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Press translations [Japan]. Political Series 0183, 1946-01-15.
Supreme Commander for The Allied Powers. Allied Translator and Interpreter Section.

translation-number: political-0766

call-number: DS801 .S85

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No. 766 Date: 15 Jan 46


ITEM 1 Inside Tips on the Political WorId by "BOKUTO, Sanjin": Magazine; Shinsei Nippon (Semi-Monthly) - 1 Jan 46 Issue. Translator: Echigo, Nakamura and Hasegawa.
Full Translation:
The True Nature of Splits and Coalitions Among
the Various Political Parties
The Failure and Purge of the Diet.
As an inevitable consequence of her defeat, JAPAN faces a political revolution. Thus far, however, this revolution, or democratization, has not progressed very rapidly. For this lack of progress, there are two main reasons: first, the main body of the administration remains in the hands of a bureaucratic Cabinet, which hasn't the ability to carry out a complete democratic revolution in all its political spheres; second, this government does not have the basic political attitude necessary for the achievement of a democratic revolution. When we analyze these two reasons, we see that they may, in fact, be reduced to one basic reason - namely, neither the administration nor politics in general has any real roots among the people. Though it has been entrusted with the task of carrying out great revolutionary reforms, the organization of the Diet remains essentially unchanged. As such, it cannot possibly form the nucleus of a new political system.
It is true, of course, that new political parties are being formed. For the most part, however, their "newness" is only a surface change; the old parliamentary influences were broken up only to be revived again. To what extent, for instance, are any of the three major parties - the Social-Democrats, the Liberals, and the Progressives, prepared to assume their responsibility for the war, and where among them can we distinguish anything genuinely original? Basically their weakness lies in their unwillingness to assume their share of war responsibility and then failure to purge the Diet.
With the termination of the war, Diet members who were obliged to remain silent during the war began to discuss purges in the Diet. HATOYAMA, Ichiro and ASHIDA, Hitoshi, together with SAITO, Takae, KAWASAKI, Katsu, ICHIMIYA, Fusajiro, and others of MINSEITO extraction, began to carry on discussions with parliamentarians who had no special affiliations with the TOJO Cabinet during the war. Their object was the establishment of a new party and providing the motivation for a Diet purge. Going one step further, ASHIDA proposed to cooperate with KATAYAMA, Totsu, HARA and others of the Social-Democratic Party. Moreover, he invited liberal scholars to assist in the formation of a progressive new party. However, when the new party was at last organized, all of them betrayed their old parliamentary characteristics.

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POLITICAL SERIES: 183 (Continued)
ITEM 1 (Continued)
During the war, KATAYAMA and HARA had frequently held meetings at ASHIDA's home in Kamakura and had been on friendly terms with him. When the Social Mass Party was restored, however, they could not agree on the formation of a new party with HATOYAMA and ASHIDA. They said that they were willing to cooperate politically as individuals, but that they felt they must draw a line between public and private affairs, and so declined ASHIDA's proposal.
Soon the newly organized party of HATOYAMA and ASHIDA, augmented by ANDO, Masazumi, MATSUNO, Tsuruhei; and KONO, Ichiro indicated its intention to form a new cabinet with HATOYAMA as its head. At this point, SAITO, KAWASAKI, ICHIMIYA and others of the MINSEITO, who had been keeping in step with the rest, decided to break off relations. Their pride as old party men made the thought of becoming followers of HATOYAMA distasteful, and they said they could not serve under him. Furthermore, HATOYAMA himself, flattered by KONO and his followers, began to fancy himself as the one hope for building a new Japan and thus lost his leadership as a motivating power to purge the Diet. For this reason, the self imposed purge of the Diet was not carried out.
After this failure when, both at home and abroad, the investigation of war criminals reached its height, a move to clarify the question of war responsibility took shape in the special Diet session. Due to the fact that among the three political parties, however, not one was convinced that it shared in war guilt, the Diet's attitude could not have been other than non-committal.
Internal Condition of the Social-Democratic Party.
