Tokyo, Japan, January 21, 1941 [1]

I count it a great joy to be here with you gentlemen at the 76th Session of the Imperial Diet and to place before you the views of the Government. At the opening of the session, His Majesty the Emperor was pleased to grant us a gracious Message; we were all profoundly moved. I am fully determined, in unison with you all, to exert myself to the utmost of my ability, in obedience to the Imperial command and in single-hearted devotion, to offer humble assistance to the Throne under the current emergency.

To those officers and men of the Imperial Army and Navy who have achieved unprecedented success in the face of the great obstacles, since the outbreak of the China Affair, by the august virtue of His Majesty, we tender our heartfelt gratitude, and at the same time we pay our sincere tributes to the memory of those who have fallen for the country.

Japan is now confronted with an emergency unparalleled in her long history. The present world situation makes it urgent that she should perfect, at home, the State structure for national defence capable of enhancing the total strength of the nation and replete armaments sufficient for achieving the national purpose, and that, on the other hand, she should take appropriate measures centering on the establishment of a new order in Greater East Asia and placing emphasis on the settlement of the China Affair. Such a policy should embrace adequate steps for meeting any international developments and for promoting national prosperity.

Confronted with such a situation the present Government, at the outset of its formation, decided on the fundamental national policies and have steadfastly endeavoured to put them into effect.

The objective of the recent conclusion of the Tripartite Pact between Japan, Germany and Italy has fully been set forth in the Imperial Rescript granted on the occasion. With the pact concluded, Japan is bent on achieving her high purpose of establishing stability in Greater East Asia and the peace of the world. Any further extension of the hostilities of course is wholly against her desire. But it can be said that Japan is far from reaching the goal of her ideal and she is aware that there will still be many obstacles to be overcome; she will face the most serious crisis. Such being the case, I sincerely request that the whole nation will redouble its efforts and be fully prepared to meet the crisis.

Japan enunciated some time ago the basic policy for the readjustment of relations between Japan and China, and proposed that that country should share the responsibility for the establishment of a new East Asian order. The new Government of China established by those who responded to the Japanese proposal made steady progress in keeping with Japanese military successes. The result was the conclusion of an agreement, last year, stipulating essential relations between Japan, Manchoukuo and China. However, there are still in that country some influences which are blind to the just cause of concord among races and intend to seek national salvation by resisting Japan. Great Britain and the United States, on the other hand, are, of late, openly intensifying their policy of aiding the Chiang regime and of putting restraint upon Japan. Our country is firmly determined to set up a Greater East Asian order by eliminating those who continue their resistance against us and by collaborating with those who make common cause with us.

I believe that an immediate necessity for our country is to make renovations in all phases of government, in accordance with essentials of national polity, so as to perfect the national defence structure. For this purpose, endeavours must be made to establish the national morality based on the principle of priority of service to the State, by inculcating in the people the spirit of piety and reverence toward the ancestors, by improving education in conformity with the fundamental principles of national polity and by discarding all egoistic and utilitarian ideas. Measures along these lines are matters related to all phases of government activity; but essentially they must be accomplished by the work of education. Hence the Government will give special attention to its promotion.

As for the organization of the entire people for assisting the Throne which forms the basis of the new national structure, a definite statement was recently made by the Government. Accordingly, the Association for Assisting the Throne has been organized and the national movement for the purpose is now in full swing.

In the present exigency, a complete unity of the nation, embracing 100,000,000 compatriots in one mind, is absolutely demanded. It is indeed a matter for congratulation that the time has arrived for all the people to discard their petty differences and to unite in their assistance to the Throne. Needless to say, this movement of the people aims at assisting the Throne by serving the State in all walks of life in accordance with the essential character of national polity and in conformity with the provisions of the Imperial Constitution. And this movement can best be expressed in the words "The practice of the duty of Japanese subjects to assist the Throne." The Government ardently hope for a speedy and vigorous development of the movement, inasmuch as its future success or failure will greatly influence the destiny of the nation.

The Government have for sometime sought to establish a new structure in the official world. As a first step in this direction, they have made a reform in the civil service system, by repealing the provisions for guaranteeing the status of Government officials, and by opening the way for free appointments from among people in general. The Government will leave no stone unturned in the reform of the system by properly operating the new ordinances. As to the readjustment of official affairs, which has to be effected in keeping with the demands of the times, they entertain no hesitation in making upon careful investigation, all necessary renovations.

The Government, in an attempt to establish an economic self-sufficiency in Greater East Asia, consisting of Japan, Manchoukuo and China as its nucleus, are contemplating a comprehensive, planned economy, concentrating on the basic industries, in full cooperation between the Government and the people with a view to expanding industrial productivity, strengthening armaments and establishing stability in the people's livelihood. For that purpose, the Government intend to firmly establish national economy, in conformity with the injunction: "Make public interests first" and "Serve the State in all walks of life" and to augment industrial productions by giving full play to the high efficiency attainable through the initiative of the people under the new economic structure, thereby contributing to the enhancement of the total strength of the nation.

Consequent upon these changes in the present economic situation, there are small- and middle-sized difficulties. The Government will make every possible effort to aid and foster them in their business, and will take all necessary measures for those who are forced to change their occupations, in order to minimize, as far as possible, the sacrifices incurred thereby in the execution of national policies.

With the development of the China Affair, safeguarding the supply of staple foodstuffs has become a vital concern. Special measures are therefore being devised to ensure the production, to adjust the distribution and to regulate the consumption of the staples. The Government are now putting rice under State control and executing other measures needed for adjusting supply and demand in its endeavor to stabilize the conditions of living. Moreover, with a view to securing stability of the livelihood of farmers and expanding the agricultural production, the Government will leave nothing undone in their efforts for the increase of foodstuffs by an adequate supply of fertilizers and other materials necessary for their production. As the current situation continues, necessaries of life are becoming less abundant. The Government are doing their utmost to secure the adequate supply of the necessaries of life at low prices so as to safeguard the economic life of the nation. The people therefore, are urged to simplify their living and to maintain their will power to cope with the present difficulties by realizing the gravity of the situation.

I have thus explained to you those renovations indispensable for the establishment of the highly organized national defence structure. The Government pledges to strive for the accomplishment of these objectives. All members of the nation are asked, on the other hand, to address themselves resolutely and unitedly to the task of overcoming all the difficulties and obstacles that confront them, and go forward with the conviction that a bright day will dawn after these dark hours, recalling the fact that the prosperity of our country has been advanced in the past through the courageous endurance and dauntless activity of our ancestors, sustained invariably by the august virtue of the Emperor. In conclusion, I earnestly hope that you will kindly understand the true intentions of the Government, and that after due deliberations, will give your speedy approval to the budgetary and legislative bills to be submitted for your consideration.

[1] Tokyo Gazette, March, 1941.