Skip to main content
 Previous Next
  • Zoom In (+)
  • Zoom Out (-)
  • Rotate CW (r)
  • Rotate CCW (R)
  • Overview (h)
Press translations [Japan]. Political Series 0124, 1945-12-28.
Supreme Commander for The Allied Powers. Allied Translator and Interpreter Section.

translation-number: political-0544

call-number: DS801 .S85

(View Page Image)
No. 544 Date: 28 Dec 45


ITEM 1 Discussion of Reporters on the Diet and the General Election - Provincial Newspaper. Chubu Nipoon Shimbun, -Nagoya - 18 Dec 45. Translator: N. Tachibana.
Full translation:
The 89 extraordinary session of the Diet was charged with the important missions of solving national problem arising from exhaustion of the resources of our country caused by the eight years of war and of reconstructing a peaceful state based on democracy. The question is whether or not the Diet has clarified for the people the fundamental problems of reform of national polity and revision of the constitution. Did the Diet endeavour to democratize Government through clarification of war responsibility and revision of the Election Law? Did the Diet show a firm desire to democratize the economy and reconstruct JAPAN through discussions on the Agrarian Law and the Labor Union Law? Is it proper that the Diet remains as it is since the Army has been dissolved, and officials have no capacity to rescue the people?
The people are now deeply concerned with these problems. Therefore, the political reporters on the staff of the CHUBU NIPPON SHIMBUN, who took charge of reports during the Diet session, held a meeting at the TOKYO Main Office. Reporting the results of Diet debates, we want to furnish readers, who wish to make the forthcoming general election the opportunity to reconstruct JAPAN, with as much information as possible.
PUJITA: "The bills amending the Election Law. Agrarian Law, Labor Union Law, etc, which form important elements of democracy, were introduced to the Diet. The Diet recovered freedom of speech and was offered the opportunity to become a proper organ of legislation. Under such conditions, had the Diet enough substantial arguments to reconstruct JAPAN as we expected? The investigation of this problem has important relations to the establishment of democracy in JAPAN. I hope we will all frankly express impressions received from viewing the Diet. At the plenary-session the representatives of each party delivered addresses on war responsibility, but did those members think over the question of war responsibility seriously? Regarding this problem, or others, I want Mr. KUBOTA to express his opinion."
KUBOTA: "The Diet session was very inactive. As for speeches, Mr. HATOYAMA, Liberal, spoke on how democracy in JAPAN should be managed, and Mr. NISHIO, Socialist, spoke only on problems related to living condition This may have been a policy of the Social-Democratic Party for the genere election, but I felt his speech had no ideological content based on the policy of that Party. Next, the Government had little enthusiasm, and the percentage of attendance of members was low, owing perhaps to their attention to the coming election. The Farm Land Adjustment Law Bill was

(View Page Image)
POLITICAL SERIES: 124 (Continued)
ITEM 1 (Continued)
laid before the plenary session on 5 December, and the Labor Union Law Bill on 11 December. It is due to the idleness of the Government that such major bills were introduced during the latter half of the session. The most active discussions were focused on pursuit of war responsibility. Two resolutions of the Liberal and Progressive Parties were also offered. The Liberal Party said that the war bystanders and war critics were responsible for the war, while on the other hand, the Progressive Party thought that if all the members were responsible, so were the people. They said that those who co-operated in waging war were not always responsible, but leaders, who took exclusive control of the Diet, blindly following the military Government, must shoulder the responsibility. From the standpoint of the people, such discussion seemed to be a question of members fixing responsibility on each other."
TAKADA: "Those who were entitled to speak, at any rate, delivered speeche as representatives. Mr. SAITO, Takao, Progressive, had once been dismisse from membership; Mr. NISHIO, Social, had been in adverse circumstances during the war; Mr. HATOYAMA had not been in the Diet since the spring of 1943. Indeed, discussions were inactive, but I admit that persons entitle to speak were selected as representatives."
UEDA: "At the plenary session on the budget more than 20 committees interpellated the Government on problems of revision of the constitution, finance, rehabilitation of war vict[illegible]s, demobilization, food, and overall national life, for a period of nine days since 3 December, but their questions were useless. I expected them to demand an explanation from the Government for war responsibility and illegal disposal of munition goods after the end of the war, but on this problem only one or two questions were raised. On the constitution problem, heated and keen discussions were exchanged. The Government explained that the contents were not as yet clear, and State Minister MATSUMOTO gave his private opinion. Nevertheless, this seemed to me to represent the opinion of the Government, so I think it was actually the most important item during the session.
"The Five year Financial Plan did not include indemnities, protection of repatriated men, increased production of food, war profits, or social problem. I think the Government should have been prepared for it earlier.
SATO: "During the explanation of the Government at the plenary session on the budget, Finance minister SHIBUSAWA seemed to be a man of culture. State Minister MATSUMOTO also impressed me favorably. How were you impressed with him in the Diet, UEDA?"
UEDA: "The Finance Minister's explanation was quite honest and sincere. The State Minister also answered sincerely though he was thoroughly questioned. The Agriculture and Forestry and Education Ministers knew the interpellators' feelings well, as can be expected of politicians, so they replied cleverly, but their answers were meager in contents."
KUTSUNA: "What is your view on the Election Law Committee, KOKARA?"
KOHARA: "The importance of the current Diet session lay in three bills, and I envisage a system which clearly alters the old constituency. Another thing I expected is that Diet members would let their so-called liberal and generous attitudes be reflected in the Diet, thereby getting rid of militarism. Also, I wanted the members of the Diet to play an adequate part in building a democratic country by deliberating frankly on various questions, but instead they clining to their party feelings.
"The Liberal Party's restricted plural ballot system profits majority parties by reducing the constituent field of minor parties. Such was the opinion of the Diet members on the Election Law Amendment. The cases of
- 2 -

