At the end of World War II, Japan was occupied by the Allied Powers, led by the United States with a contribution from the British Commonwealth. This foreign presence marked the first time in its history that the island nation had been occupied by a foreign power. The occupation transformed Japan into a democracy modeled somewhat after the American New Deal.
The San Francisco Peace Treaty signed on September 8, 1951 marked the end of the Allied occupation, and after it came into force on April 28, 1952, Japan was once again an independent country, save for the Ryukyu Islands. Dower explains the factors that promoted the success of the American occupation:
Discipline, moral legitimacy, well-defined and well-articulated objectives, a clear chain of command, tolerance and flexibility in policy formulation and implementation, confidence in the ability of the state to act constructively, the ability to operate abroad free of partisan politics back home, and the existence of a stable, resilient, sophisticated civil society on the receiving end of occupation policies—these political and civic virtues helped make it possible to move decisively during the brief window of a few years when defeated Japan itself was in flux and most receptive to radical change.
The occupation was codenamed Operation Blacklist.
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- RELATIONS BETWEEN ALLIED FORCES AND THE POPULATION OF JAPAN
- The U.S. Army in Post WWII Japan
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- American Occupation of Japan, Voices of the Key Participants The Pacific Basin Institute produced a 10-part videotaped documentary series The Pacific Century, in 1993. For part 5, "Reinventing Japan," which focuses on post-World War II Japan, key figures of the American occupation government were interviewed about their contributions and views.
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