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Press translations [Japan]. Political Series 0063, 1945-12-10.
Supreme Commander for The Allied Powers. Allied Translator and Interpreter Section.

translation-number: political-0268

call-number: DS801 .S85

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No. 268 Date: 10 Dec 45


ITEM 1 POW's Are Not Criminals - Asahi Shimbun 7 Dec 45. Translator: Paasche.
Full Translation:
Many of the troops on SAIPAN and IWOJIMA, who were expected to die a glorious death in battles to the last man, have become prisoners of the UNITED STATES Army and are now being demobilised. These soldiers are spreading the story of the confused battle situation at the time they were taken prisoner and of their life in the camps. A section of the people at home is prejudiced against prisoners of war and those who laid down their arms on Imperial orders, saying that the Japanese General Headquarters announcements were lies and did not correspond to Japanese standards. Here is a problem which shows that JAPAN is still in the transition stage from feudalism to the modern age and that popular thought must be thoroughly reshaped. In all wars it has been the lot of fruind or foe to become prisoner. This applied even to the victorious war with RUSSIA or the NOMONHAN battle, where Japanese were made prisoners. The question is, is it dishonorable to be or to have been a prisoner of war? In this country owing to the bushi do spirit a prisoner of war was thought to have lost his honor and a soldier was supposed to fight to death. "While alive we will not accept the shame of being taken prisoner" wired General YAMAZAKI from ATTU before he and his men were defeated. This spirit still lingers on and is defferent from the triumphal reception accorded prisoners of war in foreign countries. Many cases occur on all battlefields where men lose consciousness through wounds or lose ability to resist. However, there is also the case of Captain KUGA who committed suicide rather than be taken prisoner.
The first DEMOBILIZATION MINISTRY has the following to say on the treatment of Japanese prisoners of war and on whether they are to be treated differently from ordinary Japanese soldiers: "The men who became prisoners during the war are prisoners of war according to International Law. They are demobilized along with the other troops, but they remain prisoners of war in the technical sense and are so treated. According to Army penal law previously inforce they were tried by a Military Court in case of indictment on, charges of aiding the enemy. In the case of inability to resist no punishable act was charged against them, but there was no unanimity as to what "inability to resist" meant. It was generally held, however, that a seriously wounded man, who had lost consciousness and became a prisoner, had to flee after recovering consiousness, as soon as an opportunity arose. Now that the war has ended with defeat, a prisoner of war will not be considered a criminal. His legal status on the basis of International Law has undergone no change. However, if before or after he was taken prisoner, he committed crimes according to the military penal code, the case will be investigated and adjudged before a military court. He is a criminal, if for instance, he has killed an officer and fled,

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POLITICAL SERIES: 63 (Continued)
ITEM 1 (Continued)
or if he has looted. Soldiers with clean records are prisoners of war but will be demobilized on the same basis as the troops who surrendered when the war was over.
The people who had been on the home front should therefore extends their welcome to those who ware unfortunately taken prisoner at the front and should treat them just as kindly as all the other demobilized soldiers.
ITEM 2 Insults Against Imperial Household Prevented - Mainichi Shimbun - 7 Dec 45. Translator: T. Kitayama.
At the POTSDAM Declaration Committee in the House of Peers on December 6, Mr. SATO, Chief of the Bureau of Criminal Affairs in the Justice Ministry, made the following remarks in answer to TAKESHITA, Toyojiro:
"It is reported in the press, I hear, that any control in accordance with the penal law over discussions of the Emperor System is contravention and challenge to the directives of the Allied Headquarters. I don't think that the memorandum of the directive of the Headquarters the other day gives people license to act quite freely, regardless of the lese-majeste previsions in the criminal law. However free and democratized JAPAN may be, the honor of the nation, to say nothing of that of the Emperor, should be secured, from this viewpoint any insult and illegal action regarding the Imperial Household must be strictly controlled. Whether discussions about the Emperor System are against the Criminal Law or not, will be thoroughly studed and investigated in connection with the individual problem concerned."
From the point of view that the radio broadcast recently has had a tendency to be limited to some special quarters, instead of representing all spheres of social activity, and that there are some ballads which heckle or insult Parliamentary members, Mr. YAMAMOTO, Kozo of the Progressive Party stated that the party should request the Government to take necessary measures to warn the Radio Broadcasting Bureau, about this at the Representatives' meeting on December 6. As a result, the party has decided to collect radio explanations of current events and materials of speeches since the end of the war on one hand, and on the other to investigate the character of the Broadcasting Bureau, so that the party may request the Government to take necessary steps.
ITEM 3 Effect of Arrests on the Political world - Asahi Shimbun - 7 Dec 45. Translator: S. Sano.
Full Translation:
Allied Headquarters published arrest-warrants for nine notable persons including Prince KONOE, Marquis KIDO. It can be assumed that successive arrest warrants deeply affect political circumstances, but we cannot ignore the serious effects on the political world with the withdrawal of famous leaders like KONOE and KIDO who have been serving so close to the Emperor.
At the present session of the Diet the resolution about war responsibility has been decided. Some members are tendering their resignations of their own accord. At any rate it is clear that the former leaders in political financial and other circles will lose their influence.
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POLITICAL SERIES: 63 (Continued)
ITEM 3 (Continued)
This fact will strongly affect the political parties. Hence after it is anticipated that the political world will make careful moves as a result of these warrants.
ITEM 4 The Election of the Vice-president of the House of Peers - Asahi Shimbun - 7 Dec 45. Translator: S. Sano.
Count. SAKAI, Tadamasa, the Vice-President of the House of Peers, was named as a war criminal suspect. The Office of the House is holding meetings over the serious situation since Count, SAKAI has announced his retirement from the Vice-Presidency and membership. The election of a new Vice-President will probably be carried out early next week.
ITEM 5 Mr. KIMURA's Interpellation On War Responsibility - Tokyo Shimbun - 7 Dec 45. Translator: K. Murakami.
At the plenary session of the Budget Committee held on 6 December, Mr. KIMURA, Takeo, Liberal, interpellated Premier SHIDEHARA on war responsibility. Questions and answers between the two are as follows:
Mr. KIMURA: Just rewards and penalties are quite necessary for us JAPANESE to rise again. We should seriously take up the problem of clarification of war responsibility. However, there must be some difference of view between the Allied and the Japanese in the pursuit of war suspects. We should rapidly seek them ourselves. The responsible persons are to be classified as the following four kinds:
Those who mismanaged the war in their leadership, and those who misled the people by thoughtless, false propaganda.
Those who were bystanders during the war.
Those who did not make efforts to terminate the war when the opportunities arose.
Those who took the wrong road in trying to end the war.

