Preferred Citation: Finn, Richard B. Winners in Peace: MacArthur, Yoshida, and Postwar Japan. Berkeley:  University of California Press,  c1992 1992.



Of the six and one-half years of the occupation, the first two hundred days were the most dramatic and the most significant. This period resembled the first "one hundred days" of the Roosevelt New Deal in 1933 for the initiative and enthusiasm of the reformers. It was a time when the Japanese seemed almost eager for change, even though they were understandably confused and dazed by the kaleidoscopic turns in their national life.

The overwhelming thrust of the SCAP program was on reform. The models followed were almost universally from American experience, highlighted by a liberal constitution, representative government, full adult suffrage, a strong labor movement, educational opportunity for the many, widespread ownership of all means of production, and autonomous local government. Britain provided the model for a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary government.

Writers about the occupation wage verbal war about whether the Japanese were ready for democracy in 1945. Some argue that Japan's society was still pervaded by feudal elements; others claim that Japan had been steadily modernizing for nearly a century. In any case, it seems safe to say that the Japanese in 1945 were not unprepared for many of the American changes, having had a half century of experience with their own diluted form of constitutional government and parliamentary democracy. Even though Japan's prewar government had had some of the trappings of a police state, it had been far from the brutality and massive repression of Hitler's Germany.[1] Japan had held a relatively


free parliamentary election in 1942 at the height of the nation's war fervor. Yet overall, the prewar period had been a catastrophic setback for liberal forces in Japan, even if some democratic seeds had remained in the soil.

In mid-October 1945 the mood of the Japanese leaders and people was so receptive that MacArthur spoke of their "complete docility" and of the "sense of liberation" they seemed to feel.[2] Most Japanese were far more preoccupied with desperate shortages of food, clothing, shelter, and jobs than with the intricacies of occupation reforms. Yet they were hearing a lot about demokurashii (for a long time they used the English word) and knew it was something the Americans thought very important. To many Japanese the term seemed to mean "working together in a spirit of harmony" rather than the more abstract "freedom" or "equality." The draft of a new and liberal constitution devised by MacArthur's staff soon gave the vague concept a concrete form.

Punishment was an important counterpart to reform in the early period of the occupation. Persons who had led the nation to war or committed crimes in military campaigns during the previous fourteen years were put on trial. Those who had played a significant role in Japan's nationalist surge before the war were removed, or "purged," from important positions in government and barred from responsible posts in the future. The Japanese were told they would have to make reparations for the damage they had done in East Asian countries.

The supreme commander was the guiding hand for these far-ranging programs. Although he was directly involved in only a few projects, the style and the tone of the occupation were his, and he commanded the support and even the confidence of the Japanese politicians and people. No leader emerged from the ranks of the Japanese. Hatoyama, the head of the Liberal Party, seemed to have the best credentials, but MacArthur purged him as a right-winger. Yoshida Shigeru distinguished himself as foreign minister by his energy and bustle. He tried to foster rapport between Americans and Japanese, but he incurred the implacable suspicion of some of those on MacArthur's staff as an old-guard reactionary'. The emperor made signal contributions to the new order by renouncing his divinity and endorsing the new constitution. The supreme commander seemed to place the emperor beyond reproach when he told Washington that tampering with the position of the Tenno would be ill-advised. The State Department found a role in the occupation for America's Allies, to which MacArthur gave grudging assent.


By May 1946 the occupation seemed to have been successfully launched. Japanese and Americans were pretty well adjusted to each other. Washington had reason to be happy with MacArthur's smooth administration in Tokyo.[3]


Chapter 4
The First Wave of Reform

SCAP's initial campaign in 1945 dealt with the press and civil rights. In the first weeks of the occupation the press in both Japan and the United States gave SCAP a good deal of trouble. Guidance for the media— newspapers, magazines, and radio—designed to eliminate practices of the past and open the way to greater freedom of expression became urgent as news and views of all sorts began to appear in the newly unleashed press. "There shall be an absolute minimum of restrictions upon freedom of speech," was the positive note sounded by the first SCAP order of September 10, 1945, called the press code. At the same time, relying on general authority to censor communications and the press, SCAP prohibited "false or destructive criticism of the Allied powers, and rumors."[1] Censorship of Japanese newspapers, radio, magazines, and films was heavy in the early days and continued to the end of the occupation in 1952, though precensorship of most magazines was terminated in December 1947 and of newspapers in July 1948. In retrospect it is hard to escape the feeling that General MacArthur permitted far more censorship than seemed necessary for the security of his forces.[2] Criticism of SCAP censorship policy has been an enduring complaint by the Japanese.

The press in the United States gave vent to some unhappiness about events in Japan. The New York Times carried a think piece on September 14 arguing that "the enemy has succeeded in perpetuating the same traditions, customs, processes, habits and institutions that did so much to bring on this war." The Times was particularly disturbed by "our


acceptance of the emperor as sort of a 'junior partner' in the surrender and occupation." MacArthur countered the same day, noting the "impatience of the press based on an assumption of a so-called soft occupation policy in Japan" and asserting that "the surrender terms ... will not be applied in kid glove fashion."[3]

Also on September 14, the Associated Press carried a story of an interview with Prime Minister Higashikuni, who asked, "People of America, won't you forget Pearl Harbor? ... We people of Japan will forget the devastation wrought by the atomic bomb .... The war is ended. Let us now bury hate." This report touched off a barrage of criticism in the United States. Dean Acheson commented that "nothing could show more clearly than this statement the failure of the Japanese to understand the nature of their conduct or the mind of the American people.... Pearl Harbor is not a symbol of hate for Japan but a symbol of Japanese perfidy." Despite Acheson's lawyerlike distinction, the Japanese have often tended to equate Pearl Harbor with the atomic bomb and have sometimes added atrocities in Vietnam for good measure, trying to show that war horrors are not confined to one nation. It is remarkable that the reaction of the only people to have endured the atomic bomb remained as controlled and muted as it did during the occupation and afterward.[4]

MacArthur himself got into trouble. He issued a press statement on September 17 that because of "the smooth progress of the occupation," within six months not more than 200,000 men would be needed, "which will permit the complete demobilization of our citizen Pacific forces." Senior officials in Washington were worried at that time that demobilization of the armed forces was proceeding too rapidly, and they were annoyed by MacArthur's apparent' assertion of authority. Acheson issued a stinging comment to the press that "the occupation forces are the instruments of policy and not the determinants of policy." MacArthur, who was not accustomed to hearing such firm talk from higher authority, in turn sent a cable to the War Department that was uncharacteristically apologetic, saying he thought he was "acting in complete conformity with the War Department's announced policy of demobilizing just as rapidly as conditions permitted."[5]

In a conversation with General Eichelberger a month later, MacArthur was bitter about the way he had been handled by Washington. He attributed this to Truman's fear that MacArthur might be a serious political rival. The general said he might have been dropped from his


position if the Soviets had not "come out against me," but "thanks to the Soviets I am on top. I would like to pin a medal on their a—"[6]

On October 4 General MacArthur issued one of the most powerful directives of the entire occupation, a "bill of rights" ordering the government to remove all restrictions on political, civil, and religious liberties; free all political prisoners.; abolish secret police organizations; permit unrestricted comment about the emperor and the government; and remove the minister of home affairs and all high police officials responsible for the enforcement of measures limiting freedom of thought, speech, religion, and assembly.[7] Japanese reactions were understandably cautious. Some welcomed the first of the basic reform directives as a long step toward freeing their society of nationalist shackles, while conservatives were shocked by its assault on the reactionary practices and habits of thought that had become embedded in their society.

The provision for freeing political prisoners jolted the Japanese most. As far back as 1887 Japan had instituted measures to punish persons expressing unorthodox political views. It had subsequently toughened the restrictions until the wide-ranging Peace Preservation Law of 1925, one of the most infamous laws on the books, made it a crime to advocate overthrow of kokutai , the mystical "national polity," by criticizing the emperor or calling for basic political change.[8] Thousands of suspected leftists had been imprisoned for attacking the government or criticizing the political system. Professors had been dismissed for supporting free speech or for describing the emperor institution as an "organ" of the state when people were being told the emperor was the incarnation of the state.

The directive brought about the release of 439 political prisoners and ended the surveillance of 2,026 others; it forced the removal of 4,800 special thought police from their positions, as well as the home minister, Yamazaki Iwao, whose order to the press on September 29 not to publish any more photos of MacArthur and the emperor had been canceled by SCAP.[9]

Old-line Japanese thought the October 4 directive was "excessive." Moderate Japanese officials, like the "social bureaucrats" who handled labor and welfare issues, thought it was "foolish" for SCAP to liberate communist leaders. Yoshida proposed to MacArthur's chief of staff, General Richard K. Sutherland, on October 5 that in the future there should be better consultation before such important actions were taken. Yoshida complained a few days later to the president of the United


Press news service that the occupation was making it hard for the police to preserve order and respect for the law. One of Yoshida's subordinates in the Foreign Office, Sone Eki, commented in his memoirs that Yoshida wanted to play down the impact of the October 4 directive by applying it only to noncommunists, so that the Peace Preservation Law would stay in effect for communists. This Yoshida gambit failed.[10]

The release of sixteen prisoners from Fuchu prison in the outskirts of Tokyo on October 5, 1945, became one of the more publicized incidents of the occupation. Two SCAP officials, E. Herbert Norman, a Canadian diplomat attached to Civil Intelligence Section, and John K. Emmerson, a U.S. diplomat serving in POLAD, both prewar experts on Japanese politics, went to see the political prisoners in Fuchu and invited three of them to come to GHQ for a talk. Two of these prisoners, Tokuda and Shiga, later became leaders of the Japanese Communist Party. Norman and Emmerson were attacked by Americans and Japanese on and off for many years after this event on suspicion of having given support to the communist movement in Japan. Their previous records were given the minutest scrutiny, especially Norman's communist activity while a university student, and their later careers were profoundly affected.[11]

Economic reform proved to be the most complicated and intractable field of endeavor for the entire occupation. The disastrous economic situation was compounded by an ill-defined U.S. policy. Labor, the most volatile and dynamic element in postwar Japan, took full advantage of SCAP's early liberalism and then wanted to go farther and faster than SCAP would permit. In the field of business regulation SCAP moved slowly; it tried to get the big Japanese conglomerates to break themselves up but met pockets of resistance. Land reform, by contrast, was well planned and smoothly worked out with the Japanese; the program was rooted in fertile soil.

