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There is no doubt among historians and laymen alike that the effects of World War II were ruinous for Japan, its people, and i flourished was in the manufacturing sector during the early years of the Cold War. The main conflicts that Occupation forces and Japan capitalized on was the nearby Korean War beginning in 1950. This allowed for Japan to become both a UN supply base and a manufacturing superpower (Occupation and Reconstruction of Japan). The factories used to create the supplies and weaponry needed in the Korean War would eventually lend themselves to the creation of consumer goods such as lightbulbs and cameras (Brown).
These actions, alongside a series of policy implementations ranging from tax reform to inflation controlling measures, all aided in dragging Japan up from the depths of defeat into the glorious light of economic success.
The ease with which these implementations were put into place was due to the virtual absolute power that General MacArthur had at the time (Brown).
Obstructions such as a congress or parliament’s deliberations were nonexistent- an environment that allows policy creation and implementation at such a rapid rate can only be found in dictatorships or, in this case, military occupations. At the signing of the San Francisco Peace Treaty in September of 1951, the Japanese economy was set firmly on a course for success. The policies put in place during the Allied Occupation led to what is today known as the Japanese economic miracle. Japan’s economy, virtually nonexistent in 1945, was by the late 1960’s the second largest in the world (Brown).
Goods outputs tripled alongside incomes, production quality rose sharply, and by 1988, Japan had become the largest donor of foreign aid in the world (Brown).
The effects of this booming economy on society were innumerable, ranging from providing the population with a top notch education to ensuring that all of its populace would be taken care of through usage of a national healthcare system (Brown). Within thPoliticse span of less than a generation, the nation of Japan had risen from the ashes of nuclear war into the sleek modern nation that it is today, and this couldn’t have been done without the swift and strict policies put into place during the Allied Occupation.ts economy. The island nation suffered a traumatic defeat, and after having many of its cities leveled and two atomic bombs dropped upon it, many would understand if it became akin to a third world country. However, that was not the path that Japan found itself on after the war. The Allied Occupation and its policies worked to transform Japan from a nation crippled by war into an economic powerhouse, at one point seconded only by the very nation that spearheaded the cause to make it what it is today: The United States. Before the explanation of the post-war economic miracle can occur, the events leading up to the Allied Occupation of Japan must be discussed.
Japan, having amassed large swaths of territory in the Pacific theater through a series of relentless military campaigns, posed a threat to the United States and the rest of the world. This threat had led to an aggressive bombing campaign by Allied forces, concluding with the dropping two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. By the end of the war, virtually all of Japan’s major urban centers had been leveled (Brown) and the populace was starving. The future seemed bleak for Japanese society. However, this was not to be the curtain call for the nation. The Allied forces had convened during the war to develop a plan for what to do with a defeated Japan (Occupation and Restoration of Japan). This plan was put into place a month after the surrender with a focus on demilitarizing Japan, making the nation an ally, and rebuilding the economy.
The Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers US General Douglas MacArthur was the leader of the Allied Occupation (Occupation and Restoration of Japan). Reform was enacted in every sector of the Japanese state. Some of those policies include demilitarization, a re energizing of democracy and the creation of a decentralized government, and economic reform (Brown). Militarily, the Allied forces worked to prevent Japan from ever becoming the hyper militarized state that it was during World War II again. War crime trials took place in Tokyo, army and navy officials were banned from holding public office, and Japan was prohibited from having a standing army or declaring war indefinitely by Article 9 of the new constitution that had been drafted up by the occupying forces (Occupation and Restoration of Japan). The creation of this constitution led to Japan receiving an entirely new government, which included the demotion of the emperor as a supreme deity/leader to a figurehead, the creation of the Diet and the position of Prime Minister, and universal suffrage (Brown). Economically, the Occupation worked to jumpstart the country’s economy via several routes.
One of those was routes was implementing land reform (Brown). The wealthy landowners were required to sell parcels of their land to their tenants, which allowed for greater distribution of wealth and a more egalitarian chance for Japanese citizens to prosper. Breaking up the zaibastsu was another method of economic reform. The zaibatsu were large business conglomerates and through their elimination, the nation would lean more towards a capitalist free market system similar to that of the United States (Occupation and Restoration of Japan). This was a pertinent concern for General MacArthur and the Allied forces because of the spreading influence of communism. They reasoned that if Japan was to be spared from that influence, the economy would have to be not only existent, but boisterous (Occupation and Restoration of Japan) Another Occupation related situation that helped to bolster the economy was the need for service of military bases. Thousands of troops were stationed throughout Japan, and the military bases needed food, supplies, and transportation routes. Thus, rail lines were rebuilt, factories established, and many Japanese citizens found themselves with not only abundant jobs, but quickly recuperating personal incomes. One of the most effective ways that Japan’s economy
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