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Author Topic: Japanese capture theories  (Read 71737 times)

Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Japanese capture theories
« Reply #15 on: October 24, 2010, 08:51:30 PM »

I think a lot of people believe the spy theory also because that AE and her husband talked to the government, or something like that. If they did, I'm sure it was no more than what to do if she were to get lost.

It was more complicated than that.  AE helped Vidal get and keep his job in FDR's government.  She also got help from the Navy, Coast Guard, and Bureau of Commerce to set up the landing strip for her on Howland and provide various and sundry services en route.

She was indebted to the government for all that help.  Repayment was not (in my view) by providing her services as a spy; it took the form of good publicity for the government and the services.  AE had star power.  She could be pretty persuasive, all things considered.
LTM,

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Gerry M. Bruder

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Re: Japanese capture theories
« Reply #16 on: October 24, 2010, 09:58:26 PM »

Several points. First, many of the folks who subscribe to the Japanese-capture theory don't think that AE and FN were spying, but rather simply that the two crash-landed in the Japanese-controlled Marshalls (while trying to find the British-held Gilbert Islands) and were picked up. The Japanese may have thought they were spies or knew they were just innocent, lost aviators. Either way, the Japanese would have been reluctant to let the two go or even to announce the rescue/detention to the world. Remember, Japan was illegally fortifying the Marshalls and other islands in the South Pacific, in violation of an official World War I mandate. The Japanese would not have wanted AE and FN to return to the States with information about soldiers, airfields, etc. It would have been safer, the theory goes, to secretly detain the two indefinitely and let the world assume they had died at sea.

According to researchers' books, island residents volunteered descriptions of AE and FN. It wasn't a case of researchers asking leading questions such as, "did you see a tall, slender, caucasian, short-haired female pilot and a male companion in the custody of Japanese soldiers in the summer of 1937?" Islanders reported various, sometimes conflicting details about the fliers, which is understandable; the first researchers arrived 30 years after the disappearance, and by then memories would have been hazy. News of the capture spread quickly and drew dozens of curious onlookers. The Japanese moved AE and FN to various detention centers, and eventually to a prison on Saipan, the regional headquarters. That's why different islanders saw the two in different places. The point is, reports of the fliers in Japanese custody are too numerous to be dismissed as imagination or overly eager cooperation.

Finally, as a retired commercial pilot, I can assure you that the two had some back-up plan in case they couldn't find Howland Island. No sane pilot continues searching for a destination until the fuel runs out. Instead, pilots save enough fuel to hightail it to an alternate. Was AE's and FN's intended alternate the Gilbert Islands or the Phoenix Group?
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Alfred Hendrickson

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Re: Japanese capture theories
« Reply #17 on: October 24, 2010, 10:05:57 PM »

Hi! I'm a new member. I'm also inexperienced in using forums, so please excuse me if this question has been addressed elsewhere before. I'm curious to know how TIGHAR responds to the fact that dozens of elderly residents in the Marshall Islands told Fred Goerner and other researchers that they remembered seeing a caucasian female pilot and a male companion in the custody of Japanese soldiers there in the summer of 1937. These reports seem too numerous to have been contrived or part of some conspiracy. Who else but Earhart and Noonan could the two aviators have been? TIGHAR's theory is reasonable and fascinating, but it's undermined by the apparent credibility of a Marshall Islands crash landing. Any comments? Thanks.

Gerry Bruder

Welcome!

I am not sure if there is an official TIGHAR response to Goerner's work; there probably isn't. But as a member of TIGHAR, I can tell you a few things. TIGHAR is testing a hypothesis that AE & FN put NR16020 down on Nikumaroro in 1937. There are other hypotheses out there, any or all of which can be tested by whomever wishes to test them. TIGHAR will not be testing the Japanese capture hypothesis, but others may be. TIGHAR doesn't get knocked off of its task by rumors. You should also know that none of us think that our work is undermined by rumors of Japanese capture.
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Alfred Hendrickson

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Re: Japanese capture theories
« Reply #18 on: October 24, 2010, 10:36:01 PM »

Interesting. (just read reply 16)

We all understand that the fate of our duo is not conclusively known. If someone produces evidence that suggests that they eloped to Canada, well, that will be interesting. But as I recall it, the Japanese capture theory has a lot of guesswork in it. Even your short discussion of it here contains plenty of conjecture, phrases like "many . . . folks who subscribe to the Japanese-capture theory don't think", 'Japanese may have thought", "the Japanese would have been reluctant", "Japanese would not have wanted", etc. No disrespect intended, but it looks like guesswork to me.