The Japanese economy was close to collapse at the end of 1945. Food was extremely scarce in the cities, industrial production was less than one-fifth of the wartime high, and the consumer price level was nine times the prewar standard of 1934-1936. Foreign trade, including imports of food and raw materials, was totally cut off. For many months unemployment was hard to keep track of. It may have reached as high as 13 million at the end of 1945 amid the flow of demobilized soldiers and refugees returning from the mainland; it fell to about 3 million later in 1946.[12]

The Japanese government and military leaders bore a heavy responsi-


bility for the catastrophic inflation that swamped the country for many months. At the end of the war military pay officers hastily disbursed all existing appropriations, paying out huge sums of money between August 15 and the arrival of the Americans at the end of the month. Military pensions were paid off for years ahead. A SCAP order in September 1945 to end these payments may have been too late to have any effect. Stockpiles of military equipment and precious metals worth several billion dollars were handed over to unscrupulous dealers, who either hoarded the goods or sold them on the black market at huge profits.[13]

The food shortage became alarming when the 1945 crop fell to two-thirds the normal level. The caloric intake for adults in the cities was for many months approximately one thousand calories, compared with a normal adult level of eighteen hundred. People living in the big cities were forced to buy on the black market and barter their personal possessions in order to survive. In October 1945 Japanese officials asked for more than 4 million tons of food from the United States. SCAP challenged Japanese statistics, and Yoshida ruefully admitted to MacArthur that the data given him by his experts were bad, adding that poor statistics were one reason Japan had lost the war. SCAP released some of its local stocks, but Japan did not receive food imports from the United States until 1946. Rumors spread in the press that 10 million persons might die of starvation, but the Japanese managed to scrape through. Although malnutrition was serious, it was difficult to establish whether anyone actually starved to death.[14]

Contagious disease was a threat. SCAP's Public Health and Welfare Section rose to this challenge, although such assistance was not mentioned in Allied policy. Massive campaigns against diphtheria, typhus, typhoid, cholera, smallpox, and tuberculosis achieved dramatic reductions in the incidence of these diseases. Agricultural land was sprayed with DDT. General MacArthur stated in his memoirs that 2 million lives were saved by these measures in the first two years of the occupation. He solemnly added, "With the dreadful loss of lives in the war fresh in my mind, these statistics brought much comfort to my soul."[15]

The economic results of the war were not all bad. Japan's militarist decade had witnessed several remarkable innovations in industry, some with long-term effects in strengthening productivity. Heavy industry developed rapidly, as did chemical production. The training of engineers and skilled workers intensified. Large firms became expert in subcontracting to small ones, thereby erecting the two-tier industrial system that is now entrenched in Japan. The seniority wage and lifetime em-


ployment systems in big companies expanded greatly in the period before and during World War II. Government "guidance" to business and industry, which was not far from control, became the general practice during the war period.[16]

MacArthur's main instructions from Washington in the economic area were to free the labor movement, break up the big industrial and banking combinations, and leave it to the Japanese to revive their economy. U.S. goals were not to try out social experiments but rather to broaden the ownership of productive assets in agriculture and industry and widen the distribution of economic benefits in the form of wages and consumer goods. To reach these goals SCAP decided it would be necessary to break up the prewar system, which confined ownership of enterprises to relatively few families and individuals, encouraged large industrial concentrations, and opposed efforts by workers and farmers to organize for better treatment.

Some critics saw a contradiction in these policies. A leading British authority asserted, "Whatever the political and social merits of those measures, they certainly made no contribution to economic recovery. Most of them actually impeded it." A Japanese financial expert, Watanabe Takeshi, was more trenchant: these policies were "reforms that New Dealers wanted to realize in Japan but could not carry out in the United States." Conservative Japanese often grumbled about the "New Dealers" in SCAP.[17]

In the field of labor, legislation enacted well before World War II recognized a role for labor unions in dispute mediation; regulated the employment of women, children, and young workers; and set up a limited system of insurance and pensions for some employees. Government surveillance and interference in labor activities were frequent, as were disputes and violence. By the mid-1930s trade union membership was at its prewar peak, about 420,000, a small part of the labor force. In the late 1930s when government policy turned oppressive, left-wing unions were banned and their leaders were jailed. A "labor front" organized at that time and controlled by the government in effect destroyed the labor movement.[18]

Labor conditions right after the war were dreadful. Wages were abysmally low, with a wage base in early 1946 of only ¥213 a month; foreign exchange values were not very meaningful in the early period of the occupation, but this was probably the equivalent of a little less than $10. The labor movement started slowly, with only six unions consisting of 3,800 members formed by the fall of 1945. But the movement


soon took on momentum and responded more powerfully to the stimulus of reform than did any other group in Japan.[19] Early SCAP actions dissolved the government's wartime front organizations, banned the use of prison labor in projects competitive with the regular labor force, and tried to curb the labor-boss system, by which bosses recruited gangs of workers and extracted a substantial part of the laborers' pay for their own pockets.

Not long after the surrender labor troubles began. Korean and Taiwanese coal miners fled from their enforced servitude, causing coal production to plummet. The three big Tokyo newspapers became a battleground, with militant liberals trying to eject senior editors and managers accused of having actively supported the war effort. Asahi and Mainichi eliminated the nationalists without strife, but the struggle at Yomiuri went on for months in 1945 and 1946 before a settlement was finally reached. The Yomiuri battle was an early instance of "production control," an unusual Japanese phenomenon whereby the workers took over and operated a factory or business and then, after settlement had been reached, turned over the operation and any profits to management. Similar struggles took place at Toshiba Electric and Japan Steel Tube Company. Between January and June 1946, 255 such incidents involving 157,000 workers occurred. The government considered these takeovers illegal, and the Supreme Court of Japan eventually agreed. SCAP experts asserted that legality depended on the specific circumstances. Production control bore some resemblance to a revolutionary takeover of the means of production, but one authority said in March 1946, "The distance yet to be traveled to a revolutionary transformation of the capitalist system in Japan was great."[20]

On December 21 the Diet enacted the first important piece of labor legislation, the Labor Union Law, drafted after Prime Minister Shidehara met the supreme commander on October 11. The moderate "social bureaucrats" who had long pressed for more liberal treatment of the labor movement played a key role in drafting labor legislation during the occupation and in rolling some of it back later. The new law was based on both Japanese and U.S. practice, in particular the Wagner Act of 1935, and, of course, had SCAP approval. It not only legalized trade unions and the right of workers to organize and join trade unions but also encouraged collective bargaining and set out procedures under which workers had the right to strike. Provision was also made for public workers to organize and strike, an important and controversial matter in Japan, where the government operated railways, communica-


tions, and other activities that were conducted by the private sector in the United States. Commissions of labor, management, and "public interest" representatives were established on a national and prefectural level to oversee the execution of the law, the first of many pieces of such legislation setting up similar commissions to curb the power of the bureaucracy and the central government.[21]

The Labor Union Law was revolutionary for Japan in somewhat the same way the Wagner Act had been for the United States; both laws were catalysts for the emergence of more powerful and aggressive labor movements. In Japan the new law seemed to release the pent-up energy of the working groups. The number of unions and their members began to skyrocket. By the end of 1945 union membership had surpassed the prewar peak, and by the end of 1946 there were 17,266 unions with nearly 5 million members. Even the Tokyo geisha formed a union.[22]

Japanese unions were in effect company unions. Following their pre-surrender structure, they were enterprise unions formed by all the workers in one company, not craft or industrywide unions, as in the United States. In many cases white-collar workers joined the company union, and union leaders sometimes later became management officials. Enterprise unions often joined other enterprise unions in labor associations, but the core unit was the union in each plant.[23] True to Japanese social custom, the work force of a Japanese company was closely knit, forming groups not unlike military units and even lining up every morning to sing the company song.

Speaking a year later of the postwar growth of the labor movement, General MacArthur commented, "I do not think the history of labor throughout the last two thousand years has shown such an extraordinary, magnificent development in such a short space of time. They had gone far beyond my expectations and I was delighted."[24] Neither the general nor the chiefs of ESS knew much about labor. They both gave wide discretion to the heads of the labor division, who in the early days of the occupation gave free rein to moderate Japanese experts and were even willing to tolerate some communist influence within organized labor.[25]

Agricultural land reform, one of the more ambitious and draconian operations of the occupation, deeply influenced the status and income of almost half the population. With an area of 142,811 square milés, Japan is not quite as large as California. Only 17 percent of its land is arable. Its chief crop is rice, occupying more than half of the cultivated land. At the end of the war about 30 million Japanese, or 5.7 million


families, lived on farms; this was about 40 percent of the population. About 65 percent of the farmers were tenants in whole or in part, and they filled about 50 percent of the nation's 15 million acres of farmland. Farm plots averaged about 2.4 acres, sometimes scattered among several pieces of land. Half of the tenants rented less than 1.2 acres each. Nearly 1 million landlords were absentee owners, many of them living in villages near their land.[26]

Tenants turned over about 50 percent of their crops to the owner as rent. Out of the rest they had to procure housing, food, fertilizer, and equipment. They had little security of tenure because there were rarely written contracts and tenants could be dispossessed without compensation. Nevertheless, the paternalistic nature of Japanese society, which was particularly strong in rural areas, tended to alleviate the harsh features of the tenant system.

The countryside was a source of workers for the cities and recruits for the army. This heavy flow into industry impeded the growth of a strong trade union movement and served as a drag on wages. Supported by the nationalists, rural landlords had joined with urban industrialists before the war to obtain protective legislation from the Diet that would keep workers and tenant farmers in their place.[27]

Living conditions during the war had not been disadvantageous for farmers. They had food to eat, and their income was high because rice was in great demand. The government authorized payments of rent in money rather than in produce, a distinct advantage for the farmers. Although many tenants were given greater security in their holdings, the rapid rise in the value of agricultural land and products caused many landlords to try to dispossess their tenants and take over themselves.

