100 YEARS AGO
Thursday, Nov. 18, 1920
No more liquor in Diet building
The next session of the Imperial Diet will be a dry one. It will be drier than the most arid stretch of the burning sands of the Sahara Desert — that is as far as the use of intoxicating liquors inside the Diet building is concerned. Of course, there will be plenty of water and tea and other refreshments of a non-intoxicating variety, but there will be no sake or anything that goes to make statesmen exaggerate their grievances or multiply their wrongs.
The decision to place bans on all liquor at the session which opens on Dec. 25 was reached at a recent meeting of the members of the Seiyukai. There was some discussion at the session but finally it was agreed to prohibit the use of intoxicating liquor inside the Diet buildings and an effort will be made to get the members of other parties to fall in line with the decision.
Reasons given for the action are to the effect that during the last session there were some instances of intoxication among members of the legislative assembly and it was deemed advisable to remove the temptation to overindulgence for good and all.
75 YEARS AGO
Thursday, Nov. 22, 1945
Premier’s Diet speech accents democracy and stabilization of nation, people’s life
Prime Minister Baron Kijuro Shidehara in his administrative speech before the 89th session of the Imperial Diet yesterday fully covered the major problems facing postwar Japan and revealed frankly the actual measures taken and policies adopted by his administration.
In his 4,000-word speech, which was broadcast to the nation directly for the first time in the history of the Japanese Diet, the prime minister appealed to the people “to march forward bravely toward the construction of a new Japan on the basis of justice and fair play.” He promised that all obstacles will be removed for the revival and development of democratic tendencies among the people as directed in the Potsdam Declaration.
Toward this end, Prime Minister Shidehara declared that the Election Law will be revised, the country’s educational system and social system will be renovated and that efforts will be made to “keep alive in the hearts of the people the spirit of liberty and independence and the enthusiasm for resurgence and reconstruction.”
The prime minister took up the greater part of his speech to the task of stabilizing the people’s life. All efforts, he said, are and will be concentrated toward solving the food problem, providing relief for war victims, providing jobs for the unemployed and executing measures for postwar rehabilitation.
He also revealed that the government has decided upon an absolute retrenchment policy embracing a drastic administrative reorganization, re-examination of the pension system and abolition of the system of reimbursing the difference between production cost and official price.
50 YEARS AGO
Thursday, Nov. 26, 1970
Mishima commits ritual suicide in GSDF Eastern HQ
Internationally known writer Yukio Mishima, leading a band of four followers, committed ritual suicide Wednesday afternoon after making an unsuccessful plea to Ground Self-Defense Force men at the GSDF Eastern Corps Headquarters in Ichigaya, Tokyo, to rise with him in a fight to set up a new Constitution.
Moments after he plunged his sword into his abdomen, Hissho Morita, 25, one of his men, decapitated the novelist with a sword in accordance with traditional hara-kiri procedure. Morita then followed Mishima by committing hara-kiri. Another member of the group beheaded him.
Mishima and four young men entered the headquarters at 11:20 a.m. The two men died at about 12:15 p.m.
Mishima’s disembowelment and decapitation followed a speech from the second-story balcony in which he justified his imminent suicide as a protest against the Self-Defense Forces’ failure to assert themselves as full-fledged military forces. Mishima deplored the fact that the SDF stood for safeguarding the Constitution, which he said did not permit the existence of the SDF. He told about 1,200 members of the Eastern Corps who assembled under the balcony that the chance for amending the Constitution to legalize a self-defense army in Japan was lost on Oct. 21 last year when police, without the help of SDF troops, succeeded in controlling riotous students who called for revolution.
Mishima’s appeal for action by SDF, made without a loudspeaker, was often drowned by the noisy heckling of GSDF men.
Mishima, some of whose translated works made him a candidate for the Nobel Literature Prize a few times in the past, was 45. He was survived by his wife Yoko, 33, and an 11-year-old daughter and a 9-year-old son.