In the process of the development of militaristic government, the proletarian parties were the ones that suffered most severe suppression. Not only the militarists but the reactionary cabinets, as well, were antagonistic, and persecuted them mercilessly. As a result, left wing proletarian parties tinged with socialistic principles had no alternative but to continue their activities underground. The only lawful proletarian party, the Social Mass Party, which managed to survive until the dissolution of political parties following the founding of KONOE's new political movement, remained an advocate of a very diluted form of Socialism.
As a result of the defeat and the influence of the SCAP directives, the proletarian parties had the opportunity to resume their activities without any fear of suppression. Although they have been able to come forward freely and independently, they have been confronted with serious difficulties. The old proletarian parties based on workers and farmers were entirely destroyed, and the new groups had no alternative but to organize a single party through the unification of all proletarian influences. However, now that this party has been organized, it is certain that farm and labor unions will be organized during the coming general election, and that this will inevitably result in differences of opinion within the party.
In the past, we know that proletarian parties held sharply divergent views, and that internal disagreements frequently arose. In addition, parties were dissolved from time to time to revise their organization. Already, the Japanese Social Democratic Party reveals signs of dissension: the fact that the party was made up of a union of old parties became apparent in the process of organization.
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POLITICAL SERIES: 183 (Continued)
ITEM 1 (Continued)
In this unification of old proletarian parties, it is said that three principal powers are united. The first of these groups is made up of NISHIO, Suehiro, KATAYAMA, Tetsu, MATSUOKA, Komakichi, MATSUMOTO, Juichiro, MIZUTANI, Chozaburo, and HIRANO, Rikizo, all of whom came from the old Social Mass Party. The second group consists of KONO, Mitsu, KAWAKAMI, Iyotaro, and others from the Japanese Labor Party. The third group is made up of KATO, Kanju and SUZUKI, Mozaburo.
The first disagreement which arose in the new party conceived (l) the presidency of the party; and (2) the admission of ARIMA, Rainei to membership. MIYAKE, KONO, and KAWAKAMI, who had come from the Japanese Labor Party, attempted at first to make ARIMA their president; in the face of opposition from those who had come from the Social Mass Party, however, they were forced to give up the project as impossible. They thereupon changed their strategy and proposed a compromise upon which all groups might agree. Namely, the party be run by a committee made up of four members - the three elders ABE; KAGAWA; and TAKANO with ARIMA as the fourth member.
At the meeting at which this proposal was discussed, MIYAKE is reported to have said, "I am under an obligation to ARIMA and FUNADA, and therefore would like to have these two men admitted to the party." Generally speaking, ARIMA and FUNADA cannot be regarded as socialists; consequently, those who had come from the Social Mass Party, basing their objections on purely theoretical grounds, opposed the above-mentioned proposal. The fact is that ARIMA and his followers seemed to have assumed that the party they were creating was not a socialist party, but a workers' party, to be organized on the same pattern as that of the Industrial Association and the Industrial Patriotic Association. When this intention became apparent, both those who had come from the Social Mass Party and the group composed of KATO and SUZUKI opposed ARIMA so strongly that he, as well as MIYAKE and his colleagues, had to abandon the idea of joining the new party. In the end, then, the Social-Democratic Party organization consisted only of members from the old proletarian parties. The problem of ARIMA's admission to the party, however, revealed the limited scope of the Social-Democrats' political consciousness.
The proletarian parties are characterized mainly by the clarity of their ideas and theories. In its platform, of course, the Social Democratic Party states: "We propose to abolish capitalism, to carry out socialism, and to improve the welfare and livelihood of the people." In the light of the limited political consciousness indicated above, however, we may question the party's ability to appeal to the working masses. NISHIO, in his interpellation at the special session of the Lower House, was unable to show any concrete socialistic policies. Nevertheless, the platform of the Social-Democrats is the only one advocating socialism. If the party is to insure our national livelihood by coping with the problems of food and unemployment, it must boldly advocate a socialistic system and a planned economy. If it fails to do so, its platform is only a superficial one.
