Skip to main content
 Previous Next
  • Zoom In (+)
  • Zoom Out (-)
  • Rotate CW (r)
  • Rotate CCW (R)
  • Overview (h)
Press translations [Japan]. Political Series 0122, 1945-12-27.
Supreme Commander for The Allied Powers. Allied Translator and Interpreter Section.

translation-number: political-0527

call-number: DS801 .S85

(View Page Image)
NO. 527 Date: 27 Dec 45


ITEM 1 Konoe's Diary, Part 6 - Asahi Shimbun - 25 Dec 45. Translator: Paasche.
"We had now to face the following facts: The problems ushered in by the German-Soviet war had to be cleared away, the American question brooked no further delay, and the ambiguous attitude of the man in the pivotal position of Foreign Minister could not be further overlooked. With this in mind I handed MATSUOKA the following written memorandum:
"While the northern question (RUSSIA) is unsolved, there must be no use of military force in the south; continuous betterment of relations with AMERICA must be aimed at; the Navy General Staff has stated that it is difficult, nay, almost impossible, to wage war against RUSSIA and the UNITED STATES at the same time. For these reasons I am in favor of stopping the occupation of INDOCHINA and similar actions.
"As a result of the betterment of relations with AMERICA, we will be unable to meet the demands of GERMANY; consequently, a temporary cooling of relations with our ally is unavoidable.
"An adjustment with the UNITED STATES is necessary because: a. our national might must be strengthened by imports from overseas. b. an American-Russian rapprochement must be prevented. c. peace negotiations with CHUGKING must be stepped up.
"Not only must negotiations with AMERICA be continued, but they must lead to speedy results.
"We must take a long-range view of the situation and, in order to relieve the Emperor's minds, no efforts must be spared: concessions must be made to bring about an agreement."

MATSUOKA visited me the following day saying he agreed in principle; nobody was taking the American question more to heart than he; he was not afraid of giving trouble to GERMANY, but was opposed to undermining the Tri-partite Pact; he would now seriously consider The American question and would step out at any time, should his person stand in the way of favorable developments.
Accordingly, deliberations on the subject of Japanese-American negotiations were taken up again on 10 July and 12 July, when the American proposal of 21 June was under review by the Government. The salient points of this American plan were:
In the passage, in JAPAN's note, which referred to the attitude to be taken by both governments toward the European War, the words

(View Page Image)

POLITICAL SERIES: 122 (Continued)

ITEM 1 (Continued)

"Japanese-American co-operation in a peace-offensive" should be cancelled. This showed that AMERICA was still secretly bent on throwing GERMANY down.
The passage, "If JAPAN is not challenged she will join the effort to prevent an extension of the European War" should be clarified. American worries were laid bare by her endeavor, somehow, to get in the passage: "If AMERICA enters the war upon a challenge by GERMANY, JAPAN will keep quiet."
Regarding the CHINA issue, in the first note reference had been made to CHUNGKING and NANKING. This was to be eliminated, with only the Chinese Government to be mentioned in connection with the recommendation of peace. The KONOE principles were still mentioned as far as friendly intercourse was concerned, but economic alliance and joint anti-bolshevist defense were left out because of American public opinion.
The item "conditions for a Sino-Japanese peace" (which JAPAN had previously cancelled) was to be brought to life again in the form of addenda, and there was an American request for sufficient agreement on this score.
Whereas JAPAN had proposed an economic agreement limited to the "South Western" PACIFIC, AMERICA wanted an understanding covering the whole PACIFIC area.

To this American not an "oral statement" was added which stressed American desire for a settlement with JAPAN but urged the Japanese Government to state more clearly than heretofore that they, as a whole, desired such agreement: "certain influential leaders, strongly entrenched inside the Japanese Government, must give pledges that they will refrain from desiring to give support to Nazi GERMANY and her policy of conquest." Criticism for MATSUOKA was voiced in the question whether the negotiations would not end in disillusionment. Doubts were expressed in regard to JAPAN's stationing of troops in CHINA.
When we reconsidered the points, to my regret MATSUOKA's attitude became more and more unco-operative. It became evident that he grew more and more opposed to Japanese-American negotiations. During the deliberations of 10 July he insisted on the presence of his right hand man, Foreign Office Councillor Dr. SAITO, Ryohei. Between them, they gave an almost complete outline of all the arguments against Japanese-American negotiations which had previously been handed to those present in the form of a written memorandum; according to these arguments, all that AMERICA intended to do was either to vanquish or to deceive JAPAN; the oral statement should be sent back immediately and the negotiations discontinued. Because of the Foreign Minister's strong attitude, I conferred at once with the Army, Navy, and Interior Ministers. When the deliberations were continued on the 12th, the Army and Navy had prepared a joint statement which was designed to stop MATSUOKA:
JAPAN's attitude toward the European War is determined by her treaty obligations as well as by considerations of self-protection
The KONOE declaration will be the basis of our CHINA policy; AMERICA recommends a negotiated peace, but we will admit of no

