were able to send out squads of interviewers on a few hours notice.

This is a funny place to be writing a letter from, and a funnier time. The story is as follows: As you may have read in the papers, Tokyo had a wildcat transport workers strike, which tied up the whole town for two days, and caused a lot of excitement, including some vicious and stupid statements by SCAP officials. Early yesterday morning we got together with the Labor Division and suggested that a quick public opinion study be done on the strike. So we got into action. First we had to get approval from the Chief of CIE, which came in a hurry. He was pleased and excited about a quick job like this. He is always glad to have CIE (Civil Information and Education Section of SCAP) show up to good advantage because he is very self-conscious about the frequent covert attacks the Army (especially GI-intelligence) makes upon CIE. Anyway, he said go ahead. So we got hold of the Jiji Press Public Opinion Section, which is set up to do fast jobs, and in half an hour had cooked up some questionnaires and in another hour had them printed. In the meantime, someone had been sent up to the University to round up a bunch of social science students. I took over the job of getting transportation, and managed to arrange for a dozen jeeps to be at our disposal all afternoon and night. By 2 PM the office was full of fifty students and a staff of fifteen, with people on desks shouting instruction, mistakes happening all over the place. A whole new batch of questionnaires had to be printed at the last minute because the union called off the strike, although the workers didn't come back to work right away. And, the sample had been designed for two to five in the afternoon, taking account of the distribution of population during those hours, and when we were delayed in getting out the interviewers, it had to be revised. Finally after indescribable confusion and noise, we dispatched the interviewers--some on foot, the rest in jeeps. It was quite a sight--the interviewers lined up with the American sergeant writing out their passes, giving the dispatch slip to the driver, and then with me yelling out the names and packing them into the right jeep, we would then roar away out of the motor pool yard. We stayed here in the office until midnight, when the last interviewer came in. During the evening each interviewer would be checked in at the door, grabbed by one of our staff, and each question on the schedule would be gone over with him in a little clinical interview, which enabled us to salvage a lot of stuff that the kids forget to write down. During this Herb Passin and I and Shiina (our social psychologist) and Mizuno (statistician) spent most of our time in my office enclosure, which was a kind of GHQ, drinking beer which I got from the Dai Ichi grill and bar, and eating sushi (the wonderful lumps of rice with fish on top plus spices) which Numasa, the head of the Jiji, brought in for us. Masako stuck with us, working hard, but went home about 10 PM because the last train left them. And now this morning we are sending out another batch of interviewers to catch the last leftovers in the sample. It has been quite an experience. The coding, etc., will be done today, and maybe the report written tonight, which may set some kind of world record on polling.

The strike study was finished up over the weekend, and we were able to get out a preliminary report on it this morning, which pleased Nugent to no end. Then the Labor Division requested we run the survey again today, with a slightly different questionnaire, to determine reactions to SCAP's action in breaking the strike, so out we went again today. This time I insisted that the thing be run from the Cabinet Section National Public Opinion Institute, instead of from ours, because I was fed up with keeping the office open all hours. So the whole thing was moved over there. Herb has, as you can imagine, been in a wild state of officiousness and self-importance during the whole thing. There is nothing he likes better than to run things in crisis atmospheres. But, as usual he lets the details go and it is the details, like getting the jeeps dispatched, that are the most important things for actually getting the job done.

Anyway, I refused to have any more to do tonight, and here I am back in my room at the Dai Ichi hotel (haven't been moved to the new one yet), writing a letter. The strike has had a number of effects on SCAP as well as on the Japanese labor situation. It seems that after SCAP had ordered the strikers to go back to work, promising them that they had bargaining rights and the thing would be settled that way, the SCAP Government Section--all reactionaries--informed the Labor Division that they, the government section, had gotten a law passed in the Diet at the last session denying bargaining rights to striking government workers. This caused a tremendous uproar because the Government Section has not permitted the Diet to pass laws unless the other SCAP sections concerned with the law have seen it. But the Government Section simply deliberately bypassed the Labor Division. This went right to MacArthur today, with threats of resignation from the Labor Division. The last word was that they think they might have found a loophole in the new law which will permit them to hold to their promise to the strikers of bargaining rights. This is an example of how the objectives of the Occupation are being sabotaged by reactionaries among the Japanese and the Americans both and how liberals are being stabbed in the back, and why the Communists get fat.

