The Allied Occupation and Modernization

The defeat of Japan forced the Japanese people to rethink their national goals and policies. They were supported in this from 1945 until 1952 by the Allied occupation forces headed by General Douglas MacArther. The occupation resulted from reforms politically, socially, and economically. The government was democratized and the Emperor was disclaimed of his divinity. In 1947 a new constitution with a bill of rights was put into effect and Japan renounced the right to use force in foreign policy. The occupation also purged right-wing extremists and communists from the government and the mainstream. Civil liberties were restored and the education system was liberalized. Adult suffrage was created and the old practice of feudal land tenure was dropped. The secret police were dissolved as well. In 1951 Japan signed a mutual defense and peace treaty with the United States, and although full sovereignty was restored in 1952, Japan was still considered much under the United States’ protection. It was not until 1972 with the return to Japan of Okinawa that the end of Japanese subordination to the US was completed, however. Japan was now faced with the challenge of rebuilding its economy and this recovery was aided by the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950 through 1953. This focused the country on industrialization and the increasing amount of exports. From 1954 until 1972 the Japanese economy expanded rapidly and the Gross National Product increased at a rate of over ten percent annually. In 1958 textile products accounted for nearly one-third of the total composition of exports. Only twelve yearly later their importance had fallen to only twelve point five percent. Machinery exports grew at an amazing rate and their share of total exports grew forty-six point three percent.

Matthew Perry
Meiji Restoration
World War I and inter war years
World War II
60s and 70s
80s and varied treaties
Currently and US trade deficit