Explosive Japanese
WWII Secrets Revealed
BusinessAge Magazine - October 1999
By Andrew Springer
From Robert Sterling
From Das GOAT & Kris Millegan <>

The history of the war in the Pacific is littered with tales of Japanese
cruelty against British and American servicemen, amongst others. Not only
did Imperial Japanese forces treat Allied POW's as slaves to build their
railway in Burma, but also used them in horrific medical experiments at
Mukden, Manchuria, the headquarters of the secretive Unit 731 - Japan's
chemical and biological warfare weapons facility. Yet, even while all this
was taking place, another more furtive Japanese force was engaged in work so
secret that it has remained concealed, until now.
Operating under the command of a Royal prince of the Imperial household, a
highly secret unit was tasked with the methodical plunder of Southeast Asia.
The project was called "Golden Lily" - named after a poem written by Emperor
Hirohito. The unit plundered such profoundly large quantities of loot from
China and Southeast Asia that, following the end of the war, the west
determined to keep its activities secret. A mixture of fear, greed, an
impending cold war and a vast complex of international corruption sat behind
this decision.
Cynically forgotten were the horrific deaths of Allied POW's who were forced
to build complex tunnel systems and other underground depositories and then
buried alive with the loot. One reason, perhaps, why history will record
this as one of the most explosive stories of World War Two ever to be told.
American author, Sterling Seagrave, has previously received international
acclaim for his penetrating investigative books: "The Soong Dynasty," and
"The Marcos Dynasty." Now, in his latest work, The Yamato Dynasty, Seagrave
unveils some of the most enduring secrets of the war in the Pacific. The
revelations are certain to cause uproar in London, Washington & Tokyo and
will, in all likelihood, contribute to a number of major class action
lawsuits against the US & Japanese governments.
Bearing the sub-title: "The Secret History of Japan's Imperial Family,"
Seagrave's book sets out to expose numerous aspects of the Japanese imperial
family and their way of life that, even today, remains eclipsed from the
general Japanese public. Some of this information came from memoirs written
by members of the imperial family but also includes "fragments" extracted
from Emperor Hirohito's own diaries that the Imperial Household has tried to
suppress. Other information has been gathered over nearly twenty years of
intense investigation. What was learned dispels the accepted view of
history, replacing it with a reality that is both shocking and absorbing for
the reader.
The first myth to be exploded is the claim that the current imperial family
has ruled as part of a single dynasty that has "reined unbroken since time
memorial." The facts are quite different. The present Meiji family was
installed on the throne in the mid 18th century as part of a coup
orchestrated by the powerful Satsuma, Choshu, Hizen and Tosa clans. In
consolidating the coup, the plotters plundered the vast assets of the
previous imperial family - a fact that should not be overlooked as this
story unfolds.
Nor is the word "rule" at all accurate. As Sterling and Peggy Seagrave make
clear, the ruling family of Japan has always been governed by others more
powerful than themselves. The emperor and imperial family are figureheads
used to conceal from the public the real power brokers who lurk behind the
"black curtain." These are the family owned and managed businesses or
Zaibatsu that include such trans-national corporations as Mitsubishi, Mitsui
and Sumitomo amongst others.
The authors say this corporate power has grown stronger, not weaker and that
the "postwar financial cliques share power with nobody. Not with the
emperor, who is only a magic wand, and not with elected politicians, who are
only hand-puppets. Financial cliques are the most powerful forces in modern
Japan." Moreover, Japan's post-war business structure is unlike any other
modern industrial society for the simple reason that organised crime are
openly factored into it. Hence the zaibatsu include not only "financiers,
bankers and heads of corporations, but underworld bosses" - the so-called
Yakuza crime clans.
