Letter from Shigeru Yoshida to General MacArthur dated December 27, 1946

「December 27, 1947」とある部分は「December 27, 1946」の間違いと思われるため、これを補記しました。

December 27, 1947〔1946〕

My dear General,

I desire to address you specially with regard to the Criminal Code now in the process of revision. Mr.Kimura, Minister for Justice, was informed orally on December 20 by Brig. Gen. Whitney, Chief of Government Section, to the effect that you had instructed the deletion of Articles 73 and 75 relating to high treason as well as Articles 74 and 76 relating to lese-majesty. As to Articles 73 and 75, however, there are several reasons which necessitate their retention.

In the first place, the fact that even under the new Constitution the Emperor's position is that of "Symbol of the State and of the unity of the people" accords with the traditional faith which has been held firmly by the Japanese nation ever since the foundation of Japan. It is truly a high and lofty position. Moreover, it is undeniable that the Emperor is ethically the center of national veneration. That an act of violence against the person of the Emperor, occupying such a position, should be considered as of a character subversive of the state, and deserving of severe moral censure and a severer punishment than any act of violence against the person of an ordinary individual is quite natural from the standpoint of Japanese national ethics. It is similar to the case of acts of violence against the person of one's parent or ancestor, which is considered of deserving of a severer punishment than an act of violence against the person of an ordinary individual.

Secondly the same is true of the members of the Imperial Family. As long as acts of violence against the person of the Emperor are to be punished with special consideration as above, it follows that a member of the Imperial Family, occupying an important place in respect of succession to the Throne, should be placed in a position different from ordinary individuals.

Thirdly the fact that all the countries under monarchial system such as England have special provisions relating to acts of violence against the person of the Sovereign demonstrates beyond dispute the truth of the above statement.

Accordingly, I believe that the retention of Articles 73 and 75 of the Criminal Code will fall in line with the sentiments and moral faith of the Japanese nation.

I earnestly hope that the matter will receive your reconsideration in the light of what l have stated above.

Yours very sincerely,

Shigeru Yoshida.

以下は上記文書の日本語訳です。「吉田茂=マッカーサー往復書簡集:1945-1951」袖井林二郎編訳. 法政大学出版局(2000)から転載しました。










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