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Press translations [Japan]. Political Series 0061, 1945-12-07.
Supreme Commander for The Allied Powers. Allied Translator and Interpreter Section.

translation-number: political-0259

call-number: DS801 .S85

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No. 259 Date 7 Dec 45.


ITEM 1 The Progressive Party - Asahi Shimbun - 5 Dec 45. Translator: Paasche.
Full Translation:
The issue of The Progressive Party's leadership is naturally coming to a head now that a general party convention is on the bulk of the Party's rank and file is clamoring for speedy nomination of a Party chief. The Party has been in a quandary over this problem of leadership ever since its founding.
A temperance solution consisted of administration through a General Committee until a leader could be nominated. Although the Party can boast of numerical superiority over all other groups in the Diet, the lack of unified leadership has suddenly proved a drawback in the extraordinary Diet Session. Committee member IMAI has, therefore, taken up the subject in the Party Convention. He stated that the nomination of a Party chief was urgent in view of pending problems, such as the bill for a reform of election laws, Party management and preparation for the coming general elections. The majority of the Party machine shares IMAI's views, so that feverish activity about the choice of a leader has started. In its choice of a Party leader the group is guided by the following maxims: The capacity and reputation of the leader must be in line with the importance of the biggest Party in the land and a person must be chosen who was not tied up with the old parties and who is not a member of the Diet.
Should no suitable person be found, a Party member will be selected from the Diet group, via Committee procedure. This man mill act in place of a leader and control the machine. A group inside the Party is striving to avoid a split over this issue, urging the immediate nomination of a Party head in order to overcome the emergency. As far as the fate of those suspected of war crimes is concerned, the reaction in the House of Peers is that they have become unable to exercise their parliamentary functions, but it is a moral duty to accord them a speedy trial as Diet members. Under the circumstances, the House of peers cannot adhere to its former attitude of indifference forwards the war guilt question, and consultations on this issue have been stepped up. Some are unwilling to wait until the Constitutional Reform Bill is reduced to writing by the Government. Instead, they insist that they have a working plan for upper Chamber reform which makes adaptation to post-war environment possible.
At the same time they are urging the Government to reshape the House of Peers Law. The progressive Party can be compared to bear curds: if treatment with brine is useless one can wait and wait but the curds will not harden, if the brine works, the curds will harden but break as under.

