【PART 3】 The Mystery of the Security Treaty Village (1): The Showa Emperor and the Constitution of Japan


【16】 Joint Scenario by Japan and U.S. commenced in September 1945


Around one year after the outbreak of war, in November 1942, the U.S. government started to consider many options of how to position the Emperor in the occupation policies after winning the war. But probably the main scenario was all but determined before MacArthur and the Showa Emperor’s first talk. You can see this in the Showa Emperor’s “press conference” to the American media (The New York Times and United Press) two days before the first talk.

This “press conference” is rarely picked up in post-war history, because it is an unfavorable story for telling the official history: that the Showa Emperor talked to MacArthur with a total selflessness.

Nonetheless, an “interview” with documented questions and answers at the “press conference” was considered in detail and polished between the U.S. and Japan in advance. Interviewers were allowed to have a talk for a short time, but not to ask questions. Frank L. Kluckhorn, reporter for The New York Times, wrote in his article that “the Emperor and I had a small talk for around ten minutes… I was told not to ask questions, so I followed that direction.” You can see it took the form of an interview, but it actually was a ritual.

If you read the Japanese and U.S. records that you can access now, you will understand something important about the Emperor’s “answers” to the “questions” of the American mass media:

“Japan will follow the British constitutional monarchy system from now.”

“The pre-emptive attack on Pearl Harbor without a declaration of hostility, which was a significant violation of international law, was conducted by Prime Minister Tojo without any consultation with me.”

“Japan will work toward a peaceful state that will never engage in warfare in the future, but will instead carry out the necessary change of executing the Potsdam Declaration without fail.”

This was the first time for these points to be stated so concisely, but they perfectly summarized what afterward became the scenario of the 11 talks between the Showa Emperor and MacArthur–as well as the scenario for the massive project between Japan and U.S., the “Occupation of Japan” that took over six and a half years.

On the day of the “press conference” (September 25th), Chamberlain (later Grand Chamberlain) Sukemasa Irie wrote in his journal, “So, the first worry is cleared now, and I will be able to have peace of mind if the observance on the 27th (the first talk with MacArthur) goes well.”

It is well known that when companies take part in a joint business, they usually agree to a shared policy before a meeting of top executives. It is a ritual not to decide something off script, but to confirm the policy. Such a circumstance existing in the background is well reflected in Irie’s choice of the word “observance” (as a scripted event).

That’s how the joint scenario commenced between Japan and the U.S., with much consultation between the Showa Emperor’s aides and GHQ. I assume it was the beginning of the Security Treaty village.