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Press translations [Japan]. Political Series 0094, 1945-12-20.
Supreme Commander for The Allied Powers. Allied Translator and Interpreter Section.

translation-number: political-0410

call-number: DS801 .S85

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No. 410 Date: 20 Dec 45


ITEM 1 Prince KONOYE's Death Hints Nation's Future - Yomiuri Hochi - 17 Dec 45. Translator: N. Tachibana.
Full Translation:
As an event which will influence the future of the nation as well as that of political groups, Prince KONOE's death has excited considerable interest. It was especially significant because of his status in the Imperial court and in political circles, and because of his participation in such contintious problems as revision of the Constitution and retention of the Emperor system. The real motive for KONOE's suicide is not clear.
At the termination of the war, prince KONOE was appointed commissioner of the Office of the Keeper of the Privy Seal, and was specifically instructed by the Emperor to revise the Constitution toward the end of November, he submitted a draft of the revised Constitution to the Throne with advice from constitutional scholars such as Dr. SASAKI, Soichi. However, his role in the revision constitution was refuted by the Supreme Allied Command. Moreover, public opinion concerning the constitution problem learned toward the view that Prince KONOE's draft, which upheld the Emperor system, was not only inappropriate to the establishment of a democratic JAPAN, but also would be a reactionary instrument. Therefore, there is no doubt that Prince KONOE felt it difficult to vinduate the Emperor's faith in him. He must have felt the situation was hopeless, since even His Imperial Highness Prince NASHIMOTO was included in the list of war criminal suspects early in December.
Having held important positions near the Throne since pre-war day, Prince KONOE had knowledge of all secret matters relating to the outbreak of war and, therefore, probably felt responsible. Moreover, he was relustant to discuss such delicate matters in court.
Together with the directive of the Supreme Allied Command denying the Emperor's divinity, issued at the same time. KONOE's death undoubtedly is an important indication of future national trends.
ITEM 2 Suicide of prince KONOE - Mainichi shimbun - 17 Dec 45. Translator: S. Ono.
Ordered to present himself as a war criminal suspect at SUGAMO Prison by l6 December, Prince KONOE committed suicide by taking poison at his OGIKUBO residence early yesterday morning.