I have read Goerner's book. It was a few years ago, though. I can't say I was convinced. But, perhaps I should re-read it. What, in your opinion, is a convincing piece evidence in support of Japanese capture? Be very specific. What witness? What specifically did he/she say they saw? Is it corroborated, and by whom?
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Japanese capture theories
« Reply #19 on: October 24, 2010, 11:18:22 PM »

Several points. First, many of the folks who subscribe to the Japanese-capture theory don't think that AE and FN were spying, but rather simply that the two crash-landed in the Japanese-controlled Marshalls (while trying to find the British-held Gilbert Islands) and were picked up.

You'll have to equip the plane with magic radios to get the reported signal strengths as the plane approached Howland, lunacy or lying on Fred's part to mistakenly judge the "200 miles" and "100 mile" estimates that he made, and magic gas tanks then to fly to the Martials:


TIGHAR image. All rights reserved.
Quote
The Japanese may have thought they were spies or knew they were just innocent, lost aviators. Either way, the Japanese would have been reluctant to let the two go or even to announce the rescue/detention to the world. Remember, Japan was illegally fortifying the Marshalls and other islands in the South Pacific, in violation of an official World War I mandate. The Japanese would not have wanted AE and FN to return to the States with information about soldiers, airfields, etc. It would have been safer, the theory goes, to secretly detain the two indefinitely and let the world assume they had died at sea.

My fantasies about what the Japanese would have done are directly contrary to the fantasies of the Japanese-capture crowd.

Quote
According to researchers' books, island residents volunteered descriptions of AE and FN. It wasn't a case of researchers asking leading questions such as, "did you see a tall, slender, caucasian, short-haired female pilot and a male companion in the custody of Japanese soldiers in the summer of 1937?" Islanders reported various, sometimes conflicting details about the fliers, which is understandable; the first researchers arrived 30 years after the disappearance, and by then memories would have been hazy. News of the capture spread quickly and drew dozens of curious onlookers. The Japanese moved AE and FN to various detention centers, and eventually to a prison on Saipan, the regional headquarters. That's why different islanders saw the two in different places.

If the researchers didn't supply descriptions or pictures of AE, how did they determine that their helpful witnesses were talking about Amelia?  Dental records?  ESP?

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The point is, reports of the fliers in Japanese custody are too numerous to be dismissed as imagination or overly eager cooperation.

I don't have any trouble whatsoever dismissing them.  Talking about seeing a white woman prisoner thirty years after the fact just doesn't seem hugely persuasive to me.  Of course, if you have documentary evidence that "The Japanese moved AE and FN to various detention centers, and eventually to a prison on Saipan, the regional headquarters," then, of course, I will have to revise my estimate.  But if you're just concocting that as a theory to account for the dozens or hundreds of Amelia sightings in the Pacific Islands, I'm inclined to dismiss it, too.

It is simply not the case that large numbers of people can't make a mistake in interpreting their memories 30 years after the fact.  It's been seven years since I went to Fiji.  There were lots of locals whose faces were familiar to me then that are gone clean out of memory now.  I don't even have to go that far back--I meet students routinely whose faces are familiar enough for me to know that they are former students but whose names have vanished.  This has happened to me within two months of the end of the semester.

By what technique does one go to an island where the Japanese had a prison camp and ask people who was imprisoned there without tipping your interest in AE and FN?  

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Finally, as a retired commercial pilot, I can assure you that the two had some back-up plan in case they couldn't find Howland Island. No sane pilot continues searching for a destination until the fuel runs out. Instead, pilots save enough fuel to hightail it to an alternate. Was AE's and FN's intended alternate the Gilbert Islands or the Phoenix Group?

