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Press translations [Japan]. Political Series 0168, 1946-01-11.
Supreme Commander for The Allied Powers. Allied Translator and Interpreter Section.

translation-number: political-0704

call-number: DS801 .S85

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No. 704 Date: 11 Jan 46


ITEM 1 Influence of Democratization on Government Offices - Asahi Shimbun - 9 Jan 46. Translator: K Murakami.
Full translation:
A voice claiming democratization of the Government Office has arisen from within the Government Office itself, inner citadel of feudalistic secrecy. How do the voices of the staffs of the Agricultural and Forestry Department create a stir in various offices? The bureaucrat's stronghold of tyranny and authority has begun to collapse due to the mighty current of democratization; the order of MacARTHUR's Headquarters on the dismissal of militaristic leaders; the cry of lower bureaucrats for democratizing government offices; and the public voice advocating the abolition of bureaucracy.
Is it a result of self-inspection by the lower bureaucrats, who have long submitted to their senior official's haughty treatment? These men are absent-minded about their tasks, what with their anxiety about being dismissed by the official reduction, their small salaries, and the terrible inflation.
Some officials seem to have forgotten their jobs, being absorbed in discussion on the democratization of government offices. Nevertheless, not a moment is to be lost. If the Agricultural and Forestry Ministry, which is in charge of rationing, should go in for the so called official sabotage, what would become of the democratization of bureaucracy?
The Staff Committee of the agriculture and Forestry Department requested Minister MATSUMURA to make a statement on the matter by 10 January. Let us consider the effect of the movement upon various circles:
The Home Office: Do the officials of the Home Office, who stick to their present posts despite the thorough pursuit of war responsibility, react to the movement for democratization initiated by the Agricultural and Forestry Deportment? We think that there is no reason for them to oppose the movement since they are comrades together. Surprisingly enough, however, they are not moved; they appear to be quite indifferent. What is the outlook of the officials of the Home Office? Is it one of skepticism or of nihilism?
In the first place, there is much anxiety on the directive and on how to fill the large vacancy created by it. "If the gap is unfilled it will influence even the delivery of rice. I wish to have the applicable limit of the directive decided on quickly. As for me, I should like to live easily and play the game of GO (TN: like checkers)." Vice-Minister SAKA said that if the directive is applicable to prefectural governors who have been heads of district branches of the Imperial Rule Assistance Association, practically all their posts. will become vacant, and a successor to the vice-minister will not even be available.