Early U.S. policy papers did not call for action on land reform. A few experts in Washington explored the subject, notably Russian-born agronomist Wolf Ladejinsky, who joined SCAP in January 1946 and eventually became a leading authority on land reform in Asia. The State Department office in Tokyo sent the supreme commander a report based on the Washington research. MacArthur became interested and ordered a staff study, possibly because, as he said in his memoirs, "I felt that any man who farmed the land should, by law, be entitled to his crops, that there should be an end to sharecropping, and that even more fundamental, perhaps, was the need to make land itself available to the people."[28]

The Japanese had been moving ahead on their own. In response to increasing pressure for improvement of rural landholding conditions,


the Shidehara cabinet decided in 1945 to enable tenants to buy the land they tilled. This was another of Japan's "independent initiatives" toward democracy after the surrender. Late in the year the Diet passed legislation setting a limit of 12.25 acres on absentee ownership. Conservatives like Yoshida felt that this legislation went far enough because the improved status of farmers had markedly reduced any inequities. SCAP experts disagreed. On December 9 they ordered suspension of part of the law and indicated that 12.25 acres was too much for absentee owners to retain; SCAP requested a more comprehensive plan. Further action regarding land reform was then held up until a new government was formed after the general election of April 1946.[29]

Probably the best known of all occupation reforms was the breaking up of the zaibatsu, the large industrial and financial conglomerates, usually family controlled, that flourished during Japan's modern century. It was American policy to "favor a program for the dissolution of the large industrial and banking combinations" and encourage "a wide distribution of income and of ownership of the means of production and trade."[30] Great bureaucratic battles were fought over these general propositions.

For the Japanese, zaibatsu kaitai (trust-busting) was the epitome of New Deal activism, especially when the program applied not only to the relatively few family-dominated companies but to hundreds of other lesser business "concentrations." Yet the New Deal trust-busting program never had the toughness or wide scope of the SCAP campaign, which an authority has described as the "most ambitious anti-trust action in history."[31]

Some able and zealous economists in Washington thought the zaibatsu had been a powerful force behind Japan's will to war and thus had to be smashed. For example, an official report concluded in 1945 that "not only were the zaibatsu as responsible for Japan's militarism as the militarists themselves, but they profited immensely by it.... Unless the zaibatsu are broken up, the Japanese have little prospect of ever being able to govern themselves as free men.[32]

Paradoxically, when the top suspects were indicted a few months later for having plotted aggressive war, not a single zaibatsu representative was included. The American chief prosecutor decided that the evidence was inadequate to support a charge of war crimes against any of the business barons. (In Nazi Germany several were put on trial, including the financial wizard Hjalmar Schacht.) Some of the Allies were skeptical about trust-busting. In commenting on U.S. policy, an


official British staff paper remarked, "The principle has encountered formidable obstacles in its application in the United States, but the Americans are apparently determined to confer on their late enemies the benefits of an economic regime which they find difficulty realizing at home." Other skeptics argued on economic grounds that large concentrations were integral to Japan's economic development.[33]

The Japanese military had mistrusted the "old" zaibatsu as pro-Western and hostile to nationalist goals. A few zaibatsu leaders had been assassinated in the 1930s, including Baron Takuma Dan, the managing director of Mitsui Gomei, the central holding company of Mitsui. The military reportedly preferred to deal with the "new" zaibatsu, many of which had been established to promote armament production and the industrial development of Manchuria. By the time of the China Incident in 1937, when the Japanese Army invaded China, all the zaibatsu were cooperating with Japan's military leaders, often expanding their activities in military fields and acting as agents for the government. After Pearl Harbor cooperation was virtually total.

General MacArthur thought the zaibatsu were one of the pillars of Japanese feudalism that would have to be torn down by the occupation. In his memoirs he described the zaibatsu as "about ten Japanese families who practiced a kind of private socialism. They controlled 90 percent of all Japanese industry." In a scornful vein he once said the zaibatsu were like "the most effete New York clubmen."[34]

A good part of prewar Japanese industrial, commercial, and banking ownership was, in fact, in the hands of ten family groups. The four largest—Mitsui, Mitsubishi, Sumitomo, and Yasuda—controlled more assets than the other zaibatsu combined. By the end of the war the ten controlled about 68 percent of Japan's machinery and equipment production, about 53 percent of the financial and insurance business, 50 percent of mining production, and 38 percent of chemical production. The zaibatsu were what are now called conglomerates, companies with strong positions in diverse industries. None of them had monopoly control in any important economic area, and they generally avoided serious competition with each other.[35] The top holding company of each zaibatsu group operated through a wide network of subsidiaries and affiliates by means of intercorporate stockholding, interlocking directorates, management agreements, and financing by the combine bank. To "break up" the zaibatsu involved dissolving the holding company at the top of the network and cutting the links that bound the principal companies in the group.[36] In effect, not only would the zaibatsu be


dissolved; the large economic concentrations they controlled would be divided up.

Official Japanese views about zaibatsu dissolution were guarded. In one of the few Japanese utterances on the matter, Yoshida, who had Mitsui connections, showed some temerity at a press conference on October 19: "Mitsui, Mitsubishi, and other old zaibatsu ... themselves suffered losses during the war.... The government obliged them to build ships and planes ... ignoring their losses.... Those who enjoyed great profit and worked hand in hand with the militarists were the new zaibatsu.... The old zaibatsu, having their interests in peacetime industries, rejoiced at the war's end." To correct possible misinterpretation, another ministry issued a statement three days later saying the government did not oppose zaibatsu reorganization.[37] Japanese officials other than the foreign minister were obviously following that sage advice often cited by Yoshida—Nagai mono ni wa makarero (Don't fight City Hall).

The first SCAP trust-busting action was to restrict transactions by the fifteen big holding companies. The head of the SCAP economic section, Colonel Raymond C. Kramer, a New York businessman and former textile manufacturer, then tried to persuade the big companies to submit their own plans for dissolution. Yasuda, the fourth biggest zaibatsu, came up with a plan on October 16, and SCAP cabled Washington recommending approval. In a few days the War Department told MacArthur to go ahead and accept the Yasuda plan on a tentative basis. Mitsubishi led a rear-guard action but finally gave in.

On November 4 the Japanese government produced a comprehensive plan for the dissolution of the four biggest holding companies. According to the plan, their securities would be transferred to a new holding company liquidation commission (HCLC), and their shareholders would be compensated by nonnegotiable government bonds. These actions took place in late 1945 and early 1946, with a fifth zaibatsu, Fuji Industrial, added to the SCAP chopping block. Other combines were to be dissolved later. SCAP issued a directive accepting the Japanese dissolution plan and on December 8 listed 18 holding companies and 326 subsidiaries as "restricted companies" that could not sell or transfer securities without approval.[38]

In December Colonel Kramer returned to the United States with at least two achievements to his credit. He had overcome the resistance of the old-guard conservatives, whose objection to the breakup campaign was stronger than that against any other American policy in the early


months of the occupation. And he had made probably the most prescient forecast uttered by any American official in Japan during the occupation when he told a presidential representative visiting Tokyo in October 1945 that in fifteen years Japan would have a far more important position in world trade than ever before and would be a very serious competitor to the United States and Great Britain.[39]

MacArthur often showed suspicion of "big business" and "Wall Street." He mistrusted outsiders and high-powered businessmen, at least those he did not know. When the top jobs on his staff came open, he preferred to pick someone he knew he could count on to be entirely his man regardless of professional skill. In this case MacArthur replaced Kramer with Major General William F. Marquat, a career coast artillery officer who had served with MacArthur on Bataan. Marquat's experience in economic affairs was modest indeed, but he had the redeeming virtues of being nice, witty, hard working, and a good manager.

Although the labor movement and agricultural land changes each affected millions of people, educational reform and the abolition of official support for the state religion, Shinto, reached into the lives of virtually everyone. Sweeping changes in these fields began early under the direction of CIE, which accomplished much with little controversy; in fact, many Japanese worked with CIE to advance the new ideas.

The Japanese have consistently attached great importance to education. The first six years of elementary school were free and compulsory, and literacy was almost universal. An excellent system of technical education, semmon gakko , provided an alternative to high school. Admission to state-supported schools that included the best universities was by examination. University fees were modest.

Nevertheless, the system had many defects. Girls were restricted to their own schools, including a few universities, with a limited curriculum after the period of compulsory education. Less than 1 percent of elementary school graduates went to university. A few elite schools at the top level dominated the system: attendance at Ichiko and Tokyo Teidai (the First Higher School and Tokyo Imperial University) was a guaranteed passport to success in later life.

The cancer of nationalism spread throughout the education system. Although the imperial rescript on education, issued in 1890, was fairly innocuous in its pietistic wording, it had been laid over with the ultra-nationalist commentary and cant of the Education Ministry. Retired military men, widely used as teachers and military instructors in the


schools, enforced and fed the cult of nationalism. Generals were made ministers of education; reactionaries controlled teaching appointments and the writing of textbooks. The purpose of education was to train students to become effective servants of the state.[40]

The school system was in chaos at the end of the war. Because most of the schools had been closed, 18 million students were idle. Four thousand schools had been destroyed in the war, about 10 percent of the total, and many more had been damaged. One of SCAP's early steps was to advise the Japanese to reopen their schools (in Germany schools were kept closed in the early months of the occupation).

General MacArthur had only skimpy guidance regarding education. The basic Washington directive provided that nationalist teachers and opponents of occupation goals be replaced, military training prohibited, and democratic principles used in teaching.[41] The first chief of CIE, Colonel Kermit R. Dyke, a former NBC executive who had MacArthur's confidence and a smooth manner with the Japanese, supervised a number of dedicated men including Harold Henderson, an authority on Japanese art and literature; Robert King Hall, an education specialist; and Kenneth Bunce, a former schoolteacher in Japan. As SCAP's religions expert, Bunce showed great finesse in handling the dashing advocates of differing religious viewpoints, among them General MacArthur. Dyke was replaced in May 1946 by Lieutenant Colonel Donald R. Nugent, a Marine reserve officer who had also taught school in Japan before the war. Nugent was a cautious chief who relied heavily on advice from experts, both American and Japanese, and worked earnestly to win Japanese support for SCAP reforms. In early dealings with officials of the Ministry of Education, CIE found them "technically unqualified to plan and initiate complete reforms."[42]

After trying to persuade the education minister, Maeda Tamon, an old-fashioned liberal who had lived in the United States, to take the lead in liberalizing the system, CIE issued several directives in late 1945 to eliminate all nationalist teachers, textbooks, and ideology; revise the history and geography texts; and ban the teaching of "moral education," or shushin . Even before the screening, 115,778 teachers and officials resigned from the schools. By April 1949, after a screening of some 700,000 persons, nearly 6,000 more had been removed or had voluntarily left education positions. The education purge was in many ways more sweeping than the political purge and was carried out almost entirely by Japanese.[43]

Under a revised method instituted by SCAP, textbooks were written


by individual scholars and published by commercial concerns, subject to review by the Ministry of Education and CIE experts. The Japanese were accustomed to considerable government interference in their education, and so the new way did not surprise them. The ministry has continued to exercise a supervisory role in the selection and content of textbooks. A few liberated spirits have tried in recent years to free the system of government interference but without great success. The early occupation period witnessed the rise of large and powerful teachers unions. One of these, known as Nikkyoso (Japan Teachers Union), became a militant and often radical force in Japanese education.

