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Press translations [Japan]. Editorial Series 0204, 1946-01-06.
Supreme Commander for The Allied Powers. Allied Translator and Interpreter Section.

translation-number: editorial-0636

call-number: DS801 .S82

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No. 636 Date: 6 Jan 46


ITEM 1 Fresh Start of own Assemblies Asahi Shimbun - 4 Jan 46. Translator: S. Inoue.
Full translation:
We had much to expect from an announcement by the metropolitan authorities, the gist of which was that town assemblies will start on the New Year, with a more important role being played by the people than before. However, the fact of the matter is this: the formula is set out well enough but the substance of it remains as old as ever. In short, the reformation of town assemblies is from the bureaucratic point of view. Here we give, as an example, the details of one of the meetings hold at KOYAMA, TOKYO.
AS the date of reporting was imminent, they held a general meeting and made preparations for a re-adjustment.
It was arranged that the notice of the holding of the general meeting should be circulated from one neighborhood association to the other.
Persons assembled on that day numbered little more than ten.
Although the number of persons assembled was so few, they made a decision on every item.
An attendance totalling a little more than ten shows a lack of interest in the organization. In other words, it is evidence of popular disapproval of a formal town assembly being forced to meet by the authorities. Following are a few more facts:
The opening of the general nesting was not made known to the general public.
In spite of so few people being present at the meeting, they adopted a plan for general meetings to be in time for the date of reporting.
The facts described above reveal nothing less than a formal gathering held for reporting purposes, and, in consequence, not representative of the public's choice.
In the future, town assemblies must, first of all, aim at a sufficient subsistence level for the people. The governing of the assembly on a co-operative basis must be considered. We must have just and orderly assemblies and we must expel from them all bosses trading on their long connection with them. Errors may be corrected in a fair assembly which reflects the public's will, and a fresh start must be based on this fact.
Sent by Mr. YAMADA, Tsunishige, TOKYO)

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EDITORAL SERIES: 204 (Continued)
ITEM 2 The First Step in Democracy - Tokyo Shimbun - 4 Jan 46. Translator: J. Wada.
Full translation:
The fundamental problems in establishing democracy around the Emperor system and in constitutional reform should be discussed and re-examined from all conceivable angles, accordingly, many more arguments on these fundamental problems will be rendered in the future. Apart from these fundamentals, however, various concrete measures for democracy, including the enactment of the Revised Election Law and the Farm Land Law, were taken as a result of directives and orders from the Allied Headquarters. In spite of all these measures, we cannot but doubt that the people really understand democracy. The shock of the unconditional surrender, which come so suddenly, end the rapid changes since the end of the war have kept the Nation from the true realization of democracy.
The realization of democracy has been made more difficult by the feudalistic customs, which have prevailed for so long a time. For that reason, General MacARTHUR, at the beginning of the New Year, requested that the Japanese Nation truly understand, what democracy is and make the beginning of the New Year the time for a new start toward truth and light. Can our Nation take the first step toward democracy with a deeper understanding of its significance?
The view was expressed that the settlement of this question is the first step in democracy. Other views are that the forthcoming general election under the new Election Law is the first step. These two arguments are both right.
However, can we not find a first step which is nearer to us and has a more direct effect on our daily life? A little thinking shows us many things which may well be the first step. For example, the democratization of the neighborhood and town association system, the organization of consumers' and other co-operative societies, and the establishment of labor unions are all intimately connected with national life and will surely do much for the establishment and better understanding of democracy. Putting these problems into practice is the surest and shortest way to a genuine understanding of democracy.
The gubernatorial election system may be another short cut to establishment and deeper understanding of democracy. The democratization of such fundamentals as the Emperor System and the Constitution will meet with much difficulty, but the adoption of a gubernatorial election system will be far easier. Of course, the election of representatives, too, has a great connection with national life. It will deepen the understanding of democracy on the part of the people, if they make efforts to send to the Diet true representatives. However, the gubernatorial election system is a far better and easier means to make the masses understand and establish democracy.
Apart from enlightenment of the people, the adoption of the election system may be advocated from a theoretical point of view. There may be room for discussion about the method of election, but there can be no opposition to the adoption of the system itself. Its realization can be a first step toward democracy, both in theory and from the standpoint of enlightenment. Essentially, the realization of the gubernatorial election system should precede the general election. Our democratization should begin with the adoption of this election system.
ITEM 3 Vertical Morality and Horizontal Morality - Mainichi Shimbun - 4 Jan 46. Translator: K Hirata.
Full translation:
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EDITORIAL SERIES: 204 (Continued)
ITEM 3 (Continued)
Our morality has always been encouraged by the Royal Family since the early days of the MEIJI Era. It is nothing more than the Imperial Rescript on Education issued by MEIJI which directs us on principles of behavior. We have hitherto observed these instructions in our public and private lives.
The morality of has been entirely characteristic of totalitarianism, and went to such extremes as the war proceeded, that our leaders dared to declare that loyalty and patriotism wore the same virtue. However, this totalitarian view went into decline as result of the defeat. On the other hand, as democracy has been encouraged, the ideas of the people concerning the Emperor have undergone a change. Therefore, at present it seems as if the Nation's standard of morality has, in a sense, been lowered.
Without morality, what can any nation do in the formation of a culture? However, morality is not made but born of itself in human society. Artificial morality is apt to destroy itself, while morality born of human nature is universal. No doubt, such natural social morality has always existed here, but, has been underrated during the years spent under the dominance of totalitarian morality. With the extinction of totalitarian morality, there is a tendency also for this universal morality to be discarded like a pair of old shoes. It is undeniable that this tendency will cast a gloomy shadow upon the future prospects of defeated JAPAN.
Totalitarian morality is a vertical one. The universal social morality is a horizontal one. Morality may be likened to a road. A road stretches horizontally. This is a genuine state of human morality. Man finds it very difficult to walk along a vertical road. However, man should sometimes take even a vertical road however difficult it may be, because the national development and the maintainance of the social order may depend upon this vertical morality. Today JAPAN, no doubt, needs this vertical morality. However, the vertical morality which JAPAN now needs is far from the so-called Japanese Weltanschauung preached by our leaders during the war. It is difficult for the general people to understand fully such a vague idea. Universal morality is, on the contrary, simple and instinctive. It is the basis of all morality. Without this virtue, any nation would be utterly miserable. What JAPAN should urgently strive to do, is recover among the people, the lost social morality as quickly as possible.
As the Japanese proverb says, we must have necessities of life before we can observe the proprieties. Some people may say that the social morality of AMERICA may be attributed to her abundant natural resources, and that it is quite natural that morality should decline under the stringent food situation of JAPAN. However, it is wrong to say that the rich always do what is good and the poor do what is wrong. It was the rioh who did wrong during the war. It was the upper class that has encouraged the decline of social morality.
As an emergency measure, our leaders should strive to stabilize the national standard of living end reconstruct the social morality by guiding the people using not theoretical but very common language. The leaders should strive to let the mass of the people know that they can maintain a peaceful social life only by observing social morality. This may be a difficult matter for the nation now suffering from various needs. However, the confusion of democracy with self-indulgence prevailing among the people today should not be left long uncorrected. In this state the Government must endeavor to solve the food and housing problems. The war is ended. This country was defeated. It is still necessary for the Nation to observe social morality. The whole Nation should be made fully aware of the importance of this simple lesson as soon as possible.
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HomePress translations [Japan]. Editorial Series 0204, 1946-01-06.
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