C. Cancellation of Population Survey

13 July 1949

The past two days have been very wearing. The story is a long, hard one, and I won't go into all the details. As you know from the last letter, we recruited a bunch of interviewers for the population survey in the field, and arranged to have them brought in to Tokyo today - which is what happened. Now, sometime last month General MacArthur wrote a letter to a group of Catholic women in Washington Heights (a specially built "American" style subdivision for lower-ranking Occupation people) indicating that the Occupation was not studying population and birth control, and did not intend to do so, but that anyone in Japan was welcome to do all they could to study it, etc. Now this hit everyone like a bolt out of the blue when the letter was finally casually published about a week and a half ago. We were in the middle of our interviewer recruitment trip, as a matter of fact. Here ourselves and several other Sections have been studying population and making plans to do so for months, then suddenly this letter gets printed. Well, when the General says something, that's that. It is policy. Or, at least it has to be determined whether it is policy or not. It's a kind of medieval situation. So in the last two days we have been planning our training program and the study, and at the same time negotiating with Nugent to find out whether we would be allowed to have the study or not. Finally late in the afternoon, when all the kids are here, and we are ready to start printing schedules, Nugent calls me upstairs and he says that MacArthur has just said that no person on the Occupation payroll can participate in a study of this kind, but that the Japanese are welcome to do it, and we can publish it as an English version of one of their surveys. What this meant was that we could not finance nor arrange to finance the study, and we were doing all the hiring on it, and contributing our own staff as interviewers. So we had to call in the Cabinet Section's National Public Opinion Institute--our arm in the Japanese government, and tell them that they would have to take the survey over as theirs entirely, and finance it themselves. I did get permission from Nugent to pay all expenses and salaries for the interviewers we hired and brought to Tokyo, because we did it all on official orders and in good faith. Well, we will go ahead with the training program, because we wanted to do that anyway in order to have a corps of good interviewers for use on other studies. And the Institute will do its damnedest to get funds for the study. But we won't be able to run it on the original interview schedule, and we will have to send the kids back home after the training.

All this because MacArthur wrote a letter to a Catholic organization who asked him some questions about his attitude toward birth control. So damn the structure of the Occupation which permits an informal letter to set policy. It could have been worse, though - at least we will save face on the interviewer situation. My work on the study has not been wasted, because it will go on anyway. And we will continue to have an indirect and informal control, and will write up for publication our own analysis of the study, as per our policy. It just won't be as good a study because we won't have complete control.

D. What to do with the Excess Sociologists?

23-24 July 1949

We are still in the process of clearing decks, trying to plan a research program and utilize our staff to the best advantage. We are cleaning out a lot of the useless dead weight in the Japanese part of the office--Pelzel hired too many odd people who sit around doing nothing. One of the major problems concerns our sociologists. We have nine top rank men--at least as top rank as one can get here--who have been working for a year and a half on the Raper village survey, which is now ready for publication [the study conducted in 1947--before JWB came]. Arthur Raper is a big shot in the US Department of Agriculture who came out here for several one-month stands to do this survey. Anyway, the sociologists now have to be used in a new sociological program, and we are trying to work one out. Not that we don't have plenty of ideas, and even requests from other sections for studies, but we have to choose carefully. It looks as if the first project will be a report on the concepts and forms of family and household in Japan, to be done for the census people in the Economic and Scientific section of SCAP.

