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Press translations [Japan]. Editorial Series 0031, 1945-11-30.
Supreme Commander for The Allied Powers. Allied Translator and Interpreter Section.

translation-number: editorial-0142

call-number: DS801 .S82

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No. 142 Date: 30 Nov 45


ITEM 1 Emancipation of farmers - Yomiuri-Hochi - 21 Nov 45 Translator: M. Kawanabe.
Full translation:
The population in our country during the TOKUGAWA period of 300 years numbered about 30,000,000 without noticeable change. As the population of samurai (Japanese warriors) was about 2,000,000; that is 400,000 families, and most of the remainder was farmers, it would not be wrong to say that the population of farmers was about 30,000,000.
A rough estimate of our present population is about 80,000,000, the proportion of farmers being 40 per cent. We see, therefore, no great change in the number of our farmers.
In the TOKUGAWA period, the total consumers of agricultural products consisted of about 2,000,000 samurai and a small number of merchants and handicraftmen. But the farmers of today must supply food-stuffs to no less than 40,000,000 people who are not farmers. This fact shows how much more important is the task of the present-day farmers as compared with that of other days. We readily realize, therefore, the importance of the farming community question and the agricultural land question from the standpoint of the reconstruction of a new JAPAN.
However farmers charged with such a great task were oppressed by samurai during the TOKUGAWA period, and, with the emergence of capitalism, groaned under the pressure of the capitalists, the agricultural land system being so established as to bind them most effectively.
Farmers have passed through the cruellest and longest oppression throughout our history.
HYAKUSHO-IKKI (Insurrection of farmers) was their emancipation and was a forerunner of our democratic movement. Unless our farmers are emancipated completely and their tears of blood disappear, the establishment of democracy in our country will never be completely realized.
ITEM 2 "Land Reform Bill must be enforced at any cost" - Mainichi Shimbun - 21 Nov 45. Translator: 5. Furukawa.
Full translation:
The land Reform Bill, which aims to create many landed farmers, could not be decided upon in the cabinet meetings of the 16th and

