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Press translations [Japan]. Editorial Series 0025, 1945-11-28.
Supreme Commander for The Allied Powers. Allied Translator and Interpreter Section.

translation-number: editorial-0117

call-number: DS801 .S82

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No. 117 Date: 28 Nov 45


ITEM 1 Calamitous Typhoon in the Shikoku District - Tokushima Shimbun - 14 Nov 45. Translator: I. Imai.
Relief for war victims and rehabilitation of devastated areas are problems which must be solved expeditiously; but the people in our prefecture who were made homeless by the recent typhoon must not be forgotten. They need help in reconstruction.
Why is there a general impression that the reconstruction of areas damaged by the typhoon has been neglected? Is it because these areas are situated in remote corners of the land? Disasters of war and typhoons are public calamities; however, there is a marked difference between them; one is an artificial calamity, the responsibility for which can be fixed upon individuals; the other a natural catastrophe for which none is responsible. The state is, therefore, wholly responsible for man made calamities, but has no direct responsibility for natural calamities. However, the state cannot be excused from its indirect responsibility, for the people comprise the state.
The typhoons were so violent that the havoc wrought is almost inconceivable. Highways and bridges were torn to pieces, and traffic and communications are suspended. Many houses were buried by landslides. Rice fields were devastated.
Restoration work must be carried out as fast as possible. Which shall receive aid first, the war-scarred districts or typhoon-devastated areas? Of course, the latter must be the first. Because, as a whole, lack of communication and transportation will affect the whole people, whereas war disaster affects city dwellers almost exclusively. They say that the damage was so bad that 15,000,000 yen is needed for repairs in this prefecture alone. The authorities must start immediate reconstruction.
ITEM 2 "Democracy and Privy Council'' - Yomiuri Shimbun - 18 Nov Translator: H. Furukawa.
Full translation:
The office of the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal has been abolished and now it is reported that the Government is beginning a study of the reform of the Privy Council. This marks a phase in the revision of the Constitution, and the establishment of democratic institutions. The methods whereby the reform will be carried out, judging from the talks of Baron HIRANUMA, Chief Privy Councillor, and Mr. TSUGITA, Chief Secretary of the Cabinet, indicate superficiality and do not affect the existence of the Privy Council. They intend to decrease