We have nothing in writing from them.  Ric discussed the problems with the remark AE allegedly made to Eugene Vidal that plan B was to land on a beach in the Gilberts.
LTM,

           Marty
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« Last Edit: October 24, 2010, 11:21:02 PM by moleski »
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Alfred Hendrickson

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Re: Japanese capture theories
« Reply #20 on: October 25, 2010, 02:31:16 PM »

Gerry, just FYI: There is a short discussion of this topic in the FAQ section:

http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/forum/FAQs/captured.htm
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Tom Swearengen

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Re: Japanese capture theories
« Reply #21 on: October 26, 2010, 09:30:50 AM »




I see that Gerry read Mr Goerners book too. Alot of similiar statements that he made. TIGHAR is testing the theory of the landing at Niku. I think they have pretty well dispelled the theory of AE landing in the Marshalls. As for the spy thoery, Japan would not have announced that they had captured AE. There wasnt any doubt that they were fortifying the Marshalls prior to 1937. Japan even "told" the US not to enter the Marshalls to search for her.
I think it might be interesting to know the whereabouts of Japaneese Naval vessels at the time of the disappearence. I say that because without positive DNA of AE on Niku, or parts of the Electra off the reef, we just have an encampment that is unexplained. IF, Japaneese Naval vessels were in the area of the "landing", they could have been picked up and taken to the Marshalls, and/or other places, which might account for the sightings.
I agree with the statement that they would not have exhausted their fuel, and tried to make it to the Gilberts, or Phoenix group. I think most of us agree with that theory. Maybe the Japaneese were monitoring the flight, and suspected they would not make it to Howland. But, getting vessels that far south would have taken some time, and risk being discovered.
Does anyone have info on Japaneese vessels possibly in the area in 1937? We know they wee around the Marshalls and Truk in the time frame. might be interesting.
On another note----any Electra parts discovered in the ROV missions?
Tom



Gerry, just FYI: There is a short discussion of this topic in the FAQ section:

http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/forum/FAQs/captured.htm

Tom Swearengen TIGHAR # 3297
 
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Japanese capture theories
« Reply #22 on: October 26, 2010, 10:03:59 AM »

IF Japanese Naval vessels were in the area of the "landing", they could have been picked up and taken to the Marshalls, and/or other places, which might account for the sightings.
In my view, it is much easier to suppose that the Helpful Witness sightings were all wrong rather than to imagine a Japanese fleet on patrol between the Marshall Islands and Howland.  If they rescued America's First Lady of the Air near Howland, why would they imprison her?

Quote
On another note----any Electra parts discovered in the ROV missions?

I think the short answer is "no."
LTM,

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Tom Swearengen

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Re: Japanese capture theories
« Reply #23 on: October 26, 2010, 12:46:18 PM »

Good point on the Japaneese. And too bad about the Electra. In my mind, finding evidence of the plane off the reef would end the speculation that she "landed" there, and didnt arrive there by other means.
Tom
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Japanese capture theories
« Reply #24 on: October 26, 2010, 02:09:55 PM »

... In my mind, finding evidence of the plane off the reef would end the speculation that she "landed" there, and didn't arrive there by other means.

I've started a separate thread to discuss the mechanics and merits of the underwater search.

In my view, just finding airplane wreckage--not even with bodies in it!--would not end the speculation about Japanese capture.  There would be no better way for the wicked, militaristic, anti-American Japanese to cover up their maltreatment of AE and FN than to dump the aircraft with their bodies in it on the reef at Niku, knowing that this would throw most people off the scent.
LTM,

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Chris Johnson

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Re: Japanese capture theories
« Reply #25 on: October 26, 2010, 02:15:47 PM »

Wasn't there in the past a theory by someone that the ayatolha (sp) had got the French to lift the plane of NikU and send it to Iran?

