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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 July 17 - 23  > Ex-LDP secretary general: Japan is ‘Monarchy’
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2019 July 17 - 23 [POLITICS]

Ex-LDP secretary general: Japan is ‘Monarchy’

July 17, 2019

Former Liberal Democratic Party Secretary General Takebe Tsutomu recently said that Japan is a “monarchy” which elicited criticism for disregarding the constitutional principle of popular sovereignty.

Takebe on July 14 gave a speech in a rally held in Hokkaido’s Kitami City to support an LDP candidate for the July 21 House of Councilors election. According to local newspapers, he referred to the change of emperor in May, and said, “It is not too much to say that Japan is a monarchy.”

Takebe also pointed out that the Japanese Communist Party used to refuse to attend the opening ceremony of the Diet held in the presence of the Emperor. He attacked the JCP by saying that to refuse to attend the ceremony is “a denial of the soul of Japan”.

Takebe’s “Japan is a ‘monarchy’” remark has much in common with a remark made by the then Prime Minister and LDP President Mori Yoshiro in 2000 that Japan is a divine nation with the Emperor at its center. Mori was criticized for trampling on the constitutional principle of popular sovereignty and was driven into resignation.

During prewar and wartime, Japan adopted an ideology that the Emperor rules its subjects with absolute power given to him by the gods. This ideology served to promote Japan’s militarism and its war of aggression. The post-war Constitution states that sovereign power resides with the people. Takebe’s remark is most likely a reflection of his anachronic view of history.

Takebe’s assertion about the JCP absenting itself from Diet opening ceremonies misses the point. The JCP had long refused to attend such ceremonies on the grounds that they are held in the same manner as in prewar and wartime Japan when the Emperor was the absolute ruler and worshipped as such.

In addition, the Emperor in the post-war period in his speech at the Diet opening ceremony often praised the policies of the Japanese and U.S. governments, which is inconsistent with a constitutional stipulation that the Emperor shall not have powers related to government.

However, during the last three decades, the Emperor’s speeches did not contain political commentary. Based on this recognition, the JCP in 2016 decided to change its attitude toward the ceremony. Since then, the party has taken part in the event and has called for democratic reforms in how the ceremony is carried out.

Past related articles:
> After an absence of 69 years, JCP decides to attend Diet opening ceremony [December 25, 2015]
> Senior LDP politicians and media people get together to bowl [August 25, 2008]
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