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POLITICAL SERIES: 168 (Continued)
ITEM 1 (Continued)
Movement towards formation of a union is not apparent as yet. Those who have long been content with their lot, seem to be waiting for the appearance of a leader to cheer them, saying, "Arise, my friends!" An official of the Police Bureau says, "The officials have their own moral principles. We, who have been in charge of maintaining public order, cannot thoughtlessly join the movement of the union. Nevertheless, we cannot make a living because of the terrible inflation. In the first place, we should endeavor to realize the democratization of the official organization."
The Agricultural and Forestry Ministry: The staff committee of the Agricultural and Forestry Ministry, which anticipated the movement for the democratization of government offices, demanding the establishment of the Personnel Affairs Managing Committee and the formation of a self-governing employees' union, is carrying on an active movement under the leadership of executive committeemen. The staff requested the Minister to answer by 10 January. At the preliminary assembly held on 8 January, they decided to open the meeting on the date of the Minister's reply in the Grand Hall of the Central Agricultural Society. At the meeting, they will also make arrangements for a staff meeting to be held on 15 January. In the meantime, arrangements for the establishment of a consumers' guild has been made, and the preliminary assembly will be opened on 10 January.
The staff's committee issued a manifesto on 8 January, stating,"we appeal to the staffs of every ministry," and thereby asking for the formation of staff committees.
The Justice Ministry: The movement of the Agricultural and Forestry Department created a stir even in the Justice Ministry and law courts, which have always been regarded as conservative offices. On 8 January, approximately 450 members of the TOKYO Local Court, and the TOKYO-Civil and Criminal District Courts, presented a petition with sign and seal on the democratization of staffs of their offices and improvement of the treatment of employees. The petition was presented to Justice Minister IWATA, President of the TOKYO Court of Appeal OMORI, President of the TOKYO Civil District Court IWAMATSU, and President of the TOKYO Criminal District Court TARUMI. At the same time, a manifesto was issued to all courts and public prosecutor's offices in the country.
This movement is likely to manifest itself throughout the country. The petition is as follows: 1) We wish you to endeavor to democratize the Office in keeping with public opinion. 2) We wish you to pay us an extra allowance equivalent to the amount of six months' salary as a relief measure. 3) From the viewpoint of the present economic conditions, we wish you to increase our income by 500 per cent. 4) We wish you to abolish ill treatment of members who work in TOKYO and discrimination among them according to rank of office. 5) We wish you to reinstitute the vacation system, which has been suspended during the war, thereby give us 20 day vacation every year.
ITEM 2 The Government Will Continue the Control Price, and Distribution of Necessities - Asahi Shimbun - 8 Jan 46. Translator: R. Shibata.
Full translation:
The Government's proposal to promote and secure the full supply of the daily necessities by abolishing the control on prices and distribution, has been rejected by the Allied Supreme Headquarters.
Regarding this, Minister of Commerce and Industry OGASAWARA announced
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POLITICAL SERIES: 163 (Continued)
ITEM 2 (Continued)
in an interview with journalists on 7 January that the government intends to continue its control and is now considering the establishment of a new controlling organization. The gist of his statement is as follows:
"Actually even if we should abolish the control of prices and distribution, it would not necessarily result in an active appearance of materials on the market or the stabilization of prices. Producers do not have the zeal to produce on the pretext that it is difficult to foresee future consequences. This tendency is more noticeable among the large producers. The authorities, however, intend to offer every facility for the production of necessities. Moreover, we are considering the establishment of a new agency for the order and purchase of materials in return for imports, so we urge all producers to undertake active production.
"If anybody is producing in anticipation of future removal of price controls, it is a grave mistake. If an official price is too low, we will raise it to its proper level, but we never intend to abolish prices entirely. Once there was a trend toward the return of a free economy. But the necessity for control is as absolute as before. I am considering the establishment of an organization called the Controlling Bureau (TOSEI KIOKU), to whose committees many civilians will be appointed.
"In addition, the output of coal in December amounted to 850,000 tons beyond expectation. The main cause of its production is finally attributable to the distribution of staple foods. In fact, production has been much increased since staple foods for special distribution arrived at the coal mines in HOKKAIDO on 23 December, where the food difficulty [illegible]been most severe. But it is a serious matter that two months were required before the specially distributed foods reached places where they were to be consumed. Here exists the obstacle checking increase of production. The Commerce and Industry Department has decided to establish an Investigation Section to devote all its time to determining whether or not Government measures are being put into rapid execution.
ITEM 3 Strong Development of Democratic System: 7th of a Series - Mainichi Shimbun - 9 Jan 46. Translator: J. Weiller.
Full translation:
Round Table Conference
ABE, Yoshishige Director of the First High School
MIZUTANI, Cho aburo JAPAN Social Democratic Party
SHIGA, Yoshio JAPAN Communist Party
MIYAZAWA, Toshiyoshi Professor of the TOKYO Imperial University
MUROBUSE, Takanobu Critic
MINOBE, Ryokichi Associate Editor of MAINICHI SHIMBUN
YOKOTA, Kisaburo Professor of the TOKYO Imperial University (Representing the newspaper)

