31 JANUARY 1941, Page 2

Japan and America

In a. reply to President Roosevelt and Mr. Cordell Hull Mr. Matsuoka, the Japanese Foreign Minister, has taken up the same uncompromising attitude as before, affirming that the Japanese policy both• in regard to China and to territories farther south admits of no modification, and repeating his threatening words that in the event of the United States entering the war, except through an unprovoked attack by Germany, Japan is pledged by the Triple Pact to assist the Axis. He had something to say also about the improvement of relations with Russia, and left it to be inferred that in the establishment of the eon, templated "New Order" Japan, Russia, Germany and America might divide the world between them to the exclusion of Britain—of course on the assumption that the United States had refrained from being troublesome. The unveiled threat, .which he has addressed to the United States have not had tha effect which was apparently hoped for. The American Press has sharply pointed out that the American people are not accustomed to respond to bullying, and the New York Herald Tribune says that Mr. Matsuoka's challenge to the American people will arouse anger and weaken the voice of the isola- tionists. It is at present not clear whether Mr. Matsuoka's speeches mean that he is endeavouring to get all that he can out of the Triple Pact without war, and at the same time urging America not to enter the European war because Japan does not want to be forced to come in, or whether his inten- tions are more sinister still. But at least he should now know where the United States stands.