The Military Occupation of Japan

TheMilitary Occupation of Japan

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Theend of the Second World War marked the start of the Allied militaryoccupation of Japan. The Japanese military was banished and flyingthe Japanese flag was considered to be a crime. The occupationhumiliated many Japanese soldiers, causing some 500 of them to commitsuicide.

Theoccupation was led by Douglas MacArthur who was the supreme commanderof the allied powers at the time. He also received support from theBritish Commonwealth. The dominant military force in the occupationwas the U.S military. The U.S occupied the main islands of Japan. Theother possessions were divided between the other countries making upthe allied powers. The countries include: Soviet Union, Republic ofChina, and the United Kingdom. However, The Soviet Union wasrestricted in some way during the occupation.

Thestaff leaders of the occupation were politically neutral. They didnot favor any Japanese parties over the others. The stand thusfavored the growth of various political parties in Japan. Though thecitizens of Japan were at the mercies of a foreign army, they weretreated with dignity. They were also given the basic needs like foodduring starvation.

Severalmilitary tribunals were set up in order to try Japan’s warcriminals. The tribunals sentenced many to death, but the leaderswere treated in a special way. Leaders such as, Prince Chichibu weregranted immunity from criminal prosecution. The other Alliedpolitical and military leaders pushed for the trial of EmperorHirohito as a war criminal. However, MacArthur rejected the calls. Heargued that such prosecution would be unpopular with the people ofJapan.

Theoccupation came along with some reforms. The most important reformwas the transformation of the country into a democracy. Politicalparties had been revived shortly after the beginning of theoccupation. Parties such as: Japan Social Party and the JapanCommunist Party reestablished themselves, as did several otherconservative parties. The occupation, that was codenamed Operationblacklist ended in 1951 and Japan became a free country.