Ein Shinto-Schrein, die Verfassung und der Friede
Reconciliation and Renewal in Japan
"The government's policy..."
The governments policy of fostering cooperation among the different religious groups was actively continued from the turn of the century on (1900). As the nationalistic tendency increased, the government tried to combine and control religious forces and utilize them for promoting its national aims. Furthermore, the government asserted that state Shinto was a national moral practice rather than a religion and that its rituals should be observed throughout the country. One of these ... the National Ceremony, was a brief ceremony of prayer for those who had died in battle and a bow in the direction of the Emperor's palace. This was practiced not only in public schools but also in the churches.
In 1930 the National Christian Council of Japan made statements protesting against the government policy, insisting that if Shinto was not a religion it should do away with its religious practices. The government disregarded the protest, however, and increased the enforcement of Shinto practices at most official meetings."
"... Governmental pressure further increased after the beginning of war with China in July, 1937. For instance, the military police in Osaka sent questionnaires to the ministers in the city to inquire about their attitude on the relation between the teachings of state Shinto and Christianity. They raised such points as the relation between God and Tenno (the Emperor or Ruler of Heaven), the relation between the Bible and the Imperial Rescript, and the attitude toward the practice of worship at shrines. ...
The government control of religions came about through the Law for the Control of Religious Organizations, which passed the Diet in 1939. It aimed at providing protection and controls for religious organizations and set up much stricter regulations about their relation to public peace and welfare. The new law provided three grounds on which the Minister of Education or a local governor could order the suspension or dismissal of a person holding office in any religious organization …“
(TAKENAKA Masao, Reconciliation and Renewal in Japan, New York 1967, S. 83f
formerly Professor Theology at Doshisha University, Kyoto)