The U.S. program for demilitarizing Japan had one immediate effect on academic research. In November 1945 General MacArthur directed that two Japanese cyclotrons be destroyed in response to a Washington order that turned out to have been issued by mistake. Press stories in the United States made it appear that MacArthur had been responsible, an interpretation that he took pains in his memoirs to correct. In the aftermath of this strange episode, the Allied powers decided in 1947 that Japanese research in atomic energy, primitive as it was, should be prohibited. But the resulting damage to the principle of freedom of research was repaired in good part when a scientist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harry Kelly, was sent to serve on MacArthur's staff to oversee Japanese scientific activity; Kelly got to know Japanese scientists and was valuable in helping guide the peaceful development of Japanese science and in promoting cooperation with the United States.[44]

Undoubtedly the most significant force in education reform was the report of the U.S. education mission to Japan, made on March 31, 1946. The mission, requested by MacArthur two months before, arrived early in March to study "education for democracy in Japan." The twenty-seven-member group, headed by George D. Stoddard, soon to become president of the University of Illinois, spent three weeks in Japan meeting with a wide cross-section of people, including MacArthur and the emperor. The education minister, Abe Yoshishige, advised the mission in frank terms not "to use Japan as a kind of laboratory in a rash attempt to experiment."[45]

The mission's report was elevated in tone and general in approach.[46] It made several significant recommendations:

—Compulsory, free education should be coeducational and should include six years of primary school, three years of lower secondary


school, and, eventually, three years of upper secondary school. (This was the 6-3-3 system that would precede four years of higher education.)

—"Higher education should become an opportunity for the many, not a privilege of the few." Higher schools and technical schools should be liberalized to provide a general college training. Women should have free access to higher education.

—Teaching should rely not only on textbooks but also on cooperative give-and-take between teacher and student.

—Administration should be decentralized. The Education Ministry should be retained for professional guidance but its control function should be transferred to local elected agencies.

—"Some form of romaji, " the "roman alphabet," should be brought into common use so that "language would be a highway and not a barrier."

Action on the report was postponed until a new Diet was elected in April 1946.

Early in 1946 Nambara Shigeru, president of Tokyo Imperial University and the leading educator in Japan, became the head of the Japanese Education Reform Council, an influential body set up to advise the Education Ministry and CIE. A brilliant and dynamic man, and a Christian, he played a key role in liberalizing Japanese education between 1945 and 1952.

Religion was of great interest to General MacArthur, who clung to the hope that Japan might experience a religious reformation. U.S. policy was to encourage freedom of religious worship and prevent religion from being used by nationalists. This meant separation of religion from state control and from the nationalist trappings of state Shinto (kokka shinto ).General MacArthur went further by actively promoting Christianity in the early years of the occupation. At one point he advised. Washington that his policy was "to increase greatly Christian influence in Japan." President Truman, reading this in a briefing memorandum, penciled in the notation, "I approve."[47]

MacArthur reportedly told the American evangelist Billy Graham that the emperor had privately declared his "willingness to make Christianity the national religion," but the general had rejected the offer "because he felt it wrong to impose any religion on a people." The general evidently said similar things to other American Christians, but


Japanese sources do not throw any light on the surprising assertion attributed to the Tenno. [48]

Seeingvisiting churchmen and answering correspondence on religious matters took up a good bit of the general's time. An Episcopalian but not a churchgoer himself, he viewed the values of democracy and Christianity as complementary. At the same time, he saw little conflict between Christianity and the "Oriental faiths" and thought "each might well be strengthened by a better understanding of the other." Apparently with this in mind, he "asked for missionaries, and more missionaries." At war's end there were 900 Christian missionaries in Japan, whose presence reflected a considerable degree of Japanese religious toleration during the war, and near the end of the occupation there were 1,700. MacArthur also requested and received 10 million Bibles translated into Japanese.[49]

SCAP's first significant action based on the bill of rights directive of October 4 provided that freedom of religion be guaranteed to everyone. On December 15 another directive, based on Washington guidance, provided for the separation of religion from the state and placed all religions, including Christianity, on exactly the same legal footing. The directive cut off Shinto from all state support, but its purely religious functions were permitted to continue. This directive also prohibited official support of "the doctrine that the Emperor of Japan is superior to the heads of other states because of ancestry, descent or special origin." The directive banned, somewhat to the surprise of the Japanese, use of the term Greater East Asia War , the standard reference to Japan's wars from 1937, against China, through World War II. Thereafter, the Japanese substituted the "Pacific War" or even the "Fifteen Years' War," beginning with the Manchurian incident of 1931.[50]

The theological status of the emperor was clarified, at least for foreigners, by a revealing event on New Year's Day of 1946. On that day the emperor issued a "declaration of humanity," or ningen sengen , in which he declared that he was a human being. Possibly at the emperor's initiative, he and his advisers had begun in late 1945 to consider ways of dispelling the mythology and cult of the emperor.

In late November Harold Henderson of CIE suggested to a British acquaintance, R. H. Blyth, a tutor to the crown prince, that it would be appropriate if the emperor would renounce his divinity as American policy suggested. A few days later Blyth excitedly asked for suggestions about how the emperor might do this. Somewhat reluctantly Henderson dashed off a short paragraph to the effect that the ties between


the emperor and the people were not based on myths or the mistaken idea that the emperor was divine or that the Japanese people were superior to other races. Blyth took this paper back to the imperial household but returned it the next day, asking that the paper be burned. This was done on the spot. A day later Blyth returned with a longer text containing the Henderson paragraph. This draft was given to recently promoted Brigadier General Dyke, who reportedly showed it to MacArthur. Both men were said to be pleased.[51]

Prime Minister Shidehara and his aides revised the draft and translated it into English. Education Minister Maeda reworked the Japanese version, not in the stilted language of court documents but in the colloquial form requested by the emperor. The Tenno also asked that the announcement include the famous charter oath issued in 1868 by Emperor Meiji, which declared in vague and impressionistic phrasing that "all measures of government should be decided in accordance with public opinion."[52] By the end of December the rescript was finished. Yoshida sent an advance copy to MacArthur on December 30, and the rescript was issued the next day.[53] Its key sentences, almost identical to the Henderson draft, provided that "the ties between us and our people have always stood upon mutual trust and affection. They do not depend upon mere legends and myths. They are not predicated on the false conception that the emperor is divine and that the Japanese people are superior to other races and fated to rule the world."

General MacArthur issued a statement, which appeared on January 1, 1946, at the same time as the rescript, saying the emperor's action "pleases me very much. By it he undertakes a leading part in the democratization of his people." Although the general said in his memoirs that the emperor's statement was made "without any suggestion or discussion" with him, MacArthur was kept informed about the rescript and saw a copy before it was issued.[54]

It surprised Americans that the emperor's announcement did not create a big stir in the Japanese press, which gave the announcement only routine play. One observer familiar with both societies explained that the Japanese had never thought of emperors as divine, only as unusual and elevated persons meriting special veneration.[55] The Japanese used the word kami (god) in regard to many things, including emperors and natural phenomena (like kamikaze , or "divine wind"), but the term had a broader and less theological meaning for Japanese than the word god had for people in the West.

To humanize the emperor even further, General MacArthur urged


him to travel around the country and be seen by the people. His subjects had rarely been permitted to look upon the Tenno, and they were intensely curious about him. By 1952 he had visited almost every region and prefecture. Only one untoward incident marred these trips: on November 21, 1951, students at Kyoto University surrounded his car and shouted questions and slogans critical of his wartime role and the policies of the government.[56]

A young U.S. naval officer played a part in the process of humanizing the emperor. Otis Cary, who had been born and brought up in Japan, met several times in late 1945 and early 1946 with Prince Takamatsu, the younger brother of the emperor. Having perfect command of Japanese and a deep understanding of the people, Cary pressed on the prince some ideas for bringing the emperor closer to his subjects, suggesting, for example, visits around the country and a public expression of sympathy with those suffering in the food crisis.[57] In the following weeks many of Cary's suggestions came to pass, although the veil of secrecy that surrounds the Japanese court makes it impossible to know exactly what inspired these actions. It is obvious, however, that the emperor was quite willing to act in ways that would meet with Allied approval.

The emperor showed another human touch at Christmastime in 1945. Through Yoshida the imperial family sent an ink-writing set to General MacArthur, a box of hina matsuri dolls (used for the Girls' Festival) to Mrs. MacArthur, and dolls and candy to their son, Arthur. The general's aide, Colonel L. E. Bunker, sent an effusive letter of thanks to Yoshida.[58]


Chapter 5
The Allies
Their Role and Reparations

The surrender ceremony on the Missouri had been a remarkable display of Allied unity. It reflected the idealistic flavor of presurrender planning in Washington and the high hopes around the world that the victor states would work together to drive "irresponsible militarism" from the earth.

In the late years of the war U.S. policy documents often referred to "United Nations policies" or to the "United Nations Commander," and the spirit of internationalism ran high. But by the time Japan surrendered in August 1945, the ecumenical impulse was on the wane, and Washington planners were referring to the "Allied powers." The Potsdam Declaration and the ceremony on the Missouri made clear that the Big Four would have the deciding voice in the control of Japan. By then U.S. leaders had agreed that in case of any differences with the other powers, U.S. views would be controlling.[1]

In the days fight after the Japanese surrender, the other big powers were willing to recognize the primary position of the United States. They offered no objection to the U.S. proposal that General MacArthur be named supreme commander to receive Japan's surrender. Stalin did not press his proposal for a separate zone of occupation or for a Soviet officer on the "Allied high command."[2] Yet the major Allies, in particular the British and the Soviets, were reluctant to accept U.S. dominance in Japan. They wanted a bigger voice.

The selection of MacArthur proved to be the masterstroke in preserving U.S. primacy. A strong commander who believed in complete


unification of authority in his own hands and who sought to reduce as much as he could guidance and advice from outside sources, he felt no need to conciliate Allies and coordinate his actions with them. He had had some experience dealing with the Allies—in Europe during and after World War I and in Australia during World War II—but the role of supreme commander was far more congenial to him than that of diplomatic negotiator.

