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Press translations [Japan]. Political Series 0095, 1945-12-21.
Supreme Commander for The Allied Powers. Allied Translator and Interpreter Section.

translation-number: political-0417

call-number: DS801 .S85

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No. 417 Date: 21 Dec 45


ITEM 1 Foreign Press Opinions on the Suicide of Prince KONOE - Yomiuri-Hochi- 18 Dec 45. Translator: S. Sano.
Full translation:
The unexpected suicide of Prince KONOE, one of the big names among the hundreds of war criminals, is important, not only for JAPAN, but also for the UNITED STATES, which was going to try him. Why did he kill himself? The reasons for his death can be roughly conjectured from the stories of those who were close to him.
What are the opinions of the foreign press on his death?
Mr. Haward HANDLEMAN of International News Service said, "The suicide of Prince KONOE, seems to have been due to despair over the collapse of his personal and social life. As a politician, he should have endeavored to promote national prosperity and welfare after the war, but he was not able to endure the chaotic social conditions caused by the defeat. Further, the Peerage System, as well as the privilege he had been enjoying, were ruined. He could not endure such a change."
Mr. Mullen SPENCER of the Associated Press said, "KONOE's death by suicide was a matter which is to be highly regretted as he was a very important witness for the trial of war criminals. He could have given important information on the failure of Japanese-American negociations. It is a regrettable matter that he felt he could not stand before the American court, and that we have lost the opportunity of publishing his opinions publicly. According to the American custom, the accused is considered innocent until he is convicted. Therefore, if he thought he was not guilty, he would have had many opportunities to testify on behalf of his innocence."
Mr. David BROWN of Reuters said, "We lost one of the big names among the war criminals by the Prince's death. No one but the court could decide whether or not he was innocent. However, the fact that he comitted suicide reveals his deep feeling of responsibility, which could not be denied in public. The evidence the Prince could have given would have added color and interest to his trial. His death is not so important from the viewpoint of history, but we can say that one of the leading war criminal suspects has been lost forever."
Mr. Robert GIRAN of the French Correspondence Company said, "I think this is one of the most regrettable accidents for the occupation administration which has worked very smoothly up to now. From the view point of my interviews with the Prince, I can not feel that his guilt would have been lessened to some degree by his efforts to avoid war with the UNITED STATES.

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POLITICAL SERIES: 95 (Continued)
ITEM 1 (Continued)
SOONG, TekOWo, of the Chinese Correspondence Company said, "Because of his sudden suicide we will not be able to know certain circumstances surrounding important national policies during the period of his three Cabinet terms. Also, the evidence which only the Prince could have submitted would have been valuable in correcting the defects of the Japanese Government system which led the nation into war.
ITEM 2 Prohibition of Shintoism Exerts Serious Influence upon Our Nation - Mimpo - 18 Dec 45. Translator: N. Tachibana.
Full translation:
Shintoism has been completely separated from the state by the directive issued by the Allied Supreme Command on 15 December. This directive differs from other political directives issued before in that it is related to fundamental religious thought which is rooted in Japanese feudalism and militarism.
Shintoism is based on ancient myths which have been regarded as the history of the founding of JAPAN. Hence, Shintoism has been advertised as the eternal and unchangeable spirit of JAPAN. The Imperial Family has been regarded as the descendants of a Goddess in the myths, and it has been believed that her descendants are destined to govern JAPAN. The ISE Shrine, which is sacred to the Sun Goddess, AMATERASU OMIKAMI, has been connected with this national tradition, and the Sun Goddess has been regarded as the Goddess of the state itself. Therefore, religious services for her have been performed by the state, and Shintoism itself has become, throughout the country, the duty of the state. This is why one of the aims of the General Headquarters' directive is "to liberate the people from the financial burden which they have been forced to bear in order to maintain a creed which compelled the Japanese people to commit war crimes, and subsequently drove them into defeat, starvation and other miserable conditions." Indeed, the total sum of expenses for shrines is no more than 1,300,000 yen, but it is very significant that the people should have been freed of the burden of such a militaristic religion.
It is clear in the myths of the founding of JAPAN described in the KOJIKI that Shintoism is militaristic and intolerant in character. Everyone who reads the KOJIKI or the NIHON SHOKI will clearly recognize that JIMMU TENNO's reduction of YAMATO to subjection was a triumph by force over a peaceful country and people. It is fresh in the people's memory that the phrase, "I will destroy my enemy completely!", which was said by JIMMU TENNO in a poem, was noised abroad during the war in order to elevate our fighting spirit. The intolerance of Shintoism is shown in the spirit by which MOTOORI, Norinaga, excluded foreign culture as representative of "Chinese spirit". However, shrines had never been especially guaranteed and supported by the state before the TOKUGAWA Era. Even visiting the ISE Shrine depended on the free faith of the people up to that time. Nevertheless, in the MEIJI Era these shrines were specially guaranteed and supported as those of gods of the state. This was a plot of the feudal governing class who tried to make these gods spiritual means, for controlling the people in thought, and for pushing their military ambitions.
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POLITICAL SERIES: 95 (Continued)
ITEM 2 (Continued)
Today we know that the ZAIBATSU and the GUMBATSU had been closely connected with this plot. The directive issued this time has great significance in that it has paved the way for the development of a democratic JAPAN by getting rid of such a spiritual foundation for Japanese feudalism and militarism. In addition, its most important significance lies in the fact that the Emperor, who had been looked up to as a living god, has been completely deprived of divinity, and the Imperial Family has become merely one of the chief families in JAPAN. The people are hereafter allowed to discuss the Emperor System as a mere government problem. Hence, the people must discuss this problem frankly and candidly.
Furthermore, we must rewrite Japanese history. As we all now, the myths have been described as facts in Japanese history. Therefore, our histories have been dictated, and are unable to meet scientific criticism. For examples, a certain Emperor was supposed to have been on the throne for 200 years, and TAKENOUCHI, Sukune, supposedly lived for more than 300 years. It is obvious what standard of culture people who have been taught such ridiculous history of JAPAN will have. Now the people of JAPAN have been given the opportunity of seeing things in their true light.
ITEM 3 Public Opinion on Politics - Tokyo Shimbun - 18 Dec 45. Translator: A. Kido.
Full translation:
Post card replies follow the following questions: 1. Which political party do you support, and what kind of political party do you expect to have? 2. Toward whom do you look for governing a new JAPAN? 3. Of the politicians of by-gone days, whom do you wish to have restored under present political conditions?
NOZAWA, Tomiko wrote:
The Communist Party.
TOKUDA, Kyuichi, SHIGA, Yoshio, and others, who will set up a real people's government.
Prime Minister-LENIN; Justice Minister-BECCARRIA; Home Minister-ARAI, Hakuseki; Minister of Education-FUKUZAWA, Yukichi; Agriculture, Forestry and Commerce and Industry Minister-SATO, Shinen; Finance Minister-MIZUNO, Echizennokami; Minister of Communications-EDISON; Welfare Minister-MORI, Ogai.