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EDITORIAL SERIES: 31 (Continued)
ITEM 2 (Continued)
30th, and so was brought over to the meeting of the 22nd. The main point of the bill is to create middle-sized landed farmers who will own an average of one cho and five tan by means of compulsory purchase of tenant land which amounts to more than 2,000,000 cho in the whole country.
At present the general discussion on this bill seams to focus on four points.
The limitation of the area of land to be owned by the landowner to three cho must be reconsidered. It is unwise to apply this limit to all the land, including that of landed farmers who have been tilling their land by themselves. Flexible measures must be taken according to the difference of regions and social circumstances.
The purchase cost of land must be paid for by tenant farmers themselves, avoiding, if possible, the borrowing of money from the Hypothec Bank or the Central Agricultural Cash Office. In this way, inflation may also be checked to some extent:
It is not clear why this important task is entrusted to the Agriculture Corporation, which has lost its standing with farmers by its bureaucratic arbitrariness on food management and other matters in war-time. This task must be carried out by the Government itself. However, for convenience, it would be preferable to have a reorganized Agricultural Corporation carry out this policy since the Agricultural Department by submitting a reform bill shows its intention to reform the Agricultural Corporation democratically.
A five year term is too long for the execution of this plan. This must be done at once. One may say that this change will bring unexpected difficulty in carrying out this policy. However, there is no trouble on this point. The viewpoint is common now that the time factor will inevitably hinder this bill because of its moderation.
This bill is of great significance, although it may be said to be natural to redistribute the land in response to the urgent necessity of the country. The academic question as to whether private ownership was established in feudal times or not, is still in dispute among the scholars. Only the following facts have been clarified, to wit: by the ordinance of the premier-ship in 1872, private ownership and dealing in land ware permitted. In 1875, abolition of the Land limitation Law, liberty of land division and consolidation, and lease of land on mortgage was recognized legally.
By these measures, clever merchants purchased the lands of peasants who were diligent and short-sighted. Thus, big Landlords such as the house of HONMA of SAKATA, or SAKAI of TSURUOKA, who have estates of thousands of cho have come into being.
The actual policy for creation of landed farmers has been under discussion since 1926. Now the problem has greatly changed. The bill proposed now has an important object, namely, the solving of the critical food shortage of the nation.
These efforts are far from those of setting up an ideal agricultural village, and further discussion of this is somewhat
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EDITORIAL SERIES: 31 (Continued)
ITEM 2 (Continued)
foolish since we are now on the verge of starvation. If the tenant farmers, who form the vast majority of the food producers, will strive in food production, stimulated by the land reform, the food problem will be greatly helped.
It is reported that farmers have already shown signs of activity at the news of proposal of this bill. Hitherto all the bills which seem to be supported by the tenants, such as Tenant Law, Land law and others, have always been killed by the members of the Lower House and peers representing landed interests. It seems to us that the landed interest is contrary to that of the tenants, and that staple food production can be increased only along the lines of the tenants' interests.
In this sense, we hope earnestly for the approval of this bill by the Diet. The attitude which the Lower House would take to this bill has been made clear by the above reasons. As for the Peers, a negative attitude should not be taken to this bill which deeply concerns the actual life of the people. It must be remembered that the actual right to decide this bill is in the hand of the Lower House.
ITEM 3 Inquiry into the Responsibilities for the War - Yomiuri Hochi - 22 Nov 45. Translator: M. Kato.
Full translation:
Brigadier-General THORPE, chief of the Counterintelligence Corps, declared that no Japanese war criminals can escape punishment or regain their power through participation in political parties. No matter what attempts they may make to escape, they will be punished if they prove to be war criminals. Thus it was established that full inquiry into war crimes will be made and strict punishment will be inflicted upon war criminals.
As a result of the establishment of freedom of speech and of social freedom through acceptance of the POTSDAM Declaration, new political party movements have become active and as many as thirty new political parties are reported to have been born in our country. Among these parties the former NISSEIKAI changing its name to the Progressive Part (SHINPUTU) and having many members of parliament among its members, made a beginning in the reconstruction of democratic JAPAN. We wonder who among the members of these newly born political parties can claim qualifications in rendering service to the establishment of democracy in the political world.
Some leaders of these political parties have committed such crimes as having supported and followed the militaristic and aggressive policies since the Manchurian Incident and having crushed freedom of speech and the political movements of the people under the principle of ultra-nationalism. This led to the unavoidable outbreak of the Greater EAST ASIA War. Their responsibilities to the Allied nations and to our people is great. They should retire entirely from the political world, and should show their penitence for their past crimes. On the contrary they, as if forgetting all their past conduct in the political world and the responsibilities for their crime, have availed themselves of the chaotic
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EDITORIAL SERIES: 31 (Continued)
ITEM 3 (Continued)
condition of JAPAN and have unexpectedly shared the leadership of new-born political parties. Thus we cannot help anticipating our fate in a democratic revolution.
As Brigadier General THORPE declared, the war criminals should be arrested and punished, however they may try to escape.
The inquiry into war crimes will extend to the time of the Manchurian Incident. The aim of the inquiry is obviously to stamp out the militarism and aggressive policies of JAPAN by rooting out the cause of the war and punishing the war criminals. Through such inquiry there will be revealed the abolition of world co-operation, the reformation of the military system for aggressive purposes, change of political groups to this end and various other factors which made the war inevitable.
The Supreme Commander's directive to arrest the six generals and the five leading politicians might clarify the above mentioned circumstances. Of those who engaged in the aggressive war, there are war criminals and those not responsible for the war. The difference between the two consists in their actions direct or indirect, in their rights and duties and in their sentiments. The inquiry is going on and the first trial by the Allied Nations is about to open.
Is the government co-operating fully with the Allied Powers? The Government seems to have an attitude of leaving everything to the Allied Powers as if the work does not concern it. This attitude is, of course, unpardonable. Positive assistance on the part of the Government in providing materials for full inquiry into the crimes is absolutely necessary. At the same time, who will search out the crimes of the war criminals and make clear the responsibilities of the latter?
Those who should perform this important task have started political movements and are forming new political parties with democratic principles or are joining these parties.
The Government has decided to establish an organization to investigate the cause of the loss of the war, which, we believe, should be extended to the investigations of war crimes. Without this extension the primary object of the government's attempt will fail. Some leading figures among the cabinet ministers are reported to have the intention of establishing a powerful organization to investigate responsibilities for the war along with or prior to the inquiry into the causes of the defeat. This, we believe, should be done.
Among the various problems which need immediate solution by the Government in the faithful execution of the POTSDAM declaration, the most important is the inquiry into the responsibilities for the war. In this way the Government will be able to express its sincerity to the Allied Powers, and we may expect their sympathy and co-operation.
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HomePress translations [Japan]. Editorial Series 0031, 1945-11-30.
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