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Press translations [Japan]. Political Series 0118, 1945-12-26.
Supreme Commander for The Allied Powers. Allied Translator and Interpreter Section.

translation-number: political-0509

call-number: DS801 .S85

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No. 509 Date: 26 Dec 45


ITEM 1 Civic Education - Tokyo Shimbun - 24 Dec 45. Translator: A. Kido.
The general election is now imminent, and with a view toward clarifying the new Election Law and carrying out correct political education, especially the education of the new voters, the Government is engaged in a movement for civic education through the Education Department and the JAPAN Educators' Association (DAIKIPPON KYOIKN-KAN). This movement aims at a fair and free election in which the nation's free view is reflected. The content and the condition of the movement is as follows:
The JAPAN Educators! Association and its branches are charged with educating lecturers for civic education in polities, with four hour lectures. Learned men such as university and college professors will be commissioned as lecturers at 820 different places by the end of December.
A short course for civic education will be given by learned men and secondary and primary school teachers for the general electorate on politics, each lecture taking two or three hours.
Civic gatherings or meetings will be held in each village and town assembly, at which those who attended the above-mentioned lectures are charged with calling public attention to sound administration and government.
Manufacture and distribution of theater apparatus and lantern slides for this purpose will be undertaken.
Manufacture and distribution of pamphlets will also be undertaken.
Use of posters will be encouraged.

The short course will be exclusively undertaken by the JAPAN Educators' Association, which, in close connection with the prefectured authorities, started activities after the choice of the lecturers and lecture halls. As to civic gatherings, 50,000 pamphlets on "How To Hold a Civic Gathering" were, on 7 December, sent to the cities towns, villages, public schools and social educational bodies in the country. Besides, 300,000 pamphlets will be issued to the above-mentioned places by 20 December, for the manuscript is already completed except for censorship by Allied Headquarters. The pamphlet contains contributions by Home Minister HORIKIRI; Professors MINOBE, MIYAZAWA, NAKAMURA; Mr. KAGAWA, Toyohiko; KIKUCHI, Kan; Mrs. HANI, Tomoko, and others, under the titles: "A Chat on the Constitution", "Meaning of Elections", "What Kind of Man Should be Elected for the Coming Diet Session"?, "Why Women Have Been Enfranchised", "Why One Should Not Abstain from