I'm surprised that there isn't a crashed and washed up by a Tunami theory to account for the Radio messages but tick the splashed down theories!!!

with regard to US/Jap relations I belive that in 37 the US was for reconicilation (sp) between China and Japan over the 2nd Sino/Jap war and relations were at least cordial but not war/post war frosty.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2010, 02:35:50 PM by Chris Johnson »
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Japanese capture theories
« Reply #26 on: October 26, 2010, 05:54:19 PM »

... Wasn't there a commercial Japanese ship in the area early on?

This is a reprint from the e-mail Forum:

Subject:    Japanese search for AE
Date:    8/2/99
From:    Hugh Graham

Tom King reported that Foua Tofiga said:

>A plane flew over; he was told it was Japanese, from the Marshall
> Islands.

FWIW (probably little), I recall seeing photos of the NY Times front page from July/37 stating: "10 U.S. warships and English and JAPANESE warships search for Amelia Earhart" in a TV doc. Maybe a Jap'se catapult- launched recon plane?

LTM,
HAG 2201.

From Ric

I suppose we need to deal with this. I spent quite a bit of time with Tofiga in Fiji but he never mentioned any of this to me so I have to go entirely upon his brief comment to Tom King. I generally found Tofiga to be an excellent source of information regarding the Western Pacific High Commission, it's procedures and personalities. However, a Japanese plane over Tarawa in 1937 is hard to swallow.

1. There was no Japanese search for Earhart in July 1937. It wasn't until September that Putnam asked, through diplomatic channels, if he could pay for a search by the Japanese of the islands in the mandated territories. The reply came on September 17 from Isoruku Yamamoto, Vice Minister, Ministry of the Imperial Navy, saying that: "...our Imperial nation will have all of the vessels and fishing boats in the area make every possible effort to search for the remains." The Japaneses later claimed that two ships searched the southern Marshall islands - the seaplane tender Kamui (often mistakenly named in Earhart books as the "Kamoi") and the survey ship Koshu. We know that in July, Kamui was enroute from Saipan to Futami in the Osawagara Islands, far, far from the Marshalls and heading west. We don't know where Koshu was but she had no aircraft.

2. It wasn't until 1940 that the Japanese had seaplane ramps or airfields anywhere in the Marshalls, so any Japanese airplane in that part of the world would have to be ship-based. I'm not sure how many carriers the Imperial Navy had in 1937, but I do know that Akagi was in drydock undergoing a refit throughout this entire period. We know of no Japanese naval vessels in or near the Marshalls anytime in 1937 other than possibly the Kamui and Koshu in late September.

3. Had the Kamui, by any chance, been so bold as to send a flying boat as far south as Tarawa it is hard to understand why there was no British diplomatic protest similar to that filed when a U.S. Navy seaplane flew over Canton Island. Tarawa was not a lonely tropical atoll. It was a major British colonial center with offices, adminstrators, a hospital, a school and a radio station. For the Japanese to come prowling around so far outside of their own neighborhood should have brought a serious diplomatic response. No such traffic appears in the official record.

4. It seems far more likely that what Tofiga saw was a scout plane launched from one of the British cruisers that were in the area from 1935 through 1939. HMS Leith, HMS Leander, HMS Wellington, and HMS Achilles all carried at least one Supermarine Walrus.
LTM,

           Marty
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Alfred Hendrickson

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Re: Japanese capture theories
« Reply #27 on: October 26, 2010, 09:37:20 PM »

Wasn't there in the past a theory by someone that the ayatolha (sp) had got the French to lift the plane of NikU and send it to Iran?

 ;D  I had forgotten about that one! Thanks for the reminder! That was one amazing yarn, man!
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Monty Fowler

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Re: Japanese capture theories
« Reply #28 on: November 01, 2010, 07:00:47 PM »

I see another potential customer for Finding Amelia. I mean, as long as you're interested in reading books, and if you want one based on facts ...
Ex-TIGHAR member No. 2189 E C R SP, 1998-2016
 
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Ashley Such

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Re: Japanese capture theories
« Reply #29 on: November 01, 2010, 08:15:39 PM »

It was more complicated than that. AE helped Vidal get and keep his job in FDR's government.

Ah, yes, I remember about her sending Eleanor a telegram about Vidal keeping his job.
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