The occupation began with only a few of the Allies having any role. The British and Soviets had liaison officers attached to General MacArthur's headquarters, and although relations were harmonious, the liaison officers had no agreed function. Other nations also wanted representation in Japan and a voice in occupation policy, but the United States was reluctant to concede any of its hard-won authority. A number of issues, however, such as dividing up reparations, would obviously depend on Allied agreement, and it was understood that the Allies would in some form play a significant part in the occupation.

On August 21, 1945, the United States proposed to ten of its Allies that an advisory commission be set up in Washington to advise on occupation policies. This proposal was accepted, and the Far Eastern Advisory Commission (FEAC) held its first meeting on October 30, with nine governments participating. Although the Soviet Union had accepted the invitation to take part, it did not attend. The FEAC held ten meetings, devoted largely to reviewing actions the United States had already taken, but the commission reached no agreement on what its functions should be.[3]

From the outset both the British and the Soviets showed their unhappiness over the limited role the advisory commission gave them. Australia, believing it had played as big a part as any nation other than the United States in the war against Japan, was even more resentful. Its assertive foreign minister, H. V. Evatt, made painfully clear in Washington and London that Australia expected to be the spokesman for the British Commonwealth on Pacific matters.[4] Australian restiveness and rivalry with the United Kingdom were to be recurring problems during the occupation.

Bowing to the pressure, Secretary of State James F. Byrnes agreed to consider a five-power Allied control council to sit in Tokyo, with General MacArthur acting as its chair and invested with authority to decide on policies for Japan.[5] A control council of any type proved to be anathema to the U.S. government and even more so to MacArthur. On October 22 he dashed off one of his potent messages objecting to the


whole concept, "which negatives every basic principle of unity of command ... and could empower subordinate military commanders by combined action to practically negative the views of the senior commander."[6] Thereupon Byrnes overrode the arguments of the British and the Soviets for a control council and searched for another solution.

Finally, on December 26, 1945, the Big Four foreign ministers reached agreement at a meeting in Moscow on a formula for Allied participation.[7] It created two bodies: the Far Eastern Commission and the Allied Council for Japan (ACJ). The FEC, sitting in Washington and consisting of the eleven major Allied powers, would formulate policies and standards for Japan's fulfillment of the surrender terms and would review upon request of any member any directive or action taken by SCAP involving commission policy decisions. The Big Four nations would each have a veto power.

The ACJ was to be a four-member advisory body to consult with and advise the supreme commander on the implementation of the surrender terms and on the occupation and control of Japan. The supreme commander or his deputy would be the chair. The supreme commander could decide when and how to consult with the ACJ, and he would be "the sole executive authority for the Allied Powers in Japan."

The United States and the supreme commander were thus well protected by the veto power in the FEC and by their controlling voice in the ACJ. And the recognition that the supreme commander was the sole executive authority in Japan constituted a sweeping grant of power to MacArthur, who interpreted it liberally. The United States also gained the right to issue interim directives in certain urgent situations not covered by commission policy. Byrnes had indeed won a signal diplomatic victory in Moscow.

Despite all these safeguards, MacArthur, who was sometimes remarkably heavy-handed in his approach to diplomacy, had a jaundiced view from the start about the new arrangements. In response to a Washington statement that the general had been advised and had not objected to the "new Japan control plan," an obvious reference to the two Allied bodies, MacArthur issued a press release on December 30 saying that he had sent his "final disagreement" to Washington on October 31 and that he had not been consulted during the Moscow conference. He added, however, that he would "try to make it work." This was the first of a number of occasions in which MacArthur publicly disagreed with Washington. Moreover, he later criticized the State Department several times for having "surrendered unilateral U.S.


control over Japan" at the Moscow meeting in 1945.[8] In his memoirs he wrote that "not one constructive idea to help with the reorientation or reconstruction of Japan ever came" from the FEC or ACJ.[9]

The very day the Moscow communiqué was issued, the about-to-die FEAC left Washington for a trip to Japan. On January 31, 1946, the supreme commander met the FEAC members in Tokyo. He told them the occupation should last from three to five years and suggested that the commission soon begin to consider a peace treaty for Japan. He added that "the most likely way of ensuring the development of a peaceful and democratic Japan" was to make "a friend of an enemy."[10]

The Allies also discussed the composition of the occupying forces for Japan in late 1945. The United States wanted Allied units to be part of the garrison forces, including forces from Asian nations. But MacArthur insisted that these units be under his operational control and not be assigned separate zones of occupation.[11] The British Commonwealth went ahead with plans to set up an occupation force in Japan.

The USSR did not agree to the condition, however. Stalin had asked Truman in August to permit Soviet forces to accept the Japanese surrender not only in the Kurile Islands but also in the northeastern half of Hokkaido, where Soviet forces would presumably stay on as an occupation force. Truman agreed to the Kuriles but made clear that MacArthur would accept the Japanese surrender throughout the main islands of Japan, including Hokkaido. Had Truman agreed to Stalin's proposal, Soviet forces or their communist agents would no doubt have controlled at least part of Hokkaido for many years.[12] The Soviets withdrew their forces from Manchuria in May 1946.

General MacArthur asserted in his memoirs that the Soviets in Tokyo came directly to him early in the occupation with a request for a zone of occupation in Hokkaido. This he turned down "point blank." The record does not indicate that MacArthur knew of Truman's rejection of Stalin's request in August 1945 or that MacArthur informed Washington of the Soviet request in Tokyo. It seems odd that even as independent an operator as MacArthur would not have reported an important Soviet demarche like this to Washington, especially because Allied policy encouraged participation in the occupation by other Allies.[13]

On October 24, however, Stalin commented to Ambassador Averell Harriman that "to preserve the freedom of action of MacArthur, it perhaps might not be advisable to send other troops to Japan." Stalin


seemed to want either a big role for the Soviets, as might have been expected, or virtually none at all, possibly because he felt that Japan was in the U.S. zone of influence and the USSR should not poach upon it. Harriman took issue with him, indicating that the United States wanted the forces of other Allies in Japan. Nevertheless, once President Truman told Stalin that the Soviets could not have a separate zone of occupation, Stalin seemed to lose interest in sending forces there.[14]

In January 1946 Harriman found Stalin "perfectly content" with the role assigned the USSR in Japan "because the United States and the Soviet Union have found common ground." Stalin may well have decided tacitly to recognize the American position in Japan in return for U.S. recognition of the Soviet-supported situations in Rumania, Bulgaria, and Hungary. In the eyes of Prime Minister Yoshida, one of MacArthur's greatest contributions to Japan was his refusal to permit the LISSR to set up a separate zone of occupation. But Stalin may have deserved more credit than MacArthur for this.[15]

Another significant issue of concern to the Allies was war reparations to be exacted from Japan. The major Allies had agreed at Potsdam in August 1945 that Japan would be permitted "to maintain such industries as will sustain her economy and permit the exaction of just reparations in kind." The initial U.S. policy had refined this vague formula by providing that reparations be made by the transfer of Japanese property outside Japan and by "the transfer of such goods or existing capital equipment and facilities as are not necessary for a peaceful Japanese economy."[16]

American leaders wanted to avoid a replay of the disastrous consequences of the Versailles Treaty of 1919; the treaty's excessive demands for reparations from defeated Germany became one of the causes for the breakdown of the peace settlement. Accordingly, the first U.S. reparations mission to Japan, led by Edwin W. Pauley in late 1945, planned that reparations be estimated on the basis of Japan's ability to pay, not on the cost of the war damage it had done.[17]

Economists on the Pauley mission, however, wanted to apply a further criterion. They wanted to correct the imbalance that Japan had established in its own favor by exploiting the raw materials of other Asian nations so as to build up its own industrial capacity. On the basis of this criterion, Pauley's experts concluded that "in the overall comparison of needs Japan should have the last priority."[18] This unrealistic approach, which would have outdone the Morgenthau pastoralization plan for Germany, was short-lived.


The Pauley report was presented to the president on December 18, 1945, and filed with the FEC in April 1946, a time when U.S. policy-makers were still planning that other nations in East Asia, led by China, would establish a new balance of power and would make good use of Japanese reparations. Pauley recommended the removal of Japan's war industries, including the aircraft industry, and drastic reductions in iron and steel, shipping, and machine tools capacity. To many Japanese and some Americans, this was a punitive policy designed to prevent Japan's revival as an industrial nation.[19]

From the start of the occupation, MacArthur had reservations about making plant and material available for reparations. He told the FEAC on January 30, 1946, that as a former engineer he knew how hard it was to move a plant and make it work in a new place.[20] But the Allied powers' determination to exact reparations continued to take a lot of the general's time, although he never mentioned the subject in his memoirs.

For the Japanese government and businesses, reparations were a crucial issue. Until the Allies decided what to do, the Japanese could not make plans for industrial development. A diplomat, Asakai Koichiro, assigned to the CLO, had the luck to get some early information out of Pauley about U.S. plans. In November 1945, when Pauley was taking a holiday trip to Nikko, a shrine city north of Tokyo, Asakai went along and engaged Pauley in conversation on the train and was told that two key industries to be limited were ball bearings and steel. The Japanese cabinet was pleased to hear Asakai's report that Pauley would accept steel-making capacity of "over two million tons a year," which was much more than the Japanese had expected. Pauley's report actually recommended an annual capacity of 2.5 million tons.[21]

On January 20, 1946, SCAP issued a directive designating the first wartime facilities to be reserved for reparations. The directive listed aircraft factories, military and naval arsenals, and research laboratories to be placed under SCAP control. By August 1947, 504 installations had been designated for removal as reparations.[22]

On another key issue, the role of the emperor, the Allies played an inadvertent but pivotal role in crystallizing U.S. policy. In late 1945 when lists of war crimes suspects were being drawn up, Australia, with the support of New Zealand, maintained that the emperor should be put on trial. The United Kingdom disagreed, and the Soviet Union, which had not stated its position, was expected to favor indicting the Tenno. Equally strong differences had arisen in Washington. State De-


partment experts felt that the emperor should not be implicated in any way, but some officers in the Navy and War departments disagreed, recommending at least an investigation into the emperor's role in the events leading up to the war. Dean Acheson, the second man in the State Department, agreed with this position.[23]

The three departments most involved—State, War, and Navy—then formulated a policy: the emperor should not be immune from trial, and evidence regarding his activities should be collected in Tokyo and sent to Washington for study. MacArthur was asked on November 10 to examine information that might warrant or permit "proceedings against Hirohito as a war criminal." Former ambassador to Japan Joseph C. Grew, who was sympathetic to retention of the institution, reportedly felt that the emperor ought to be tried because he had approved the rescript authorizing a declaration of war against the United States in 1941. Whereas Grew believed that many factors including political expediency should be considered before reaching a final decision, the political adviser in Tokyo, George Atcheson, wrote President Truman on January 4, 1946, that "the emperor system must disappear if Japan is ever to be wholly democratic." Thus, at that stage the United States had no definite policy about the emperor.[24]

