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Press translations [Japan]. Political Series 0198, 1946-01-18.
Supreme Commander for The Allied Powers. Allied Translator and Interpreter Section.

translation-number: political-0820

call-number: DS801 .S85

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No. 820 Date: 18 Jan 46


ITEM 1 "The Truth about the Surrender"; Cabinet Secretary Sekomizu, Hisatsune's Diary, Part 4 - Asahi Shimbun - 17 January 1946. Translator: Paasche.
The deliberations in the Emperor's presence were ceremonies more than anything else. There had been evolved a peculiar style of presenting decisions by the Government to His Majesty. What the participants had to say was agreed upon beforehand and stated, according to schedule, whereupon the chairman announced the inevitable unanimity. His Majesty almost never interfered in the proceedings. Formerly, I had often noticed that those in charge of such meetings were concerned about how they could make the proceedings more realistic, but during this fateful session there were definitely divergent views. From beginning to end there was high tension because everybody expressed his opinions frankly, so this council had at last become the real thing. The Emperor listened attentively. It was the dead of night, but he showed no signs of fatigue. Tears were rushing into my eyes when I watched his anxious face. Apart from the Premier, six men attended the meeting. It had by then reached 0200 of the following morning (10 August), but no unanimity was reached, with the Council divided into two differing groups of three. Thereupon, the Premier stated that the matter brooked no delay; and that he now requested an Imperial decision.
It was pathetic to see the old Premier humbly bowing before the young Emperor. The Emperor then said he was in agreement with the Foreign minister, comparing our strength with that of the other countries it was useless to continue the war. The unbearable had to be faced, to spare untold woe to JAPAN and humanity. The war had shown that there was a big gap between what the Army had planned and what it had actually accomplished, and this would again become evident if the war vas continued. This meant that the POTSDAM Declaration had been accepted unconditionally. The final word had been spoken. The whole thing was so unprecedented that one felt overcome by emotion.
The Cabinet met at once to pass a decision in accordance with the Emperor's statement. At 0700 on 10 August we notified the Allies of our acceptance of the POTSWAM terms, adding that we understood these terms were not to include a change in the Emperor's right to rule the country, and we asked for confirmation of this interpretation. In our first draft, we had written: "a change in the position of the Emperor according to Japanese law", which the Allies would have understood more easily. The formal Allied answer came on the morning of 13 August, but we had been aware of its approximate contents owing to an American broadcast of 12 August. Since the formal reply had to be awaited, the deliberations ended without result. We gathered from American broadcasts that our attitude was resulting in diffidence, so we radioed through DOMEI News Agency that we had not received a form reply. This drew a strong protest from the Army.