- 2 -

(View Page Image)

POLITICAL SERIES: 122 (Continued)

ITEM 1 (Continued)

interference as to the conditions.
If necessary we will resort to war in the PACIFIC should a collapse of Japanese-American negotiations be unavoidable, it should be delayed until after our occupation of INDO-CHINA.

At last MATSUOKA sided with the niews of the Army and Navy and consented to draft a corresponding reply to the American proposals. In spite of being urged by the Army and Navy, MATSUOKA failed to give his consent to the finished note; instead he conferred with the German ambassador. At last the note was ready on 14 July, after MATSUOKA's views had been inserted. This note, which caused anxiety in the Government, differed from the American draft of 21 June in the following points: The European War was to be brought to a "speedy" conclusion through joint Japanese-American efforts, instead of "at a convenient time" which would have been easily acceptable the Americans. Regarding the Tri-partite Pact it was said: "Should the European War unfortunately spread, JAPAN will carry out her treaty obligations and will be led by considerations of self-defense in the interest of her welfare and security."
As to CHINA, The KONOE principles were upheld in their entirety; the term "NANKING Government, disliked by the American, was avoided; the UNITED STATES was to recommend peace to the "CHUNGKING authorities." Peace conditions were again cancelled. The economic collaboration was again restricted to the "south-western" PACIFIC for the reason that this area was of special importance in this connection. Everyone thought this note was to be transmitted at once, but the Foreign Minister wanted a previous telegram, refuting the oral statement, to be followed by the note two or three days later. The wire was to brand the (American) statement as unceremonious and harmful, without the retraction of which, JAPAN could not continue the discussions. Because this would cause bad feeling and would lead to the breakdown of negotiations, I was at accord with the Army and Navy in demanding that, at least, the note should he sent at the same time, but MATSUOKA acted contrary to my advice. (Secretary of State HULL was astonished that the oral statement had caused misunderstandings and retracted it on 17 July.) On 15 July MATSUOKA handed the Germans JAPAN'S final note before it was forwarded to the UNITED STATES.
ITEM 2 The General Trend of Domestic Politics in Post-war Days - Tokyo Shimbun - 25 Dec 45. Translator: S. Ono.
(TN: Continuation of previous article.)
If the Government had been strong and efficient enough to carry out all these epoch-making policies within two to three months, the reconstruction of our country would have been realized with wonderful rapidity. The fact is, however, the current government, being tinged with the remnants of feudalism, has been far from able to cope with the situation. This is shown by the fact the many letters are delivered daily to Supreme Allied Headquarters, all complaining about the lack of impartiality in rationing and the misconduct of public officials.
Following are the items the Government has attempted to accomplish in accordance with the directives of the Allied Powers.
- 3 -

