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Press translations [Japan]. Political Series 0349, 1946-02-18.
Supreme Commander for The Allied Powers. Allied Translator and Interpreter Section.

translation-number: political-1395

call-number: DS801 .S85

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No. 1395 Date: 18 Feb 46


ITEM 1 The General Election by ABE, Shinnosuke - Magazine: Sunday Mainichi (Weekly) - 20 Jan Issue. Translator: T/E Ikemura & Sugasona.
Why is the general election being held?

The dissolution of the Diet is something which the Diet members brought upon themselves. They deprived the people of freedom and human rights, and approved unquestioningly all military budgets. Thus they gave their full support to JAPAN's war of aggression.

Those facts alone are sufficient to cause the resignation of all the present Diet members, in order to make way for a new democratic Diet, actually, of course, these men were not the true representatives of the people at all. Though elected by the people, the candidates were selected by the government recommendation system which characterized Japanese politics in recent years. The origin of this system can be traced, to the basic belief that the people are incapable of governing themselves and must therefore depend upon the Government for guidance. Fundamentally, it is this paternalistic system which is the cause of the chaos in which we find ourselves.
Diet Reform Problems.

Though the present Diet system conforms to the forms of democracy, it is obvious that the system is fundamentally undemocratic. First, the very fact that the Diet is divided into two parts, the House of peers and the House of Representatives, is itself undemocratic. Why should the House of peers, representing 2000 voters, have the same power as the House of Representatives, which represents 8,000,000 voters? Still another undemocratic characteristic is the fact that women and young men have heretofore been deprived of the right to vote. According to the old election law, only men over 25 had the right to vote; under the new democratic system, women have been given voting rights and the ago requirement has been lowered to 20 years.
Significance of Women's .Suffrage.

There is a popular belief, among most men, that women do not want suffrage, they have no interest in politics, and they do not understand politics. What, we, may ask, have the men accomplished with their voting rights? Their misused votes brought on the corruption of the Diet, and, ultimately, the present catastrophe. Surely, the women can do no worse. It is also said that women's suffrage will destroy the family system in JAPAN. This is a welcome destination compared to that left by the B-29's. Actually, the failure to achieve

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POLITICAL SERIES: 349(Continued)

ITEM 1 (Continued)

true democracy in JAPAN can be traced to this old feudalistic family system. Democracy will never become a reality, under a family system in which the rights and freedom of every member are not fully recognized. Even today women's suffrage discussions invariably bring forth carefully planned instructions for women voters to follow. This sort of thing must cease! It is high time that the Japanese men recognize and understand the significance of women's suffrage and give to women the respect which is their due. Still another objection to women's suffrage is that the women are too busy with their housework to engage in politics. In a way this is true; but if the women desire to escape from their old subservience and achieve equality with men, they must participate in politics and make full use of their new rights.
Electoral System Problem.

Theoretically, enlarged electoral districts should mean a fairer and more democratic electoral system. In its first stop toward reforming the old electoral system, the Government enlarged the districts, so that each prefecture represents on electoral district. In making this change, the Government maintained that enlarged electoral districts would mean that abler men would be elected. Practically speaking, however, present transportation facilities and the high cost of living mean that a good man with poor financial backing will in all probability lose to any man who has sufficient financial backing. An authority on election campaigns estimates the average cost of a campaign at 100,000 yen. A certain war profiteer is said to have 100,000,000 yen for rice, wine, etc., for his campaign. Thus we see that the new electoral system can actually stand in the way of a truly democratic election.
For Whom Shall We Vote?

