740.00119 Control (Japan)/2–946

Mr. Max W. Bishop, of the Office of the Political Adviser in Japan, to the Secretary of State

No. 246

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Department’s telegram No. 123, February 6 [5], 1946,80 requesting copies of recently published proposals for the revision of the Japanese Constitution, and to our answering secret telegram No. 90, February 9, 1946,81 and to enclose translations of published draft revision plans81 prepared by the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, the Japan Communist Party, and Dr. Takano Iwasaburo, noted liberal writer and adviser to the Social Democratic Party.

The Federation of Bar Associations’ draft provides for a number of important changes—e.g., abolition of the Privy Council and the peerage, reorganization of the membership of a renamed House of Peers, abolition of the Emperor’s prerogatives respecting Supreme Command and military organization, Diet approval of treaties, and the clearly stated responsibility of the Cabinet to the Diet—but is little more than a sketch, leaving the reader with the impression that the problem has not been fully thought through. The Communist draft is even sketchier, merely indicating a direction of thinking. Dr. Takano’s plan, calling for the adoption of a republican form of government, occasioned considerable press comment at the time of publication and is the most detailed of the three, but even it leaves much to be desired as a finished legal document. It might be noted that 137, or 5.6 percent, of 2,400 replies received to a recent public opinion poll favored institution of a republican form of government. It is difficult to say what proportion of this small percentage were guided by a considered appraisal of the Japanese situation, and how many by a desire, typical in the Japanese, to emulate successful systems or devices from abroad.

As stated in our reference telegram, the draft constitution revisions presently being drawn up by the Social Democratic and Progressive Parties will be forwarded with our comments immediately they become available, and also any other material which it is believed may be of interest to the Department in its consideration of the general subject of Japanese governmental reform.

Respectfully yours,

Max W. Bishop

Foreign Service Officer
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