(View Page Image)
POLITICAL SERIES: 122 (Continued)
ITEM 2 (Continued)
Abolition of the special police and the dismissal of its high-ranking officials.
Elimination of the militaristic tendency from the educational field.
Adoption of the necessary measures for the dissolution of the big financial cliques.
Restrictions of the privileged treatment of Shintoism and its ceremonies.
Establishment of women's suffrage and the amendment of the election law, stressing the lowering of the voting age qualifications.
Enactment of a farm land bill for the liberation of the farmer from his feudalistic fetters.
Creation of a labor union bill providing for the elevation of the legal status of the workers.
Apart from these, the Government is, as a first step toward administrative adjustment, reportedly going to execute a drastic slash in the number of public officials. But a mere reduction in number of the officials is far from adequate. What they should attempt is the complete democratization of the officialdom.
The election law revision aiming at the drastic, reform of the Diet, has, at any rate, been passed by the Diet including women's suffrage, the lowering of the age limitation of both voting and eligibility, the adoption of the major electoral district system, and the improvement of the voting system in general. The revision, however, having been done, by the bureaucrats and the old parties, both anxious to maintain their former previleges, leaves much to be desired. For instance, the adoption of the major electoral district system along with the restricted plural ballot system is perplexing, while the set up of the legislation concerning election campaign is quite beyond our understanding.
All in all, we must admit that the democratization of the Diet is still superficial. Its real object should be realization of the free expression of popular will through the coming general election. To testify to the conservatism of the current cabinet we might mention the treatment which the Agragian Reform Bill met. The limit of the ownership of farm land, which originally was three cho per unit, was enlarged, through a conspiracy of the reactionary cabinet members such as YOSHIDA, Foreign Minsiter, and others, to five cho per unit.
That there is no way to reconstruct our country other then Socialism is a matter of common sense new. Judging from this pint of view, it is clear that what we can expect from the Government now in power is merely the acknowledgment of the existence of the problem, not the solution itself. As for the latter, we have to wait till the appearance of a government more suitable for the task.
Shortly after the termination of the war, the people requested the retirement of the bureaucrats and the old political parties, for promotion of the democratization of our country. Both the HIGASHIKUNI cabinet end the present one have failed to meet the challenge.
- 4 -

(View Page Image)
POLITICAL SERIES: 122 (Continued)
ITEM: 2 (Continued)
We anticipate this as inevitable since the two cabinets played make shift roles in a transitory period, waiting to give way to a government fully qualified for the realization of democracy by completely eliminating every remanent of feudalism. Yet, what ever its ultimat destiny may be, the Government should do whatever is within its power. For example, the adjustment of the administrative structure, is, at least, capable of attainment. The reorganization of the central, administrative offices is a matter of urgent necessity.
Our proposal is first, the separation of the chief of administrative offices from the Minister of State so as to promote business efficiency and assign responsibility. Next comes the creation of a board of general affairs and a bureau of foreign affairs, both placed infer direct control of the Premier. The former should handle the compilation of the budget and the nomination and dismissal of the public officials, while the latter, on behalf of the Foreign Ministry, will act as sole liaison agent with the Supreme Allied Powers, avoiding such intersectional strife as now exists between the Ministeries of the Finance and Foreign Affairs.
These are, we firmly believe, the only ways to simplify and facilitate the business routine of administrative affairs.
The present Government, we conclude, has done very little to satisfy the eager expectation of the public. Undoubtedly, its ability to conduct state affairs is limited, and its duration is a matter of conjecture. Yet the public will request the Government to fulfill its duty so long as it stays in power.
ITEM 3 The Emperor Is Keenly Interested in the General Election – Asahi Shimbun - 26 Dec 45. Translator: H. Kato.
Both JAPAN and the world today are watching to see whether the expected new figures will emerge in the coming general election based on the revised Election Law and whether a new and lively Diet will be instituted to build a democratic JAPAN.
SHIMADA and KATSUTA, Speaker and Vice-Speaker of the House of Representatives, were received on 19 December by His Imperial Majesty, who questioned [illegible]for half an hour, showing been interest in the coming general election. Speaker [illegible]replied frankly to the Emperor that, at a dissolution of the Diet all the members used to show their spirit with the cry of "BAN[illegible]" before going to their electoral districts. He added that at the last dissolution they seemed, on the contrary, to be operessed with anxiety and the public also did not appear to be enthusiastic for the election as in the past. The latter seemed to be keenly concerned with food problems, rather than the election.
The Emperor also asked Vice-Speaker K[illegible]for his thoughts. On this occasion the Emperor seemed to be greatly interested in the election and the people concerned. The speaker and vice-speaker left the Imperial Palace, deeply affected by his kindness.
ITEM 4 Managers of Progressive Party - sahi Shimbun – 26 Dec 45. Translator: S. Kawasaki.
- 5 -

(View Page Image)
POLITICAL SERIES: 122 (Continued)
ITEM 4 (Continued)
Full Translation:
The Progressive Party held a meeting on 24 December, and initiated the following persons as managers of the party: SHIMADA, Toshio; KATSUTA, Suekichi; UEDA, Kakichi; KUBOI, Koshimichi; YAMAMOTO, Kozo; YOSHIOKA, Yayoi.
Mr. YASUMI, Saburo has been decided on as the man in charge of election measures.
- 6 -
HomePress translations [Japan]. Political Series 0122, 1945-12-27.
 Text Only
 Text & Inline Image
 Text & Image Viewer
 Image Viewer Only