Government in Japan: Recent Trends in Its Scope and Operation

Government in Japan: Recent Trends in Its Scope and Operation

Government in Japan: Recent Trends in Its Scope and Operation

Government in Japan: Recent Trends in Its Scope and Operation

Excerpt

Economic questions such as standards of living, availability of raw materials, competitive ability of industries, and trade restrictions will be very important when the time comes for a bilateral or multilateral peace settlement in the Far East. Nevertheless, a peace treaty is a political agreement and even more dependent on intangibles like security, confidence, and public opinion. Consequently, sound peace negotiations may easily be jeopardized by emotional biases such as have been encouraged during recent years by the repeated charges of "fascism," "totalitarianism," "militarism," and "feudalism" made in discussions of Japanese political trends. A new interpretation of those political trends may, therefore, claim a legitimate place in the documentation for discussions of the problem of a peace settlement.

It is the author's considered opinion that these epithets, at least in the derogatory sense in which they are usually applied, are dangerously misleading and that their use is due to lack of perspective. They are superficial judgments on political tendencies which, in reality, have origins far beyond the present crisis and are but Japanese counterparts of trends evident throughout the world, including the United States, France, and the British Empire. This is an interpretation and, as such, is not susceptible to formal proof in the same sense that we can establish facts regarding trade expansion or wage levels. If this paper makes evident the possibility of an explanation of Japanese political trends which is less sensational than that generally current, it will have served its purpose.

Responsibility for this interpretation cannot be shifted from the author's shoulders to those of other scholars. Accordingly, footnotes have been included primarily for the convenience of readers wishing guidance toward documentary sources and interesting collateral discussions otherwise difficult to locate.

A desire to utilize the limited space available for emphasis on trends and international parallels has compelled the omission of many details of recent political history. For these, as well as for somewhat different general interpretations, the reader may wish to consult other Inquiry studies being issued by the Secretariat of the Institute of Pacific Relations. Those in . . .

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