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Press translations [Japan]. Political Series 0129, 1945-12-29.
Supreme Commander for The Allied Powers. Allied Translator and Interpreter Section.

translation-number: political-0554

call-number: DS801 .S85

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No. 554 Date: 29 Dec 45


ITEM 1 General Election; No Enthusiasm - The Minpo - 28 Dec 45. Translator: S. Kawasaki.
The Government dissolved the House of Representatives on 18 December and is expected to conduct the general election about 24 January, Owing to certain procedures concerning the Revised Election Law, the authorities cannot yet make public the date of the general election. Therefore, though various parties are now doing their utmost on measures for the general election, they are still scouting it, and view it as a situation which may be fraught with surprise. Because of the disinterested attitude of the people, the atmosphere of the election is one of dullness and apathy.
The forthcoming general election is significant to the democratization of JAPAN in accord with the POTSDAM Declaration. Former statesmen [illegible]tainted with responsibility for the war, are now removed. The Diet must be organized with new members who have spirit and desire to reconstruct JAPAN. The Government and the various parties are not showing a positive attitude toward this mission. The Government merely attempted to pass the Revised Election Law through the Diet.
The Various parties, the Liberals and the Social-Democrats, submitted solutions regarding war crimes to the Diet. They proposed that [illegible]aters, speakers, and the leaders who were in high positions during [illegible]war, refrain from running as candidates. The proposals were, however, opposed by the Progressive Party. Up to the present time, among those who retired from the forthcoming general election, are a few who have already been arrested as war crime suspects or who have resigned their posts as members of the Diet of their own accord on [illegible]account of their war responsibilities. The majority, however, are displaying stubborn attitudes, attempting to run for election again.
The numbers of candidates are as follows:
Progressive Party —- About 220 out of 260 representatives.
Liberal Party —- Almost the entire fifty members.
Social Democratic Party —- All 17 members.
The Co-operative Party and the Independent Club —- All 60.
In addition, even if 60 vacancies of the deceased and other members, are added to the retired group, the number of representatives running again will still number more than 300. The number shows, strongly the degree of so-called, "self-restraint" by the members of the Diet. Among them, Mr. OZAKI, Yukio, who has occupied a sent in the House of Representatives as a member for 50 years since the beginning of the Diet;