E. A Typical Report to the Chief, CI&E Division, SCAP

"Notes on Interviews Concerning the Population Problem"
"Taken on 2-week trip to Hokkaido and northern Honshu"
J.W. Bennett, PO&SR Division

Note: These are strictly informal notes, not an analytic report. They are prepared chiefly for the use of Dr. P.K. Whelpton in preparing his own comprehensive report. These notes differ from the materials secured by other members of the field trip in that they represent a more informal and intimate method of interviewing.

1) Hokkaido

While in Sapporo, the writer discussed the population problem with a number of informed persons at Hokkaido University. These discussions had a single purpose, as follows:

The general attitude of Hokkaido government officials and politicians is to encourage immigration into the island from other Japanese islands. They tend to feel that the present large growth of the Japanese population is "abnormal", i.e., will soon drop off and no serious difficulties will ensue. During the period of tapering off, Hokkaido can offer its land and resources to people from the crowded areas of other islands. Hence the purpose of the conversations with University people was to gather opinion on this official attitude.

Without exception, the writer was told that this receptive attitude was a "political" affair, in that the Hokkaido prefectural budget would be augmented if immigration to the island would take place in sufficient numbers. Typical were the comments of a well-known agricultural economist:

"There is simply no more room in Hokkaido, even though population figures give the illusion of a low population and plenty of room. At the present time we already have the problem of feeding second and third children of our farm families. Food is becoming a real problem. There does exist enough surplus land at the present time to accommodate these second and third children, but beyond that there simply is not room. Of course, one could alter the land use pattern and convert Hokkaido to the system of small-plot cultivation ("5-tan farmers") apparent in the other islands. This we would regard as a mistake and a tragedy. In general it can be said that there is not room for additional farming population."

"Hokkaido had always been regarded as a kind of frontier--or better, a colony. Actually it is not that, but a well-settled and probably over-exploited country. The people here really do not want any more outsiders, in spite of what the politicians say. It is true that we do need more skilled workers in industry, but there is a problem here. Actually industry is unprofitable in Hokkaido for many reasons, and I doubt if Hokkaido will ever become a major industrial area. Hence I feel that we can supply what industry Hokkaido will have and has now with our own people--including, of course, some migration of highly skilled personnel. But this has no significance for the population problem as a whole."

"It can be said that while the politicians are universally in favor of migration into Hokkaido, the informed and professional people are equally opposed."

"Hokkaido has always been used politically in this way. Whenever in Japanese history you find an acute population problem, Hokkaido is brought up as the safety valve. It never fails. This has not only been a device used by Hokkaido politicians to get funds for development and exploitation. When the population problem in the other islands dies away, then the whole thing is forgotten and Hokkaido is ignored in plans for development and progress. It is a very unfortunate situation."

"For example, at the beginning of the Meiji era the Shizoku (samurai class) were in excess. The government urged them to migrate to Hokkaido and establish themselves there. After twenty years of this the project was abandoned, because it was found that the shizoku constituted less of a problem than anticipated. Then with the Russo-Japanese war the problem came up again, and immigrants to Hokkaido were encouraged. Same thing again around the time of the First World War, and then after the great earthquake of 1923, when the destitute were encouraged to go to Hokkaido. During the period of the Manchurian episode Hokkaido was forgotten, because they wanted settlers for Manchuria, but now the whole thing is starting again! The idea is that Hokkaido is a great open reservoir, waiting to be filled. This is not true."

"Do the people of Hokkaido resent immigrants? This is not easy to answer. Outwardly they are graciously receiving repatriates, and they probably will do the same for immigrants from the other islands. However, it is plain that under the surface there is considerable resentment at these newcomers. The most resentment showed up against the bombed-out people who came in during the war and after. It is hard to say why. On the whole the attitude of the Hokkaido people about immigrants of all kinds can be summarized by "it can't be helped." Thus they will put up with it. It does not seem that there would be any ??rioting?? or public pressure or restrictions against the immigrants. The people here probably know that serious consequences will result if people come in large numbers, but they won't prevent them from coming, but will "take them into the family."

