740.00119 Control (Japan)/2–347

General of the Army Douglas Mac Arthur to the Joint Chiefs of Staff 18


C 69653. Reurad War 90220 January 22 [21].19 Sufficiently detailed schedules of the holdings of the Imperial Household Ministry and of [Page 172] all members of the Imperial Household and [as?] of the period of surrender are submitted herewith to make clear the manner of their disposition. That disposition is now in process and will not be formally and legally completed before 3rd May 1947 when the Imperial Household Economy Law goes into effect.

The implication of urad that there have been efforts to conceal assets in order to leave in the hands of the Imperial family directly or indirectly unauthorized assets beyond control of the Diet are without foundation. Both the Emperor and the Imperial Household Ministry throughout the divesture procedure have acted with dignity and decorum, and there is no slightest indication to the contrary.

The application of the capital tax levy law to Imperial Household property will result in the formal transfer to the State by 15th March upwards of 80 to 90 percent of the total assets of yen 1,675,267,073. The remainder consisting of Imperial palaces, villas and preserves to a value of yen 169,299,890 will become automatically State property on 3rd May 1947 and will be designated as State property assigned to the throne to be administered and accounted for to the Diet in accordance with the provisions of the Imperial House Economy Law and the State Property Law. The property thus transferred under capital tax levy will include all the Imperial forest and farm lands including all equipment for upkeep and exploitation which will henceforth be administered by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

The Tax Levy Law will take nearly all the cash, bonds, stocks and debentures to the value of yen 344,144,297, leaving only some 30,000,000 yen to 50,000,000 yen in cash which the Household Ministry will use to meet current expenses until the Diet votes the first annual civil list under the new constitution. The surplus existing at that time will be transferred to the national accounts.

There will be left to the Emperor and the immediate members of his family cash in the amount of 3,000,000 yen to 5,000,000 yen which is due them out of unexpended sums from their privy purse over the past several years, and personal property to the value of yen 9,452,205 as follows:

[Here follows detailed report on assets to be turned over to the Emperor and members of his family.]

The assets of the 3 Imperial princes and 11 princely families as of 1st September 1945 are set out hereunder. All figures are shown in yen. Information tabulated in following order: A Name of prince. B Cash and negotiable property. C Lands. D Buildings. E Jewels. F Total.

[Here follows list of assets of the three Imperial princes and eleven princely families.]

These assets have already been turned over to them together with some yen 7,836,220 which they had entrusted to the Household Ministry [Page 173] for “Safe keeping” prior to the surrender. This action was ordered by SCAP (Scapin 1298–A) on 21 May 1946 which also directed the Government to divest these families of all right, title and interest in and to all property of the Imperial Household and also to divest them of all special privileges and immunities. As a result, the members of all these 11 families will shortly become commoners. Moreover their assets are subject to taxation including the capital tax levy. The latter tax will reduce their assets some 40 to 50%.

It is apparent from the above that the only property in possession of the Imperial Household Ministry and all members of the Imperial Family and their nominees at the time of the surrender which will not be under the control of the Diet after 3rd May 1947 will be the personal property of the members of the Imperial Family and even this property will be subject to taxation in the future and will also be subject to action in the courts. Moreover, the Emperor and the members of the Imperial Family will be subject to Diet control in the giving and receiving of property and personal gifts under article 2 of the Household Economy Bill which is designed to implement article 8 of the constitution.

The foregoing specific information is given in response to the request of the Far Eastern Commission, although it is not clear how the same can serve to assist in assaying the democratic character of the Imperial House Economy Law or the constitutional provision which it implements.

  1. This document was in reply to a message to SCAP from the Far Eastern Commission; copy transmitted to the Department by SWNCC in its SWN–5110, February 3, and forwarded to the Far Eastern Commission by the Department on February 7.
  2. Not printed; it transmitted the Far Eastern Commission’s FEC–104, January 16, which requested further information from SCAP on the Imperial House Economy Law assigning state properties (740.00119 Control (Japan)/1–1647).