After World War II had ended, Japan was devastated. All the large cities (with the exception of Kyoto), the industries and the transportation networks were severely damaged. A severe shortage of food continued for several years.
The occupation of Japan by the Allied Powers started in August 1945 and ended in April 1952. The whole operation was mainly carried out by the United States.
Japan basically lost all the territory acquired after 1894. In addition, the Kurile islands were occupied by the Soviet Union, and the Ryukyu Islands, including Okinawa, were controlled by the USA.
Okinawa was returned to Japan in 1972, however a territorial dispute with Russia concerning the Kurile Islands has not been resolved yet.
The remains of Japan’s war machine were destroyed, and war crime trials were held. Over 500 military officers committed suicide right after Japan surrendered, and many hundreds more were executed for committing war crimes. Emperor Showa was not declared a war criminal.
A new constitution went into effect in 1947: The emperor lost all political and military power, and was solely made the symbol of the state. Universal suffrage was introduced and human rights were guaranteed.
Japan was also forbidden to ever lead a war again or to maintain an army. Furthermore, Shinto and the state were clearly separated. In a land reform, concentrations in land ownership were removed.
With the peace treaty that went into effect in 1952, the occupation ended. Japan’s Self Defence Force was established in 1954. After the Korean War, the recovery of Japan’s economy flourished.Japan’s relations to the Soviet Union were normalized in 1956, the ones to China in 1972.
The government that Japan has now is a constitutional monarchy. After World War ll, Emperor Hirohito (Showa) told the people that he was not a god and would stay on only as a symbol in Japan.
After World War ll, the United States Forces were all over the country. From 1945 to 1952, General Douglas MacArthur was Supreme Commander of Allied Forces. Under him, a new constitution was made in 1947.
The new Constitution stated that Japan would never go to war again. The San Francisco Peace Treaty ended the Occupation in 1952, and Okinawa was given back to Japan in 1972.
There is now a lot of discussion about the Constitution. Many people think it should be changed in order to keep up with the changes going on in the world.
But there are also a lot of people who think that changing the Constitution will make it easier for Japan to go to war again.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of problems that need to be dealt with. Many countries in Asia don’t have positive feelings towards Japan because they think Japan hasn’t properly apologized for war crimes during World War ll and before.
Japan donates a lot of money and aid to Asian countries, but it has been difficult for the country to give a clear apology.
But younger Japanese don’t seem to care so much about the past. Ties between Japan and South Korea, especially, have gotten much better in recent years (Though Korea always complains even after having agreed at countries level).
The Japanese flag is simply a large red circle on a white background. It is called the “Hinomaru”, which means “sun disk”. It has been used as a national symbol since at least the 17th century.
Taiwan, Mongolia, Thailand, Malaysia,
Singapore, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia,
Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Bhutan, Nepal,
India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh,
Uzbekistan, Iran, Mexico, Paraguay, Brazil,
Argentina, Palau, Macedonia, Turkey,
Poland, Hungary, Finland, Belgium, Italy,
Ireland, Egypt, Canada…
There are many pro-Japanese countries in the world. Thank you very much! (^ ^)
On the other hand, South Korea and China have still anti-Japanese feelings. That is very sad. No matter how much we Japanese apologize, they never forgive Japan…
We already did apology and compensation so many times until now.
What do you think we should do to solve the problem?