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POLITICAL SERIES: 61 (Continued)
ITEM 1 (Continued)
If the party has not split so far it is because the brine dis not work, but if the party enters the election campaign in its present state, it will break up and will not control the Parliament or wield governmental power. The Party leader would be the consolidating medium and would, at the same time, prevent a split-up. Lack of such a leader is the Party's worry.
The Party was launched by team work of the MACHIDA group of the former MINSEITO and the NAKAJIMA group of the former SEIYUKAI. The most active MINSEI TO people were agriculture minister MATSUMURA, SAKURAI KATSU and NAKAIGAWA, of the NAKAJIMA group. YASUMI and foreign minister TOGO were most conspicuous. The first aim of the Party builders was to avoid mere collecting of followers without laying stress on Party discipline. They apparently thought they could control the Diet by bringing a tightly knit group together. For this reason they did not entrust an outsider with the leadership. Instead, MACHIDA and NAKAJIMA thrashed the matter and amount themselves. MACHIDA contented himself with an advisory position and pushed NAKAJIMA into the limelight. This set-up may find favor with NAKAJIMA'S friends, but the NAKAJIMA-MACHIDA combination has definitely lost popularity. MACHIDA is too old, and there are other candidates, like HATOYAMA, who is backed by ANDO and ASHIDA.
The whole leadership problem is in itself a symptom of loss of vitality. In order to get the Party under way it had been necessary to spotlight people with little Party tradition. For this reason, men like SAITO and ITSUMIYA were brought into the group. When SAITO and ITSUMIYA joined up, the MACHIDA-NAKAJIMA team lost importance, but, with the exception of the socialists and tie liberals, many Diet members began to join so that the Progressive Party obtained a majority. Ironically, SAITO and ITSUMIYA, brought forward as show pieces, are now opposing MACHIDA and NAKAJIMA and advertise General UGAKI as the coming Party chief
General UGAKI was stated to be a director of the former movement for a coalition of the MINSEITO and SEIYUKAI groups and was several times proposed for the premiership, but the military was against him. In addition to the backing given by SAITO and ITSUMIYA, the taking over of Party leadership by UGAKI leans to be widely advocated. But now a days, being a soldier is disastrous for a politician, so that this pro-UGAKI tendency will probably fade away. Along with this current of thought another tendency is in evidence. KANEMITSU is building up Prince KONOYE and rumor has it that KONOYE told KANEMITSU he is willing to accept a nomination in the absence of Supreme Headquarters' intervention. But, however emphatically Prince KONOYE may refute his responsibility for the beginning of hostilities, we need not await SAITO'S oratory to know that KONOYE, along with KIDO and TOJO, is one of the foremost war-criminals. Everyone in JAPAN knows that the KONOYE drive, at least at present, is useless, whatever shades of make-up the Prince may choose to display, and however determinedly KANEMITSU may go through the motions of boosting the movement in his favor.
Since it is realized that KONOYE is out, the next man to be considered is admiral NOMURA. He is a known American favorite and has many friends in the United States. He was anti-war from the start and is therefore considered acceptable. Yet, although the admiral is suitable for the job, American public opinion is not likely to accept him because he is a militarist.
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POLITICAL SERIES: 61 (Continued)
ITEM 1 (Continued)
If NOMURA is rejected, General UGAKI is certainly out of the question. Should the General resign on account of war responsibility, prudence should advise him to withdraw from public view. Political activity as a Diet member on his part would result in an impossible situation, which has already drawn outspoken criticism from certain groups.
Leadership by a senior committee has been suggested but proved unfeasible Some thought that Diet President SHIMADA, rather than senile MACHIDA, should be in control, but SHIMADA has been too busy collecting Party funds and is too self-centered a person to attact many friends. Public Affairs Minister MATSUMOTO has retired from public view for reasons of health and is consequently no longer mentioned. MITSUCHI is a man of ability and ambition but his nomination is likewise but of the question for family reasons.
In the midst of all these difficulties and because of the anticipated reaction of the rank and file, The Party is aware of the inadvisubility of facing the elections without adequate leadership. For this reason there is a general inclination to patch up the facade by nominating MACHIDA as Party Director or president of the General Committee, but it is realized that after the elections the Party needs an overhauling. INUKAI insist on the provisional character of the MACHIDA solution and talks about the possible nomination of Agriculture Minister MATSUMURA or SAITO. We are in the dark on how strong this tendency will prove to be. Some seem to be planing a union from a Party nucleus KIYOSE, KUBOI, MIYOSHI, NISHIKATA, and others, plus a section of the Independents. This team is to dispose of the present method of leadership in the progressive Party by solving the directorship problem and setting up a new party, but for such a solution a suitable leader is also lacking. At this time there are neither men available for handling a reorganization nor for breaking up the Party. Rumors are that Finance Minister SHIBUSAWA new pillar of the financial world, Dr. IWATA, and even MATSUHIRA, strong candidate for the next premiership, may become party leaders, however, any accurate forecast thereon is extremely difficult. It is certain, though, that a Party split is unavoidable if the machine tries to enforce MACHIDA's leadership. It will be interesting to watch the effects of the elections on the Party.
ITEM 2 Election Campaign - Yomiuri-Hochi - 5 Dec 45. Translator: A Kido.
Full Translation:
Campaigning Opposition to Major Electral District System
The first meeting of the House of Representatives' committee on the election law was held on 4 December, wish KIYOSE as chairman. Home Minister HORIKIRI explained the Reform Bill, and in the afternoon general interpellations began as follows:
TAMURA, Hidekichi (Progressive), "Limitations of election campaign regulations must be made clear, less difficult questions arise. For instance, the definition of pre-election campaigning, the relations between campaigns by third persons and those by the candidate, prohibition of canvassing from door to door, and personal negosiations are all problems which must be discussed. Can bills and pamphlets be freely distributed? Some war-time profiteers are boarding paper. Is not the Government going to take action against this so as to promote a fair election?"
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POLITICAL SERIES: 61 (Continued)
ITEM 2 (Continued)
Home Minister HORIKIRI: "For the purpose of seeming the fairest possible results in the election the Government is making preparations to supply each candidate with 10 - 20 reams of paper and 10,000 postcards. It is estimate that there will be 1,500 candidates."
Mr. MURATA. "What is the Governments' view on freedom of speech and assurance of a just and fair election?"
KOIZUMI, Director of the Polce Bureau: "In anticipation of disturbances caused by abuse of freedom of speech, police officers will be sent to oratorial meetings. Any act designed to cause trouble will be dealt with in accordance with the criminal or existing laws. However, fair play in the election will get first consideration."
Mr. TAMURA: "The Governments said that, pending passage of the Reform Bill, the campaigning now in progress will be controlled according to existing laws, but the code of criminal procedure would demand dismissal of the cases after passage of the Reform Bill.
Home Minister HORIKIRI: "Recognition of pre-electioned campaigning was thought necessary to promote the political ideas of the constituents, as well as to enhance their interest in the elections. Door to door canvassing, which can be considered as pre-election campaigning, will be controlled by existing laws and also by the Reform Bill. The law in force prohibits such canvassing, but violators will inevitably be freed when the Reform Bill is put in force."
Chairman KIYOSE: "This is a very important question and I should like to get it clarified, both from the Government and the Judiciary."
Mr. TAMURA: The major electoral district system may be good for well-known candidates, but it is not good for newcomers. I think, therefore, the medium electoral district system is the best. Also the restricted plural balloting system conflicts with democracy.
Home Minister: "Confronted with a changing age, we have adopted the major electoral system in order to effect election on a new basis.
The major electoral simple balloting system would increase the number of invalid votes and would result in on unfair election of candidates. The question will resolve itself when political parties develop.
ITEM 3 War Responsibility of Judiciary - Yomiuri-Hochi - 6 Dec 45. Translator: A. Kido.
Full Translation:
Close Inquiry into War Responsibility of the Judiciary to be made at today's Oratorial Meeting of the free judicial body
The Free Judicial Body, engaged in the protection of people's rights a through-going renovation of the Judicial system, and exposure and surveillance of unfair control over commodities, is going to hold an oratorial meeting at the HIKOKAN, TAMURA-CHO, SHIBA, on 6 December, in order to inquire into the war responsibility of the judiciary. Jurists, during the war, in conjunction with the militarists placed a gag upon the peoples' rights and freedom.
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POLITICAL SERIES: 61 (Continued)
ITEM 3 (Continued)
Further objection of the above-mentioned meeting are: impeachment of the judicial authorities responsible for injustice committed in dealing with the employes of the YOMIURI-HOCHI, who were on atrike; investigation into the judiciary's handling of the sugar scandal; and an appeal to sound public opinion by way of disclosing the new facts that have been discovered in the sugar scandal.
At the meeting Mr. KAMIMURA, chief secretary of the Free Judicial Body, as well as FUSE, SHINDO, NAKAMURA and MASAKI, will deliver speeches.
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HomePress translations [Japan]. Political Series 0061, 1945-12-07.
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