The uncertain attitude taken by the Social-Democratic Party about the relationship between the Emperor System and politics, a relationship upon which the evolution of Japan into a democratic nation so heavily depends, will remain the weak point of the proletarian groups. Theoretically, they advocate putting the sovereignty into the hands of the people. Practically, they advocate the maintenance of the Emperor System. In this case, evidently, they must discover a political theory by which the two systems may be harmonized. They
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POLITICAL SERIES: 183 (Continued)
ITEM 1 (Continued)
must also take up the problem of revising the Constitution. It seems, however, that the Social Democrats are having considerable difficulty in finding a solution. If they were to put this problem aside, their party would be criticized by the Communists, who advocate the abolition of the Emperor System. Furthermore, if the many Japanese Communists who are in Yenan, China and Soviet Russia return to Japan, they will violently critize and attack the Social-Democrats. If it is to secure any stability as a socialist party, it is evident that the Japanese Social-Democratic Party must undergo drastic changes.
The Weakness of the Liberal Party
It appeared at first that the formation of the Liberal Party was progressing smoothly, and that men of similar opinions were gathering around President HATOYAMA., Ichiro. Indeed, one of the Liberal Party's strong points is that its members share a strong hope of forcing a HATOYAMA Cabinet; in reality, however, the party is a mixture of men of all different sorts. As for HATOYAMA, his purpose is to collect men of talent from all strata of society. He frequently declared that the number of his members who returned to the Diet vas not his concern, but that he wanted only new members with democratic views. HATOYAMA, himself, has not proved to be a very popular person. Many members gave up the idea of joining the Liberal Party, because HATOYAMA was to be their leader. OZAKI, the veteran politician, though an old member, refused to be enlisted in the party because political ambitions involved in the presidency of HATOYAMA were abhorrent to him.
When HATOYAMA came to organize his party, in spite of his repeated declarations to the contrary, the number of members had an irresistible attraction for him. Finally he lay aside his long-cherished ideal altogether, and threw open the door to all who wished to join. By so doing, he managed to rake together 45 members of the Diet. Now, however, his party necessarily included war crime suspects, and so it came to lose much of the originality and genuineness which he had prized so highly. This fact more than anything else constitutes the weakness of his party.
From the viewpoint of their policies and characteristics, there is little to choose between the Liberal and the Progressive Party. The only difference lies in the fact that the former is headed by HATOYAMA, who kept his silence and remained an observer during the war. Therefore, the character of the Liberal Party means, in fact, the character of HATOYAMA himself. His character as a statesman has something in common with that of KONOE in that both of them are blessed with the perspicacity peculiar to men of noble birth. However, he is cursed with the naivete, and gullibility of putting, faith in those who fawn on him and talk mellifluently of the "HATOYAMA Cabinet". His perspicacity is evident in his speeches.
The interpellation speech HATOYAMA delivered extemporaneously in the last special session of the Diet was worthy of a man of presidential caliber. And yet his speech indicated but abstractly a pacifistic world outlook and the direction in which a democratic Japan is to march. More than perspicacity and oratory are expected of a statesman. The man who leads our democratic revolution must have statesmanship to decide the course of the revolution. The lack of statesmanship constitutes a serious drawback in the Liberal Party as well as in HATOYAMA himself. For example, he contrived to appoint his close friend KONO, Ichiro to the post of the chief secretary - a stop which greatly disturbed MATSUNO, Tsuruhei; NAROZAKI, Wataru; and others. If this tendency to choose just his friends continues, it
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POLITICAL SERIES: 183 (Continued)
ITEM 1 (Continued)
will not only stir up discontent, but will seriously hinder the growth of the Liberal Party. At the present time such apprehensions are becoming increasingly apparent. What is of paramount importance is that HATOYAMA should have the faith and courage to shake off his political ambitions and his egotism, and devote himself to the cause of our democratic revolution.
The Deception of the Progressive Party.
There is no party so incongruously named and so politically deceiving as the Japanese Progressive Party. It is a new party in name only. In reality, the Progressives have acted the chameleon by simply changing their name from the "Imperial Rule Assistance Association" to the "Japanese Progressive Party". When we look at the facts, we see that leaders of the Imperial Rule Assistance Association, which became the Japan Political Society, carried on intensive underhanded activities and, in the end, succeeded in establishing this "new" party.