MacArthur had not yet put his views on record. On November 26, 1945, he saw Admiral Yonai Mitsumasa, a former prime minister and a prominent military and naval figure who had been handling demobilization matters for the navy. The admiral had no compunction about asking the general what he thought about "the position of the Emperor." According to the Japanese account, MacArthur candidly replied, "I have no thought at all of making any change in the position of the Emperor."[25]

The issue came to a head on January 21, 1946, when the Australian representative to the United Nations War Crimes Commission in London urged that the emperor be charged with war crimes. On the same day Washington informed MacArthur of the Australian action. The general responded on January 25, 1946, with a long message drafted by his acting chief of staff, Major General Richard J. Marshall, that made several crucial assessments.[26] In what was probably the most dramatic telegram MacArthur sent Washington about occupation policy, he asserted that the role of the emperor in past Japanese actions was "largely ministerial and automatically responsive to the advice of his counsellors." Some even believed that if he had acted to thwart the dominant military clique, this "would have placed him in actual jeop-


ardy.... He is a symbol which unites all Japanese." If the emperor were indicted or tried as a war criminal, MacArthur continued, "a vendetta for revenge will thereby be initiated whose cycle may well not be complete for centuries, if ever. It is quite possible that a million troops would be required, which would have to be maintained for an indefinite number of years. In addition, a complete civil service might have to be recruited and imported, possibly running into a size of several hundred thousand." MacArthur concluded, somewhat modestly, that it would be inappropriate for him to make a recommendation as to whether the emperor should be tried because the decision would have to be made on such a high level but that if the decision were affirmative, he would "recommend the above measures as imperative." By sending this message, overdrawn though it was, MacArthur hardly needed to make a recommendation.

On January 30, the State Department requested the U.S. embassy in London to take measures to forestall the Australian proposal to try the emperor. The U.K. Foreign Office also took the position that consideration of the Australian list by the U.N. commission should be postponed.[27] The commission took no further action.

On April 3, 1946, the FEC approved a policy regarding war criminals with the understanding that the U.S. directive to the supreme commander would be worded to except the Japanese emperor from indictment as a war criminal "without direct authorization."[28] American agencies decided on April 13, 1946, that MacArthur should take no initiative regarding the elimination of the imperial insitution, particularly because the Japanese "were showing a willingness to eliminate [its] most objectionable aspects." MacArthur's advice to the emperor to take some trips around the country and see the people had been in accord with this policy.[29] The Washington decision in effect ended the American debate about the future position of the emperor.

MacArthur told the visiting FEAC on January 31, 1946, that the natural evolution of Japan would be in the direction of a constitutional monarchy, which the occupation should promote. He added that he thought "it would be a disaster to indict the Emperor as a war criminal.... The present Emperor had been from the beginning to the end a `complete Charlie McCarthy,' who had neither begun the war nor stopped it. At every point he had acted on advice and could not have done otherwise." George Sansom reported to London that he was "convinced the Supreme Commander's judgment is correct." Speaking somewhat dramatically to the British ambassador a year later, Mac-


Arthur said the emperor had once confided that if he had opposed his advisers before the attack on the United States in 1941, "I should most certainly have had my throat cut."[30]

When MacArthur called the emperor a puppet who did only what his advisers told him to do, he seemed to be espousing the view that the emperor and his advisers wanted to foster in the early days of the occupation. Since that time, however, much evidence has been adduced to show that the emperor was well informed about Japan's cabinet discussions and military planning for war. In the months before the war began he showed some concern that diplomatic solutions were not being actively pursued, but he made little effort to restrain the preparations for war. Before World War II the emperor seems to have acted for the most part as a constitutional monarch, not making political decisions but putting his stamp of approval on cabinet actions and occasionally offering opinions on some issues. His "supreme command of the army and navy" (tosuiken ) seems to have been largely titular or honorary, not operational. Though his actions did not seem to implicate him in political or military responsibility for the starting of the war, at no point did he use his moral authority or prestige to oppose war planning.[31]

MacArthur's role in the postwar debate over the emperor proved decisive. The emperor was not put on trial. His reputation as a well-meaning but powerless ruler gained wide currency. And the general's prediction on the way that the imperial institution would probably evolve was not far off the mark.


Chapter 6
War Crimes and Punishment by Purge

The execution of war criminals and the removal from high positions of those who had been influential in the prewar period were the most punitive actions taken in Japan. They were regarded by the Japanese as a form of "victors' justice." It is questionable how much these actions contributed to creating the kind of postwar peace the United States desired.

World War II was the first major conflict in history in which the victors carried out trials and punishment of thousands of persons in the defeated nations for "crimes against peace" and "crimes against humanity," two new and broadly defined categories of international crime. Early in the war Allied leaders had stated that war criminals would be punished, and in October 1943, well before the surrender of Germany, the U.N. War Crimes Commission was set up to collect evidence of war crimes by the Axis powers in both Europe and Asia.[1] Winston Churchill and the British favored making a list of the top Nazis and shooting them as soon as they were captured. The Americans strongly argued that due legal process must apply to the punishment of war criminals, and this view prevailed.[2]

The aftermath of World War II also witnessed the forced removal from important public and private positions of those Germans and Japanese who had taken a leading part in the aggressive actions of their governments. This, too, was the first time that victors had carried out a systematic and widespread removal from office of the leaders and important officials of defeated nations.[3]


The Potsdam Declaration of July 1945 provided for trials of Japanese war criminals and elimination of the influence of those who had "deceived and misled" the Japanese people. MacArthur said in his memoirs that to charge political leaders with war crimes was "repugnant to me." He also "very much doubted the wisdom" of purging extremists because purges would eliminate able officials, were punitive, and lacked popular support in Japan.[4] Despite these dark forebodings, he energetically presided over the execution of these two complex policies. Neither was well understood by the Japanese, but both satisfied a deep-seated feeling in the Allied world that those Germans and Japanese guilty of starting the war and committing atrocities should be punished for their malefactions. Both policies were administrative quagmires.

The Nuremberg trial of major German offenders started in November 1946 and finished eleven months later. One lesson the United States learned from it was that an operation in which the ,major Allies were expected to work jointly in collecting evidence, setting up a tribunal, designating prosecutors, and conducting a trial was cumbersome and contentious. Under Secretary of State Dean Acheson and Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy, a skillful duo in organizing many of the early projects in Japan, decided that MacArthur should be given the authority to conduct the trial of major offenders in Japan, with judges and prosecutors recommended by the other Allied nations. Each Allied nation would also be empowered to conduct trials of lesser offenders of interest to it.[5]

MacArthur ordered the arrest of thirty-nine suspects on September 11, one day before receiving instructions to proceed "without unavoidable delay." He wanted to start with the trial of members of the Tojo cabinet that declared war in December 1941 and was unhappy to be told soon afterward that they should be tried by an international tribunal. He commented, "It is self-evident that no international action can be obtained here in the near future."[6] U.S. military police (MPs) were at the point of arresting the number one catch, General Tojo on September 11, when he shot himself. He bungled the attempt and survived with the help of expert treatment by U.S. Army doctors. General Eichelberger ruminated later that it might have been better if Tojo had succeeded. Yet to have conducted the trial without Tojo would have emptied the proceedings of much of their meaning and excitement. Hermann Goering, the principal Nuremberg defendant, was cleverer than Tojo; he


went through the trial and then robbed the Allies of the desired consummation by taking poison before he was to be hanged.

On October 6, 1945, the supreme commander received a directive, which was soon approved by the other Allied powers, granting him authority to proceed with the major trials.[7] As in Germany, war crimes were divided into three categories:

Class A—crimes against peace : the planning or waging of a war of aggression or war in violation of international law or treaties, or conspiring to do so. These trials would be conducted jointly by the eleven major Allied powers and would include Class B and Class C charges against the same defendants.

Class B—conventional war crimes : violations of the laws or customs of war, such as cruel treatment of prisoners of war or civilians. Each Allied nation would try cases of concern to it.

Class C—crimes against humanity : criminal or inhumane acts against civilians, such as enslavement or deportation, also to be tried separately by each Allied power.

The basic directive of November 3 also dealt with war crimes. It listed in sweeping terms the categories of suspects to be arrested: top military officers, including the imperial general headquarters and the army and navy general staffs; all commissioned military police officers; all military officers who had been "important exponents of militant nationalism and aggression"; and all key members of ultranationalistic, terrorist, and secret patriotic societies. Very few of the many hundreds of persons in these categories were tried, but most of them were purged.[8]

The supreme commander was also directed to intern others, such as all persons who had played an active and dominant governmental or economic part in Japan's program of aggression; all high officials of the Imperial Rule Assistance Association (IRAA), sometimes considered the Japanese counterpart of the Nazi Party in Germany; and other civilians as necessary for the achievement of occupation goals.[9] SCAP did not actually imprison many persons in this category but did remove them from important positions.

Ever the efficient administrator, MacArthur moved vigorously to organize the trials of Class A suspects. An international prosecution section was added to his staff on December 8, headed by Joseph B.


Keenan, a former U.S. assistant attorney general who had been named chief of counsel by President Truman on November 30. The eleven powers on the FEC were invited to designate justices of the tribunal, who were then formally appointed by the supreme commander.

SCAP generally followed the legal definitions and framework adopted for the trials in Germany. But it found that the definitions of war crimes were vague and that the available evidence was often too skimpy and insubstantial to stand up in court.

George Atcheson suggested to the general on November 6 that the trials be expedited, and MacArthur replied that the directives he had received were so broad and general "that he is unable to determine those individuals that the American Government or the Allied governments wish to prosecute." Atcheson proposed to Washington on December 17 that the United States go ahead with a U.S. tribunal because the Allies had not yet agreed on trial procedures.[10] Washington ignored this unwelcome suggestion.

