Joined the staff of the Asahi Shimbun (newspaper) and went to China as a correspondent. Studied Chinese affairs and became an adviser of the South Manchuria Railway Company's Research Bureau. Because of his knowledge about Chinese affairs, he became a member of the Konoe Cabinet's brain trust. Made efforts to prevent war with the Soviet Union directly before World War II. Involved in the espionage case of Richard Sorge, a German communist spy operating in Japan, he was arrested (1942) and was executed (1944).