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Press translations [Japan]. Editorial Series 0290, 1946-01-23.
Supreme Commander for The Allied Powers. Allied Translator and Interpreter Section.

translation-number: editorial-0906

call-number: DS801 .S82

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No. 906 Date: 23 Jan 46


ITEM 1 Inflation and Its Check - Provincial Newspapers Chubu Nippon Shimbun (Naotano) - 18 January 1946. Translator: K. Hirata.
Full Translation:
Infaltion is getting worse day by day. The current two go and one shoku ration of rice is not enough for an ordinary person to maintain his health. This food problem is a grave matter which concerns the existence of the general masses and consequently their power of reproduction. If every person attempts to supplement his meager allotment by illegal buying in order to escape malnutrition and hunger, this would be a question of life or death for the whole working class.
Here we want to examine the causes of the current inflation from the goods angle, particularly of supply. During the rice years from 1932 to 1944, the rice output amounted to 70 million koku, and wheat 20 million koku every year. In the rice year 1945, the outputs of wheat and sweet potatoes increased little, but rice decreased remarkably to 40 million. Furthermore, we cannot hope for food imports unless we can arrange collateral for them.
Therefore, even if farmers should completely turn over their allotments, most of the consuming populace must endure hunger due to a substantial decrease of rations. Thus, they will come to spend more and more money out of their incomes and savings on illegal purchases of rice. Today, the black market price of rice is usually quoted 40 to 80 times higher than last year's official price in the districts of KEIHIN, KEIHANSHIN and NAOTOYA.
Recently, the Government raised the official prices three times higher in coal and steel. Also, it is reported that it is about to revise railway rates, doubling passenger rates and tripling freight rates. Besides, the new high class cigarettes, which are shortly to appear on the market, will serve to boost the current prices of cheaper ones.
Thus, the recent tendency is towards a tripling of the prices of living necessities and of public facilities in comparison with officially fixed prices. Under these conditions, it is quite natural that workers have now come to demand a three hundred per cent wage boost. Indeed, it has been an established theory since RICARDO that wages and allowances of low-pay workers are affected by the prices of staple food. The strikes of miners and employees of electric cars in TOKYO are spreading to factory workers, national railway employees, and further to officers of various educational institutes.
If the current inflation is left to proceed, the wage boost is sure to be a national tendency. If so, JAPAN'S industrial group must undergo a revolution, since it has always flourished at the expense of low-paid workers for these fifty years since JAPAN opened her ports to foreign trade. To cite one example, our workers now are able to

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EDITORIAL SERIES: 290(Continued)
ITEM 1 (Continued)
enjoy high pay almost equal to the Western workers. However, they must produce as much as the latter. They must operate productive facilities of a level almost equal to the Western countries and as efficiently as Western workers, while under the handicap of JAPAN'S indemnity. The commodity prices and wages in BRITAIN and AMERICA have remained almost constant for the past seven years. For instance, the price of cotton and wool have been almost constant, the former having been twenty cents per pound and the latter, one dollar per pound. Workers' wages have only shown an increase of somewhere near fifty per cent.
If our foreign trade should be reopened under these conditions, it will drastically reduce the exchange rate of the yen. At any rate, it is necessary that the current inflation be checked by removing all possible causes arising from goods as well as currency.
The measures for correcting this situation may be summed up in the following five points:
It is absolutely necessary to increase staple food and take concrete steps to make farmers complete their allotments. To meet the absolute deficiency in food imports, the reform of the current ration system and the curtailment of black marketing and other illegal dealings in staple foods are necessary.
It is necessary to gather scraps of iron which remain scattered in huge amounts throughout the country and distribute among businessmen at least two million five hundred thousand tons of steel out of the scrap for the production of daily necessities and basic materials of production.
It is necessary to chock the prevailing tendency from money to goods to escape from the levy of a new property tax.
It is necessary to reorganize the current distribution system of necessities in order to weed out black market dealers as much as possible.
It is important to establish a new system of commodity prices and controls and put them into practice as promptly as possible.