MacArthur asked the political adviser on November 7 to list persons he thought should be arrested and to provide evidence. Largely on the basis of information from Washington, Atcheson submitted four lists in November and December, compiled by Robert A. Fearey and John Emmerson of his staff with the help of Canadian diplomat Herbert Norman. Nearly all of those listed were arrested and tried. By the end of 1945, 103 major suspects had been arrested, including most of the Tojo 1941 cabinet, former prime minister Hirota Koki and former privy seal Kido Koichi.[11]

Norman had prepared lengthy memoranda on Konoe and Kido, both listed by Atcheson as war crimes suspects. The memos described the influential role they had played in Japan's aggressive actions. Some of the information in these memos was probably used in deciding to charge the two men with war crimes. Konoe took poison on December 15, the day before he was to enter prison as a Class A suspect, plaintively asserting, "The victor is too boastful and the loser too servile."[12]

On January 19, 1946, the supreme commander promulgated the charter of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE), drafted by Keenan and his staff and based in part on the U.S. directive of October 6.[13] This followed the pattern of the Nuremberg charter, providing for just and prompt trial and punishment; "fair" trial procedures, including the right to counsel and aid in producing needed evidence; and review of sentences by the supreme commander. The tribunal would examine alleged offenses committed by defendants in


the period from 1928 to 1945. The supreme commander formally appointed the justices of the IMTFE on February 15 and designated Sir William F. Webb, the chief judge of the Supreme Court of Queensland, Australia, as the president of the tribunal.

On April 29 the IMTFE returned indictments against twenty-eight Class A suspects, who were arraigned on May 3. The indictments, which were the handiwork of the British prosecutor, Arthur Comyns-Carr,[14] contained a total of fifty-five counts: thirty-six for crimes against peace, sixteen for murder of prisoners of war and civilians, and three for conventional war crimes and crimes against humanity. Several of the counts described a conspiracy by Japanese leaders to dominate East Asia and, along with Germany and Italy, the world. Chief Prosecutor Keenan stated later that he had selected the defendants with the help of a committee of prosecutors.[15] Thirty-one additional Class A suspects were not indicted but continued to be held in custody, and many of them were held until the trial ended in 1948; the other arrested Class A suspects were released earlier.

The tribunal did not indict the emperor. This decision, made by vote of the prosecutors "acting on instructions from their governments," was not unanimous, despite the assertion by the State Department in. 1949 that all nations represented on the FEC had agreed to exempt the emperor from trial.[16] MacArthur, who had no doubt been consulted by Keenan before the prosecutors voted, wrote later in his memoirs that some of the Allies, notably the Soviets and the British, had pushed to include the emperor as a war criminal suspect.[17] But this was not so. The United Kingdom had consistently taken the position that the emperor should not be involved in war crimes, and the Soviet Union did not propose that the emperor be tried. Australia and New Zealand, which had initially advocated trying the emperor, gradually muted their position.

The twenty-eight suspects indicted on April 29 included fifteen senior army officers, three admirals, five diplomats, and five senior government figures or influential civilians. Most of the military officers had had important roles in the war against China or in planning the attack on Pearl Harbor. Three of the suspects were in the cabinet when Japan attacked the United States. Shigemitsu Mamoru and Umezu Yoshijiro, who had signed the surrender instrument on the Missouri , were included as suspects at the request of the Soviet prosecutor, who had arrived in Tokyo only a few days before the indictments were filed.[18] Not a single industrialist was indicted; one zaibatsu figure, Ikeda Seihin,


former managing director of the top Mitsui holding company, was arrested but soon released.[19]

The IMTFE convened on June 3. The next day it heard Chief Prosecutor Keenan present a lengthy opening statement of the case against the twenty-eight defendants. The document most relied on by the prosecution throughout the trial was the diary of Kido Koichi, who had been privy seal from 1940 to November 14, 1945, when the position was abolished by the cabinet. Kido kept careful, although brief and sometimes cryptic, records of all meetings held by the emperor, of the subjects discussed, and of his own talks with the Tenno.[20]

Given the atmosphere after the emperor's meeting with General MacArthur, Kido decided the diary would not raise new concerns. He and his nephew-in-law, Tsuru Shigeto, an economist who had studied in the United States, had a long meeting with Keenan, after which Kido agreed to turn the document over. A member of the prosecution staff called the diary "the working Bible of the prosecution and the main key to all further investigation."[21] As it turned out, Kido, and some of the other defendants, would almost surely have been better off if he had not turned over the incriminating evidence. The information in his diary contributed to the finding that Kido was guilty of crimes against peace. The emperor, however, would not have been tried in any case because the United States, with Allied support, had decided, largely on political grounds, that he should not be tried.

Even before the international trial began, the United States had unilaterally tried two senior Japanese generals in late 1945 for war crimes under U.S. military law. The trial of Yamashita Tomoyuki was the most publicized and most controversial of all the trials of Japanese leaders. By capturing Singapore on February 12, 1942, with a force one-third the size of the British and Australian defenders, Yamashita won the sobriquet "Tiger of Malaya" after the most brilliant victory of any Japanese general in the war. Yamashita would no doubt have had to face a British court for that operation had U.S. authorities not seized him in September 1945 in the Philippines, where he had conducted the Japanese defense against the invading Americans led by Douglas MacArthur. Yamashita had been banished to Manchuria for much of the war by a jealous General Tojo but had been recalled to take charge. of Imperial Army forces in the Philippines ten days before the U.S. invasion of October 18, 1944. The pillage, burning, murder, and rape that took place in the defense of Manila were among the most wanton and brutal of the many vicious acts the Japanese perpetrated.


His trial began in Manila at the end of October 1945 before a five-member U.S. military commission. Very liberal rules for the introduction of evidence were followed. The zealous defense staff of six American lawyers argued that Yamashita faced "insurmountable difficulties" in establishing command over his scattered forces in a rapidly deteriorating situation and that the evidence did not show that he had ordered, condoned, or even known of the atrocities. Yamashita claimed that he had no control over the naval forces that had virtually destroyed the historic Old City of Manila, that he was in Manila only part of the time, and that for the rest of it he was 150 miles away.

On December 7 he was adjudged guilty and sentenced to death. The tribunal found that Japanese officers had been present when the offenses charged had been committed and that the incidents were so widespread that Yamashita knew or should have known of their occurrence. The sentence was confirmed by the commanding U.S. general in the Philippines. The defense filed an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Philippines then being a U.S. possession. The Supreme Court denied the appeal on February 4, 1946, by a six-to-two vote on the ground that the Court did not have the power to review the judgments of military courts trying offenses against the laws of war by enemy combatants. Two justices (Frank Murphy and Wiley Rutledge) dissented, calling the verdict "legalized lynching."[22]

After reviewing the record, MacArthur confirmed the sentence on February 11, 1946, concluding that there were no mitigating circumstances and that Yamashita had "failed his duty" and "violated his sacred trust" as a soldier.[23] On February 23 Yamashita was hanged and stripped of his uniform and decorations, the most demeaning form of execution for a military man.

The United States also tried Lieutenant General Homma Masaharu, whose forces had seized the Philippines in early 1942. MacArthur had been commander of the defending U.S. and Filipino forces until President Roosevelt had ordered him to proceed to Australia on March 11, 1942. Homma had had the benefit of overwhelming numbers on his side in the Philippine campaign.

At his trial in Manila, which began in late December 1945, Homma was charged with responsibility for the bombing of Manila when it was an open city in 1941-1942 and for failure to exercise proper command responsibility to prevent the deaths of more than 8,000 U.S. and Philippine troops in the Bataan "Death March" after the surrender of the defending forces in late March 1942. Homma claimed that he had not


known about the forced march of the prisoners of war; his claim contested evidence that his headquarters was near the route of the march and that he traveled along there while the prisoners were marching along it. The court found him guilty on February 11, 1946. His appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court also failed. Mrs. Homma made a personal appeal for clemency to MacArthur, who later called their meeting "one of the most trying hours of my life." On April 3, after MacArthur affirmed the judgment of the military court, Homma was executed by a firing squad.[24]

MacArthur told Averell Harriman, the retiring American ambassador to the Soviet Union, who visited Japan in early 1946, that the Yamashita decision had been a difficult one but that Homma had violated the rules of war by refusing to accept the surrender of General Jonathan Wainwright on Corregidor in 1942 unless he surrendered all U.S. forces in the Philippines, even though those forces were no longer under his commmand. Harriman claimed "tears were running down the face" of the general. MacArthur reportedly told the foreign editor of Newsweek in 1947 that Wainwright "should never have surrendered" and "his men should have died fighting."[25]

On December 5 MacArthur ordered all trials of war crimes suspects by U.S. military courts to be placed under his jurisdiction as supreme commander rather than as a U.S. commander. This action was intended to set his authority outside the jurisdiction of all U.S. courts. It illustrated what George Kennan called the "flealike agility" of U.S. international commanders in switching from a U.S. to an international role. MacArthur and the U.S. military tribunals have been widely criticized for their actions in the Yamashita and Homma cases, yet their jurisdiction to try the cases and impose the sentences adjudged was dear, and the evidence that atrocities had been committed was overwhelming.[26]

Far less dramatic was what the Japanese called paaji , their version of what the Americans called "the purge." Its formal title, as designated by SCAPIN 550, was "The Removal and Exclusion of Undesirable Personnel from Public Office." This instruction, which General MacArthur issued on January 4, 1946, struck a mighty blow against the military and political leaders of prewar Japan.[27]

To purify Japan's political, economic, and social systems of persons tainted by nationalism was a primary U.S. goal. The Potsdam Declaration said "the authority and influence of those who have deceived and


misled the people of Japan into embarking on world conquest" had to be eliminated because "a new order of peace and justice will be impossible until irresponsible militarism is driven from the world."[28] The implementing basic directive was much wider ranging, aiming at those who "have been active exponents of militant nationalism and aggression, who have been influential members of any Japanese ultranationalistic, terroristic or secret patriotic society, its agencies or affiliates, ... or who manifest hostility to the objectives of the military occupation."[29]

Agreement within SCAP on the purge was not easily reached. The supreme commander had not wanted to move too soon, fearing that a purge would damage the efficiency of the government and hurt the economy, as he thought had happened in Germany.[30] Serious questions were then raised about the draft that GS had laboriously prepared. Should all former military officers be purged or only those of high rank, such as generals and admirals, or those of the rank of colonel and above? When did Japanese aggression begin—in 1931, when Japan invaded Manchuria, or in 1937, when Japan attacked China? Some questioned whether SCAP should base the purge, as GS proposed, only on broadly defined categories of activity and not examine individual cases. General Willoughby, the intelligence chief, offered the portentous comment that the directives ran counter to the "corollary" of the Potsdam Declaration that Japan should be developed into "ultimately an adherent of the United States."[31]

Colonel Charles L. Kades, the deputy chief of GS, supervised the drafting of the purge orders. They were approved by the chief of staff, and no doubt by MacArthur, much as GS had drafted them. MacArthur personally decided that they should be issued on January 4, 1946. Purging would be done by broad categories. The period of time to be covered would be between 1931 and 1945. The chief of staff made one change in the drafts: all military officers wound be liable to the purge, not just high-ranking or career officers. This decision vastly increased the number of Japanese to be purged and meant that 80 percent were military personnel. The reasons given for this change were that Japanese company-grade officers were the cruelest in combat and that young officers had often been the ringleaders in right-wing activities in Japan.[32] The number of persons ultimately purged in Japan was about one-half of the 418, 307 purged in the U.S. zone in Germany.

