Occupation of Japan

The Allied occupation of Japan at the end of World War II was led by Douglas MacArthur, the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, with support from the British Commonwealth. Unlike the occupation of Germany, MacArthur offered the Soviet Union little to no influence over Japan. This foreign presence marked the first time in its history that the nation had been occupied by a foreign power. It transformed the country into a democracy that recalled 1930s American "New Deal" politics by Roosevelt. The occupation, codenamed Operation Blacklist, was ended by the San Francisco Peace Treaty, signed on September 8, 1951 and effective from April 28, 1952, after which Japan's independence – with the exception, until 1972, of the Ryukyu Islands – was restored.

According to John Dower, in his book Cultures of War: Pearl Harbor/Hiroshima/9-11/Iraq, the factors behind the success of the occupation were:

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.

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