Reforms Imposed on Japanese Society by the American Occupation

1916 Words8 Pages
America’s utilization of the atomic bombs on Japan in early August 1945 brought about a swift and effective end to the Pacific War. On August 15th 1945, less than 10 days subsequent to the bombing of Hiroshima, emperor Hirohito broadcasted to his people the unconditional surrender of the Japanese military to allied forces, and the termination of war. By the end of the month, US forces headed by General Douglas MacArthur, the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers (SCAP), arrived on the nation’s shores to occupy Japan. This essay will concern the reforms imposed on Japanese society throughout SCAP’s rule until the coming to force of the San Francisco Treaty, on April 28th 1952, which officially rendered Japan an independent country once more. Changes in the political, social, and economic spheres that were consequential to SCAP policies will be investigated. Particular attention will be directed towards the enactment of a new Japanese constitution, the treatment of Japanese political powers, the institution of land, labor, and educational reforms, the purported disarmament of Japan, and the steps taken to reconstruct Japan. Ultimately, these factures will assist in establishing the extent to which the presented statement can be agreed with. Following the end of the war, Japan was in a devastated state and faced countless problems. There was a scarcity of essentials, and the country was left bare on food, water, and shelter. As such, the population was on the verge of starvation and the “supplementation” of one’s diet by ingesting grasshoppers, rats, peanut shells, and acorns began widespread. Likewise, Japan’s infrastructure was ruined. The march 1945 firebombing of Tokyo alone had left over 70% of the city ravaged and claimed ... ... middle of paper ... ...’s initial aims and reforms. This limited scope of the reforms is apparent in various instances. The occupiers had attempted to destroy the zaibatsu, though by the early 1950s, subsidiaries of the zaibatsu reemerged. Likewise, they had strived to destroy centralized control held by the bureaucracy over spheres like education and policing, but prewar political parties had survived and continued to dominate the Diet and cabinet. SCAP had also tried to purge militarists and their supporters in civilians life, though civilian bureaucracy remained strong and ever-present. Therefore, it is agreed that that reforms imposed on Japanese society set forth by the American occupation were really more limited than they are usually portrayed. However, the significance of the US occupation in reconstructing and aiding the advancement of post-war Japan should not be overlooked.

More about Reforms Imposed on Japanese Society by the American Occupation

Open Document