(View Page Image)
POLITICAL SERIES: 124 (Continued)
ITEM 1 (Continued)
by-elections and questions on OKIWAWA-Ken were neglected, but because of opposition raised by the House of Peers, it was agreed upon that a by-election, re-election, or special election, as in OKINAWA can be accomplished by the single ballot system. This demonstrates the impropriety of the Restricted Plural Ballot Bill proposed by the House of Representative
"In the debate on the present Election Law, the opposition between the old and new powers was comparatively less than in that of the other two major bills. The course of the investigations clearly exposed the party feelings. Diet members betrayed their attitude of wishing to be considered innocent while rebuking others as war criminals. The general election being near at hand, the committee meeting was attended by two out of some 20 members. Even these two committee members remained there reluctantly, and the press drifted away gradually during the meeting."
KAMOI: "The Election Law should be considered as an ideal bill and by no means should be treated as a matter of party policy. To make amends for not having complied with the nation's wishes during the past War, we should propose a bill more progressive than that of the Government's."
KOHARA: "The general election is near at hand. The original bill permit election campaigns before they are officially sanctioned. These campaign[illegible]will be carried out mostly by the Communist Party."
KAMOI: "There is fear that old constituencies will be encroached upon by the Communists while the Diet is in session."
KOHARA: "Therefore, in order to prevent such encroachment, it is considered wise to regulate early election campaign movements as does the existing law."
KUTSUNA: "The formation of the three big political parties is welcome, but if they maintain the old system of party interest and policy, will not a democratic government and the national interest be injured?"
KAMOI: "Viewed from the atmosphere of the plenary session and the Budget and Election Law Committee meetings, the political parties are lacking in ability and policy. I have come to the conclusion that they fell far short of my expectations. After the outbreak of the conflict with CHINA, the Army suppressed political parties entirely, and members of Diet moved at the Command of the military, quite forgetting how to speak for themselves. The result is that now no members of the Diet are able to think of an adequate policy. A parliamentary government may be restored by democracy, but men's minds cannot be converted within a night.
"After all, the present consists of great national confusion, and members of the Diet also being members of the Nation, are likewise confused in thought. It is therefore unreasonable to expect too much from them, though I do not mean to excuse them. The present political parties have been organized with a view to the coming general election. The Progressive Party, especially, has been designed with a desire to come into political power again. Chief Secretary TSURUMI said, 'The Party members have attended the Diet a week or 10 days after the formation of the Progressive Party, and it was impossible for them to have made full preparations for the Diet.' This can also be said of the Liberal Party. Only the Social-Democratic Party has an appropriate ideology and has had some experience. Therefore, it is making good progress, having clarified the Party's fundamental policy previous to the formation of the Party. The Liberal and
- 3 -

