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Unformatted text preview: s even incorporated into the SCAP-imposed Constitution of 1947 that declared,
“the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the
nation. . . . The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.”3
Meanwhile, the democratization phase of Occupation policy was implemented in a series of sweeping political, social, and economic reforms.
Of these the most radical (and, in retrospect, probably the most lastingly
successful) was the land reform, whereby tenantry was virtually eliminated through the expropriation of most absentee landholdings. Other
reforms were directed toward decentralization of the national police force
and the education system, elimination of morals training in public schools
based on the prewar kokutai ideology, encouragement of labor unions, and
dispersal of the economic combines through a process of zaibatsu-busting.
The new Constitution, written by SCAP Headquarters and presented
to the Japanese government in 1946, was premised on the emperor’s renunciation of his putative divinity (after the decision not to prosecute him 306 Culture in the Present Age as a war criminal) and on the converse assertion that the people of Japan
were now sovereign. Henceforth the emperor was to be a symbol of state,
and the state itself was to be representative of the people through a system
of responsible party government. A thoroughly Anglo-American type of
document, the Constitution dramatically reversed what SCAP regarded
as the most illiberal and oppressive features of the Meiji Consititution.
Probably most conspicuous and most in keeping with the democratizing
zeal of the Occupation authorities was the inclusion in the new Constitution’s provisions of an American-style Bill of Rights.
Even before promulgation of the new Constitution and its Bill of
Rights, SCAP had abolished the wartime Japanese Propaganda Ministry
and Board of Censors (although the Occupation authorities did their own
censoring) and released all political prisoners. Some of these prisoner...
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This note was uploaded on 02/08/2013 for the course ANTH 142 taught by Professor Hans during the Spring '13 term at The University of British Columbia.
- Spring '13