As we saw in the last chapter, post-war reconstruction required a huge budget increase, and not only did more tax need to be levied for this purpose, but the hanbatsu Government had become weaker in relation to the House of Representatives than it was before the Sino-Japanese War. In the early Diets, when the conceding of tax reductions could be avoided but it was not necessary to increase taxation, the main concern of the Government was to have the budget passed by the House of Representatives. Since, however, the House of Peers could be relied upon to reject tax reduction demands (including demands for the reduction of land tax), the Government did not really need any policy on the matter. Certainly to get the budget through the Lower House was extremely problematical, and we have already seen in the previous chapter that the protection given to the Government by the Imperial Constitution whereby it was possible to carry on with the budget of the previous year was not as effective as is generally imagined. On the other hand, in the period up to the Sino-Japanese War, when the level of national expenditures was fairly restricted, the ability to carry on with the budget of the previous year guaranteed the Government at least minimum implementation of its policies. After the war, which had resulted in a sudden doubling and even tripling of the budget, the ability to carry on with the budget of the previous year lost absolutely all meaning from the Government’s point of view. Execution of the previous year’s budget would have meant the immediate abandonment of ‘post-war reconstruction’. Moreover the characteristic of the Constitution which had worked so well for the Government during the early Diet sessions-that ‘law has precedence over a budget, which has no power to change a law’1-came after the war to have the reverse effect of tying the hands of the Government. Before the war, because of this relationship between the budget and
laws, even when the Government was forced to accept demands from the popular parties to cut expenditures, it was possible to get the House of Peers to reject the tax reduction bill as a separate issue from this. After the war, however, it was the hanbatsu Government itself which had to present bills for increases in taxation and steer them through both houses of the Diet, and it only needed the House of Representatives, (as it had previously only needed the House of Peers), to reject a bill for it to lapse. Even if the House of Representatives accepted the expenditure budget, it still had the power to decide which items of taxation should be increased in order to raise the revenue required. Thus after the war the Government was forced to allow the political parties some degree of participation in power if it was to get them to accept the budget and increases in taxation. Thus, following the end of the ninth Diet session the Jiyuto President, Itagaki Taisuke, entered the second Ito Cabinet as Home Minister, and after the end of the tenth Diet session many members from the Shinpoto were sworn in as vice-ministers and heads of bureaux.