The financial elite maintain their positions of power by paying bribes. In
the same way that Japanese society is rigidly structured in certain key
ways, it should come as no surprise that political bribery and large scale
corruption are also disciplined art-forms. Political bribes are paid in
"Bullets" with each shot amounting to 100 million Yen equivalent to
US$800,000. This enables the most powerful families to govern from a
position of invisibility - a feature that has dominated the thoughts of
Japan's ruling elite throughout recent history.
The most powerful man in Japan today is virtually unknown in the west, and
is only rarely mentioned at home because of his connections with
international sporting events. As head of the Seibu group, Tsutsumi
Yoshiaki's power snakes out to over 100 Japanese corporations and numerous
international businesses. Yet, the authors say that Tsutsumi Yoshiaki is
probably the richest man in the world with declared assets greater than
those of Bill Gates before the American computer whiz-kids bank balance hit
$50 billion. Meanwhile, Tsumtimi's undeclared assets are greater still, the
authors believe.
A significant proportion of the current financial power of the zaibatsu and,
indeed, that of the imperial family, has its origin in WWII. For instance
Seagrave reveals that "Most zaibatsu had participated in the looting of
conquered countries and helped in running the wartime drug trade on the
mainland. An estimated $3 billion was made in the heroin trade alone."
After the war, the vast wealth that had been accumulated from the heroin
trade and from plundering China and other Southeast Asian nations magically
disappeared. The result was that Allied military Supremo, General Douglas
MacArthur accepted the position that Japan was technically bankrupt. This
minimised the amount Japan was ordered to pay in war reparations to a meagre
$1 billion. From this, Allied Prisoners of War were paid trivial amounts in
recompense for the inhumanities inflicted upon them during their internment.
British POW's were paid a miserable £48 each, for example.
As part of his duties as Supreme Commander Allied Powers, General Douglas
MacArthur was ordered by Washington, to conduct a meticulous audit of the
imperial family's entire wealth. MacArthur silently demurred and, instead,
instructed Hirohito's own accountants and advisers to prepare a "self-audit
listing only the emperor's domestic holdings as of late October 1945."
Hirohito's team set about their task with relish, latching on to numerous,
ingenious ploys to minimise the emperor's wealth. The figure they
eventually presented to MacArthur totalled about $100 million. This led to
the bizarre announcement by Supreme Commander Allied Powers that the
emperor, after paying taxes and other 'penalties" only possessed the paltry
sum of $42,000 in cash.
The reality was, as ever, quite different. Experts who have investigated
these matters now conclude that the emperor's domestic wealth, excluding art
treasures, land, palaces and other items, was closer to $4 billion. This
huge sum had accumulated over many decades and represented the throne's
percentage of zaibatsu company profits and shareholdings that formed the
historical arrangements to keep the emperor "above" bribes.
Yet this sum was just part of an even greater hoard of wealth that was
hidden at the end of the war. In January 1944, when it became clear that
the Allies would win the war, Privy Seal Kido called a meeting of Japan's
leading investment bankers to advise the throne on how best to preserve the
wealth of the imperial family. The authors go on to reveal that in addition
to large foreign investments and shareholdings, the emperor's large
portfolio of gold, silver and platinum was "held under various covers in the
vaults of banks in Switzerland, Sweden, the Vatican, Portugal, Argentina,
Spain, Britain and the United States." The bullion that could not be
laundered in time was trucked to a vast underground imperial "bunker" where
it was stashed in secret. This was at Nagano, north of Tokyo, a backwater
town artfully developed by Tsutsumi Yoshiaki in time for the 1998 Winter
Olympics. Tsutsumi, as head of Japan's Olympic Committee, had earlier
courted Juan Antonio Samaranch, chairman of the International Olympic
Committee. This would later lead to sensational press stories that huge
bribes had changed hands.
