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


【20】 How the Declaration of Humanity and the Constitution of Japan were written was strikingly similar


However, the order did not include a key statement: “The Emperor is not a god.” No matter how they, the occupation army, ordered the Japanese people to believe this statement, the order itself would be meaningless if the Japanese did in fact continue to believe that the Emperor was a god–since it was rooted in faith. Therefore, occupation officials decided to make the Emperor make the statement himself.

They planned to have the Emperor issue the statement– specifically, “I am not a god”–on December 25, following the Shinto Direction on the 15th. Then, when the U.S. handed over to the Japanese a draft of the Declaration of Humanity written in English, they said “MacArthur has read this draft also. The status of the Emperor will be at risk if it is not issued.” (Confidential Agents of the Imperial Family―Secret notes of Occupation and Imperial Family by Hiroshi Takahashi and Kunihiko Suzuki/Gendaishi Shuppankai)

This remark is very similar to the one that was made when GS of GHQ gave the draft of the Constitution of Japan to the Japanese government two months later. I will clarify this later, but the gist is as follows: “Many countries are strengthening calls to try the Emperor for war crimes at the Tokyo war crimes tribunal….General MacArthur thinks, however, that these attacks on the Emperor will be canceled if this draft of the Constitution is accepted.” That is how the U.S. used a threat to ensure acceptance.

The drafting of the Declaration of Humanity and of the Constitution of Japan look exactly the same. But it was natural for them to be so, since GHQ drafted these two documents in great haste–in fact, to protect the Showa Emperor.

As I explained already, both the Declaration of Humanity and the Constitution of Japan were based on the U.S. national strategy. But why they made “drafts in English”…“at that time”…“in haste” is mostly for protecting the Emperor from the Tokyo war crimes tribunal (International Military Tribunal for the Far East) planned for May of the same year.

The Showa Emperor already became indispensable for the occupation policy of GHQ several months after the defeat. He was very cooperative and had a high political capacity for great influence on the Japanese people. However, there was still a possibility that–if GHQ did not pay attention–he could be accused of war crimes in the Tokyo war crimes tribunal. So, the strong drive behind a hasty drafting of the Declaration of Humanity and the Constitution of Japan at that time was to arouse an international objection to bringing the Emperor to the tribunal.

In fact, when the Declaration of Humanity was issued on January 1, MacArthur issued a statement on the same day, saying “the Emperor is now a symbol of democracy.” Furthermore, The New York Times covered the Declaration of Humanity widely on the front page and in an editorial column. The newspaper spoke very highly of the Declaration by proclaiming it “the most important document in Japanese history” and Emperor Showa “one of the greatest reformers in Japanese history.”

The Showa Emperor understood the whole scenario well, so he accepted the proposal of GHQ as much as possible and played along with them.