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Press translations [Japan]. Political Series 0075, 1945-12-14.
Supreme Commander for The Allied Powers. Allied Translator and Interpreter Section.

translation-number: political-0317

call-number: DS801 .S85

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No 317 Date: 14 Dec 45


ITEM 1 Emperor's Abdication not provided for in the Imperial House Law - Niigata Nippo - 6 December 1945. Translator: J. Weiller.
Full Translation:
In reply to Independant Mr. TANAKA, Isajio's interpellation at the Budget Meeting on the 5th in the House of Representatives, State Minister MATSUMOTO replied as follows: "If I remember correctly, there was a report in the press of Prince KONOYE's talks in connection with the Emperor's abdication, and a couple of days afterwards a retraction was in the press on the ground that there was an error in the report, but I can not say for certain as I have no available data. Besides it is not clear to what extent the retraction was made. As far as the Government is concerned, it has never considered the Emperor's abdication, consequently I am not in a position to say anything on the matter. It is not within the Government's sphere to take such a matter into consideration. There is no mention of abdication in the Imperial House Law now in force, nor have I ever imagined a revision of that law".
ITEM 2 Investigation of War Responsibilities by the Diet - Yomiuri Hochi - 10 December 1945. Translator: J. Weiller.
It was the Socialist Party that first hit on the idea of war responsibility, but, unfortunately, it has only 15 members and cannot introduce measures. Since no independent party appeared to join its project, the Socialist Party was obliged to join the Liberal Party and decide to submit its own resolution before it was outmaneuvered. (Ed. Note— a party must muster 25 supporters before it may present a resolution in the Diet.) So the result was a front by the two parties against the Progressives. The feelings of the two are not very cordial toward the Progressives on account of the part played by the Progressives during the war. These feelings, coupled with party tactics, resulted in the Liberals resolution. The Progressives were in a quandary because they could not reject it as it would affect the coming general election and as a concilliatory measure they proposed to join in the Liberals resolution. That was why the Progressives submitted a similar resolution and pushed it through by the strength of the majority.