The surest means of driving out the old influences from the new Diet is to prevent the selection of candidates who represent the old influences. At first glance this sounds very easy; but practically, it is very difficult to see through the many disguises put up by such clever men. MacARTHUR's directive eliminating some of the men as candidates has helped whittle the number down, but there are still a great many bureaucratic members left. The Government alone can reveal the names of those guilty of war responsibilities and of those still subject to the old influences. In view of this fact, the neutral role assumed by the SHIDEHARA Cabinet in this election is a direct sabotage of its duty. Surely an election hold under the auspices of such a government will be in vain. The people should really be conducting the elections themselves.
When we vote for candidates, the most important consideration is whether we place the greater emphasis on the man himself, or on the party he represents. By insisting that the person, not the party, is of importance, the Government has substantially weakened the various political parties. The fact is, that political parties, though legally unrecognized, are indispensable public organizations. Powerful parties are necessary for the effective functioning of the parliamentary system. As voters, therefore, it is our duty to consider the party before the individual candidate. In this sense, the revised Election Law, passed through the efforts of the Progressive Party, is absurd. The law provides for a new voting system by which we must elect a definite number of candidates. The law clearly works to the advantage of the rich, conservative parties, for, in many cases,
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POLITICAL SERIES: 349 (Continued)
ITEM 1 (Continued)
the left-wing parties will not be able to offer a full slate of candidates for each electoral district. It may frequently happen that a voter must vote for two candidate who belong to opposite parties; to the Communist and Progressive parties, for instance. Obviously, this is nothing but political nonsense. The passage of this law indicates that the Progressive Party intends to make every effort to retain its former influence.
From the evidence we have given, it is apparent that an election controlled by the present government cannot be a truly democratic election. Only an election conducted by the people themselves, we believe, can prepare the way for true democracy in JAPAN.
ITEM 2 Party Headquarters in Storm and Stress by AZO, Tayoshi - Magazine: Shukan Asahi (Weekly) - 20 Jan Issue. Translator: T/4 Amano & Hasegawa.
Full Translation:
As I enter the Liberal Party Headquarters in the MARUNOUCHI district, a wonderful odor greets my nose, which has become red in the cold winter wind. However, this smell has no connection with the Liberal party, whether one likes it or not, the smell is unavoidable, because the headquarters are located just above a restaurant, on the third floor. "Every day, from morning till evening, the representatives and the new candidates must be formulating policies for the coming election with cheerful minds brought about by the wonderful odor. There are carpets on the stairs. Of course, there are carpets in the rooms, too. The panels are shining with varnish. While I am talking with Mr. KONO, executive chairman, Mr. MAKINO, the general director, cones briskly into the room. The new candidates, YAMAMOTO, Katsuichi, Mr. NAKAGEN, party adviser, Mr. OKUBO, ex-mayor of TOKYO, Mr. SHUDO, ex-chief of the Price Control Bureau, come in the room and. ask, "How does it smell?" At first I think they are referring to the smell emanating from the restaurant below, but it seems that they are referring to the election reports.
Mr. KONO says, "It doesn't matter if the election is held tomorrow, but we should prefer if it were held two or three months from now. All the preparations have been made. However, to tell the truth, the longer the delay, the more beneficial it will be for the party. The delay will disappoint the city candidates, but it will be welcomed by the former candidates. The previously-selected 250 candidates have all been nominated. Of those, 50 are present Diet members and the rest are all new men. What will we do in the event that MacARTHUR's headquarters prohibits any of the old Diet members from running for election? That has not entered our minds. Our strategy is based only on conditions as they are now."
Since no one answers the telephone, some one is always shouting back and forth. Over in this corner a group is gathered, and in that corner there is another group. They are all on aged in huddled conversations. The clerks are constantly appearing and disappearing. I can feel a serious note, even a stormy air underneath the wonderful smell. While Mr. KONO and I are talking, he is constantly being interrupted. Mr. KONO says, "The party has no special slogan,
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but what do you think of the following slogan? The politicians must be kind, and the statesmen shouldn't deceive honest people." I said that I thought that was a good slogan. However, I pointed out that I would like to nave that slogan become a reality as soon as possible.
