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Press translations [Japan]. Editorial Series 0352, 1946-02-03.
Supreme Commander for The Allied Powers. Allied Translator and Interpreter Section.

translation-number: editorial-1095

call-number: DS801 .S82

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No. 1095 Date: 3 Feb 46


ITEM 1 The Other Side of the Constitution Revision - Yomiuri-Hochi - 1 Feb 46. Translator: Y. Ebiike.
Full Translation:
The SHIDEHARA Cabinet, which during the four months following its formation has wasted its precious time in idle chatter, apparently playing the part of a cultured coquette like a "leisured society woman," has recently exhibited a sudden display of action. The motive is not from a will to save the people from impending destruction of their livelihood, but from, quite a reversed intention. The Cabinet sent a host of policemen, and seized a store of concealed commodities which the masses had discovered and were waiting for distribution.
Concerning compulsory rice supply, they ignored the Diet, resorted to an urgent Imperial Ordinance, a trump card of despotic administration, and forced the outrageous enforcement of rice delivery by exercising their authority. Education Minister ABE devotes himself to what may be called a novel control of popular expression in regard to the Emperor System and democracy, while Minister without portfolio MATSUMOTO and his circle are speeding up the revision of the Constitution with extraordinary eagerness.
It is quite strange that the SHIDEHARA Cabinet, which has but a short time left in its term, should be in such a hurry to complete the Constitutional revision. The Cabinet, declaring itself an interim one to carry out the general election, has pulled through the crisis caused by the purge directive, and succeeded in executing bad re-organization. Notwithstanding our presupposition that the Cabinet would resign en bloc immediately after the general election on 31 March it announced its intention to convene an extraordinary Diet Session on 29 April and to enforce the revision of the Constitution. What obstinate impudence!
However, as for as the Constitution draft, drawn up by Minister without portfolio MATSUMOTO is concerned, mutual agreement was not reached among the ministers at the Cabinet meeting an 30 January, and they are going to hold an extraordinary Cabinet meeting on 31 January to debate to the subject again. In such an eager manner the ministers try their best to solve the problem of the Constitution, yet they hove never held any extraordinary cabinet meeting on such vital questions of public interest as the food crisis, unemployment or inflation.
Next, the Cabinet intends to establish a Constitution Revision Investigation Commission, and put the finishing touch on the draft plan for publication about 1 March. Nobody expected that the procrastinating SHIDEHARA Cabinet would show such splendid progress and ardor like this. The fact is that the SHIDEHARA Cabinet is striving to be reborn as a Cabinet charged with the work of Constitution Revision. It is abandoning its previous mission of acting as an interim cabinet only to hold the general election.
Why does the Cabinet try to prolong its tenure of office? If we just cast one glance at the governmental draft plan for Constitutional Revision we shall soon understand. It is said that at the Cabinet meeting on 30