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EDITORIAL SERIES: 25 (Continued)
ITEM 2 (Continued)
the number of members from 24 to about 10, and recommend that men of senior statesmen class shall sit in the council. It now seems that the Privy Council will be strengthened as an agency advisory to the Throne.
The reform of Privy Council seems to be a problem separate from the abolition of the office of Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal. However, by abolition of the Lord Keeper, the most important state affairs including the recommendation of the succeeding Cabinet to the Throne, which was the duty of the Lord Keeper, might be transferred to the Privy Council, whose power would thus be strengthened. We can see a certain connection between these two problems.
Baron HIRANUMA said, "Democracy in JAPAN aims to restore the normal form of JAPAN's politics, which is characterized by popular participation in Imperial Rule. The Emperor and the people must be directly connected, and all obstacles which lie between the two must be eliminated. This is the main object of the reform."
By his speech we can but doubt that the Privy Council, which is: strengthened by the inclusion of the senior statesmen, will become an obstacle between the Emperor and the people. The foundation of the Privy Council and its character, objectives and history, are widely known. As a result of the promulgation of the Constitution and the opening of the Diet in 1890, ITO and YAMAGATA, then veteran statesmen, fearing that the Lower House would wield too much power, set up the Privy Council as a special agency. This became the citadel of militarists and bureaucrats in addition to the House of Peers on which they relied completely. The Privy Council at the time of the KATSURA Ministry was nothing but a means necessary to suppress and check the increasing influence of the Lower House. Thus, the leaders of the military and bureaucratic clique shut themselves up in the citadel of the Privy Council and restrained the action of the Diet.
However, at last two main political parties, the SEIYUKAI and MINSEITO, were formed, headed respectively by HARA and KATO. Gradually, political power fell into the hands of these parties, and parliamentary government was in the process of becoming firmly established. As the inevitable result of this, the militarists, bureaucrats, and Privy Council, who were obliged to lose their power to the parties, united to suppress and interfere with parliamentary government.
This was the period when the Privy Council most viciously interfered in politics, and even its most insignificant action influenced the policy of the Cabinet. Even HARA and KATO, who were known to be independent could not help bowing to the Privy Council and finally were obliged to consult the Privy council's opinion. For the best examply of this, the second WAKATSUKI Cabinet was suddenly overthrown by the Privy Council in April, 1927. This was occasioned by the Ministry's request for approval of measures to curb the financial panic caused by the bankruptcy of the Bank of Formosa. Furthermore, the discussion on this measure in the Privy Council never touched the main points, and the councillors attacked only the foreign and interior policies of the Cabinet, especially the peaceful and cooperative policies of SHIDEHARA, then Foreign Minister. These were the policies which the councillors regarded as an obstacle to the development of national progress. After two days' discussion in the presence of the Emperor, they overthrew the ministry by impeachment, an action
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EDITORIAL SERIES: 25 (Continued)
ITEM 2 (Continued)
heretofore unknown in the history of the Privy Council. At that time Foreign Minister SHIDEHARA left his post with a speech saying, "So long as the Privy Council exists, ordinary parliamentary government can never be attained in JAPAN." At that time Baron SHIDEHARA awakened public sympathy.
As a result of this political change, the TANAKA ministry was formed and took an aggressive policy towards CHINA. The Army was dispatched to SAINAN, and at last the Manchurian Incident broke out. Why did the Greater EAST ASIA War, which followed the Chinese War and the Independence of MANCKUKUO, break out? The answer can be found only by tracing Japanese political history back ten years or more. However, none would deny that the fundamental cause of the present catastrophe lies in the political campaign which began with the downfall of the WAKATSUKI Cabinet, plotted by the Privy Council who joined with the militarists. At present things are quite the reverse, and the ministry headed by Baron SHIDEKARA, who then indignantly claimed the Privy Council an enemy of constitutionalism, has presented, the problem of reform. The Government intends to reform but not to abolish the Privy Council.
It is reported that the Governmental plan is to strengthen the Privy Council by the participation of the senior statesmen. What is meant by the firm establishment of democratic construction? Our constitutional history which covers more than fifty years gives us the final answer to this question. We must demand that the Government, and most especially Premier SHIDEHARA, bravely advance its ideals.
ITEM 3 Let Not the Poor Starve - Asahi - 18 Nov 45. Translator: M. Kawanabe.
A Japanese Government plan to abolish price control for perishable foods such as vegetables and fish was published to be put into operation by the order of Allied Headquarters, and accordingly, free purchase by merchants and individual consumers is permitted.
This will effect a sudden rise in the prices of these items and will menace the livelihood of the poor.
The appearance of the black market which, though it is never a recommendable fact, has offered an opportunity for some of the unemployed to become black market dealers. This plan will cause the poor to fall into the fear of starvation again. So this is not the answer to the problem, but a more replacement of an old problem by a new one.
These steps were ordered to be taken by General Headquarters because the Government had idled away two months without taking any proper counter measures since the order was issued, at the end of September.
This order provided for the re-adjustment of control over food to prevent the strong from swallowing the weak. The best endorsement of this reasoning is directive number three issued at the end of September which stated:
"The government will assure that every citizen, in acquiring necessary articles, should be given equal opportunities." The government must, without failing to apprehend the spirit of this directive,
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EDITORIAL SERIES: 25 (Continued)
ITEM 3 (Continued)
take the most adequate steps to meet any danger to the public that these measures do not cover. We propose here, among other things, the proper elevation of wares and salaries and the quick settlement of the unemployment problem on the assumption that these proposals will not conflict with efforts to prevent the tendency of inflation.
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HomePress translations [Japan]. Editorial Series 0025, 1945-11-28.
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