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Press translations [Japan]. Political Series 0057, 1945-12-06.
Supreme Commander for The Allied Powers. Allied Translator and Interpreter Section.

translation-number: political-0238

call-number: DS801 .S85

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No. 238 Date: 6 Dec 45


ITEM 1 My Opinion on Reforming the House of Peers - Chubu Nippon Shimbun - 26 Nov 45. Translator: A. Kido.
My Opinion on Reforming the House of Peers, by TOKUGAWA, Yoshichika.
Marquis TOKUGAWA of the OWARI clan made the following statement on the reformation problem of the House of Peers; "The Japanese family system was considered extremely necessary for maintaining public peace and order, for it required, the joint responsibility of past and present generations. The family system, or maintainance of a household, was looked upon as the safest way of living, and for the welfare of a family, individuals were sometimes sacrificed. Our feudal system grew up together with the family system and this fact enabled the SHOGUNATE to keep peace for 300 years.
Our feudal system was quite different from that of EUROPE. Under the Japanese feudal system, all land was considered a part of the state, and the SHOGUN was given management or control over the land. Even the SHOGUN did not make the land his private possession in the sense of the present legal concept; he only took it in trust. Feudal lords, on the other hand, were in their turn authorized to rule over an estate and the people. The term "fief", or estate of a feudal lord does not imply 'possession'. The SHOGUM was authorized to organize the SHOGUNATE, or the Government, and so rule over 300 feudal lords who, in turn, governed their retainers, in general according to the laws and ordinances given by the SHOGUN, the details of the administration of the various domains differing.
In case of a feudal lord having a peasants' uprising or disturbances in his dominion, he was either sent to another place, inferior to his former domain, or his estate was confiscated, and all the clansmen were ordered to leave. The retainers, therefore had to keep the consequences of trouble in mind and maintain peace in the country. If, therefore there was any danger of a feudal lord being found at fault by the SHOGUNATN, The clansmen made him ill or even poisoned him, or forced him to resign from his office, so as to protect the clan. Great care was also taken to avoid disputes over boundaries with the neighboring domains. Thusly and only thusly the 300 year peace was maintained, and the family system played an important role therein.
The flow of funds to the EMPEROR changed the status of the feudal lords, breaking down all direct living relations between them and their retainers. The fact that the former feudal lords were enjoying the hospitality of the Imperial Court was due to the Imperial consideration for their return of funds to the EMPEROR. Their privilege to occupy, seats in the House of Peers is of quite a different character. Directly after the MEIJI restoration, the influence of

