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Press translations [Japan]. Political Series 0116, 1945-12-24.
Supreme Commander for The Allied Powers. Allied Translator and Interpreter Section.

translation-number: political-0498

call-number: DS801 .S85

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No. 498 Date: 24 Dec 45


ITEM 1 Apprehended Men Not Necessarily Guilty, Keenan Declares - Asahi Shimbun - 23 Dec 45. Translator: S. Sano.
Full Translation:
Joseph B. KEENAN, Chief War Crimes Prosecutor, left WAHINGTON on 2 December and arrived in JAPAN on 6 December. He is preparing for the trials with Colonel A. C. CAR[illegible]ENTER, chief of the legal department of General Headquarters, and others.
In an interview with the Japanese press, on 22 December, he emphasized that the Japanese war crimes will be conducted in a fair and just manner. The most noticeable points were:
As there is no standard law at present, the trials will follow the ideas of justice which prevail throughout civilized nations.
There are differences between the crimes of the Japanese leaders who led the Nation into the war and crimes committed during the war.

His attitude gives the impression that a heavy penalty should be given for killing a man. To be prosecuted by KEENAN are these criminals who engaed in the preparation and execution of a war of aggression, while Colonel A. C. CARPENTER will handle war criminals who violated the articles of war and the actual perpetrators of the atrocities.
Mr. KEENAN stated that he will try the main Japanese leaders who planned and promoted the war of aggression, causing great destruction all over the world. He stated, "I have not the slightest intention of forcing the conqueror's will on the conquered. The trials will be fairly conducted, based on justice. The main purpose of the trials is to prevent a futre recurrence. They are not to be conducted in the spirit of vengeance. The circumstances we are new confronting are unprecendented, and there is difficulty on technical matters. All men held in custody are not necessarily guilty. They are new undergoing a screening process, and as soon as some of them are proven innocent they will be relieved of the charges and will not face trial. Some of them may be held in custody until their standing is clarified.
"I went to HIROSHIMA by plane the day before yesterday and was impressed by the disastrous condition there. This is the result of having leaders who led the Nation into war."
He told reporters that he was appointed by General MacARTHUR, and that he will represent the other Allied Powers as well. As for the participation of the other Allied Powers, he said that they will participate as judges.