Clad in uniforms, Mishima and four student leaders of Tatenokai (Society of the Shield), a rightist group formed by Mishima, drove to the GSDF’s Eastern Corps headquarters at about 10:45 a.m. and asked for an interview with the commander of the base, Gen. Kanetoshi Masuda. Mishima and his men were permitted inside the headquarters because he had made an appointment the previous day and met the general in his second floor office.
The novelist submitted to the general a six-point demand including permission to speak before GSDF men of the corps. When Gen. Masuda declined, Mishima’s men tied the general to a chair. They attacked eight officials who tried to intervene while they were tying the general to the chair. All eight suffered sword cuts on the hands and legs and were hospitalized.
Masuda then complied with the request and ordered all members of the base to gather in front of the main building. Mishima and his men distributed leaflets carrying a statement on their reasons for their action and an appeal to SDF men. They also unfurled two banners inscribed with the same statement from the balcony. He said it was necessary to set up a new Constitution and urged the men to go along with his thinking. However, the audience failed to respond as he had hoped.
After returning to the commander’s room, he bared part of his body, unsheathed his sword and plunged it into his abdomen.
Morita, a former Waseda University student and a leader of the Tatenokai society beheaded Mishima. Mishima reportedly committed suicide after telling the general that he was afraid he had failed to get his message across to the audience.
The three others who took part in the raid were identified as Hiroyasu Koga, 23, and Masayoshi Koga, 22, former Kanagawa University students, and Masahiro Ogawa, 22, a Meiji Gakuin University student.
The three were arrested as they came out of the general’s room after freeing him. The general urged Mishima and Morita not to commit suicide but without success, he told reporters later.
25 YEARS AGO
Thursday, Nov. 23, 1995
Japanese Windows 95 debuts nationwide
The Japanese version of the Windows 95 operating system made its much-awaited debut at midnight Wednesday with customers inundating major personal computer shops and convenience stories across the country.
The operation system, produced by Microsoft Corp. of the United States, will also be available at 13,000 ordinary electrical appliance stores nationwide starting this morning, according to Microsoft’s Japanese subsidiary.
Sixteen computer makers simultaneously began marketing personal computers with Japanese Windows 95 preinstalled after Microsoft lifted its embargo on sales of the system. The manufacturers and retailers were scrambling to cash in on the overwhelming popularity of Windows 95. The product has been a hit in the U.S. and many other countries. The product’s user-friendly graphic interface will make it a major hit with both PC buffs and general consumers, computer industry analysts said.
Japanese Windows 95 is the successor to the Japanese version of Windows 3.1, which sold 4 million copies in Japan in just two years. IDC Japan Ltd. and other research agencies predicted some 1 million copies of Windows 95 will be sold in just five weeks.
Microsoft says the new product provides for much faster data processing and other applications than Windows 3.1. The new operating system allows easy access to the Internet as well as a range of networking functions, such as forwarding and receiving e-mail.
However, critics and rivals have complained that the Microsoft product has given PC users and retailers a number of headaches. For example, Apple Computer Inc. Michael Spindler blasted Windows 95 for forcing PC retailers to either shoulder or pass on to users extra costs for extensive technical support and services for loading the OS onto older PCs or under-powered new ones.
An official at Compaq Computer Corp. said, “I think the OS carries defects which should be eliminated when Microsoft releases a revised version.”
Because of possible difficulties in loading or using the new product, Microsoft set up “Help Desk 95” consultation counters at 26 sales outlets to respond to inquiries and requests for technical support. The Japanese subsidiary of Microsoft and its employees will give up some holidays after the debut of Windows 95 to respond to telephone inquiries.
It said the floppy disk version will sell for ¥29,800. Users currently operating Windows 3.1 are being offered a ¥16,800 upgrade version, also on floppy disk.
Compiled by Leo Howard. In this feature, we delve into The Japan Times’ 124-year archive to present a selection of stories from the past. The Japan Times’ archive is now available in digital format. For more details, see jtimes.jp/de.
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