Essay War and Occupation
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The effects of the U.S. occupation on Japan’s government and politics.
The recent change in the American foreign policy direction, which has seen the replacement of its traditional anti-colonialist tilt by the neo-conservative belief of guided nation building, evokes a lot of interest in the history of United States’ occupation of post world war II Japan. The paper shows that although each occupation is different–the political, social and cultural environment as well as the historical context of every war and country being different– it is interesting to study how the Americans handled the re-building of Japan in the post-World War II period. There is no doubt that the United State government’s influence in shaping the future of Japan was overwhelming. In fact it would not be wrong to state that Japan’s current political and economic status as a first world power is a direct result of the guiding philosophy developed by the Potsdam Declaration and further defined by the United States Government. The paper shows that in the aftermath of the War, the Supreme Commander for Allied Powers (SCAP) became responsible to carry out these policies and directives. The Allied Council and Far Eastern Commission had a formal but token involvement in the reconstruction of post war Japan. This was essentially an American undertaking. The reconstruction of Japan was accomplished by SCAP relying on the existing Japanese government and its agencies, especially the bureaucracy, to implement its policies. This paper examines how far the U.S. was responsible in changing the course of Japan’s political and social direction and whether the lessons learnt from Japan’s post war occupation and nation building are applicable in the present day scenario.