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POLITICAL SERIES: 116 (Continued)
ITEM 1 (Continued)
He said, regarding war responsibility, "Those who had power must bear responsibility, and the more powerful the authority, the greater the responsibility and the deeper the crime. The, Japanese people now understand well the danger of conduct based only on strength, without reason. No discrimination will be made between leaders in military, political or other circles in the trial."
The rule of procedure, he said, will follow the same pattern as applied in the NUREMBURG trials in GERMANY. The verdict will be reached by the judges of the court.
Concerning the trial of General YAMASHITA he declared, "It is under the jurisdiction of Colonel. CARBENTER is not my task. Other lawyers have no right to criticize it. However, there were many criminals in history who had crimes carried out indirectly, or were screened by other persons in their maneuvers, AMERICA has given to General Y[illegible]HITA the benefits of a fair defense."
He re-emphasized his intention of dealing with the defendants fairly and said, "We consider it more harmful to our Nation, and others in the world, than to JAPAN if the proceedings are not conducted with fairness."
ITEM 2 The Revision of the Imperial Constitution - Mainichi Shimbun - 23 Dec 45. Translator: K. Murakami.
Full Translation:
The complicated circumstances of the revision of the Imperial Constitution are very important topics of discussion at present. His Majesty the Emperor ordered the Government on 24 November to investigate the revision of the Constitution. In the last Diet session, however, State Minister MATSUMOTO declared that there had not yet been any Imperial Orders pertaining to the revision of the Constitution.
The proposal ho revise the Constitution was made, not by Imperial Household authorities nor the Government, but on the Emperor's own initiative. The particulars are as follows: All movements to revise the Constitution were started on 10 October, when the Emperor made a democratic suggestion to Premier SHIDEHARA that he intended to revise the items and operations of the Constitution to make them more compatible with circumstances. On the following day the Emperor, through Mr. KIDO, Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal, summoned Prince KONO[illegible], who was appointed commissioner of the office of the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal and charged with investigating the revision of the Constitution.
On the other hand, Premier SHIDEHARA, at first, held the opinion that it was not necessary to revise the Constitution because it could be suited to the situation if new interpretations were added to it. However, when Imperial Household Minister ISHI[illegible]TA called on Premier SHIDEH[illegible]at his official residence to report that the Emperor had appointed Prince NONOYE as commissioner of the office of the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal, the Cabinet was immediately determined to take up the problem as a formal subject of the Cabinet meeting.
On the same day, Premier SHIDEHARA visited the Supreme Commander for
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Political series: 116 (Continued)
ITEM 2 (Continued)
the Allied Powers, and the view of the Allied Powers on this subject was expressed to him by General MacARTHUR: "The traditional social system of JAPAN, under which the people had been oppressed for several centuries, must be done away with by carrying out the provisions of the POTSDAM Declaration. This will include the liberalization of the Constitution."
The Government, therefore, decided to deliberate on the revision of the Constitution as an important state affair. State Minister [illegible]TS[illegible]OTO was selected chief of staff for this action, and the Government decided to proceed with the investigation by working on the following premises: 1. Is there a need to revise the Constitution? 2. If so, what is it? 3. How should it be revised?
This was announced through the Information Bureau on 13 October. Also, the Constitution Investigating Council was formed, and the first meeting was held on 27 October to begin actual inquiries.
At the same time, due to various political circumstances, the office of the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal was forced to finish the investigation as early as possible, certainly by the opening of the extraordinary session of the Diet; and, as mentioned above, Prince KONOYE submitted to the throne his draft for the revision of the Constitution on 22 November. Dr. SASAKI also went to the Imperial Palace on the matter at that time, and the Emperor again gave an order to Premier SHIDEHARA concerning the investigation of the Constitution.
Accordinly, until 24 November the Government was studying the matter in its own Investigation Council, but not by formal order of the Emperor. Anyhow, the problem of the revision of the Constitution was taken over by the Government from the office of the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal, on the Emperor's own initiative.
Before the extraordinary session of the Diet, State Minister MATSUMOTO declared the following four principles on the Government' s attitude on revision: 1. No change must be made in the sovereignty of the Emperor; 2. The rights of the Diet are to be extended, and the supreme power of the Emperor is to be limited; 3. All state ministers, as assitants to the throne, are responsible for all state affairs and the Imperial Diet; 4. The Constitution will give and protect the rights and freedom of the Nation.
These items are quite identical with the bill outlined by Prince KONOYE. The Government has reached the conclusion that the Constitution should be revised along the lines of the above four principles. The Government is also expected to ask the Emperor's opinion on this matter.
At an interview with the Cabinet correspondents on 22 December, State Minister MATSUMOTO professed the view and standpoint of the Government when he said, "The details of the draft of the revision of the Constitution outlined by Prince KONOYE are the same as published in the paper, though we find some slight difference in choice of words. I didn't know, however, that there had been an Imperial Order to the Government, on 24 November, to investigate the revision of the Constitution. Premier SHIDEHARA also states he didn't know this. Besides, some people say that the bill by Prince KONOYE was handed to the Government by the Emperor, but it is not so. In fact,
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POLITICAL SERIES: 116 (Continued)
ITEM 2 (Continued)
it was brought to the Government by Prince KONOYE himself."
Imperial Household Minister ISHI[illegible]TA, opposing MATSUO[illegible]O's statement, said as follows: "It is very strange to hear this. The bill for the revision of the Constitution was submitted to the Emperor On 22 November by Prince KONOYE, and on 24 November Dr. SASAKI delivered a lecture on the bill in the presence of the Emperor. The Emperor ordered Premier SHIDHRA, who came to the Palace on the same day, to investigate the revision of the Imperial Constitution. The draft by Prince K[illegible]NOY must have been transferred to the Government at that time."
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HomePress translations [Japan]. Political Series 0116, 1945-12-24.
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