ITEM: 2 The Urgent Need for Industrial Organizations of Labor Unions - Yomiuri-Hochi Shimbun - 22 January 1946. Translator: J. Wada.
Full Translation:
Foremost in the democratization of JAPAN, labor unions are being organized in rapid succession and in all parts of the country. At the same time, a tendency is developing among those unit labor unions for the industrial organizations of labor unions. The HOKKAIDO Organization of Miners' Labor Unions, which succeeded in concluding a contract with the HOKKAIDO Coal Association, an organization of capitalists, by taking advantage of a strike at the BIBAI Mine, is making great efforts to merge all miners' labor unions in JAPAN, including JOBAN and KYUSHU, into one organization. In other fields, such as Government railways, communication, transportation, press, printing and teaching, the movement for industrial organization has emerged from the stage of discussion and is taking concrete shape. It is common sense, in the labor union movement, that industrial organizations should be established and then combined into one body. Nevertheless, in our country the establishment of industrial organizations has been much delayed. There are many reasons for that situation.
The most important is the difference in political opinion. This difference in opinion and the consequent discord is the most serious
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EDITORIAL SERIES: 290(Continued)
ITEM 2 (Continued)
blunder which union movements in our country have committed. Even now, some unionists are repeating the sane mistake. For example, Mr. HATSUOKA, member of the preparatory committee of the General Alliance of Labor (RODO SODOMEI JUNBIKAI), asked the support of Social Democratic Party, in opposition to the Communist Party, when he spoke at the meeting of the KANAGAWA Labor Unions Council, in spite of his failure to obtain favor for his party on the occasion of the formation of the TOKYO Traffic Labor Union. There is another example among teaching circles. There has been antagonism between the All-JAPAN Teachers' Union, which is formed of the primary school teachers, totalling 400,000, and the Educators' Union, consisting of professors of universities and colleges.
Labor unions should be free to choose their favorite political party. Moreover, they should be unified through combined efforts for the solution of concrete problems, such as the raising of wages, establishment of the seven-hour system, and the procurement of provisions. All labor disputes which have occurred since last autumn have been connected with wages. The laborers have required more wages to keep themselves from starvation in the face of rising prices and inflation. In the cases of the KEISEI Electric and the TOKYO Express, they have already succeeded in raising wages three- or four-fold. However, constantly rising prices are threatening to nullify their efforts. Moreover, while movements for more wages have just started, the capitalists and their spokesmen have begun propaganda to the effect that reckless requests for higher wages on the part of laborers will only aggravate the inflation and endanger the revival of the Nation's economy.
To defeat this propaganda, and to protect the laborers' livelihood from ruin, the unification of the workers is necessary. Requests for better treatment, which have hitherto been separately made, should be combined into one request for minimum wages, calculated on the basis of actual living expenses, so as to enable the laborers to form unified industrial organizations on a Nation-wide scale.
Our argument can be justified by the fact that the Combined Action Committee, which was set up by the employees' unions of a newspapers on the occasion of our dispute, will soon develop into a preparatory committee for a unified union among newspapers. More recently, the combined committee, formed during the dispute of the ISHII Iron Works, is going to establish a unified metal-workers' union. Furthermore, in order to unify all industries, representatives of the factories in the KANTO area will meet on 27 January. The first task in industrial organizations will be a decision on the minimum cost of living for laborers in their respective fields.
In this respect, it is a source of great satisfaction to us that such private inquiry organizations as the Industry and Labor Investigation Institute, the Free University Course of KEIO University, and the Institute for the Investigation of Japanese Economic Structure have begun investigating the minimum costs of living. We believe that the results will be of great value to these industrial organizations.
The formation of industrial organizations of labor unions will elevate the combined front of the Social Democratic Party and the Communist Party, which, through their co-operation for the solution of the food problem, will cement their relationship more firmly than ever. Thus, unified unions by industries are the motivating power of the democratization of JAPAN.
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HomePress translations [Japan]. Editorial Series 0290, 1946-01-23.
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