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Voting", "What Kind of Democracy for JAPAN?" etc.
Besides the above, a newspaper containing an enlightening article "Lectures on the Election" will be issued by the end of December, to which ITUTA, Kayo; KUME, Masao; DAIBUTSU, Jiro; and others will contribute. The civic educational movement is a noteworthy thing because it is run by the Department of Education, not the Home Department or the Information Board. However, we can see through the Government's intention to evade the criticism by having interfered in election by appointing the Education Department instead of the Home Department.
The general election is, of course, a matter of great importance which should be carried out by the whole of the government, and guidance should not become interference. Considering the momentous meaning of the general election, we feel some slackening of pressure on the part of the Government toward the election is indicative of the point that the Home Department has given way to the Department of Education.
In the following we will criticize the substance of the JAPAN Educator' Association. This association is an official instructional organization for educators, header by Mr. KIKUCHI, Toyosaburo, ex-Vice-Minister of Education, and other hard-headed educators. However, the greater part of the nation, under pressure of present living conditions, is quite disinterested in the election. This is especially true of women. Therefore, the Government's decision to do away with interference in the election will not duly be appreciated. Under these circumstances it must be remembered that the civic educational movement by the Government may not result in stimulating the publics interest in politics or the election.
ITEM 2 Hints for the Coming Election - Tokyo Shimbun - 24 Dec 45. Translator: J. Weiller.
Nearly 60 years has elapsed since the promulgation of the Constitution in this country, and the elections of the Diet members have been carried out more or less satisfactorily. However, in the reflection of our past deeds, which were filled with blunders and failures, we must frankly realize that one of the principal causes was the lack of politics in the real sense of the word.
Many causes contributed to the defeat, but the most fundamental one was the fact that, despite the existence of constitutional politics in form, the substance was extremely distorted. If each individual in the Nation had correctly availed himself of the right of participation in politics he would have been saved from the remorse now being felt.
We must forge through the present hardship and reconstruct a peaceful and cultured JAPAN, to eventually emerge from the [illegible]and become a renovated sight in the eyes of mankind. We must go ahead with this objective in mind, determined not to take a false step for the second time.
The entire Nation's will must be reflected in politics, and this combined must shape the country's policy. The objectives of a representative system lies here.
Under the existing Election Law there are points insufficient to
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form a clean and vigorous Diet and fully satisfy the peoples requirements. In order to rectify such defects, a revision has been made of the most fundamental points, which are essential for the formation of a realty democratic Diet, and these can be the dynamic force in constructing a new JAPAN.
The essential points of the revision are: 1, Extension of suffrage and eligivility; 2. adoption of a major electoral district system combined with restrictive plural ballot system; 3. Simplifying the Election Campaign Control Rules.
Extension of Suffrage and Eligibility.
Regarding the extension of suffrage, the age of electors has been lowered from 25 to 20 and women's suffrage has been admitted. Various opinions were frought forward in this connection with the former innovations, but finally it was adopted on the expectation that youth's naivete and ardor reflecting in politics will help stamp out the accumulated evils in the elections. Great expectation is, therefore, set on youth's genuine patriotism for the advancement of our political ideals.
Women's suffrage was a source of controversy, which was never taken seriously in the past. But in view of the accumulation of so many post war problems, which cannot be dealt with properly without women; and in view of the impossibility of reflecting the combined will of the people in national policy without allowing women to participte it has been decided to grant suffrage to women. Of course we do not anticipate that all women who have hitherto been left outside the pale of politics will suddenly awake and efficiently handle the new right given them, but they will be stimulated toward political self-consciousness by securing the right to vote.
By the above methods the number of electors has increased from 14,510,000 to about 39,000,000.
With regard to eligibility for office, the age has also been lowered by 5 years, from 30 to 25, thereby bestowing more opportunity on the younger generation for participation in politics. Women have also been made eligible under the identical conditions as men.
2. Major Electoral District and Restrictive Ballot Systems.
As the result of various experiences, we adopted a medium electoral district system in the which has be in force until now. The purport of the Major electoral District System (Making one prefecture one constituency), now incorporated in the revised law, is that in consideration of the present state of affairs elections should be carried out in a broader basis to promote the appearence of real statesmen. At the same time, because of a sudden shifting of population due to the air raids and other causes, it is thought improper to carry out the elections under the present electoral system.
Under the new system, one prefecture will be one electoral district in principle, but, where the seats exceed 15, such prefectures are divided into two districts. According to the census taken on 1 November, our population is 71,491,277 which, being divided by 466 (the present total number of seats) allots one representative to each group of 155,560 people. As the result of fractions, the total
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number of seats comes to 468 - an increase of 2 members. The prefectur which return more than 15 members are TOKYO, HOKKAIDO, OSAKA, HYOGO, NIIGATA, AICHI and FUKUOKA.
Under the major electoral district system, each constituency returns more members than before. In consequence, the electors will have a wider range of choice and have more scope in voting for better men. On the other hand, there is the defect that some candidates may secure far more votes than necessary. In order to correct this deficiency, and also to extend the scope of choice, the reviser law has adopted the restrictive plural ballot system, under which each elector can vote for one man in a district having up to 3 seats; for two men in a district having (4 to 10) seats; and for three men, where the seats exceed 13 (TN Sio.).