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POLITICAL SERIES: 75 (Continued)
ITEM 2 (Continued)
As the Progressive Party is composed of a motley crowd elected during the war, it is not in a position to give moral judgment or comments on war responsibility. It is quite natural therefore, that its resolution is not backed by the will to put it into practice. It is ironical that while it was making the resolution, one of its leaders, Mr. OTA, was named as a war criminal.
The Liberals and Socialists are trying to make the war responsibility question a lever to weaken the Progressives. They contend that they have been strenuously opposing the TOJO Cabinet, but were not powerful enough to attain their objectuves, so they are not responsible for the outcome. It is the Progressives, they say, who ignored public opinion and broke the Diet into pieces. In looking at the members as a whole, irrespective of parties or creeds, it is obvious that those who can honestly claim innocence are very few indeed.
Among the Independents, 12 members proposed, soon after the war, to resign membership on the ground of war responsibility, that is, responsibility for defeat. Among them are Messrs. ROYAMA, MORITA and MURASAWA, who called out to other members to take the same action. The response was faint due to the difference of ideas regarding responsibility. Many are of the opinion that the Diet ought to have made its best efforts to win the war, but the actual result proving the contrary, the members must bear the responsibility of defeat to the Nation, not to Allied Headquarters. From this viewpoint they demand the members' resignation en masse.
Anyway, it seems that the attitude taken by the Independents is cowardly because they know that as soon as the Election Reform Bill passes, the Diet will be dissolved. If they resign before the dissolution they can go to their voters and tell them that they resigned membership beforehand because they keenly felt the war responsibility. Should there be any prospect to retain their seats a year or two more, they would have acted otherwise. Some of them say that they had to support the TOJO Cabinet against their conscience. Nevertheless, none tried to resign membership during the war—-acceptance or non-acceptance of resignation is another question.
A Diet member is the people's representatives, and if he cannot accomplish his political aim he ought to quit his seat and tell his constituents that he is not worthy of their expectation. If he does not act in this way he is not fit to speak about political morality.
The foremost political problem of the moment is how to fight for a democratic revolution, and for that purpose the Diet must impeach the leaders of the former JAPAN Political Association, who positively co-operated with the TOJO Cabinet. We must by a resolution of the House, dismiss them and make them retire from politics. At the same time, the rest of the members should resign and make public announcement that they will not stand as candidates at the next general election. It is a pity that even the Socialists do not act along this line.
Frankly speaking, the present Diet members are not the people's representatives in any real sense. It looks as if, once elected, a member undergoes a mental transformation. He gets a first class railway pass, is treated with difference, dines at the expense of his patrons and talks
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POLITICAL SERIES: 75 (Continued)
ITEM 2 (Continued)
for two or three months in the House. These make him an entirely different man from what he was before the election, and make him forget the fact that the people who he represents are desperately struggling for their livelihood. The great majority of the present day members had to spend several thousand yen for their campaign and the men who paid such a sum for them were, instead of men in the street, those of certain chosen classes, under whose favor the Diet members have become what they are today. Should there be 20 or 30 men who can be called the people's representatives in the true sense of the word, they are soon assimilated into their surroundings and lose the characteristics of people's champions.
As the result of defeat, JAPAN has lost her colonies and her feudalistic foundation has collapsed. From this point of view the present Diet members who have close connection with the imperialistic business men bureaucrats are not real people's representatives, but rather a privileged class. To shoulder a new-born JAPAN, the Diet must be composed of entirely new members.
The question as to whether the Diet members are the people's representatives or their proxies has already been discussed at length. From the socialistic viewpoint, which asserts the so-called class struggle, they are proxies, they are no more than popular spokesmen, not allowed to step beyond popular opinion. On the otherhand, they are generally regarded by others as representatives. If politics were handled with the masses we would not a require statesmen's services. A statesman can be a sort of peer among the populace, but he should not isolate himself from the popular trend and desires of the people. The politician up until now have cared only for their own class and their parties and pushed aside the masses as being secondary consideration. In order to rectify these defects, it is the voters' duty to govern them through the ballot, and in this respect, the people are partly responsible for the degeneration of the Diet because of their negligence in watching out for their Diet's behavior.
If the major electorate system comes into being, women and youths will participate in politics and as they have more sense of justice, there seems to be less fear of their being moved by money or personal consideration. Moreover, if a majority party forms a cabinet, the voters' zeal will increase in the anticipation that a policy reflecting their own lives will be put into effect by the statesmen of their own choice.
There is no noteworthy difference among the three political parties now. Even in the self-styled Proletariat party there is a "fighter" who has been the Chief of the Purchasing Department of the NAKAJIMA Aeroplane Company and who has accumulated a considerable amount of money.
A had characteristic of the Japanese people is that they are apt to mix public and personal matters together. This is a most important matter to consider in people's political education. Personal obligations or relations must be cast aside and only a candidate's political assertions and principles should decide one's choice in voting. The people must be determined that at the next election none of those responsible for the war shall be returned to the Diet.
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POLITICAL SERIES: 75 (Continued)
ITEM 3 "The Emperor System and Our National Policy"; by WATANABE - Yomiuri Hochi - 10 December 1945. Translator: Paasche.
The Emperor System has become the focal point of national interest. Since people now realize that free discussion, as the safeguard of national existence and progress, has reached a stage where the subject of sovereignty must be aired.
The masses have been taught for too long that the Emperor has presided over the nation ever since it came into existence. This has led to the belief that JAPAN and the Emperor are identical: "Without the Emperor, there are no Japanese people." The KOJIKI and the NIHONSHOKI codified this tradition and historians believe it, or were made to believe it. But neither of these hoary writings tells the truth. It is well known that these books were compiled by Nuperial Edict during the first half of the 8th Century. The thought underlying the Compilation Was that since the family tradition of the great aristocratic clans contained many falsehoods, it was dangerous to base the fabric of the state on them. It therefore seemed advisable to make selections and to write a "National History". In those times the general tendency was to acquire a family tradition, because everything was regulated by heredity and so much depended on the quality of one's ancestors. Consequently, many families made it know that their ancestors, had decended from Heaven, entrusted with a divine mission to rule.
The chief power, in Japan saw families becoming fit to take over the traditions of other families in order to have a valuable mythological background. This is how the KOJIKI and other books came into being. This is why the sun goddess had to entrust her offspring with the mission to rule JAPAN.
The mythological tradition is nothing but a fairy tale written up expost facto. The records say that our forebearers used iron implements for war, crafts, and agriculture, but scientific research shows they had no iron at all. According to written records, agriculture was highly developed, but according to science, there was no tilling of the soil. Our forefathers lived on fruit, fish and game. They had developed a democratic village community, starting from Democracy within the family, and lived peacefully for ages on this communal ban.
At about the beginning of the Christian era, things began to change because iron, copper, and jewelry were now used, and houses grow larger. This "civilization of Northern KYUSHU" gradually spread toward the East. It was at this critical period that great families began to form. Slave labor was employed and private land ownership developed. It was natural that from then on, the clans and clan chiefs begin to vie with each other for preeminence in wealth (land and slaves). Criminals and have-nots were made slaves, and the old communal setup disintegrated, society having progressively resumed various strata. Chiefs were provided by the clans. When the people treated them as troublesome interlopers, the chiefs declared war on the clans and converted their might into hereditary power. The clans struggled to establish their own chiefs, and the old democracy perished in a welter of war.
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POLITICAL SERIES: 75 (Continued)
ITEM 3 (Continued)
The rising power of the YAMATO clan sprang from these surroundings in the third century AD and quickly acquired a magnitude enabling it to form a state. This was only possible by an even expanding use of slave labor and iron. Thereby, the YAMATO power made its way and became the Empire of JAPAN.
Historians have represented this growth as a process of unification through Government and control of territories, but in reality it is of the same pattern as the usual growth of the clans through the acquisition of slaves. From their expeditions to KOREA, they returned with great masses of captives, confirmed by Japanese and Korean records.
It was about the fourth century AD, that the Imperial Title became hereditary, because it was then that a sufficient basis in land and slaves had become available. In the fifth and sixth centuries the supremacy of the Emperor became securely established, although bloody wars were conducted all the time to protect him. Continuity of the Emperor System could not be firmly entrenched without the assent of the big clans. The TAINA reform served the purpose of providing the central power with an all embracing, ready-made setup of the Chinese pattern (SUI ans TA[illegible]G Dynasties). It was only at this time that the Emperor System, as we know it, was created.
Now everyone may draw his own conclusions as to the propriety of the official teaching of history on the Royal Family and the national policy. Is it really hue that the Japanese had an Imperial family since the very beginning and came into being hand in hand with this family? Is it true that the Emperor's family are our national ancestors and the incornation of god on earth? If the background of the Emperor appears flimsy, slogans about national structure are reduced to mere words. Was the Japanese state before the third and fourth centuries, when there was no Emperor, a state without national structure. Since such a state is impossible, what type of national structure existed before those centuries?
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HomePress translations [Japan]. Political Series 0075, 1945-12-14.
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