“In Good Faith”: Japan Considers Constitutional Reform
Presents the thinking of Japanese officials on constitutional reform. Convinced that the Potsdam Declaration had left the matter to the Japanese, Irie Toshio, chief of the cabinet's Legislation Bureau, argued in two memoranda in September and October 1945, that democracy could best be achieved by strengthening the Diet and guaranteeing basic human rights. The government sought advice on constitutional reform from scholars Miyazawa Toshiyoshi and Yabe Teiji. The Foreign Ministry then follow up with tentative proposals, by Tatsuki Keiichi, to reduce the influence of the military and make the Diet fully responsible to the people. However, both Irie and Tatsuki wished to preserve imperial sovereignty and the autonomy of the imperial household. In early October, a new cabinet under Shidehara Kijūrō appointed Matsumoto Jōji to head a committee to study constitutional reform.
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