"Regarding birth control, there is only the beginning of interest in it here. In a few localities discussions among local leaders and health officials have started, but it is probably at its lowest ebb in Hokkaido compared with the rest of Japan. The people here like and want large families. It will be very hard to introduce the idea of birth control. Actually there is no immediate need for family reduction--Hokkaido can take care of its second and third children adequately. But it cannot handle large scale immigration without far-reaching economic changes."

Most of the writer's stay in Hokkaido was devoted to a study of the social relations among the Ainu and Japanese, in the so-called "Ainu communities." This material for several reasons deserves a special report, which will be written later.

During the Ainu survey the writer visited a number of smaller towns and villages and asked questions of the officials and leading citizens on the local population situation. A few drug stores were visited and proprietors interviewed on the sale of contraceptives. It should be remembered that this information was gathered on the rather isolated south coastal area, in "backwoods" communities, and therefore might represent the lowest awareness area in regard to birth control and population matters.

In general, it was found that while all the communities visited were experiencing a marked population increase, there was virtually no awareness of a local population problem. Further, there was only a slight consciousness of the seriousness of the national population problem, although everyone interviewed showed journalistic knowledge of its existence. Obviously such knowledge of the national problem was greater in the better-educated groups. At any rate no urgency for measures to control population was felt.

It was felt by everyone interviewed that Hokkaido had plenty of land for more people, but no particular enthusiasm was found for immigrants--either repatriates or excess population from the other islands. On the other hand it was clear that no open resistance or resentment would greet in-migrants. Several times one encountered expressions which freely translated would be "We Japanese welcome our own kind". On the whole the attitudes found coincided with the reports given by the agricultural economist whose remarks have been quoted at length above.

The drug stores visited carried almost no contraceptives except condoms, and it was clear here (as elsewhere--see later) that condoms are not classified as contraceptives, but rather as disease prophylactics. Drug store proprietors often stated that interest in contraceptives had picked up in the past two months, and that more requests (by men only) for condoms were received during this period. In a few drug stores Sampoon foam tablets were carried, but only a few boxes had been sold in the past six months. One proprietor expressed the opinion that the recent slight increase in interest and sales in contraceptives was due to the newspaper publicity given the population problem.

2) Northern Honshu

The following are nearly verbatim transcripts of interviews with various persons in designated localities:

Biology and hygiene teacher, upper secondary school Akita City.

This man was fairly typical of a number of teachers interviewed, in that he had done little thinking about population and birth control, and in his comments and answers to questions attempted to conceal his lack of preparation. On the whole it was found that the school teachers showed little clear-cut consciousness of the problem, although all of them were quite aware of its existence. The general tendency was to see population as a strictly factual subject for teaching, and the "population problem" as something that the newspapers and politicians worry about. "Our business is to teach facts"--this was the characteristic attitude, though not expressed in such definite words. Instead, there was considerable evasion of the question.

"Birth control information could be given to children in the 12th grade (converted to Western equivalent); certainly not earlier. No information of this kind is given as far as I know. I have noticed that there is more interest of the part of the parents in sexual matters. At PTA meetings recently the parents have been asking that their children be given sex information. Specifically, the parents have been saying that the shame attitude toward sex is not good, and would like to eliminate it."

"In wartime, the people here weren't interested in population. All they wanted was to have more children. They didn't care anything about the quality of the population. Quantity is more important than quality. In those times the parents were interested in good marriages from the standpoint of having a lot of children-- to be a good mother. Their attitude is different now. They aren't so much interested in a lot of children, but a good sex relationship. Now they feel children should be provided with sex information through secondary schools and into college. They are more concerned with quality, too--want "mentally strong" children.

"A lot of students come to me these days to ask about marriages with people who might have some defect. Students seem to be more interested in that sort of thing now. I don't know why."

"I don't teach contraception, but I do teach physiology of sex. No, I don't get requests from students about contraceptives. You might say the students are more interested now in social problems:boy-girl relationships."

