Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Saitō Takao (斎藤隆夫) - Anti Military Speech

Saitō Takao (斎藤隆夫, さいとう たかお, September 13, 1870 - October 7, 1949)

Saitō Takao (斎藤隆夫, September 13, 1870 - October 7, 1949) was a Japanese politician and longtime member of the Imperial Diet from Hyōgo Prefecture. He was a member of the Rikken Minseito party(立憲民政党).

Speech on Army Purge(粛軍演説,しゅくぐんえんぜつ

The speech by Saito Takao on army purge or military cleansing(粛軍演説,しゅくぐんえんぜつ)on 7-5-1936. He blamed the army for the Feb 26th Rebellion.

The February 26 incident (二・二六事件 Ni-niroku jiken, or “2-2-6 incident”) was an attempted coup d'état in Japan, from February 26 to 29, 1936 carried out by 1,483 troops of the Imperial Japanese Army. Several leading politicians were killed and the center of Tokyo was briefly occupied by the rebelling troops. At that time, the incident was called the deplorable incident in the capital (帝都不祥事件 Teito Fushyō Jiken).


Anti-military Speech(反軍演説,(はんぐんえんぜつ)

On February 2, 1940,the Minseitō representative Saitō Takao made a speech in which he sharply questioned the prosecution and justification of Japan's "holy war" in China. During the seventy-fifth session of the Diet, Saitō Takao launched into a devastating critique of the government's position on China. He denounced the official slogans of “holy war”.

The Holy War mentioned was Second Sino-Japanese War(中国抗日战争,日中戦争(にっちゅうせんそう)or支那事変, July 7, 1937 – September 9, 1945, where Marco Polo Bridge Incident of 1937, started the beginning of total war between the two countries. The war developed into The Pacific War, part of World War Two.

At the plenary session of the House of Representatives on 2 February 1940 (Showa 15), during a question-and-answer session between party representatives, SAITO Takao of the Minseito lashed out at Prime Minister YONAI Mitsumasa for his mishandling of the Sino-Japanese War. He harshly criticized the policies designed to resolve the matter, announced at the end of 1938 (Showa 13) by then Prime Minister KONOE Fumimaro, pronouncing them fraudulent, and also expressed doubts over the governing ability of the WANG Chao-ming (WANG Jingwei) Administration that the Japanese Government was maneuvering to install in the Japanese conquered territory of China. In his harangue, he went on say that it was a mistake to have laid out a grand plan for the long-range future of the nation holding up such chiming concepts as international justice, moral diplomacy, coexistence and co-prosperity, while at the same time needlessly neglecting the sacrifices of the people by using the a beautiful expression, "holy war".

The Army naturally responded to his comments with indignation, so Chairman KOYAMA Matsutoshi of the House of Representatives exercised his prerogative and ordered the last half of SAITO's speech excised from the Diet's stenographic records. SAITO was summarily referred to the Disciplinary Committee, having been admonished by his colleagues to voluntarily resign from his seat as Diet member. But he refused, saying that he could "not be true to the people of the nation" quitting simply for having had part of his speech excised from the stenographic record, given that it was supposed to be a "legislature where the freedom of speech is guaranteed by the Constitution," adding that his critics had distorted his arguments.

Nonetheless, a plenary session of the House of Representatives voted on 7 March 1940 (Showa 15) to expel SAITO.

•Support(賛成) 296 : 浅沼稲次郎・河上丈太郎・河野密・三輪寿壮・三宅正一・三木武夫・星島二郎・松野鶴平など

• Spoiled/Empty Votes( 空票): 144

• Abstain(棄権) 121 : 尾崎行雄]・鳩山一郎・水谷長三郎・西尾末広・犬養健・若宮貞夫・安達謙蔵など

* Absent/Walk Out(欠席) 23 : 安部磯雄・片山哲・鈴木文治(以上社会大衆党)など

• Oppose(反対) 7: 牧野良三・名川侃市・芦田均・宮脇長吉・丸山弁三郎(以上政友会久原派)・岡崎久次郎(民政党)・北浦圭太郎(第一議員倶楽部)

Saito Takao was expelled from the Diet on March 7, 1940.

His speech also led to the creation of the League of Diet Members Believing the Objectives of the Holy War by Fumimaro Konoe(近衞文麿).

In 1940, all political parties were forced to merge into the Taisei Yokusankai, a pro-military political organization headed by former prime minister Nobuyuki Abe.Taisei Yokusankai is known as Imperial Rule Assistance Association or Imperial Aid Association((大政翼賛会).

The 21st General Election of Japan, 1942

Takao was re-elected to the Diet in 1942. He ran as independent, in the election of 1942, the Home Ministry try to make him withdraw his candidacy, and when he refused, the police confiscated all his campaign materials. Nevertheless, he was reelected.

The 21st General Election of Japan of the House of Representatives took place in Japan on April 30, 1942. It was the only election in wartime Japan. At this time, the lower house no longer had any significant executive and legislative power, and power went to the military since 1936. The prime minister was not elected from the lower house since 1932, and was also appointed by the military.

As communist groups, left-wing groups, and anti-war groups were illegal since 1940, they were unable to name a candidate in the election. Communists, left-wing politicians and radical anti-military politicians were arrested and not even allowed to run as independents. Besides, anti-war politician Saito Takao(斎藤隆夫) who was expelled from the diet in 1941 was re-elected again.

The Taisei Yokusankai won 381 seats out of the total 466. In some districts, the Taisei Yokusankai candidates won uncontested. However, while the Imperial Army had gained a victory in almost every battle as of the election, public support for the war was still quite high, which was the main reason for the landslide victory of the Taisei Yokusankai. Turnout in the election was 83.16%.

After the War

After the surrender of Japan in 1945, he enjoyed some attention as one of the few really clean politicians for the Allied Occupation's efforts to democratize Japan.

Saito Takao see the wrongs of Japanese militarism, unlike many Japanese during the war period blinded by the propaganda and brainwashing of patriotism and nationalism. He stand up, and not only that, he was able to voice out from his sincere heart.

At the time he stand up to speak, he may be treated as the traitor of the nation, traitor of Japanese people...he was humiliated by speaking the truth... he was expelled from the Diet to silence his voice....his heart was painful for the nation, for the people, and personally.....

Today, the truth proved that he is right, his speech may saved Japan from the atomic bombing at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, if members of Diet listen to him, and stop the war.

He is a hero, not for Japan, but for the people of the world who see evils of the war today....

Remember you, Saito Takao(斎藤隆夫), a brave man who talk out of his heart.....

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