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POLITICAL SERIES: 198 (Continued)
ITEM 2 The Emperor System in the Constitution Will be Criticized by the People at the General Election - Asahi Snimbun - 17 January 1946. Translator: R. Ochiai.
The general election and the revision of the Constitution are the problems to which the reorganized SHIDEHARA Cabinet is devoting itself. It has already begun to draft its revision bill with MATSUMOTO, Minister without Portfolio, as its leader. Do the people know that this bill is to be considered at the next session of the Diet by the new representatives? The coming election, therefore, is very important. It is to be remarked that it is directly connected with the great national task of reforming the Constitution, and the most serious question is, of course, the problem of the Emperor system.
This problem ought to be taken up, first of all, for the purpose of democratizing the country and because the Allies have left the decision on the matter dependent on the people's will. As it is our duty to settle the problem, everyone must form his own opinion and express it by his vote. A political party, therefore, is required to make this point clear.
Let us examine the attitude of the parties. The Communist Party, the only one against the TENNO system, expressed the opinion that the retention of the Imperial Family should be decided by the people's will. On the contrary, the Progressive and the Liberal Parties clearly support the TEMO system, while the Social democratic Party also advocates its existence, though desirous of diminishing the Emperor's soverign power.
Then under what conditions can the Emperor system continue to exist if it is allowed to remain?
Since the absolute authority of the Emperor has already ceased to exist by virtue of MacARTHUR's directive, the system ought to be changed or made democratic, if it continues to exist.
There are two opinions concerning the democratization of the system, one made by the Constitution Revision Committee and the other made by the Society for Research into the Constitution. The farmer, with MATSUMOTO, Minister without Portfolio, and Dr. MINOBE as its leaders, states that democracy does not mean the people's soverignty, but rather a rule based on a monarch's democratic policies. The latter asserts that the sovereignty lies in the people's hands. Generally speaking, the conception of democracy is very obscure in the minds of the Cabinet. It is even said that democracy can be realized without revising the Constitution. It is most urgent for the Government and political parties to proclaim their precise views.
ITEM 3 Local Governors Assume Highest Authority in Probing Candidates - Tokyo Shimbun - 17 January 1946. Translator: K. Onishi.
Full Translation:
It was decided, for the time being, that the general election under the new Election Law would be carried out after 15 March. The only thing left is the enactment of formulae for restricting candidates in accordance with the SCAP directive of 4 January. Needless to say, candidates' reports can be filed as soon as the election date is announced Those recommending the candidates must prepare papers to certify that the candidates in question do not fall within the purview of the directive and the candidates must present these to the election heads (local governors) to be verified. When the report is thus formally accepted, the candidacy is certified as eligible.
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POLITICAL SERIES: 198 (Continued)
ITEM 3 (Continued)
To make the matter clear, we worked out the following questions and answers with the Home Ministry authorities:
Q. What is the method of limiting candidates?
A. It will be promulgated in a single Imperial Ordinance together with the purge of governmental and public officials. There will be no alternative but to resort to means other than Imperial Ordinance; that is, we will have to resort to a Cabinet announcement or Prime Minister's announcement instructing the local governors not to accept applications of certain men. However, the exact method has not yet been decided.
Q. Isn't recognition a very difficult task? In fact, how are we to ascertain the standard by which we can decide, for the time being, whether one is affected or not?
A. "It is not yet definitely decided, but I think the understanding of the basis of limitation is rather easier than is generally thought. According to the directive, professional military personnel, influential elements of the Imperial Rule assistance Association, Imperial Rule Assistance Political Association, JAPAN Political Association and right wing bodies are, of curse, not qualified.
Since their chief officials are also clearly known, they cannot stand as candidates. Mere members of these associations are not necessarily affected. Nevertheless, these elements who are considered to have advocated the so-called militaristic super-nationalistic ideas since the "Manchurian Affair" are certainly effected, whether they belong to political bodies, or not.
Therefore, it is necessary to prepare questionnaires showing the applicant's past activities and scrutinizing it. The form is shown in the directive, and the person in question is ordered to explain in detail what discussions or publications he made, what sort of public speeches he delivered, and the number of listeners, and so forth. In practice, candidates are usually fairly well known in their own localities, and at most, depend upon themselves.
The report for candidacy must accompany the certificate showing that 'I am not affected,' and, as they are locally influential men, I think they can judge their own cases by themselves."
Q. What will result if one files a false report of one's past career?
A. As is clearly shown in the directive, this will be subject to heavy punishment and, besides, such a false report will not be accepted by the election head, or if accepted by mistake and the candidate is elected, it will be nullified and the individual will be punished.
Q. Then there must be a sufficient interval between the day of the government's announcement of the details of candidacy and that of the notice of the day of election. Do you agree with this?
A. That is the reason why the Government should hasten the preparation of the details so that the people in general may have sufficient time to discern by themselves whether the candidates referred to are affected or not. As the day of election has been fixed after 15 March, the final details should be decided with the least delay.
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POLITICAL SERIES: 198 (Continued)
ITEM 3 (Continued)
Q. Can a third party raise objection to one's candidacy after the election head has accepted one's report?
A. "The election Head's acceptance of a report means, by his authority the Government's supreme recognition of the report. In consequence, when the report is once accepted by the local governor no third party is allowed to raise objection to it, nor can it constitute a clause for a suit to nullify the candidate's success in the election.
ITEM 4 The Social Democratic Party Believes Socialization is Possible if the Emperor's Sovereignty is Reduced - Yomiuri Hochi Shimbun - 17 January 1946. Translator: N. Tachibana.
At the central executive committee meeting of the Social Democratic Party on 16 January Mr. HARA, speaker on the Emperor system, was absent, so Chief Secretary KATAYAMA himself, handing over his chairmanship to Mr. MATSUMOTO, Jiichiro, spoke on the same problem, as follows:
"Considering the present condition of JAPAN, her history, and the people's feelings, it is the question of the day whether to reduce the Emperor's sovereignty to a great extent and sweep away the feudalistic remnants surrounding him. I think the people will consent if a part of the Emperor's sovereignty remains in his ceremonial role in international relations, or in his formal bestowal of the reins of Government on the major party of the Diet, and if the greater part of sovereignty belongs to the Diet.
"I believe it possible to carry out socialistic policies under an Emperor system. We do not devote ourselves to protect or maintain the Emperor system, because we substantially restrict the Emperor's sovereignty to a great extent."
Mr. OSAWA, Hisaaki, representative for AOMORI, asked: "Such vague forms as reduction of the Emperor's sovereignty to a large extent exerts much influence over the people. What do you think about saying that sovereignty belongs to the people, and deciding, by votes of the people, whether the Emperor system should be abolished or maintained? I think you had better revise your explanation in this way".
Then Mr. ONO, Shunichi, representative for TOKYO, expressed his opinion: "The republican system is the only way to reconstruct JAPAN, and a decision on that system will make the Imperial Family happy".
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HomePress translations [Japan]. Political Series 0198, 1946-01-18.
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