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EDITORIAL SERIES: 352 (Continued)
ITEM 1 (Continued)
January discussion concentrated on the Emperor's position and power in the Constitution. If the government's draft plan were to be approved, such anti-democratic sovereignty in the monarch as the Emperor's right to superintend and the right to reign will be acknowledged by the Constitution, and the Privy Council and nobility will not be abolished. Thus the framework of feudalistic despotism will be preserved.
The present Japanese feudal system consists of four elements, viz., the military clique, the bureaucrats, the landowners and the capitalists. These elements are represented by the Emperor who reigns over them and superintends the entire power of the State. Without destroying this system JAPAN'S democratization can never be realized. The military clique, however, has both Demobilization Ministries as the headquarters for its operation, dreaming of its revival, while the bureaucrats continue their sabotage within the stronghold of the government. It is from among the masses that a strong power to propel JAPAN'S democratic revolution is developing vigorously, goaded by the crisis of the people's livelihood and by the democracy which is now prevailing among them. This trend is represented by the ever-increasing opportunity to form a democratic front which is growing on its own momentum. Now all the people have come to know that the Government intends to preserve its old power by holding the general election a little earlier, and plans also to maintain its administrative power after the election by virtue of its old system thus preserved. It will revise the Constitution only half heartedly and check the progress of the democratic revolution of the people on the strength of this essentially unchanged Constitution.
To examine the past career of Premier SHIDEHARA, he belonged among the despotic bureaucrats, and was on Imperialist connected with the MITSUBISHI and ZAIBATSU. He never opposed JAPAN's continental expansion policy, but as a diplomat he knew the actual power of the Allied Nations and was well informed of the world situation, so that he assumed a negative attitude, blindly disregarding the Manchurian Incident, the CHINA Incident and the Pacific War conspired by the military clique. Foreign Minister YOSHIDA has the same record and their circle is called "moderate" in Imperialistic circles. Premier SHIDEHARA perhaps belongs to the left wing of that party, but he is neither a democrat nor a true pacifist. However, his general appearance, befitting one of the moderate party, is most suited to deceive the people, disguising him to be a respectable democrat. The true intention of his Cabinet is to preserve semi-feudalistic power, while the Constitution revision aims at checking the progress of the democratic revolution. The recent active move of the SHIDEHARA Cabinet only proves that the destructive old powers "exist firmly rooted."
The people must at once form a democratic front, overthrow the SHIDEHARA Cabinet, and make the first concrete and truly democratic step in the peoples interest concerning the Constitution revision. JAPAN'S democratic revolution has advanced this far.
ITEM 2 Survey of Letters to the Editor during the Month of January - Tokyo Shimbun - 1 Feb 46. Translator: I. Hotta.
Full Translation:
What does the general public think of the construction of new JAPAN? Here is a survey of the letters to the editor during last month. The number of letters we received was more than 650 in all, thus showing a decrease by two per cent compared with December. Here we pay our respects to our earnest contributors. There were many letters in which opinions on current affairs were expressed, and the quality of contributions has improved. Now we shall classify they by subjects.
Concerning demobilization —— 28 letters —— Some complained of the

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EDITORIAL SERIES: 352 (Continued)

ITEM 2 (Continued)

