太平洋戦争下の郵便検閲制度について Postal Censorship During the Pacific War
The Extraordinary Postal Regulatory Law, promulgated in October of 1941, stemmed from an urgent Imperial decree that called for the censorship of the mail, with particular attention to foreign mail. Behind the enactment of this Law lay the necessity of protecting many military secrets related to the prolonged war between Japan and China. The main impetus for the Law seems to have come from the Ministry of War, although the Military Police and the Ministries of the Navy, Home Affairs and Communications also seem to have been highly supportive of it. Prior to the passage of this Law, these Ministries and the Military Police had been conducting illegal censorship of the mails for the express purpose of protecting military secrets or collecting foreign intelligence. After the enactment of the Law, Postal Inspectors or Assistant Postal Inspectors were deployed to the major post offices handling foreign mail, such as those at Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Kobe and Shimonoseki. Their activities were centralized and overseen by the Ministry of Communications. Among these inspectors were some who held positions in the Military Police or the Special Thought Control Police. Needless to say, the volume of foreign mail exceeded the capacity of their work ; but about 10% of the foreign mail was effectively put before the censor's eyes. Of those persons who were prosecuted, there included not only those who exposed military secrets, but also those who expressed feelings of war weariness or made political criticisms. The use of the Law was not limited only to the protection of military secrets but also extended to war-time research efforts into the Japanese people's private attitudes and feelings. Such reports were actually drawn up by the Ministries of Communications and Home Affairs on the basis on their postal censorship activities. Considering the political meaning of the Extraordinary Postal Regulatory Law, it is impossible to say that the "freedom of the people" as described in the Meiji Constitution was completely overlooked. That is, those bureaucrats who were engaged in the exercise of the Law were compelled to take extreme caution for fear of the people's criticism, despite the fact that several other leading powers such at Great Britain already had similar postal censorship institutions in operation. With Japan's defeat at the end of the War, the Extraordinary Postal Regulatory Law was immediately abolished ; but under Douglas MacArthur it re-emerged under a different form during the Occupation period.
史学雑誌 95(12), 1881-1894,1966-, 1986