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Press translations [Japan]. Political Series 0228, 1946-01-26.
Supreme Commander for The Allied Powers. Allied Translator and Interpreter Section.

translation-number: political-0944

call-number: DS801 .S85

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No. 944 Date: 26 Jan 46


ITEM 1 Problems of a Democratic popular Front-Measures For Starvation, and Democratization of Profectural Administration Mimpo - 24 Jan 46. Translator: R. Ochiai.
Full Translation:
Though improvement of the rationing system and acceleration of the system of KYOSHITSU (To Selling to the Government at a fixed price) are thought to be the most effectual measures for solving the food shortage, other measures have been already adopted by the people such as establishing a democratic confederacy, a citizens' association, a democratic society and a union to improve the standard of living. They are going to hold one local conference, therefore, co-operative societies or public societies have already been established in some prefectures. Though quite different in their form and organization, they all seek the same objective.
While each city is trying to solve the food problem by democratizing prefectural politics, economics and culture by means of a popular front, it is also establishing its own comprehensive and independent co-operative association. We can learn much on these lines from studying the people's conference for protecting the standard of living in CHIBA.
There was once a very simple idea prevailing which considered the solution to the food problem and inflation would be the uniting of labor unions and farmers' associations in order to effect the exchange of goods between them. This idea, however, comes from an ignorance of the fact that the present economic system is firmly based on currency and that it is organically formed from local units which engage in specialization. This ignorance of the working of the organization also applies to the collective black market trade carried on by the army and munitions factories during the war, though they are fundamentally different.
If a local association and a street association, which participate in rationing commodities to towns people, are democratized and operated by the people, some of our difficulties would surely be overcome. However, what a pity it is that the leaders of economic administration in a city or in a country have no plan at all for food rationing. Though we are now in a transition stage, if an administration committee for food is established by the delegates of democratic organizations, we can expect a fair ration, and "free trade" so that high black-market prices will be controlled and a citizen will be taught to participate positively in the movement of a co-operative society. And, if this committee, closely examining the stock of goods of the people, condemns malpractices, especially those of war criminals, and uses these stocks for emergency, that will help citizens out of the crisis of starvation. If we go further, and systematically distribute the necessities of life to farmers, they will be sure to sell their crops to the Government.