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POLITICAL SERIES: 94 (Continued)
ITEM 2 (Continued)
The pajama-clad body was found together with the poison vial at 0600 hours by Mrs. KONOE who was drawn by the light in her husband's bedroom.
Upon receipt of the report, official of the SUGINAMI Police Board conducted an investigation while a Central Liaison Office official and three American officers called on the widow to make necessary inquires, The vial, said to have contained cyanic acid, was taken by the American officers for further examination. The time of his death was fixed at 0530 hours.
That his death came as a great shock to political circles in this country cannot be denied. Yet, having accomplished his draft of the constitutional revision, which he secretly considered his last political task, it is expected that his death will have no direct influence on the political situation of the country. But having been a man of influence, it is supposed that his death, together with the arrest of Marquis KIDO and Baron HIRANUMA, both influential in the Imperial Court, will heighten the political stature of Baron SUZUKI, President of the Privy Council, and Baron SHIDEHARA, Premier.
His career as a politician is a symbol of the decline and fall of JAPAN. When he assumed the presidency of the House of Peers in 1932, he was welcomed by the general public, who wanted him to avest a crisis then menacing the country. However, to the disappointment of the people, a clash between Japanese and Chinese troops broke out, and later developed into the CHINA Incident, thus thwarting KONOE's extension. He was finally forced to declare that there would be no further negotiations with CHIANG, Kai-Shek.
Political crisis, forced his first cabinet to resign in January 1939. Then in July 1940, he was again nominated premier to promote the so-called "New order". In October of that year, political parties such as the MINSEI and SEIYU Parties were dissolved, to be merged into the Imperial Rule Assistance Association, while prior to this, the Tripartile pact was consluded in September in preparation for world war.
In July of 194l, KONOE resigned his post, to which he was immediately re-nominated. Then the crisis between JAPAN and the UNITED STATES reached its climax. Being unable to cope with the situation, he retired from his post three months after his renomination, giving way to the TOJO cabinet.
This is an adumbrated account of his political career. We can conclude that he was a pacifist as the general public believed and for which belief they supported him. He was apparently forced to war measures against his will.
ITEM 1 UGAKI a Political Dark Horse - Being whipped up for the Coming relations Asahl Shimbun - 17 Dec 45. Translator: J. Weiller.
Full Translation:
With general elections coming on, the progressive Party, aiming solely at stabilizing its power, is feverishly looking for a suitable man for its head. Owing to various objective conditions and a complicated internal situation it has been unable so far to solve that problem and is exposing its disunity on the matter. As this question involves measures for the election campaign and finance and has an important bearing on the members, the urgency of its settlement is very acutely felt by Party leaders.
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POLITICAL SERIES: 94 (Continued)
ITEM 3 (Continued)
Despite enthusiastic attempts made by the leaders to induce him to accept the presidency, General UGAKA, Kazushige has made his attitude clear by standing as a candidate in OKAYAMA Prefecture, his native province, quite independent of the progressive Party. If he is successful he intends to form a new party comprised of both new and old members who support his political views.
The movement for desiring the General as the head of the Progressive Party was principally sponsored by leaders of the defunct "MINSEITO" and was tacitly supported by those of the also defunct "SEIYUKAI", but was apposed by the NAKAJIMA faction on the ground that he is too tainted with "MINSEITO" stigmas. The General himself was once inclined to accept the offer but due to his friends' advice he is now determined to form a new party on an entirely new platform.
In view of the above circumstances, should a new party be formed as General UGAKI plans, a split in the progressive Party seems inevitable since party of the former SEIYUKAI members are anticipated to quit the Party to join the new one. On the other hand the UGAKI Party is predicted to have a great deal of power since besides a part of the progressive Party as above mentioned, some independents and a number of new members are anticipated to join. Judging from General UGAKI's character and other factors the projected new party is supposed to be of a purely conservative character.
In any case the appearence of the new party will no doubt have a considerable effect on the progressive Party which is even now threatened with disintegration.
ITEM 4 Prince KONOE's Political Career - Yomiuri Hochi - 17 Dec 45. Translator: R. Ochiai.
Full Translation:
The life of Prince KONOE; three times Prince Minister since the CHINA Incident and post-war leader in political circles as a close attendant to the emperor, is intimately tied up with the history of Japanese policy. There is some suggestion of this in the fact that he suddenly committed suicide on the day he was to have presented himself as a war criminal suspect.
Born as the eldest son of the late Prince ATSUMARO, a descendant of the great FUJIWARA, KAMATARI whose family was among the most famous of the five regents, he succeeded to the peerage 1904. He graduated from KTOTO imperial University in 1917 and went to France as the late Prince SAIONJI's attendant plenipotentiary at the Paris peace conference of 1919 He efficiently performed his important duty as the Commissioner Master of the Coronation in 1927. After becoming Vice-President of the House of Peers in 1931 and subsequently the President in 1933, two of the most important posts for the aristocracy, he began to take active part in political circles. The people thought of him as "an advanced member of the mobility" for he advocated reform of the Upper House and of the life peerage system. They therefore had faith in him and heeded his progressive opinions. He had selected KYOTO Imperial University for the liberal lectures of Dr. KAWAKAMI and Dr. NISHIDA. In June 1937, just before the outbreak of the CHINA Incident, he organized his first Cabinet proclaimed non-expansionist policy when the incident took place, and made the famous KONOE statement on January 1938. After resigning in 1939 because the incident had expanded, he once more became the president of the House of peers. He then led the New Organization Movement aiming
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POLITICAL SERIES: 94 (Continued)
ITEM 4 (Continued)
to unite all political powers in JAPAN, and in July 1940 formed his second Cabinet under new ideals. Later in October he was appointed the first president of the imperial Rule Assistance Association. Though he began to negotiate with the UNITED STATED in an effort to smoothen out difficult relations, the Cabinet resigned in a body because of the new international situation at the outbreak of Russo-German war.
But in response to an Imperial command, he organized his third Cabinet, and though he continued to negotiate with the UNITED STATES, matters at home and abroad became worse and worse, Furthermore the arguments concerning a decision on war or peace became out of hard and so he ultimately turned in his resignation to General TOJO in November 1941.
Since then, he was active among the chief retainers and became a Minister of state without portfolio in prince HIGASHIKUNI's Cabinet after the war. With the prince resignation, he was making preliminary examinations into the rension of the constitution as a commissioner of the privy council in October of this year.
After finishing his work, he asigned from his post late in November and retired to his villa in KARUIZAWA, Named as a war criminal suspect by the Supreme Allied Command on 6 December, he came to TOKYO 11 December, and moved into his residence at OGIKUBO. It was there he took his lif.
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HomePress translations [Japan]. Political Series 0094, 1945-12-20.
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