Prominent among those arguing for the existence of Yamashita’s gold are Sterling Seagrave and Peggy Seagrave, who have written two books relating to the subject: The Yamato Dynasty: the Secret History of Japan’s Imperial Family (2000) and Gold Warriors: America’s Secret Recovery of Yamashita’s Gold (2003). The Seagraves contend that looting was organized on a massive scale, by both yakuza gangsters such as Yoshio Kodama, and the highest levels of Japanese society, including Emperor Hirohito.
The Seagraves and a few others have claimed that American military intelligence operatives (Edward Lansdale) located much of the loot; they colluded with Hirohito and other senior Japanese figures to conceal its existence, and they used it to finance American covert intelligence operations around the world during the Cold War. These rumors have inspired many hopeful treasure hunters, but most experts and Filipino historians say there is no credible evidence behind these claims.
In 1992, Imelda Marcos claimed that Yamashita’s gold accounted for the bulk of the wealth of her husband, Ferdinand Marcos.
Some background on Yoshio Kodama’s smuggling operation:
1930s through World War Two
Tungsten, a critical resource in times of war, is almost exclusively found in China. The Americans, Japanese, and Nazis stockpile all of the Chinese tungsten they can, often in exchange for opium.
Tai Li, the fascist head of the Chinese secret police as well as the Green Gang, controls the Chinese portion of the tungsten and opium trade. He plays both sides, sabotaging the Japanese but also supplying them with opium. Tai Li seems to want to use the invasion to increase his control over China and create monopolies, while the Japanese want to use Tai Li and the fascist criminals to undermine and control China for themselves.
As part of the Sino-American Cooperation Organization, “Wild Bill” Donovan at the OSS sends Captain Milton E Miles to work with Tai Li, allegedly to sabotage the Japanese and gather intelligence. However Captain Miles winds up working as one of Tai Li’s henchmen and supporting his criminal activity. Li also forms a relationship with Quentin Roosevelt, grandson of Theodore Roosevelt, who is sent as Donovan’s representative.
On the Japanese end, they used a smuggler named Yoshio Kodama in their heroin-for-tungsten deals. He became one of the richest men in Asia as a result. After the war, some in the US military wanted to ban the Yakuza ultranationalists. However, German-American fascist General Charles A. Willoughby recommended that they be utilized and encouraged for their anti-communist sentiments. Willoughby also sent Ed Lansdale to the Philippines.
Kodama was recruited by US intelligence to be used for the same reasons. He continued his heroin smuggling and tungsten procurement through the Korean War. Along with the CIA, they founded the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan, which has controlled Japan ever since and maintains close ties with the yakuza. He continued to do business with the CIA right up until the 1970s, when he was implicated in the Lockheed bribery scandal, along with figures like Adnan Khashoggi. Kodama’s name also came up during the Nicholas Deak hearings. See my post on Nicholas Deak for more info.
Focus at Marcos Trial Turns to Khashoggi
May 24, 1990
But in recent days Mr. Khashoggi has heard testimony that goes to the core of the charges against him -that he helped Mrs. Marcos conceal her ownership of Manhattan real estate the prosecution says she bought with money stolen from the Philippines. Yesterday, a lawyer from Panama testified that Mr. Khashoggi’s chief aide had agreed to the transfer of ownership of two Manhattan skyscrapers to Mr. Khashoggi, after a court order had barred such transactions. #4 Buildings in Manhattan And last Thursday, a Citibank lawyer testified that the Khashoggi aide had indicated at a meeting four years ago that he was willing to backdate documents to prove that Mr. Khashoggi was the owner of the buildings.
”O.K., wise guy lawyer, you pick the date, any date,” the lawyer, Charles Doyle quoted the aide, Karl Peterson, as having said. Suddenly, with those words, Mr. Khashoggi had become the focal point of the case and much more than a passive observer.
It is not a simple point that prosecutors are trying to make, but then Mr. Khashoggi’s role in the accusations against Mrs. Marcos has always seemed murky.
Mrs. Marcos is charged with stealing more than $222 million from the Philippine treasury with her late husband, Ferdinand Marcos, the former Philippines president, and then secretly investing the money in four buildings in Manhattan.
It appears that the gold was controlled by the CIA ever since it was looted, and remains in their hands to this day. From Yoshio Kodama back to Adnan Khashoggi, the usual suspects are sitting on a gold mine stolen from Southeast Asia.