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POLITICAL SERIES: 57 (Continued)
ITEM 1 (Continued)
groups of former retainers guarding their former feudal lords persisted. Owing to this backing, the peers have had a power that provided them with seats in the Upper House, therefore, [illegible]he must make a distinction between this privilege and the Imperial hospitality. Around the time when the funds were returned, the former feudal lords or the newly appointed peers were, out of their gratitude toward the Imperial Court for their unseated families, living modestly and with discretion. However, later generations, forgetting their ancestors' hardships and worries, now regard themselves as superior to any other people.
The privilege of a peer is due to the power of the former retainers, not to his own merits. In my own case, also, such backing continued until the MEIJI era, but after the THISHO era many of those who had been favored passed away and very few are now left who really have the well-fare of my family at heart. The later peers also have a different attitude compared with the earlier ones and they have entirely lost their privilege to remain as peers. Now that the important elements composing the Upper House have altered their character and lost the sense of their existence, the original meaning of the House of Peers has been lost. In short, the present House of Peers has continued its existence because of inertia or from force of habit. Hence, the question whether or not to reform the House of Peers is simply rediculous, and it must be a question of what kind of reform is best.
ITEM 2 Election Law Reform Bill - Yomiuri Hochi - 1 Dec 45. Translator: T. Weiller.
Concerning the Election Law Reform Bill to be introduced in today's plenary session, opinions vary among the three political parties. The Progressive Party contemplates sending Messrs, VEDA and EGUCHI to the rostrum to question the Government regarding its basic attitude in submitting the bill. In the meantime the party will hold a deliberation council in the morning in order to unify the Party's opinion as a whole. Despite some opposition to the major electorate system proposed by the Government. The general opinion in the Party appears to be in favor of it
However, a persistent objection to the restrictive plural system is heard from many quarters in the Party. They state that it is unreasonable due to the fact that in one electorate an elector votes for one candidate while in another for two or more, and furthermore, that some electors may vote for two or more candidates of different camps, etc. These opponents are advocating a single unsigned system as a natural alternative. Altogether, the Party is inclined to pass the Bill with amendments in connection with the restrictive plural system and restriction on the election campaign.
The Liberal Party will be represented by Mr. HOSHIJIMA for an interpellation on the problem. The Party for its ideal policy maintains a single transferrable system in a major electorate by proportional respresentation, but if its assertion cannot he realized it will have to appear, in the coming general election under the present single unsigned ballot system in a medium electorate. It is diametically opposed to the restrictive plural system.
The Socialist Party's spokesman the present occasion is to be Mr.
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POLITICAL SERIES: 57 (Continued)
ITEM 2 (Continued)
TAKATA. The Party, of the opinion that the coming general election is the first step towards the establishment of democracy, must put forward all possible effort toward accomplishing its assertion. The Party is dead set against the restrictive plural system, too, on the grounds that it is irrational for while it professes the equal right of all in the election it provides that some be allowed to cast more votes than others. Therefore, it is expected to demand the adoption of a single transferable system under proportional representation.
All in all, it appears inevitable that the bill will undergo fairly extensive amending.
ITEM 3 The Democratic Diet is a Long Way Off - Yomiuri Hochi - 3 Dec 45. Translator: K. Murakami.
The people are seriously concerned about the 89 Extraordinary Diet Session, especially in regard to the interpellations of the Japanese Progressive, Social-Democratic and Liberal parties to the speech of Premier SHIDEHARA on the administration. We anticipated vivid, frank and faithful discussions on the following items:
(l) The situation and the political ideas on the Emperor System, Government, and Diet under the Allied Occupation Administration based on the Potsdam Declaration; (2) The actual relation between Allied Supreme Headquarters and the Japanese Imperial Government, and the progress of the negotiations with the Allied Government for food and other important matters; (3) The views and the ideas of every party about the Emperor System in connection with the rivision of the constitution; (4) A sound and concrete platform and policy for every party for the establishment of a democratic system.
However, we found only idealistic opinions uttered by Mr. HATOYAMA, Ichiro of the Liberal Party and Mr. SAITO, Takao, of the Progressive Party on the Emperor System and Democracy, and we found Premier SHIDEHARA making common and stale answer to their interpellations.
The interpellation by Mr. NISHIO, of the Social-Democratic Party, which has been looked upon with interest, greatly disappointed the people. It did not clarify the Emperor system in spite of the fact that the principles of the Party are based upon aid in the class struggle. There was neither an interpellation referring to the legal and political function, nor, the sphere of influence of the Emperor, Government and the Diet under the supervision of the Allied Supreme Headquarters. Thus, the authority and credit of the Government and the Diet are very weak as far as the people are concerned. The Diet, we think, should ask the view of the Government on an opinion which is prevailing among some influential leaders in the House, namely, that final veto power is in the hands of the Allied Supreme Headquarters.
Up to now, the present Diet has exposed itself shamelessly before the people on the problem of the resolutions on war responsibility, wasting valuable time in self-advertising interpellations. Some members of the Social-Democratic and Liberal Parties are expected to make interpellation on the following three items: (1) practical measures for carrying out the resolutions on war responsibility; (2) investigation of the Emperor System and the revision of the Court System; (3) revision of the Constitution.
But to what degree can these parties continue their struggle for liberty and democracy? How long can they keep the support and interest of the people?
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POLITICAL SERIES: 57 (Continued)
ITEM 4 The Nomination of Candidates of the Japanese People's Party - Asahi Shimbun - 3 Dec 45. Translator: S. Ono.
A conference of the standing committee members at the temporary office in TSUKIJI was held on 1 December. It decided on declarations and platforms of the party and nominated twelve candidates in the coming election. The JAPAN People's Party chose the following candidates: HUKUCHI, Humine ([illegible]); MIYAJIMA, Chinji ([illegible]), TOKYO First Electoral District; HUKUCHI, Humino, ([illegible]), TOKYO Second Electoral District; HUKUCHI, Shuzo ([illegible]), IBARAGI Electoral District; DAITOKU, Masaichi ([illegible]), IBARAGI Electoral District; NOGUCHI, Takashi ([illegible]), CHIBA Electoral District; SHIRAI, Soichi ([illegible]), GUMMA Electoral District; TOGAMAE, Takeshi ([illegible]), TOCHIGI Electoral District; OMAMURA, Hutaichi ([illegible]), NAGANO Electoral District; SUZUKI, Hohei ([illegible]), NARA Electoral District; SASE, Shozo ([illegible]), SAITAMA Electoral District.
ITEM 5 Communist Journalist Barred from Entering the House of Representatives - Mainichi Shimbun - 4 Dec 45. Translator: S. Sano.
The editorial officers of the "Red Flag", the communist organ, were dispatched as the reporters to the House of Representatives in conection with the proceeding of the Session, but they were barred by the Office of the House because the organ is not a daily paper. The 4th mass meeting of the Communist Party was held extending over 1, 2, and 3 December. They decided on the following resolution, denouncing the action of the office, and submitted it to the House of Representatives on 3 December by the authority of the Communist Party. "It was owing to the obstruction of the military caste (GUNBATSU), the plutocracy (ZAIBATSU) and the bureaucracy (HANRIYO) that the 'Red Flag' could not publish daily. Still at the present session of the Diet, which is said to respect the will of the people, the representatives of the 'Red Flag' were barred from entering the House. We protest in the name of the people against the action of the Office."
ITEM 6 The Budget Committee Meeting Opened - Asahi Shimbun - 4 Dec 45. Translator: S. Sano.
The first meeting of the Budget Committee was opened at the House of Representatives on 3 December. Mr. SHIBUSAWA, the Finance minister, expressed his opinion regarding the reconstruction of finance and economics in connection with the budget. Mr. KAWASAKI (Progressive) made the first interpellation and is expected to make another on 4 December.
The meeting adjourned at 1207. The plenary meeting was held at 1313, and each representative of the various parties interpellated on the bill for the revision of the Election Law. Thus, the House of Representatives went into the important deliberations of this session.
At the some time the warrant for the arrest of notable persons in various fields was directed by the Allied Headquarters, and so many influential members of both Hoses are involved in it that a great shock was felt throughout the Diet. This Directive will greatly affect the various fields of politics.
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HomePress translations [Japan]. Political Series 0057, 1945-12-06.
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