JAPAN: The Wave

Under orders from SCAP to balance its budget, the Japanese government had decided to raise taxes, end subsidies to manufacturers and fire 270,000 government employees. To Sadanori Shimoyama, president of the Japanese National Railways Corp., fell the job of starting off the mass dismissals. Shimoyama joked with friends: "With these kubikiri [dismissals —literally, "neck cuttings"], I may get it in the neck myself."

The Communist-led railway union said that it would fight the firings "to the end." Angry workmen loosened switches, cut wires and attempted train derailments. One rain-soaked night last week, Shimoyama's body, with one arm and both legs...

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