【PART 3】 The Mystery of the Security Treaty Village (1): The Showa Emperor and the Constitution of Japan
【45】 Why cannot Japanese people write a decent constitution by themselves?
Let’s go back to the controversy over “who wrote the Constitution.” Who wrote the final constitution or who decided the final expression is really not an essential question. After all, there were many versions of the draft exchanged while the U.S. decided the basic policy and Japan made changes in it. Many actors were involved in the process, and it can be said that each of them had a sense–subjectively–of being its writer.
Let’s take the Declaration of Humanity for example. According to a memo by Nagamitsu Asano, a secretary of Gakushuin School (which was in between the Japanese government and GHQ), the process until the contents were decided was as follows.
“The original draft (made by Blyth, teacher of Gakushuin) ⇒ Ishiwata (Minister of the Imperial Household) ⇒ the Showa Emperor ⇒ Ishiwata ⇒ Ohgane (Vice-minister of the Imperial Household) and Asano (Secretary of Gakushuin) ⇒ (Yoshida [Minister of Foreign Affairs] ⇒ Prime Minister Shidehara ⇒ Yoshida) ⇒ Ohgane ⇒ Asano ⇒ Blyth”
“Blyth ⇒ Henderson (Section Chief of CIE) and Dyke (Chief of CIE) ⇒ General MacArthur ⇒ MacArthur’s approval ⇒ Blyth ⇒ Asano ⇒ Ishiwata and Ohgane ⇒ the Showa Emperor ⇒ Shidehara ⇒ Cabinet meeting ⇒ Proclamation”
This is a memo about the process after the English draft was handed to Japan, and I assume the first half is the phase of considering the draft with sounding out the Showa Emperor’s intention, and the second half is the phase of determining the final sentences. I do not say it is the only one correct process, of course, because it would vary by each person who was involved in it. The sequencing in the memo is from the point of view of Gakushuin School, which was in between the Japanese government and GHQ.
Such a complicated process between Japan and the U.S. that had to be carried out just for the publication of such a short statement as the Declaration of Humanity. You can see how meaningless it is to discuss who–on an individual basis–wrote the Constitution of Japan, or even simply Article 9.
Clearly it was not a specific individual that wrote the Declaration of Humanity or the Constitution of Japan. It was GHQ that set the framework and it was Japan that voluntarily made changes in it. Why don’t we stop the fruitless discussion here?
The problem is that we, Japanese did not have an ability to write a decent Constitution in 1946, and do not have it now (the revision plan of the Constitution by LDP in 2012). It does not mean anything no matter how good thoughts an individual has. We have not had, do not have the ability to gather our thoughts and opinions to write a decent Constitution, which meets the global standards. That is our problem that we have to solve from now on.