THERE are indications, so far as a writer in Chungking can gather, that an influential section of public opinion in the United States inclines toward a policy of "hands off the Mikado." This section of opinion cannot be accused of partisan motives, nor can it be reproached for being ignorant of the true conditions in the Far East. If it should prevail, however, incalculable harm may result. A discussion of the differences of opinion as to how the Mikado should be treated could have served no useful purpose in the early stages of the Pacific war; but now that Japan's defeat in the coming months is inevitable frank speaking is timely and necessary.
Among those who have adopted the thesis that the Mikado should be retained is Mr. Joseph C. Grew, the former United States Ambassador to Japan. Mr. Grew is of course a man of wide experience. Before going to Japan he served in Turkey. A republican form of government operated successfully in that country, which for centuries had been ruled by a sovereign who was part and parcel of the religious system of the Moslem world. Solicitous sympathizers the world over had earlier been concerned about what would happen to the discipline of the Moslems if their religious head, the Caliph, disappeared. Kemal Ataturk settled that with little ado by ejecting the effete old man from both his spiritual and temporal jobs. In Japan Mr. Grew had opportunity to obtain first-hand information as to the way the Mikado functions as part of the Japanese political machinery. He has declared publicly that the part of Shintoism which embraces emperor-worship will be an asset and not a liability in a reconstructed Japan.
The thesis of this section of American public opinion is, then, that the principle of the divinity of the Mikado shall exist unimpaired after the war. The corollary of this thesis seems to be a present policy either of avoiding mention of Hirohito in shortwave broadcasts and propaganda leaflets
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