Documents with Commentaries

4-15 Assesments of New Constitution

 The establishment of the Constitution of Japan brought out a wide range of feelings from the people involved, in Japan and abroad.

 Just before the House of Peers passed the revision to the Imperial Constitution, Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida described in a letter to his father-in-law Nobuaki Makino how he truly felt: although the Constitution had a number of imperfections there was no alternative but to be satisfied with it in the circumstances, and that it was better to settle the matter considering the current domestic and foreign situation.

 The day after the promulgation of the Constitution, Hitoshi Ashida, who had been the chairman of the Committee on the Bill for Revision of the Imperial Constitution in the House of Representatives, broadcast a talk titled "New Constitution" on NHK radio at 6:45 on the morning of November 4, 1946. It lasted 15 minutes. The document displayed here is the script written by Ashida in his own hand. Ashida explained in this broadcast how under the Meiji Constitution the militaristic authorities had caused the oppression of freedom and human rights, and stated the necessity for a new Constitution. Following that was a description of the highlights of the "New Constitution" which included: (1) the Emperor as a symbol of state, (2) the renunciation of war, (3) the assurance of a widerange of rights for the people, and (4) the concept of democracy.

 George Atcheson, who was a U.S. delegate on the Allied Council for Japan as well as the political advisor for SCAP, sent his report on the statements made by the U.S., U.K. and Chinese delegations on the Allied Council for Japan to the Department of State. All of these statements reflected positive assessments of the new Japanese Constitution.

Actual Title of Source Yoshida Shigeru Shokan Makino Nobuaki Ate
Date October 2, 1946
Document Number Makino Nobuaki Papers, Correspondence Section: 659-50
Repository (reproduction)  
Repository National Diet Library
Actual Title of Source Shoko
Date November 4, 1946
Document Number Ashida Hitoshi Papers, Document Section: 207
Repository (reproduction)  
Repository Deposit in the National Diet Library
Actual Title of Source Subject: Statements Concerning New Japanese Constitution by Members of Allied Council for Japan
Date December 4, 1946
Document Number State Department Records Decimal File. 1945-1949 "894.011/12-446" <Sheet No. SDDF(B)00078>
Repository (reproduction) National Diet Library
Repository U.S. National Archives & Records Administration (RG59)
Note Microfiche
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