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Chapter Summary

When the Pacific War ended in August 1945, Japan was prostrate. With the authority of the Potsdam Declaration, U.S. Department of Defense issued instructions to General MacArthur at General Headquarters (GHQ) about initial post-surrender policies to be followed. GHQ had two major objectives in mind, the military objective of disarming and demobilizing the Japanese armed forces and the "democratization" of Japan. When the Japanese government was directed by SCAP to abolish all laws from before 1945 which restricted civil liberties, the press, speech, thought, it gave the distinct impression that a new era was born and a new beacon had been lit and was burning brightly. The chapter outlines the policy changes were regarded by some a betrayal of the original mandate, promise and social contract seemingly given to or imposed on the Japanese by the victorious Allies, but basically the U.S., to start afresh to create a New Japan.

Keywords: General Headquarters (GHQ); New Japan; Potsdam Declaration; SCAP; U.S. Department of Defense

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