【PART 3】 The Mystery of the Security Treaty Village (1): The Showa Emperor and the Constitution of Japan
【24】 A more than perfect appeal
The second reason for the Showa Emperor’s changes was to make the GHQ draft better. It was enough for GHQ that the Emperor should say personally, “I am not a god.” To the Emperor, however, the important thing was that Japan had been a great democratic state since the Meiji era–a more significant matter than the renunciation of his divinity.
In the background of his argument, which most Japanese do not recognize, is a history that royal families of European countries were all discontinued after defeat in war. There are still some royal families in Europe, but all of them are of victorious or neutral countries. Royal families of defeated countries such as Italy, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary were abolished. Especially for Italy, it was said that an out-of-date form of government, the monarchy, led to fascism. So, many nations had doubts whether it is possible to democratize a nation under a monarchy.
However, since Meiji times with its Emperor system, Japan has performed well as a democratic nation under the constitutional monarchy. So it should be able to continue to progress on the principle of a constitutional monarchy like Britain’s. This is a more-than-perfect appeal that goes beyond the standards and expectations of the international community. The Emperor’s influence made the Declaration of Humanity better than what GHQ demanded.
In fact, at the 1977 press conference that I mentioned earlier, the Showa Emperor gave this clarification: “At first, I thought it was not necessary to add the full text of the Charter Oath, since every Japanese knew it. But when I suggested so to General MacArthur through Prime Minister Shidehara, MacArthur praised the Charter highly and desired to issue its full text, so I decided to show the full text to the Japanese people and the world.” So, GHQ agreed to the Showa Emperor’s idea of adding the Charter Oath.
Most importantly, the third reason was to ensure the benefit of the Imperial house and of Japan as a state. I mean that GHQ made an appeal to international opinion in a negative way: asking the world to forgive Japan and helping the Japanese by denying the divinity of the Emperor Hirohito and his power in the Declaration of Humanity. Also by showing that the Emperor had no political but only symbolic power, as stated in Article 1 of the Constitution, and by showing the lack of any military threat since Japan was to abandon war potential in Article 9-2 of the Constitution.
In contrast, the Showa Emperor and his aides supposedly thought such a negative appeal alone would not lead to the prosperity of either Japan or the Imperial house in the post-war era, so they proposed a positive way of appealing, making this case: “Since the Meiji era, Japan’s Emperor system had realized the democratic constitutional monarchy as in Britain. The military went out of control temporarily and provoked the war. Even though the Emperor bears the responsibility of not preventing it, he had been basically against it. Japan will return to its former state before the military went out of control, and will definitely recover under the democratic Emperor system in union with democratic powers in the world such as Britain and the U.S.”
This was exactly the main scenario revealed at the “press conference” with The New York Times on September 25. It coincided with the “Emperor use plan” that would follow implementation of the “Japan plan” by the U.S. Military Intelligence Service.