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POLITICAL SERIES: 228 (Continued)
ITEM 1 (Continued)
Although such a development is indivisibly connected with a thorough democratization of the municipal or local government, no political party has ever brought this problem up for discussion, immediately on the re-election of the members of a prefectural assembly or at a public election of governors. This is because a reactionary power does not want such a revolution and only wants to maintain the status quo, while on the other hand, the progressive elements that are capable of inciting a revolution do not catch the people's tendency, namely, by passing over the problem of the democratization. of local self-governing bodies, they have tried to form just the opposite sort of organization.
For instance, we were not sure whether the so-called "people's comference" is the organization of a local popular front, or only a food administrative organ Neither do we know clearly what administrative body exists as a committee to administer, food and whether a farmers’ committee has been established. Although most people are apt to think that they are members of a new political power which has taken the place of a farmer local conference, they are in fact, of a different political organization from that of a prefectural assembly.
For many other reasons, the people's democratic effort has not been organized yet. In order to make up the strong power, while every democratic party should participate, we should, at the same time, dissolve a prefectural or town assembly, appoint a mayer or a town headman by official election and by completely democratizing a prefectural administration, we should take strict and constructive. measures to solve the food problem. We hope the popular front will be organized with this objective.
ITEM 2 The Prime Minister's Replies Reveal his Lack of Confidence in Disposal of Current Important Questions - Yomiuri Hochi - 24 Jan 46. Translator: K. Onishi.
Full Translation:
After demanding that the Cabinet be reorganized amid loud clamors for its wholesale resignation, the Prime Minister Baron SHIDEHARA, recovered from his illness, attended his office on 21 January. In order to inquire into his policy and plan for coping with the political and economic situations in the future, the pressmen of the Cabinet had a 40 minute interview with him on the 23rd and after presenting him with the following six questions obtained the following answers. The pressmen asked about: 1. His decision to reorganize the Cabinet. 2. Measures to tide over the food crisis, 3. The problem of Constitutional Perform. 4. The scope and time for reforming the House of Peers. 5. The date of the general election, 6. The economic policies surrounding the problem of inflation.
Throughout these six questions covering the important problems of the time, the Prime Minister's replies were ambiguous as seen in the following summaries. The pressmen asked again, "Have you any positive prospect of success in overcoming the economic crisis and in the stabilization of the people's living?" but the prime Minister only replied "We will try our best," and no hint of any positive prospect of success or confidence in it could be obtained from him.
Overcoming the Crisis by Nation-wide Efforts.
Question; "What is the Prime Minister's policy at the beginning of the reorganized Cabinet?"
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POLITICAL SERIES: 228 (Continued)
ITEM 2 (Continued)
Answer; "There is a huge accumulation of problems calling for urgent solution, but they converge in the stabilization of living in the long run. The Government is now making its best endeavor, but it is impossible to solve the problem by Government's efforts alone; the people also should unanimously be willing to co-operate with the Government. I believe a way to stabilize living will naturally be opened, if the people strive for this great object, to benefit the whole nation. To advance towards this great aim is my own aim at the beginning of the new Cabinet. I think that I am bound to give my cooperation not for the sake of myself or the Government, but for the sake of my love of my fellow-countrymen. Especially I notice the existence of a state of post-war aparting among Government officials and among some of the people. First of all, the Goverment officials must stir themselves to break through the present difficuties."
Strong Measures for the sake of People.
Questions "Compulsory food control is now rousing repercussions in every quarter and it is looming large as a political problem. What is the Government's view?"
Answer; "Some people desire an early grant by SCAP's of an import permit for rice and grains so that we may get an ample supply of food without arguing for 2.1 go or 2.3 go, but such a depend-on-others way of thinking is not only dangerous but impracticable. After Japan has made every possible effort and still is found faced with starvation for want of rice, the Allied Forces will not abandon us. On the other hand, however, I regret to find some people are losing by their willingness to supply rice while other are gaining by withholding the supply of rice and selling it on the black-market. This is not a healthy condition. The cry for introduction of strong judicial measures for the purpose of insuring fair allotments should be raised rather by the consumers. Its smooth operations can be expected only when this is the desire of the people and not of the Government. In conclusion, the introduction of strong measures is not for the sake of the Government but for the purpose of the subsistence of the whole nation."
Special Session to discuss Constitutional Reform Bill.
Question; "Is there no difference between the Reform Bill, now studied by the group of the state Minister without portfolio MATSUMOTO and that which you have under contemplation. When will the Imperial-proposal for Reform be issued? And, what is your opinion about the Emperor system?"
Answer; "Regarding the Constitutional Reform the Constitutional Reform Investigation Comittee surrounding the State Minister MATSUMOTO has made fair progress in drafting the bill of reform. I have heard of the State Minister MATSUMCTO's bill which may be said to be the expression of his personal feeling, but I also want to study some points, and intend to make further studies jointly with the State Minister MATSUMCTO and other committees. The time for asking for an Imperial proposal cannot be predicted in the present state, but at some opportune time I want to make informal inquiries about his intention. For my part, I desire the bill discussed at the special session of the Diet. Regarding the problem of the emperor system, I myself want to maintain the constitutional monarchy by all means. Of course, it may be necessary to take into account many considerations in carrying out national policies, but I cannot imagine adoption of a republic by totally up setting our national philosophy. I believe almost all of our people agree with me on this point. I think there are some points in the present Constitution requiring reform in order to carry out national policies."
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POLITICAL SERIES: 228 (Continued)
ITEM 2 (Continued)
Abolition of peerage System not Intended.
Question: "What has become of the bill of reforming the House of peers? Will it be presented at the Special Session? In further connection with this, are you thinking of the abolition of the membership by Imperial families and titled nobilities and total abolition of the peerage System etc.?"
Answer: "As an interim measure before constitutional reform, the Government prepared a bill for the reform of the House of Peers, but the situation has changed and it must be studied again from a new stand point. First must come the Constitutional Reform Bill and then the House of Peers Reform Bill based on it. This is the natural order of things, and the Government has not yet drafted the bill. As for the membership by imperial families and peers, it is stipulated in the Constitution. Supposing it is omitted in the reform bill, it is not yet decided as to how it can be legally expressed in the reform bill for the House of Peers. I have no intention of abolishing the peers' system, only. We find some points requiring revision and they are now being studied."
Resignation after general Election undecided.
Question: "What is the date of general election?"
Answer: "It is not yet decided. We are expediting preparations to carry it out as early as possible after March 15."
Question: "Is the present Cabinet preparing for the Special Session of the Diet after the general election? Will the Cabinet hand over the reins of government in case a majority party is returned by the people's support?"
Answer: "What kind of men would constitute the majority party is beyond surmise now. Therefore there is no other way but to judge the matter according to what actually turned out. As for me, I am no blind clinger to the government, and am quite willing to hand it over to anyone who could accept it with full responsibility. I hope such a person may appear at the curliest possible date."
Question: "What are the Government's economic counter-measures for the future?"
Answer: "How to dispose of inflation is a pressing question. The economic State Ministers are now doing their best to study this. As a citizen of Japan, I intend to do all that I can in order to prevent such a horrible state as is seen in Germany. I think we must tide over the crisis by doing our level best."
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HomePress translations [Japan]. Political Series 0228, 1946-01-26.
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