If we go into detail, we see that ASHIDA and others of the Liberal Party, together with SAITO; KALASAKI; and ICHIMIYA of the MINSEITO, aimed at establishing a new party; failing in this, they started a move to purge the MINSEITO, and persuaded NAKAJIMA and his faction of the SEIYUKAI to form, for the time being, a new party consisting of parliamentarians who were not tinged with war-guilt. OASA, Tadao and his faction were the target of the purge in the MINSEITO. They were opposed primarily because of the fact that, during the transformation of the Imperial Rule Assistance Party into the Japan Political Society, OASA co-operated with the TOJO military clique, and despotically monopolized the choice of administrative officials, the management of the Diet and the like.
Those conducting the purge reasoned something like this: "We should like to reject OASA and MIYOSHI, Hideyuki. However, certain of their followers - NODA, Takeo; NAKAMURA, Umekichi; and ITO, Goro - are outstanding figures, and should be left alone." Seeing this, OASA called on MACHIDA, Chuji and pleaded not to be excluded. When the question of a president for the new party was discussed among the members of the former MINSEITO who advocated this reform, IKEDA, Hideo suggested General UGAKI, KAWASAKI, Katsu explained that UGAKI already had his own faction and had intentions of running for president himself. Thus, began the movement for putting UGAKI into the presidency. However, because of his having been affiliated with the military clique, he could not gain the support of all members and the effort terminated without further discussion.
On the other hand, "Group A" of the New Japan Reconstruction Investigation Committee, composed of representatives who had not been elected more than three times, attempted to organize a new party with former members of the Japan Political Society. OASA and others who had formerly held leading positions in the Japan Political Society attempted to take part in this movement. MAEDA, Yonezo, however, consscious of his war-responsibility, seemed inclined to withdraw from political circles and remained completely out of the picture in so far as organizing this new party was concerned.
The new party, organized with former members of the Japan Political Society as its new cleus, could not materialize until it could achieve some kind of unity. Consequently, SHIMADA, Toshio, the Chairman, took the lead and, through the good offices of MACHIDA and NAKAJIMA, the Progressive Party was at last organized.
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POLITICAL SERIES: 183 (Continued)
ITEM 1 (Continued)
As a natural result of the acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration, even this new party is obligated to take up the task of establishing a democratic political system in Japan. In order to do so, it must sweep away the old governing classes that directed the militaristic policies of the past, and must make clear the question of political war responsibility. From this point of view, if we look back upon the wartime period dominated by the Imperial Assistance Rule Association, MAEDA; YAMAZAKI; KAMAMITSU; MIYOSHI; TSUGUMO; TAKEJIMA; and others who had been closely affiliated with the TOJO Cabinet, and who favored on the military clique, and those who tried to defend the TOJO government, must share the war responsibility with the TOJO Cabinet. At any rate, it seems proper that they should decline membership in the new party. Nevertheless, we find that among members of the Progressive Party, OASA; YAMAZAKI; KANAMITSU; and MIYOSHI are prominent figures. NAKAJIMA, Chikuhei, because of the fact that he had co-operated with the financial and military cliques, recognized his war responsibility, refrained from joining the Progressive Party, and seemed inclined to give up the idea of running as a candidate.
The Progressive Party has been organized with both the former MINSEITO group and the former SEIYUKAI1s NAKAJIMA faction as its basic elements. The representative of the NAKAJIMA group is TANABE, Shichiroku. The MINSEITO faction was led by SAITO; ICHINOMIYA; KAWASAKI; and TSURUMI; those who must bear war responsibilities formally withdrew as leaders. Actually, however, those who head this party are little more than puppets. The old leaders remain in the background, but continue to hold great influence in the management of this party. In a word, then, the Progressive Party is a completely camouflaged party. If this party is able to command a majority after the general election, the democratic revolution in Japan cannot even begin. The fact is that the Progressive Party was unified only for the coming general election; later, it will very likely be split because of the differences over the presidency of the party.
In conclusion, not one of the new parties has either the definite policies nor the spirit necessary to take the lead in the democratization of Japan. The essential fact about many of the new parties is that they consist mainly of old members of the Diet, who have repeatedly broken up their groupings and reorganized them in attempts to form new parties, but who have had no real support from the majority of the people. Consequently, the direction these new parties take will be determined largely by the extent to which they are able to gain the support of the people during the coming general election. In any event, these parties must be basically revolutionized under the strict political criticism of the people. Only in this way can the road to the democratization of Japan be opened.
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HomePress translations [Japan]. Political Series 0183, 1946-01-15.
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