Another reply from HOASHI, Kei:
For the time being, I should like to back the Social-Democrat Party. As a nucleus of the united front for the revival of JAPAN and democracy, both the Progressive and Liberal party do not always seem to be worthy of their respective names.
KURODA, Hisao; MORITO, Tatsuo; OZAMA, Ikuo; NOZAKA, Sanji are my choices as leaders. Of these people, I look to Mr. KURODA for his freshness and keen intellect, Mr. MORITO for being a cultured man, Mr. OYAMA for bring a democrat, Mr. NOZAKA for being a communist with an international outlook.

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POLITICAL SERIES: 95 (Continued)

ITEM 3 (Continued)
The present age is so full of new things that it would be quite absurd to think of the reappearance of people from the past.

ITEM 4 Irresponsible Attitude. Public Opinion on Prince KONOE's Suicide - Mimpo - 18 Dec 45. Translator: R. Ochiai.
Full translation:
The fact that the press in TOKYO published an extra shows how greatly the people in every circle were shocked to hear of Prince KONOE's suicide. He was a coward to escape his war responsibility by death, though I do not desire to castigate the dead. Certainly we are apt to forget the faults and only admire a man when he dies. However, since this attitude is very unscientific, we must do away with it. It is very strange that he was surprised and also mortified at Supreme Headquarters' order to arrest him as a war criminal. Though he earnestly tried to ease the critical situation in the PACIFIC by negotiations between JAPAN and the UNITED STATES, this method was ineffectual. We must recognize that he was mostly responsible for the conclusion of the Tripartite Pact. "Good intentions" are not our concern.
In the explanation to the Throne at his third Cabinet's resignation, KONOE shifted the responsibility for the rupture of Japanese American negotiations to Admiral TOJO's strong opposition. However, by that time, matters could not be settled except by doing away with the militarists' absolute power. Since it is clearly shown in the Allies' policy toward JAPAN that they will pursue war criminals who are responsible not only for the PACIFIC war, but also for the invation of CHINA, the people are surprised to hear that Prince KONOE was surprised and mortified at the order for his arrest.
It is true, as chief investigator for War Crimes, Prosecutor KEENAN said, "No person confined as a suspect need fear unless his own conscience insists on or emphasized his guilt." KONOE who ought to know most precisely about, the Japanese history of the invasion of ASIA, should have stood at the international court and fulfilled his duty as a statesman by clarifying the secrets of past events. Therefore, we cannot say it is only because of his weak character that he chose death. It is, at the same time, because of his unscrupulous determination to keep aloof from political matters. By suicide, he fled from the duty which he should have fulfilled.
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HomePress translations [Japan]. Political Series 0095, 1945-12-21.
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