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POLITICAL SERIES 129 (Continued)
ITEM 1 (Continued)
Messrs. MASUDA, Giichi; TAKAMI, Karemichi; KAWAKAMI, Tetsutar (all senior members): and Mr. MAEDA, Yonezo, have attracted public attention by retiring from political circles. It must be said that it will be very difficult for a new Diet reflecting the will of the people to be produced.
The Nation wants the Government to practice a strong, sensible policy of itw own accord. The government should prohibit members who were elected by recommendations during the TOJO Cabinet, from running for election as candidates, so as to improve the Diet. It is common belief that members are responsible for their actions during the war. This is one of the reasons that now, before the announcement of the date of election, the atmosphere of the election is one of apathy. If the Government should carry out the above mentioned strong measures, it will be the Progressive Party that suffers most. The Party had no president, and just before the dissolution of the House of Representatives, it decided to choose MACHIDA, Chiji as president. Judging from the political situation after the general election, it is deemed inevitable that the party will be split.
Besides the Progressive Party, many parties are exerting every effort for the forthcoming general elect on. This is especially true with the Communist Party which, now for the first time is qualified as a lawful party in JAPAN. It has 47 candidates running for election in various parts of JAPAN.
This party is now struggling with the problems of food, clothing and shelter all urgent problems of the masses. In addition, almost 40 or 50 other parties have been organized throughout JAPAN. However, these are small and relatively unimportant.
Among the political parties are some militaristic bodies springing up with new names, such as the All-JAPAN Workers' League (ZEN KOKU RODOSHA DOMEI), which is campaigning for votes.
The Government should do its best to take measures regarding former members of the Diet.
It is desirous to do so as soon as possible. The people greatly desire to establish the newly-built, democratic JAPAN based on the will of the Nation.
ITEM 2 Extraordinary Gubernatorial Conference - Asahi Shimbun - 28 Dec 45. Translator: J. Weiller.
With the General Election of the Diet members close at hand, the Government convened an Extraordinary Gubernatorial Conference at the Premiers Official Residence at 09.00 hours on 27 December for the purpose of thorough dissemination of information on the purport of the revised Election Law and also for exchange of opinions regarding the rice shipments from farmers and increased production of coal. All the Governors were present except Governor MOCHINAGA of HOKKAIDO, who, because of the interruption of train service, was represented by Mr. HAYASAKA Chief of the Internal Administration.
At the inception the Premier (Minister of Justice IWATA read his message) delivered on admonitory speech, after which explanatory speeches were given by the Home Justice, Education and Agriculture and Commerce Ministers on matters of their respective jurisdiction. At the round table
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POLITICAL SERIES 129 (Continued)
ITEM 2 (Continued)
conference succeeding these speeches opinions were expressed by both Mr. HIROSE, President of TOKYO Metropolice and Mr. TAKANO, Chief of the TOKYO Metropolitan Police Board regarding the food questions of the capital. "The current situation is extremely critical. We wish the Government would immediately put into execution proper measures in connection with securing rice from the formers as well as its import. Without leaving the question of rice solely in the hands of the Agriculture and Forestry Minister the whole personnel of the cabinet should seriously attempt to overcome the crisis."
Mr. NAGANO, Governor of NAGASAKI-Ken said, "Regarding mining, it is most important to secure permanent labor and for that purpose a drastic improvement in rations should be put into execution." Mr. KOIKE, Governor of WAKAYAMA-Ken stated his opinion in regard to improvement of treatment of lower rank local government officials. After a recess an explanation was given by Welfare Minister ASHIDA, and then was [illegible]ee succeeded by another round table conference. The meeting sojourned at 1600. The Governor of NIGATA-Ken and 19 other rice producing Ken will assemble at the Department of Agriculture and Forestry on the 28th and they will make arrangement for the rice KYOSHUTSU.
Free and Impartial Election
Interference is absolutely forbidden
The Premier's Speech
Revival and strengthening of the democratic tendency is this nation's obligation to the world, but instead of a passive attitude we must voluntarily and steadily strive towards the objective with a positive attitude, in the belief that, after all, this is for our own benifit, and will be a perpetual safeguard for the people's happiness. With this in view the Government has taken measures for firmly establishing freedom of thought and association, and going a step further, has had the Revision of the Election Law enacted by approval of the recent Extraordinary Session. The Imperial Diet, which can be called the nucleus of democratic politics, is to manifest itself as a true reflection of the nations Combined will.
The purport of the revision is to ensure freedom and fairness in election so that the nation as a whole may, without reserve, express its will form a powerful Diet. Therefore this can be called the most important revision since the enactment of universal male suffrage. Present revision, while lowering the age for sufferage and eligibility also grants suffrage to women, thus allowing the nation to participate extensively in politics. In addition, the major electorate system has been adopted. The Government, in the expectation of early realization as of political operations necessary for the construction of a new JAPAN, asked the Throne for the dissolution of the Diet and the general election is to be held in the near future.
A fair, free election is really the key to the realization of democracy in this country. I must request that you, with the co-operation of leading men among the people, take proper measures to bring home to the people the real meaning of the general election and the purport of the new Election Law. This will arouse their concern in politics and let them fully manifest their will in order to assemble in the new Diet the nations true representative.
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POLITICAL SERIES 129 (Continued)
ITEM 2 (Continued)
The point I must draw you special attention to is that in the new Election Law only restrictions which are regarded as necessary for maintaining fairness in connection with the campaigns are being retained. All the other controlling regulations have been repealed, in anticipation that by so doing an election based on the peoples' desires may be carried out. Not only must you strictly avoid actions which may be regarded, as interference in the election but you are strictly prohibited from gathering information or making reports on the election and you are requested to warn you subordinates against such actions. Should there be a tendency on the part of Government officials to interfere directly or indirectly in the elections, the government is to take stern measures therefore, irrespective of motives involved.
Further, I must add that at the recent Extraordinary Session the revision of the Agrarian Adjustment Law and the Labor Union Law were enacted. These new laws, side by side with the revised Election Law, are important accelerating the countrys democratization. There is no other means besides these legislative reforms for the reconstruction of a JAPAN that is peaceful with a high standard of libing and high level of culture, and I count on your careful execution of these laws.
Increase of Polling Places
Explanatory Speech by the Home Minister
The points you have to pay special attention to in connection with the execution of the election are first, immediate provision of tickets, ballot boxes and other necessary material and, second, increase of polling places. In view of the marked increase of voters you are asked to see to a large increase in the polling places. In many foreign countries the number of balloting places is notably great. As the number directly influences the number of vote cast, your endeavors are expected to minimize the number of obstacles to the exercise of the franchise. Third, perfect management of the vote counting offices is expected under the revised law the counting is to take place in the cities, towns or villages concerned, and due to the adoption of the restricted plural ballot system, the inspection of the ballots and decision as to their validity will be fairly complicated so that you are asked to do your best in guiding the proceedings. Fourth, und r the present strained circumstances in material, transportation, etc. I quite appreciate your trouble in supervising the publication of the Election Report, the announcement of the candidates' names in newspapers, etc, but I hope you will make conscientious reparations therefore.
Collection of information regarding the election is apt to be the first step toward interference so that the same is not to be attempted, in view of the epoch-making nature of the coming election. Consequently not only reports to the Home office regarding the forecast of the result are to be abolished altogether, but such reports in each Ken should be abolished. The above must be drilled, into your subordinates and must be strictly adhered to in order that a really impartial election may be carried out.
Next, I regret to say that the condition of law and order is not to good. In company with social unrest and strained circumstances crime is on the increase. Consequently our responsibility for the maintenance of order is extremely grave. You are requested therefore, to devise the
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POLITICAL SERIES 129 (Continued)
ITEM 2 (Continued)
best means for the prevention of crimes, raising the morale of the police force so that they may be inspired with a sense of responsibility in the execution of their duties.
The Government received from the Allied Supreme Headquarters directive regarding the disposition of Shintoism and shrines and, accordingly, the government is to withdraw all official assistance to them in the future. The procedure for the necessary, actual disposal of these is now being arranged by the government, and it is desired that there will not be any error in speedy and smooth fulfillment of the orders the various localities will receive. In the future the shrines will be dealt with as religious matters and be placed under a protection similar to that of other religions. Consequently, they will have to be maintained and managed by the nations' genuine faith and spontaneous monetary contributions.
As there is nothing wrong, of course, if the nation reveres the shrines of its free will we must make this point clear so that there will be no misunderstanding about it.
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HomePress translations [Japan]. Political Series 0129, 1945-12-29.
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