(View Page Image)
POLITICAL SERIES: 124 (Continued)
ITEM 1 (Continued)
Progressive Parties, "being unable to cast off their old shells, were quite unable to do the right thing.
"To which party should the people give their votes? Under the present circumstances, there is no other alternative but to vote for an able man rather than for a party. Today I asked Mr. HATOYAMA about the policy of the Liberal Party, but he said the policy was not yet fixed. After all, the Nation as such should vote for new able men or men with appropriate political power, who may form the real future of political parties."
TAKADA: "WADA and TOHATA are members of the Research Association (KENKYUKAI). Can we anticipate a steady rehabilitation of JAPAN through the bill proposed by this Association? They say that prospects would be favorable to tenants if the feudal system was overthrown by cutting down the property of land-owners to three or five chobu. What do you think of this, SATO?"
SATO; "In the last Diet there was an interpellation just like your question. It is, I think, a very significant subject. Of what type will the future agriculture of the world be? What will become of farming in JAPAN if all the agricultural products in the world increase? In fact, this question has not been taken up as yet. The following interpellations made by Mr. IRE, Hajime, and KONO, Ichiro, in the last Diet: 'What is the policy on future prices; 'What will become of formers if the price of agricultural products suddenly falls, though at present a bale of rice costs from 2,000 to 3,000 yen on the black market? In such a case, a farmer, who has bought land on the basis of annual payments for 24 years, must suffer in paying his installments. Japanese farmers cannot be happy only because of the Revised Agrarian Land System Law. We cannot forge ahead if the problems of prices and management are not dissolved, and if the agricultural authorities are not prepared to meet the problem.'
To those questions, the Agricultural and Forestry Minister replied, 'The only thing we can do at present is to take up the best expedient measures possible.' The Minister was then warned to establish an overall agricultural administration.
KUTSUNA: "By the same token, it is quite right to give workers the right of collective bargaining so as to realize economic democracy. It is stra[illegible]that there have not been such rights before this."
ONO: "Everyone recognizes that the labor movement in JAPAN is 100 years behind that of the rest of the world. The epoch-making Labor Union Law Bill was taken up by the Government along the lines of a directive from Allied Headquarters. The outline of the Bill was settled at a cabinet meeting held on 4 December which, however, restricted the rights of workers on strike. At Allied Headquarters, the item restricting the rights on strikes was not approved. It was then deleted, though the Government wanted to keep the item. Then the bill was submitted on 11 December. However, the Progressive Party and some others opposed the bill from the point of view that in order to democratize JAPAN, industry must be re-established; and it must be done under a management which satisfies capitalists, while labor unions would stand in the way of this objective.
"On the other hand, the Socialists unanimously approved the Bills once the restriction of the rights of the laborers on strike was cancelled. The Progressive Party, which opposed the Bill in the beginning seemed to have abandoned its 'opposition after learning the intentions of the
- 4 -

(View Page Image)
POLITICAL SERIES: 124 (Continued)
ITEM 1 (Continued)
Allied Headquarters. None of the Progressives attended the special Committee meeting opened on 11 December. Finally, two of the Socialists attended, but none of the Progressives or Liberals were seen in the committee. As for the Government, it seemed to be astonished to find the Bill broader than the original draft.
KUTSUNA: "According to various members of the Diet and Government, it is the directive of General Headquarters that matters most, and it is realized that it is impossible to protect specially privileged people now. How did members of the conservative House of Peers feel about such severe criticism, HIRABAYASHI?"
HIRABAYASHI: "The House of Peers is still very sluggish. In their interpellations we could find nothing enthusiastic."
KUTSUNA: "The Army has collapsed, and bureaucracy is now declining. After all, we have to rely upon parliamentary action for our democratic polity. The past Diet was not good, but this does not mean that the Diet system is bad in itself. What is your opinion on the politics of JAPAN before the forthcoming general election, KAMOI?"
KAMOI: "I have studied the Diet since the SAITO Cabinet, and I find that the Diet has been becoming increasingly inert, year by year, ever since the political parties were 'knocked out'. The lack of enthusiasm is, however, only on one side of the Diet. On the other side, we see something very active. I felt hopeful about the last Diet, expecting some new activity."
KUTSUNA: "Tell me, what has impressed you the most in the last Diet session, HANDA?"
HANDA: "The gravest impression I received in the Diet was the helpless depression of the committee of the House of Peers after the reform directive from the Allies was issued. I can assert that a basic reform must be made in the House of Peers. At the same time, we must be careful to select representatives in order to assume a better future for the House of Representatives. In this sense, all the people must make more efforts to judge fairly political and economic problems. This should be done not only for schools or for the educational system, but for JAPAN itself. It is the people's duty. We must improve ourselves with a view to being happier in a more cultured, democratic land. All changes must raise all levels of our nation, culturally, socially, and politically."
- 5 -
HomePress translations [Japan]. Political Series 0124, 1945-12-28.
 Text Only
 Text & Inline Image
 Text & Image Viewer
 Image Viewer Only