3. Mitigating Election Campaign Restrictions.
Regulations controlling the election campaigns went into extreme details. They certainly had some merit for the purification of the elections but, at the same time, they gave people the impression that the elections were complicated beyond their understanding. This, in turn, cooled the people's enthusiasm for politics. It was considered necessary, therefore, to do away with the existing complicated restrictions in order to let the people vote freely.
Other revisions worthy of note are those regarding by-elections, A by-election will not take place until the vacancies become a quarter of the total number; that is, in an electoral district where there are eight seats, two vacancies will require a by-election; where there are 9 - 12 seats, three vacancies will require it; and if 13 seats or over, four vacancies.
Public Management of Elections: The prefectural governor will announce in newspapers the names and parties of the candidates, and majors and village chiefs will put up a notice giving the names of the candidates. The particulars will be announced by an Imperial Ordinance in due Course of time.
ITEM 3 The Discussion Meeting of Leading Journalists (I) - Tokyo Shimbun - 24 Dec 45. Translator: K. Tachibana.
The year of defeat is passing away and the first peaceful year, filled with hope, is coming. Let us arise and salute the establishment of a new JAPAN. The members of the social department held a discussion meeting of leading journalist to talk about this passing year and the coming year. Those present were journalists in charge of the Education. Home, Justice, Finance, Commerce and Industry, Welfare, Agriculture and Forestry, Transportation, Imperial Household, and Demobilization Ministries, the Metropolitan Police Office, the Metropolitan Office, and other departments.
Chairman: "At first let us begin with educational administration. Students are moving actively in political and social thought and are becoming the focus of discussions. Don't you agree?"
Mr. H: "Students have been aroused both in body and mind by the gospel
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of "Freedom", brought about suddenly with the reality of defeat. That frenzy developed into school walkouts, caused partly as a reaction to oppression during the war. But those students observing this confused society are showing a tendency to judge these things coolly. Thinking this is due to their intelligence, judgement, and strong mental power. I hope much from them in the future, However, sometimes they run to extremes, for they are young. For example, this is shown in the problems of their participation in school management, which is now being hotly discussed. The Education Ministry disagrees with having them participate on the ground that it is not right to permit those students inferior in intellect and thought, who were educated only in militarism during the war, to do everything all at once. It is better to educate them gradually and make them excellent members of society, for this democratic era will not vanish suddenly. There is no doubt that some learned men and educators support this idea. On the other hand, some people think that it is necessary to permit the students to get into touch with government and administration through a new educational methods in order to make them excellent members of society."
Chairman: "It is said that political or election movements within schools are not good, but I think it does not matter at all, Don't you agree?"
Mr. H: "Of course, students of universities and colleges are the same as general members of society, but they must learn special sciences. Therefore, it is too much to say that they should be absorbed in political movements and thereby neglect learning. It is bad from the educational point of view. We don't mind if they take part in political associations or election campaigns, for they are allowed to do so by law. However, it is not good to be absorbed in that exclusively and neglect learning."
Chairman: "At least 50 per cent of the public are opposed to the administrative policies of the Education Ministry. It is impossible to give more consideration to the students' standpoint and the reflection of public opinion?"
Mr. H: "There are many causes for the failure of the Education Ministry to pursue nonsatisfactor policies. I think it is most important to reform thoroughly the Minister's present nominal status and the administrative organization. The Education Minister's nominal existence has weakened political action. Even if the Education Ministry drafts education policies they are smothered at the Cabinet conferences. Under such conditions, we cannot hope for the promotion of education. The Cabinet will often change with the development of party cabinets; it is desirable that an Education Minister of Vice-Premier grade of excellent character, knowledge and ability, be chosen for this office for a period of three to five years. In regard to administrative organization, there are only 200 universities, colleges, and other schools over which the Education Ministry has real authority, Directive are carried out as expected in the middle schools, which are most important in education; this means that the prefectoral offices have not much authority. Only one Education Section in the prefectural Internal Affairs Department is not enough. It is necessary that an independent Education Department be established. At the same time the harmony and co-operation of the whole Ministry is necessary in order to make significant, progressive reforms in harmony with the School Education Bureau. It is deplorable that the quarrel over the sphere of influence between the General Affairs Bureau, which takes charge of
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general planning, and the Bureaus which take charge of practical affair is still going on. The days of strict adherence to laws and regulation are past; it is necessary to give consideration to the general will of the people without religious adherence to rules. Differing from the food problem, the education problem has no influence upon the present situation. Therefore, it is apt to be disregarded, but it is of the very first importance. When JAPAN is being reconstructed as a peaceful state without military power, her contribution to the civilization of the world and to internal prosperity must be to develop good citizens and excellent men of science and culture. For this reason education is vital. It is necessary that the people co-operate to promote education.
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HomePress translations [Japan]. Political Series 0118, 1945-12-26.
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