The Nagona bullion bunker was only one of numerous treasure sites where loot
from all over Asia was buried before the war's end. On the Philippines
alone, there were 172 locations used to stash booty plundered by the
imperial Golden Lily treasure teams. The author's reproduce one of Prince
Chichibu's burial maps showing a complex tunnel system dug by POW's under
the army base at Teresa, near Rizal, southeast of Manilla. Here, bullion,
platinum diamonds and valuable religious artefacts - including a golden
Buddha figurine weighing one tonne - and collectively valued by Golden Lily
accountants at $190 billion - were buried together with live Allied POW's
that had been forced to dig the tunnels.
Part of the Teresa site was later recovered by Philippine President
Ferdinand Marcos - lending real weight to tales of "Marcos gold" that have
been treated more as fantasy than fact by the international media. Press
interest has been limited, until now, to the 1971 recovery of a Burmese
Golden Buddha figurine by amateur treasure hunter Rogelio "Roger" Roxas.
The figurine had a detachable head that when removed left a small cavity
stuffed full of diamonds. The figurine was later stolen from Roxas by
President Marcos. Roxas was later murdered before he could give evidence in
a US court in Hawaii that awarded Marcos victims a total of $25 billion in
The sheer quantity and value of plunder gathered by the Golden Lily was mind
numbing. The whole of Asia under Japanese control had been combed for
treasure. Most of it was shipped to Prince Chichibu's headquarters in the
Philippines. By 1943, American submarine activity had cut the sea lanes
making gold shipments less certain. To circumvent Allied air and naval
attacks, Prince Chichibu had a fleet of four vessels painted with a Red
Cross. These continued to ply their way back and forth between Japanese
controlled territories and the Philippines carrying huge amounts of plunder.
After the war had finished, Japanese led groups began to recover large
amounts treasure hidden in the Philippines. They were not alone. Seagrave
reveals that American OSS (forerunner of the CIA) agents watched as Japanese
troops buried treasure at Luzon in the Philippines and began a clandestine
recovery operation between 1945 and 1948. This was headed by a
Filipino-American OSS - and later CIA -officer, Severino Garcia Santa
Romana. Romana, in turn, worked under the watchful eye of the late and now
infamous CIA operative, General Edward Lansdale - who was embroiled in
Operation Mongoose and the abortive CIA invasion of Cuba during the Kennedy
There was no intention on the part of the OSS/CIA to return any of the
plunder to the rightful owners. Instead, Santa Romana set up numerous front
companies to launder the gold bullion secretly recovered. In all OSS/CIA
gold bullion was secretly deposited in a total of 176 bank accounts located
in 42 countries.
Nor was this a rogue operation conducted by a knowing few. The authors
reveal that General William Donovan, head of the OSS, knew of the
Lansdale-Romana recoveries, as did General Douglas MacArthur, and former US
President Herbert Hoover. Knowledge also extended to cold war warrior and
later head of the CIA Allen Dulles. Seagrave also believes it likely that
President Truman was in the charmed circle of those who were informed.
The twice-looted gold became "the basis of the CIA's 'off the books'
operational funds during the immediate postwar years, to create a worldwide
anti-communist network." To ensure loyalty to the cause, the CIA
distributed Gold Bullion Certificates to influential and well-known people
throughout the world. The authors hold documents showing that "one of the
big gold bullion accounts set up by Santa Romana was in the name of General
Douglas MacArthur." Other documents indicate that gold bullion worth $100
million was placed in an account in the name of Herbert Hoover, former
President of the United States.
Meanwhile, Allied veterans of the war in the Pacific continue to fight for
meaningful compensation for the barbarous treatment they experienced. The
$1 billion reparations paid by Japan, once it had been divided among the
many millions entitled to compensation, amounted to a pittance. As late as
November 1998 a Tokyo court rejected an appeal from 20,000 British,
Australian, New Zealand and American former internees who had asked for
compensation of $22,000 each.
In contrast to this miserly sum paid to Allied POW's, leading Japanese
zaibatsu submitted their own claims for compensation after the war, arguing
that the damage inflicted on their armaments factories by Allied air raids
required restitution. These claims totalled $5 billion and many were paid.
Copyright 1999