"I don't think parents would take very well to the idea of teaching contraception in the schools. They would object that the morals of the young people would be lowered. I think they would oppose teaching about it."

"Do we teach about the population problem? Well, something is taught here--in three subjects, biology, social studies, and domestic science. In biology we teach population from the analogies with other animals. I try to show them that other animals in order to survive have to breed fast and produce large populations, but that the human animal in order to survive doesn't need a large population--only one with quality."

"In the other subjects they teach something about population, but as facts. No, we don't have an integrated program of teaching about population. I guess we don't teach it as a social problem."

"In my opinion the economic factor is the biggest one in the population situation right now. If you have to promote the idea of population control to the people it should be done through the economic factor. That is, you have to convince people that if they cut down the size of their families they will live a better life."

"How serious is the population problem? Well, I would say that Japan is not in good condition economically. In order to maintain a high culture--to become a nation of culture--she must educate her children properly. If the population grows, we can't educate children properly. What we need right now is more quality in the population and less quantity."

"No, I haven't thought very much about these things . . . It isn't part of my duties to teach about the social aspect. Japan has to think about her race, I would say, to maintain the race."

Gynecologist, Akita City (leading figure in local medicine)

"I would say that awareness of the population problem is increasing here among the public. There is more interest in contraception and abortion. We get more requests for legal abortions every week."

"When I say "awareness of population" I mean that we get more and more requests for information and lectures on problems of population and birth control. There seems to be a lot of interest in population problems among the working class - that is, people are afraid they are increasing too rapidly."

"I would like to tell you what I think is wrong with the present Eugenics Law (legalized abortions). First, there is a provision in the law which says that if a woman becomes pregnant one year after the previous child, and that if her health is threatened by this, she can get an abortion, provided first she secures the consent of a doctor other than the legal abortionist. Then her case is presented to the eugenics committee. The real reason for this was that the government lacked confidence in the doctors. Now, I don't think this is necessary. Sometimes it is hard to get the second agreement, and there is no need for it in any case we have handled here. It just complicates and delays things. If we are in charge of the abortion we might as well have the responsibility of granting or denying the request."

"Second, and maybe more important, is that the law doesn't pay any attention to the health of the children in the family - only to the mother. For example suppose the first child was very sick, and this family was poor. A second child would deprive the first of needed care. This wouldn't be accepted as a reason for abortion, but it is just as important as the health of the mother."

"Then there is something else. The doctors are given all the responsibility. It isn't a medical problem most of the time. I don't know what you can do, but someone ought to be in charge of the family situation. (After some probing, it became clear he meant that some type of case worker ought to be in on the request for abortion.) Yes, that is it. Someone to certify that the family is poor, that the mother needs rest for mental reasons, and so on. We doctors can't decide this sort of thing half the time. It is a burden for us. Some doctors though would resist any attempt to take it out of their hands.

"Another serious defect in the law is the fact that a criminal stigma is placed on the doctor when he makes an abortion without going through the channels. Actually it makes very little difference in most cases, because in my experience abortions are performed by doctors only when it is absolutely necessary anyway. Doctors shouldn't be stigmatized as criminals."

"Who opposed and opposes the law? I don't believe there is any strong opposition. Everyone around here know there are too many people - most families have felt that kind of pressure because--they tell me-- before they could think about sending their second or third child to Manchuria as a settler, but now that is impossible."

"As far as I am concerned, overpopulation was the main cause of the war. They wanted Manchuria in order to drain off population from the islands. I am all for doing what we can about population."