irresponsibility of the army, giving examples of asking those who were in charge of winding-up business, about retiring allowances for ex-servicemen, but not receiving even an answer. A letter gave an example that in the ex-army hospital at ICHIKAWA, patients were yet treated discriminately according to military grade. Thus bitter complaints were heard against army authorities.
Concerning education —— 26 letters —— What was demanded was the revival of a five-year system for high school and the abolition of the entrance-examination system. Robbery of reference bocks and dictionaries among students was reported. There was also complaints that prices of second-hand backs are too high.
Concerning transportation —— 24 letters —— So many letters complainec[illegible]of disorder of transportation. Five letters were expressing demands on the authorities of the SOBU line. Other letters were demanding the abolition of the YOTSUYA station for express-trains, operation of cars for women only and pointed out the unkindness of the railway authorities. Irregular operation of street-cars was also complained of.
Concerning a public bath —— 11 letters In view of the fact that it is hard for the public to take a bath these days, bath-houses were allowed to permit people to bathe in the morning. However, the bath-charge became as high as one or three yen per head. Such a fact caused people to ask Police Headquarters and the TOKYO Metropolitan Board to take some proper measures. The authorities solved this problem by raising the charges to 50 sen for an adult and 30 sen for children under seven years. However these black market prices for bath-charges will remain unless fuel difficulties can be solved, and frequent suspensions of baths will also trouble the public.
Electric heaters —— 16 letters —— We have received many letters on electric heaters since last December, but the number of these letters in January is less than that in December, Some demanded the production of more transformers. There were some unreasonable demands which asked us why they had frequent stoppage of electric light though the electric light rate was raised since the beginning of January.
Fuel 5 —— letters —— One complained that no one piece of firewood had been distributed since last May, and asked for the second distribution of fuel. Some blamed irresponsibility of the authorities of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
There were many other letters on irregular distribution of rice, and other commodities. However the number of letters on food problems had decreased and especially demands to the food distributing authorities had greatly decreased in number. It may prove that distribution has become more efficient and the staff of distributing organizations have become kinder to people. Other letters were those on abolition of KABUKI plays, scantiness of matter in the dramatic world, simplification of the procedure for withdrawal of special deposits and wishes for impartiality of food distribution. 12 were on the Emperor System, of which seven supported it and five opposed it. The number of letters on the Emperor System was much less compared with 42 in December.
ITEM 3 Wonders for the Government Draft for a New Constitution - Mainichi Shimbun - 1 Feb 46. Translator: K. Nagatani.
Full Translation:
Generally speaking, the Government draft for a new Constitution is fairly progressive. However, in that draft, the government intends to keep
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EDITORIAL SERIES: 352 (Continued)
ITEM 3 (Continued)
intact the Emperor's sovereignty as in the existing Constitution. That is, the government draft stipulates that the Emperor shall be the head of the Empire, that JAPAN is a monarchy and that the Empire of JAPAN shall be reigned over by the Emperor. We do not oppose the position of the Emperor as the head of this country. In this case, however, our idea of the Emperor is that he be a formal and ceremonial representative of the entire nation. We mean an organ which determines the supreme and ultimate will of the nation, standing above the people and acting as the source of the three major functions of government: legislative, administrative and judicial. In foreign relations the Emperor is to be a nominal figure in making treaties. On the contrary if the Emperor is allowed actually to express his free will in government, it may be possible in the future that the Emperor will have to be responsible for the consequence. It is surmisable that the proposed government Constitutional draft does not intend to allow the Emperor free will of this kind. The government may regard rule by the Emperor as a mere formal procedure in deciding upon the will of the nation as is the case with the King of ENGLAND. This assumption may be true since the present Emperor HIROHITO would like to be comparable to the British monarch. If so, the government should clarify the position of the Emperor in the new revised Constitution. Otherwise, it is possible that the Emperor will be utilized again by those who attempt dictatorship.
This is the point which has been deeply studied by various authorities in working out their Constitutional reform plans. The government seems to think that democracy in our country will attain maturity to such an extent as will prevent the danger of dictatorship. It must be borne in mind, however, that democracy in JAPAN has just begun the first step and that we are not yet sure of its sound development. When our democracy has made progress, we can take a perspective of the situation. In ENGLAND, even without any written Constitution, it is established by the common sense of the people that the British sovereign reigns but does not rule. Accordingly if the British government structure is to be introduced in our written Constitution, it is necessary that the Constitution stipulate the principle that the Emperor shall not practically govern this country. If the British monarchy is not copied, and the government allows the Emperor free will in administration, it will be contrary to democracy.
Aside from the section pertaining to the political position of the Emperor the draft shows much progress and adaptation to the present situation. The proposed reorganization of the present Upper House as a council composed of representatives of local conferences and of professional representatives means the virtual destruction of the existing House of Peers. However, we expect that the council will function as the second house. It is commendable that the draft stipulates that the Cabinet is responsible to the Diet and must stand or fall on the confidence of the Diet. However, we cannot understand why the Diet session is limited to le[illegible]than three months. If the government thinks that it cannot do much with a Diet in session all the year round, the government is taking the matter too lightly. A Diet continually in session is on essential condition for democracy and does not hamper the progress of administration.
This draft should be scrutinized also in the matter of relations between the Cabinet and the Diet. For example, the Cabinet's right to dissolve the Diet as stipulated in the draft is likely to be abused. The right of the Cabinet to dissolve the Diet should be more limited or else, the dissolution of the Diet should be made by national vote. Concerning the appointment of premiers, the draft adopts the same method as in the existing Constitution. It is better, however, to appoint new premiers through recommendation by the presidents of both Houses or by the election of the Diet. If the government does act concern itself with the appointment of premiers, political changes will be frequent.
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EDITORIAL SERIES: 352 (Continued)
ITEM 3 (Continued)
Anyway, we cannot consider the draft as the final plan. The question of Constitutional reform cannot be dealt with too carefully. In the revision of the constitution, we should not consider the time of revision less important than the content. It must not be forgotten that the revision for the Constitution must be carried out with a long perspective of social tendencies.
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HomePress translations [Japan]. Editorial Series 0352, 1946-02-03.
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