Premier SHIDEHARA: We should not be critical of the arrest order of the Allies. I do not know the measures which will be taken by the Allied authorities in trying the suspects. I think, however, that we can clarify the nature of war responsibility if we inquire into the cause and process of the defeat of JAPAN through the Defeat Investigating Council.
Mr. KIMURA: It is also necessary, I think, to pursue the responsibility of those who did not subordinate military operations to the good of the nation.
Premier SHIDEHARA: It is generally known that there are those who egoistically sought profit by bringing on war. We cannot forgive these. According to the result of the investigation of the council which inquires into the real aspects of the defeat, political and other responsibilities will be cleared up. Some of them will be punished by penal law, and some by public opinion.
ITEM 6 Mr. OSHIMA, ([illegible]), former Japanese ambassador to Germany, returned home - Mainichi Shimbun - 7 Dec 45. Translator: N. Tachibana.
Full Translation:
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POLITICAL SERIES: 63 (Continued)
ITEM 6 (Continued)
Today (6 December), after five years, Mr. OSHIMA, Hiroshi, former Japanese ambassador to GERMANY, returned home on board the GENERAL RANDALL, and American steamer, and landed in his motherland with military attache[illegible] KOMATSU, Naval attache[illegible]KOJIMA and others. The weather was fine and URAGA Bay, was calm but within the nation itself raging billows of Democracy are rolling high on the shore everywhere in JAPAN. War criminal suspects are being arrested successively by the Supreme Commander and the cry is loud for the establishment of a court of justice for examining war-responsibility. Mr. OSHIMA was ordered arrested by the Supreme Commander this same day. His voice was filled with emothion as he replied to a reporters' questions.
QUESTION: "When did you feel that JAPAN and GERMANY would be defeated?"
ANSWER: "I felt hopeless in April as communications between JAPAN and GERMANY were cut off."
QUESTION: "What do you think about the causes of Axis defeat?"
ANSWER: "The UNITED STATES had an organization for studying economic power. In short JAPAN was defeated by the huge producing capacity of the Allied Powers, with the UNITED STATES as a backer."
QUESTION: "What about the defeat of JAPAN?"
ANSWER: "I heard of the defeat at BELLFORD. I was full of deep emotion I thought it was enevitable that JAPAN came to the end, for GERMANY had already been defeated in EUROPE."
QUESTION: "Do you know you were named as a war criminal today?"
ANSWER: "I have been prepared for it. As my house in TOKYO was burnt down I intend to make my home at CHIGASAKI for the time being."
Upon conclusion of the questions Mr. OSHIMA left by auto for CHIGASAKI.
ITEM 7 The Government Denied Report of Lt. General SAKAI And Others Joining The Communist Troops - Asahi Shimbun - 7 November 45. Translator: H. Kato.
Full Translation:
In the House of Peers, YOSHIMOTO, Vice-Minister of the First Demobilization Ministry (speaking to Baron AKAISHI) denied the report that Lieutenant General SAKAI, and his men and officers had joined the Communist forces in NORTH CHINA.
A report had said that some ten thousand Japanese forces under Lieutenant General SAKAI's command joined the Communist troops in NORTH CHINA, but it is unfounded.
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HomePress translations [Japan]. Political Series 0063, 1945-12-10.
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