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Press translations [Japan]. Political Series 0242, 1946-01-29.
Supreme Commander for The Allied Powers. Allied Translator and Interpreter Section.

translation-number: political-1003

call-number: DS801 .S85

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No. 1003 Date: 29 Jan 46


ITEM 1. Adoption of a System to Elect Premiers Plan in the Improvement of the Constitution - Magazine Toyo Keizai Shimpo 19 Jan 46. Translators: Asaka. Kawata.
Full Translation
The method employed in choosing the cabinet of our country, is a procedure by which the Emperor nominates the premier, and the premier, in turn, selects his cabinet members and requests their direct Imperial appointment.
The constitution is to be amended in the near future, but what is to be done about this process? Whether this amendment will make changes in the characteristics of the cabinet and politics in the future is an extremely important problem, but at present no discussions concerning this problem have been heard. If, however, this new constitution acknowledges the cabinet system, in the future there will probably appear a party cabinet, like ENGLAND's in JAPAN.
Ever since the MEIJI Restoration, people believing in democratic principles in this country have been waiting hopefully for the realization of such a cabinet. For eight years, from June 1924, when Premier KATO, Komei, of the KENSEI KAI (TN Became the MINSEITO) established a cabinet composed of representatives from three political parties (YOKEN SAMPA HAIKAKU), until May 1932, when Premier INUKAI of the SEI YU KAI (political party) was assassinated, it seemed as though the hopes of these people were fulfilled.
However, can we say that the English-styled party cabinet system would really be the most suitable type for JAPAN? Up to the present, the democratic elements of JAPAN held the English form of government as the ideal and model. Historically, this was proper. However, the editor thinks that JAPAN has a lot learn about the cabinet system of the UNITED STATES.
The cabinet system of ENGLAND is well known. A member of either the House of Lords or the House of Commons, who is also the leader of some political party, are usually appointed prime minister by the King. (Since 1902 it has become a practice to choose him from the House of Commons). As a principle, the prime minister selects the ministers of his cabinet from both Houses, and the King appoints them.
The cabinet system of ENGLAND does not differ from JAPAN'S except for these two factors: In JAPAN, the premier and his cabinet are not necessarily members of the Diet, nor is the premier given his responsibility because of his leadership in some political party. Even in ENGLAND, although it happens only rarely, there are times when ministers, who do not have seats in the assembly of either House, are appointed.

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POLITICAL SERIES: 242 (Continued)
ITEM 1 (Continued)
If the new constitution does not establish a special regulation covering this point of premiership, and our Government becomes democratized the writer thinks that as the power of the Diet increases, it will inevitably [illegible]into a English-style party cabinet.
However this type of cabinet, which was established in ENGLAND was formed [illegible]through the years. It is not certain that our country, which does not gave ENGLAND's experience, can duplicate her cabinet, system ad expect the harmonious results of a democratic government. The writer has misgivings as to whet[illegible]this can be carried out
First there is no political party at the present time to which we can entrust the administration of the Nation without anxiety. In the general [illegible]this time. We cannot tell which party will receive the [illegible]of the votes, but most of the political parties jack steadfast leaders [illegible]when a political party obtains the majority of the [illegible]will be appointed premier?
Second, in the case of political party disagreeing within itself and dividing if we have the English form of party cabinet, we cannot count on the stability of the Government. In the present condition of our country the fear of such a split in the parties is very great.
Third, men of fine character and ability are not always elected to the seats in the Diet. The limiting of cabinet members to Diet members only .fill result in keeping many talented men from participating in Government affairs.
Fourth, the possession of a seat in the Diet as a necessary qualification; to hold ministerial positions or Government officer in general causes the dist[illegible]between legislation end administration to become weak, There will be fear that the Diet would forget its fundamental duties, lower its dignity and political disputes more bitter.
As we [illegible]upon all the above mentioned points, can see that, even though the English type of party cabinet system is successful in ENGLAND, to does not necessarily follow that the system is perfect. If we were to try to make the plan succeed, without depending upon years of experience we must depend simply upon the merits of the system alone. What really catches the attention of the editor is the election of the president and vice-president in the UNITED STATES and the method of the organization of Government
The nature of the presidential office in the UNITED STATES naturally differs to some extent from that of the premier ship in JAPAN However, there is no reason why we cannot decide the premiership by election, as Americans do their presidents. The editor is of the opinion that it would be better in JAPAN to have both a premier and a vice-premier chosen by a direct election and have the Emperor appoint these Victorian candidates. The terms of the premier and vice-premier should be about four years, and if, during their term, they should commit some offense against the Government the Diet should, under a fixed regulation, impeach them and submit their dismissals to the Emperor.
Of course, full particulars of such procedures must be determined in the constitution. The vice-premier, as the vice-president in the UNITED STATES, is the person to take the office of the premier should the latter die or retire during his term in office, but at present it is necessary to form a plan as to what kind of position the vice-premier will have.
Thus the appointed premier will select his cabinet members, and request their imperial appointment. However, a cabinet member should not necessarily be a member of either of the Houses; for example, it would be better for a person when he is selected from the Diet, to lose his
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POLITICAL SERIES: 242 (Continued)
ITEM 1 (Continued)
rights as a Diet member at the same time he gains his rights as a cabinet member. In AMERICA, the administrating officers selected by the president cannot hold seats in the senate or House Representatives during his term. It is said that this is done as a precautionary measure against political corruption. The editor thinks that if such a plan were established it would attain good results.
Recently, the discussions on the amendment of the constitution show a concentration on the principal problem of whether the power of the Emperor should be limited or whether the Imperial system should exist at all. The editor thinks that this problem, as mentioned, before can be settled at once if we adopt a system of determining the premier by election.
For example, as the Communist say, if we were to abolish the Imperial system, we would probably change to a presidential system in which the people elect their leader. If this were so, this objective would be reached by electing the premier. Again there are those who advocate maintenance of the Imperial system, but foe I keenly that the political power of the Emperor should be taken away and that he should be placed in a non-responsible position. If we were to do this, the premier would be elected by the people, and the Emperor would be relieved of the responsibility of choosing a premier. However, if the Emperor were to command the people to elect a premier and then formally make an Imperial appointment of the elected person, he would still remain a sovereign and carry out his duty.
Thus, this system of determining the premier by election is a solution in solving the foremost problem of the amendment of the constitution and, at the same time, will give political stability and other good results as mentioned above. Naturally there must be a thorough investigation, but this article is intended to draw the attention of those who are now working on the amendment of the constitution.
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HomePress translations [Japan]. Political Series 0242, 1946-01-29.
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