YOKOTA: The question as to where the sovereignty rests will call forth fairly complicated arguments in the future, because as it embraces a good deal of sentiment, a cool judgment is required for the settlement of the problem. Moreover, political elements are apt to creep into the question, rendering it purposely ambiguous or dropping the matter before a final decision depending on whether or not the adoption of the question into the platform is advantageous. Stripped of such camouflage, the theoretical upshot of the
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POLITICAL SERIES: 168 (Continued)
ITEM 3 (Continued)
question looks as though the argument that the prerogative rests with the Emperor does not harmonize with the fundamental view of democracy. It is not only the case with the Emperor but all monarchs in general. As said before, "the people's politics" as the fundamental conception of democracy, means that the people are the subject of politics, which is no more than the sovereignty being vested in the people. Consequently, the argument that the sovereignty lies with the monarch is by no means compatible with democracy. Various opinions have been put forward since ancient times with a view to reconciling the two somehow, one of which is that though the sovereignty was formerly with the people, it is difficult for them to exercise it directly so it is left with the monarch. But if the monarch exercises the sovereignty, being commissioned by the people, the conclusion is that it originally belongs to the people, therefore it must be the people's own, as ever. Some maintain that by delegation the sovereignty has definitely been transferred to the monarch and the people having been dispossessed of it, democracy would be bereft of its fundamental conception.
The argument that in ENGLAND the sovereignty is with "the king in parliament" seems to belong to this category. It means that the sovereignty is a joint possession of the king and people and at first glance it is a clever explanation, but actually it is mere sophistry. For instance, what will happen if opinion differs between the two? Here the king's power of veto becomes an issue. It is generally said that the veto has lapsed on account of non-exercise for a long time, but if it has lapsed, then the right of final decision is vested with the parliament. Consequently the sovereignty is with parliament and not with the king any more, while if the king still retains the power of veto it must be said that the sovereignty is with the king. The argument for joint possession by the king and parliament is nothing but an evasive answer.
Though I mentioned this before, we often hear of an argument for the purpose of reconciling democracy with the Emperor's prerogative on the ground that in JAPAN the Emperor rules with the people's mind always as his own. Such an argument falls in the same class as above. They say he takes the people's mind into his own, but once in a while this may not be so; at least there is such a theoretical possibility. What would happen, then? If the Emperor pushes through his intention the substance of democracy will be lost while if he follows the people's will against his he has, substantially, no sovereignty. The case must be one of the two. We must decide as to which we want for the construction of democracy in this country. The argument that it is neither, or either, is a time wasting attitude incapable of clarifying the actual situation. Still worse is the argument, that the sovereignty lies with a nation itself. This must have arisen from an abuse of words. It has some meaning in case a nation is take into consideration as a whole, for instance, when a legal question is at issue with a foreign country, but it is nonsensical to apply the theory to the whereabouts of the supreme power, which is an internal problem. The sovereignty means the supreme power of a nation, in other words, it is the right of final decision. Therefore the question of whereabouts of the sovereignty is tantamount to who has the right of final decision, and to maintain that it is the nation is wholly devoid of meaning.
In short, in spite of various views put forward regarding this question, from the point of view of the fundamental concepts of democracy, the sovereignty must be vested with the people. Theoretically, at any rate, we must arrive at this conclusion. If we really
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POLITICAL SERIES: 168 (Continued)
ITEM 3 (Continued)
intend to set up democracy in JAPAN we must frankly admit this and start after it. However, this does not necessarily constitute the reason for the immediate abolition of the Emperor system, because it does not mean that democracy is impossible without that abolition. It is possible to maintain the Emperor system under democracy, but in that case the Emperor is not, of course, the possessor of the supreme power but holds position as a mere ceremonial organ. In this regard the constitutional draft privately published the other day is thoroughgoing in clarifying the point of upholding the Emperor system under democracy.
SHIGA: We communists by no means demand that a referendum be put into practice at once. Referendum is necessary for a Constitutional revision, but the revision should not be undertaken at the beginning of a revolution, as now; it is always done in any country as a final settlement of accounts, taking all the powers in a certain state of affairs into consideration.
Accordingly, the attempts by Prince KONOYE or Minister without Portfolio MATSUMOTO can be viewed as attempts to complete the revision before the people's power becomes too strong. As it is, if the matter be put before the referendum just now the result would be as wished for by those who cling to undemocratic privileges they now enjoy. Recently even the smallest underlings in a certain government office known as most reactionary, have been urging a referendum because they think they nay have their own way in a referendum at present.
MIZUTANI: Since the question of referendum has been brought forward I think the people must execute it at a proper opportunity to give a correct judgement on the question of the Emperor system, otherwise a referendum will have no sense. The revision of the Constitution, undertaken even now, will be like that of the Control System. I suppose in the revised Constitution such a provision like that of Art 73 that no revision of the Constitution can be made without the Emperor's initiative will perhaps be deleted. So, if they want to revise it now, let them do so and if we find it not thorough enough we can completely overhaul it in the most democratic manner when we have real political power. Mr. SHIGA'S view is right in a way, but viewed from other angles the Constitution may be revised as many times as deemed proper.
SHIGA: They are making constant changes in FRANCE, as if we make a revision now I am sure we will have to make change again in the future.
MIZUTANI: At a recent round-table conference at the Industrial Bank where about 10 ladies were present, the main questions were those of food, the Emperor system, and relation between the Social Democrats and Communists. Serious questions were asked by young ladies of 21 or 22 fresh from girls' schools regarding the Enperor System. It made me think that, though I have different views than Mr. SHIGA, even viewed from the point of protecting the Emperor System or the Emperor himself, we cannot deal properly with the question unless we take up an entirely new standpoint, quite different from that of "clarifying the polity", as has hitherto been said.
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HomePress translations [Japan]. Political Series 0168, 1946-01-11.
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