894.00/726: Telegram

The Ambassador in Japan (Grew) to the Secretary of State

122. Embassy’s despatch 2367, April 16, 1937,19 last paragraph.

The Japanese press interprets the returns of the general election of April 30 as a distinct defeat for the Hayashi Government. In the new Lower House the seats of the opposition parties, the Minseito and Seiyukai total 354 or 22 less than in the previous House; those of the opposition Shakai Taishuto 37 or 19 more than previously; those of the Government-supporting Kokumin Domei and Showakai 30 or 7 less than previously and those of the lesser groups and independents 45 or 10 more than previously.
A mellifluous declaration by the Cabinet today states that because regeneration of the Diet is the cornerstone of governmental reform the Lower House was dissolved a month ago; that the Government looks to the newly elected members to be guided by a spirit of selfsacrifice in developing the constitutional system peculiar to Japan; that this hope is generally entertained by the people; and that the Government will continue on its way confident of the nation’s support of the Government’s earnest desire for perfect cooperation with the people.
The Hayashi Cabinet is apparently determined to remain in power as long as possible but the measures which it will take to accomplish this purpose in the face of the declared opposition of the major parties remain obscure. However, it is probable that the Hayashi Cabinet can remain in office until the extraordinary session of the Diet (probably in August) as the Government can claim that the election failed to show a popular mandate for government by either the Minseito or the Seiyukai which have nearly equal representation in the new House. The Shakai Taishuto made impressive gains but still lacks strength enough to hold the balance of power for either major party. The Embassy is therefore of the opinion that the temper of the new House will be restrained although superficially blustering because of its realization of the futility of attempting to insist upon a party government in the face of the opposition of the military.

Repeated by mail to Peiping.

  1. Not printed.