The headquarters of the Progressive Party are located in a smart, modern building which was a first class restaurant before the war. It seems that the political parties are very fond of restaurants. In the vestibule workmen on a ladder are putting up a neon sign. However, it is not the Progressive Party, but the cabaret upstairs which is putting it up. From noon on, without attracting any attention from anyone, lively jazz drifts into the melancholy room of the party headquarters. Recently MacARTHUR's headquarters issued an epoch-making directive, ousting militaristic leaders from public office. Mr. TSURUMI, executive chairman, who comes in every day, is said to be having an important conference concerning this matter at the SAIWAI Building, and although I am waiting for him, he does not out in his appearance. The Diet members of the party don't appear, either. I came here expecting confusion in the Party, but the confusion, isn't quite as bad as I had expected. Only the clerks seem to be busy. Somehow the atmosphere lacks spirit. On the walls are posters of various designs with the names of TSURUMI, Yusuke; ANDO, Satoru; TOGO, Minoru; SAITO, Takao; NAKAMURA, Umekichi, and others. Of these posters many, I'm afraid, will be of no value whatsoever. NAKAMURA, Umekichi, chief of the Information Section, appears. He says, "You want to ask about the directives of MacARTHUR's headquarter? To tell the truth, I do not know where to draw the line; I am lost. There is no way of making up a list. We shall not be disappointed, however, and shall do our utmost to the very end. In this way we can survive, regardless of any directives which are issued. The stabilized power which our party advocates will be achieved, after we have experienced various campaigns and trials. At present that is our plan." At the moment, there are from 270 to 280 representatives, and even if MacARTHUR's directives should purge some of them, there will still remain around 100 to 150 representatives. New members can be expected in the coming election.
The news cameramen come in with 4 or 5 big floodlights. Newspaper reporters rush into the room. Mr. NAKAMURA, who is speaking with me, has the flood lights focussed on him and the camera begins to grind away. Occasionally, the flood lights strike the clerks, who are busily tending to their work. The cameramen and the reporters are trying to bring out the confusion which exists in the party. The ladies and gentlemen leaving the cabaret in luxurious clothes are going down the stairs outside our room as if they were in another world.
On the door of a burned-out building near SHIMBASHI station, there is a now name plate. Inside the small iron door, everything is dark. I stand a while to allow my eyes to become accustomed to the dark; I can barely see someone moving around in the far corner of the room. There seems to be a blazing fire, but I can only see the smoke and not the fire. At the side of the fire a stairway can be vaguely distinguished. It seems that the blazing fire is tended by a family
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of war sufferers. I climb the stairway. The room seems deserted, and things are scattered everywhere. The windows are broken. My body, and my soul, too, become very cold. The third and the fourth floor are much the same. The headquarters of the Social Democratic Party are located on the fifth floor.
In one sense, it may be said that these headquarter are especially appropriate for a political party which must reconstruct a devastated JAPAN. On the other hand, it is doubtful whether or not a party whoso headquarters are in this sad plight will be able to fulfill the expectations of the people in becoming the first party in the Diet. MATSUOKA, Komakichi; KATO, Kanju; SUZUKI, Shigesaburo, and HIRANU, Rikizo were interviewed by the news reporters while I was there. They all seemed to be very happy. Someone asked, "Isn't the election campaign easier because of MacARTHUR's directives?" They all laughed and answered, "On the contrary, we are discouraged; it isn't interesting if we don't have any opponents." Someone quoted Mr. ANDO, of the Liberal Party, to the effect that, even if the Social Democrats should dominate the Diet, they would lack prominent leaders. They answered that Mr. ANDO considers prominent men those who are "elder statesman," or who have wide political experience. To achieve democratic reform, they pointed out, it is not necessary to have such men. In a modern age it is necessary to have new blood. The party has new blood a plenty. Before the issuance of MacARTHUR's directive, the party had 160 recognized candidates. This number has now boon increased by 158. Someone asked, "If you become the first party in the Diet, you will no doubt come into power. What about the selection of ministers?" They looked at each other and laughed. Ono of them said, "We don't want to talk much about it, for we don't want anyone to misunderstand us. However, we will do our best." They are all very confident.
As far as I can see outside the window, the black market of SHIMBASHI is filled with crowds of starving people. Seeing this sight every day must strengthen the fighting spirit of the party members.
Of all the parties, the Communists seem to have the largest number of youthful members, more even than the Social Democrats. The refined, rather complicated methods of the other parties are simplified by the Communists. The buildings and clothes of the Communists, as compared to those of the other parties, are dirty and unprepossessing. Mr. TOKUDA is absent because of urgent business at MacARTHUR's headquarters, while Mr. SATOMURA and Mr. MIYAMOTO are being interviewed by news reporters, The atmosphere is quiet compared to what it was during the proletarian movements of the past. It can be seen that they are now on firm ground. The long-haired young men are working more quietly now. Those propaganda posters which were written in violent terms can not be seen any longer. One feels that all the elements of the party have advanced and become stabilized. They have gained a firm foothold from which they are not likely to be dislodged. The present Communist Party can be considered as sailing easily. Now that Mr. NOZAKA has returned to become top party leader, they hope to increase their present total of 100 candidates to a greater number, and they expect to cooperate with the Social Democrats in striving for a democracy. Anyway, the Communists are very happy.
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POLITICAL SERIES: 349 (Continued)
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People often use the terns "war profiteers" and "make butori" (those who became rich after the defeat). In a sense, the Communists are the greatest of them all. They decidedly cannot say, "Success crowned our long struggle." They must change it to say, "We only gained our victory through defeat."
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HomePress translations [Japan]. Political Series 0349, 1946-02-18.
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