"Birth control? Well, actually we don't get too many requests for information about contraceptives. Of course, we give it out all the time. Lately there have been more requests, though. This month about two people every day--women--have been coming in (health center) to ask about contraceptives. I would say the figure is probably around sixty a month, about half of these being farmers. This figure includes a lot who came in for abortions, too. We give information about contraceptives to all our abortion request cases as a matter of course. We should prevent as well as take away. I think it is rather strange that people are more interested in abortions than contraceptives, but that's the way it is. The reason is the low level of education. I always tell them they should have come sooner and learned how to use contraceptives, then they wouldn't have needed an abortion. In a lot of our requests for abortion I advise them to go ahead and have the child this time, but prevent the next one with contraceptives."

"As far as types of contraceptives go, I feel the diaphragm is the most difficult to use - especially for the farmers and lower class. The houses aren't equipped with running water, etc., which you need for this type. I recommend cream for farmers--or condoms--or both. We have had a lot of trouble with people who don't follow the instructions for any of the contraceptives."

"I think that movies are the best answer. Movies should be made and distributed to doctors, health centers, and the like. These movies should show all the details on how to use pessaries, creams, and so on. They have to be very simple, too. It shouldn't be commercial--the government should distribute them. We could do a lot more here if we had materials like that."

Interview with newspaper official, Akita City

"Why are newspapers somewhat hesitant about publicizing the population problem and birth control? Well, in the first place I think they have done pretty well, but they haven't done as much as they could. I think this is because the average newspaperman doesn't have much awareness of the problem. He is more interested in other things. There isn't enough education about these matters, either. After all, the people here were told for a generation that they should breed fast, and nothing was ever taught about the need for control."

"Finally, it is obvious that the population problem in the smaller towns and villages simply isn't as acute as it is in Tokyo and the other cities. You don't see as many people around you everyday."

"In order to get birth control working, I would say you need to work on the women rather than the men. We need movies, good ones, to show the farmers and the lower classes. For the upper and middle classes, we need a "realistic" approach--by this I mean that you can tell them that birth control is necessary for population reasons. For the lower classes and farmers you will need to them that if they reduce the size of their families their wives will have fewer physical difficulties. For people in the cities, who are used to a good living, and a lot of things to buy, you should use higher-standard-of-living argument. You have to sell birth control differently for different groups."

"Most newspaper people approach the whole question cautiously. They don't quite appreciate how serious it is, and they don't feel that anyone really knows how serious it is. There isn't enough education."

"Another difficulty is that farmers and lower class people can't read things with long and difficult words in them, I don't believe that newspaper articles on population reach very many lower class and rural people. Movies would be better."

"To be frank, newspapermen don't regard population as news. They are more concerned with local affairs and national matters. If the population problem were played up by someone as a national emergency, things might be different."

Interview with gynecologist (leading one) in private hospital. Yamagata City.

"We are just getting started in our abortion program here. Only about sixteen cases a month, I have been getting a fair number of requests for information on contraceptives--about twenty a month. I have given a few lectures around the town on the subject - not many though. We have done no sterilization here. On these lectures I do not speak directly on contraception I just answer questions if they are asked of me. Most of the time I talk on hygiene. Sometimes I give talks in rural villages--maybe two or three a year.

"Formerly people weren't interested in these matters. Much indifference. I would say there is a much more sincere interest now. People are really trying to find out about contraception, sterilization, and abortion now. I would say that the whole social atmosphere is swinging toward the idea of birth control. People realize it is necessary."

"Why? Because of economic reasons. Among the intelligentsia, though, it is happening because they know something about the population problem."

"To sell contraception, what we need is more illustrated material. Movies are good. They shouldn't be commercial ones, because usually they aren't very good. The lower classes need most instruction and information, and movies are the best way of providing it."

"No, I do not believe the government should sponsor birth control, and provide it free. What they should do is to let the lower classes buy contraceptives at a lower price, though. One big difficulty in the whole program is that the lower class homes are not equipped to use contraceptives properly. I sometimes do not recommend contraceptives for lower class people. I tell them to wash out thoroughly with warm water after intercourse. Condoms are good, too. I also tell them to use the rhythm method. For the upper classes the pessary is best, and is used quite a bit. I don't know what the figures of sales of various devices are here."

