2004 年 113 巻 1 号 p. 62-84
In this paper, the author analyzes how the Liberal Party (自由党) and the Constitutional Reform Party (立憲改進党) changed their position on the gun system (郡制) ; from mere reform to abolitionism and how abolitionism was accepted in local politics. The two parties submitted the gun system reform bills to every session of the Imperial Diet. They argued that the chief gun executives (guncho 郡長) should be publicly elected and that in the gun assembly elections, indirect election and the favorable system for landlords should be abolished. However, the goverment rejected them. To pass the bill, the Liberal Party deleted the provision for publicly-elected guncho, and in compensation,demanded that the restrictions on appointing guncho should be loosened. The Progressive Party 進歩党, the former Constitutional Reform Party, also followed the same line, and the reform bill passed the House of Peers in 1899. After the proclamation of the gun revisions, however, the Ministry for Home Affairs would not loosen the restrictions on appointing guncho, and the members of the House of Representatives became interested in readjusting administration and the finances rather than having a share in gun organization. The parties then began to argue for the promotion of autonomy for towns and villages, not gun. In local politics, because the gun revisions had abolished indirect elections, the gun assembly elections were separated from the prefectural assembly elections, and the voting rate of the former dropped lower and lower. From a fiscal point of view, the resources for gun often preceded those of towns and villages. Thus the gun system grew apathetic towards gun autonomy and the abolition of the system was not a question of vital importance for local politics.