"There are many things wrong with the abortion law. The worst thing is the committee system. It means that if a woman asks for an abortion her request is known by a committee of citizens in her community. That scares many people away. People often go to other cities to consult doctors. There are a lot of things about the law which are embarrassing to people."

(In same interview was a middle school teacher. He contributed little--giving same impression of vagueness and unpreparedness noted for others. It appeared that very little instruction on population was given in schools, except in the social studies program, where facts on the local population were taught. Occasionally students were sent out on census assignments, as part of a class project.)

Interview with newspaper reporters, Yamagata City.

(Summary)

We don't think newspapers are very deeply interested in the population question. Newspapers in general are rather avoiding it. We feel that a lot of people really oppose birth control of any kind, and we do not want to offend these people.

We just finished a public opinion poll on birth control (the Yamagata unit of the Jiji News Agency survey) and we found that 76% of the people in this ken [prefecture] were in favor of birth control. (Jiji national figures: 67%) That is very high. We do not feel that the results mean very much. For this reason: In the first place there were too many older people in the sample. We found that people around forty years of age were most in favor of birth control because they didn't want any more children. Then, too, you have to remember that population and birth control has been in the papers a lot lately and people have a tendency to answer yes because they think that it is the "right" answer. We also found that few people really understood birth control terminology. Interviewers had to explain the terms, and this probably influenced the answers.

We do not feel that approval means very much as such. There are too many qualifications. But it certainly indicates some kind of receptive trend in attitudes.

Summary of conversations with drug store proprietors, various communities.

It was clear from these conversations that considerable interest in contraceptive devices had appeared in recent months or weeks. Local variation in this regard was marked. Even though sales had in some cases doubled, the total volume was actually very small compared with the population aggregate. It was found that drug store proprietors in northern Honshu were well educated about contraceptives on the whole, and most carried a rather complete line of the various devices.

In two cases, the proprietor was critical of the local health center for not providing adequate information and encouragement for contraception, stating that the average drug store owner knew more than the doctors. No check on this was possible.

Clear class differences in the sale of devices was apparent everywhere. Farmers and lower classes universally used condoms, with a few using creams. Middle classes concentrated on creams and foam tablets. Upper classes used diaphragm and jelly. The best seller excepting condoms, was Sampoon.

It was also found that in general the condom is not considered as a "contraceptive" device, but more as a prophylactic. In the opinion of one proprietor, this factor in part accounts for the wider sale of condoms.

Proprietors also reported persistent embarrassment on the part of customers in purchasing contraceptives, and said that public education was needed. In some cases, reported one proprietor, customers sent children with notes to buy the article. It was also common for people to buy their contraceptives in a neighborhood where they were not known, and where they were not personal acquaintances of the druggist.


*******

Summarizing briefly, it was apparent that in northern Honshu as contrasted to Hokkaido there was much more knowledge of population and birth control, more acceptance of measures necessary to control population, and a higher level of articulateness about the whole question. But more adequate public information is requested, motion pictures being especially desired. People seem to be in a receptive frame of mind. However, it should be noted that all the persons interviewed have professional or business reasons for encouraging thinking on these matters. In a few casual conversations with private citizens and farmers (especially in Hokkaido) a more negative picture was obtained. Little knowledge and active hostility were encountered. It is probably true that professional and business people with a stake in birth control tend to over-estimate the public knowledge and acceptance. Obviously only a well-controlled attitude survey can ascertain the real picture.

In general it was apparent that considerable confusion exists between the various terms and some concepts relating to birth control. Doctors showed little agreement on the precise terms to be used, and on the conceptual relationships of such things as contraception, abortion, sterilization, and delayed marriage. If such confusion exists in the minds of the specialists, the public must be even less enlightened. Again the need for instruction is underlined if the Japanese people are to adopt a program of population control. In this regard the remarks of several informants on the class and occupational differences in the type of information needed are of special interest.