SCAPIN 550 set forth the categories of persons to be purged:


—Arrested war criminal suspects

—Senior military personnel and key officials of the Army and Navy ministries, military police, or special intelligence personnel

—Influential members of extreme nationalist societies

—Influential members of the IRAA and its affiliates

—Officers of overseas financial and development organizations

—Other active exponents of militant nationalism and aggression

Persons whose rank or position put them in these categories were automatically purged, except for the last, which was subject to interpretation and was used for a number of individual purge actions by SCAP. Many purgees received their normal pensions, with SCAP approval.

The companion directive, SCAPIN 548, ordered the Japanese government to ban organizations or actions in support of militant nationalism as well as "resistance or opposition to the occupation forces." The directive listed 27 ultranationalistic societies whose activities were prohibited and whose property was to be seized. By February 24, when the Japanese government issued an imperial ordinance to carry out the SCAP order, the list of proscribed organizations had grown to 147, and many more were added later. The category of "resistance or opposition to the occupation forces" later became an important criterion when SCAP applied the purge to left-wing persons and organizations.

The two directives were heralded by a somewhat flatulent press release: "These directives blast from their entrenched position in the command posts of government all those who planned, started and directed the war, and those who enslaved and beat the Japanese people into abject submission and who hoped to do the same with all the world."[33] The purge in Japan was nothing like the lethal actions that Stalin and Hitler had taken against their political enemies. It was carried out by an administrative process: any person whose prewar position fell within a defined category was purged. A few women, such as Ichikawa Fusae, a well-known advocate of women's rights, were included in the purge. One high SCAP official blithely called the purge "early retirement." There was no legal proceeding, no trial, and no attempt at due process, as there was in Germany and as many Japanese thought would be more fair.

The procedures that the Japanese government instituted were relatively simple. A three-page questionnaire was given to those persons in public life and other important positions who might be affected, even-


tually totaling 2,308,863, and a series of boards at the local, prefectural, and national levels screened the completed papers. There were no hearings, and appeals were allowed on a limited scale only after the person concerned had been barred from office. SCAP monitored the whole process. In 1947 the Japanese set up a procedure for the "provisional designation" of all persons, especially in the military, whose positions fell under the purge criteria, eliminating most of the screening procedure.[34]

The purge directive provided not only that persons designated as purgees be removed from office but also that they be excluded from positions of authority and influence in the future. The number excluded greatly exceeded the number actually removed. The purge directive also authorized temporary exemptions for persons whose services were needed to carry out the directive or to complete the demobilization program; this provision was used to postpone the purge of several cabinet members and allowed Willoughby to hire some Imperial Army and Navy experts as historians and advisers for most of the occupation.

The way SCAP applied its instructions meant that the number of Japanese tried as war criminals was far fewer than Washington had planned but that the number purged was much greater. Many persons were simply removed from office but were not interned and tried as war criminal suspects, as they might have been under the basic directive from Washington. According to the official GS history, the essential purpose of the purge was not to punish those who had led Japan to war but rather to remove persons who could not be trusted to guide the nation in peaceful directions. Nevertheless, many in Washington had not expected that the SCAP purge program would involve such a large number of people, and they felt the purge went too far.[35] This kind of confusion is the common result when one set of people makes policies and an entirely different set carries them out.

One young officer purged in 1946 was Morita Akio, a reserve lieutenant in the navy, who was forced thereby to give up a teaching appointment in the Tokyo Institute of Technology, a government university.[36] He soon joined a small electronics company that was then struggling to get started but later became the Sony Corporation, of which he became co-chairman. Not only was Morita not an extremist; he was an electronics and marketing genius, and the purge was a good thing for him. It created severe hardship for most purgees, however, making it difficult to find jobs and often imposing a kind of social stigma.

The purge order was not just a shock for the Japanese; it was a thun-


derbolt. More than 80 percent of the members of the Diet and 50 percent of Shidehara's cabinet would be expelled. The cabinet at first thought of resigning en masse, and Yoshida so informed MacArthur soon after the orders were issued. The general was displeased, saying SCAP might have to take over the administration of the government. He also said that if the Shidehara cabinet resigned, he would not allow Shidehara to form a new government even with the consent of the emperor. The cabinet then decided to hang on; four of its five purged members were allowed to keep office temporarily.[37]

Shidehara proposed to Brigadier General Courtney Whitney, the new chief of GS, that a commission of inquiry be set up to examine and decide each case on the ground that "it seems doubtful whether the directive purports to exclude and remove" from office all persons "no matter how innocent they may be of the sinister actions defined."[38] The Japanese were trying to get some kind of due process introduced into the purge procedures.

At a meeting with the prime minister on January 25, Whitney firmly explained that full compliance with the directives was expected and that any inequities could be remedied later. Whitney did agree that the Japanese government could set up a commission of inquiry after the necessary removals of officials had taken place.[39] The Japanese then proceeded to carry out SCAP's orders. Whitney's meeting was the first important test of his leadership as the chief of GS, and he obviously felt it went well. As he reported to MacArthur, "Once your desires were. fully understood the government went all out in its compliance, accepting not only the letter of the requirements but the spirit as well."[40]

Whitney had one scare. A SCAP spokesman told the press on February 11 that the government was going far beyond the requirements of the purge orders. This statement was particularly embarrassing because MacArthur had earlier told Yoshida that "the prime minister could disclaim all responsibility for the action required" on the ground that it was required by SCAP orders. Suddenly SCAP was pointing the finger of responsibility for a sweeping purge at the Japanese. Whitney insisted that all future statements of this kind be cleared with him.[41]

The initial purge was carried out in preparation for the forthcoming elections. Three hundred eighty-one members of the Tojo Diet of 1942 were found ineligible. Of the 3,384 standing for election, 252 more were disqualified as a result of the Japanese government screening. Many political figures did not file for the election and withdrew from public life rather than risk being declared ineligible.


Carrying out the purge marked the rise to power of General Whitney and GS. A veteran of World War I turned lawyer in Manila, Whitney had handled guerrilla operations in the Philippines on MacArthur's staff in the latter days of World War II. Because he had not fought and escaped with MacArthur in 1941-1942, however, he was not a member of the elite "Bataan crowd," like Willoughby and Marquat. He left Japan soon after the surrender ceremony but came back in mid-December to replace a lackluster career officer as GS chief.

Whitney was an able and determined man totally devoted to MacArthur and happy to see the CINC (MacArthur was known inside SCAP as "the See-in-See" or "the old man") get all the credit. Whitney was liked and admired by his own staff but disliked by many Americans in SCAP and in the foreign press corps. Most of the Japanese who dealt with him seemed to fear him. He saw MacArthur several times every day, entered the boss's office without going through the protective staff guarding the entrance, and often finished the day with a long talk with MacArthur.[42]

Whitney also imparted a sense of esprit to GS. His staff members did not hesitate to tackle any issue they thought important. A perceptive Japanese diplomat described them as "good Americans of outstanding intelligence even if they were liberal New Dealers who went too fast sometimes."[43] Whitney's deputy, Colonel Kades, a Wall Street lawyer in later life, was in the view of both Americans and Japanese the epitome of the brainy, liberal American who wanted to reform Japan. MacArthur and Whitney were far from having a New Deal outlook, but they allowed the GS staff to spearhead the reform program.

As soon as Whitney took over, he set about to establish the primacy of GS and succeeded brilliantly. Early in 1946 he requested that GS be given responsibility for coordinating the work of military government teams; this proposal would have made much better use of the teams in the field than SCAP was ever able to do. G-3, a military staff section, proposed in response that it be given authority in the field of civil affairs. Whitney then counterproposed that a separate deputy chief of staff for civil affairs be named, a position that he no doubt aspired to. None of these proposals was approved. MacArthur may well have seen them as a challenge to his own complete authority. Nevertheless, Whitney had succeeded in defending the principle of civilian supremacy on behalf of a section made up mostly of career civilians against a military staff section.[44]

In early 1947 he had a real bureaucratic triumph. A staff memo


approved by the chief of staff and no doubt by MacArthur empowered GS to make recommendations to the supreme commander on policy aspects of economic matters as well as political issues, thus giving GS a hunting license to roam through much of the business of the occupation, notably in regard to the broad jurisdiction of ESS. This action did not make GS popular but did give it power. In effect, Whitney became MacArthur's right-hand man for much of the work of the occupation.[45]

Whitney devised the SCAP policy of governing the Japanese by advice and pressure tactics rather than by directive. As a result, GS issued only one more formal directive after the purge orders. This clever technique not only created the illusion that SCAP was not telling the Japanese what to do but also cut away the legal basis for any objection to SCAP actions by the FEC and the ACJ, since there were almost never any written orders for these bodies to challenge.

An important lesson was learned from the purge, Whitney wrote the supreme commander. Japanese delays should not be attributed to "unwillingness or indifference" before patient efforts were made to ensure that SCAP instructions were fully understood.[46] Whitney's own section did not learn this lesson easily because its members were to complain often and bitterly of Japanese "resistance" to their instructions.


Chapter 7
The New Constitution

From February 4 to February 13, 1946, GS drafted a new constitution for Japan. With only minor changes it became the law of the land in May 1947 and has remained in effect without amendment ever since. General MacArthur termed it "probably the single most important accomplishment of the occupation."[1] It was surely the most far-reaching—and audacious—of the many actions he took in Japan.

Making the new constitution led to serious clashes between SCAP and the FEC, strained MacArthur's relations with his own government, and raised doubts about his candor in reporting what he was doing in Japan. The SCAP draft constitution aroused consternation among Japan's leaders, and thereafter it provoked intense feeling and debate. But for all these frictions, the result was a remarkable political instrument, called by one senior Japanese "a beautiful jewel that came out of a senseless war."[2]

The inspiration for drafting a new constitution came from Courtney Whitney.[3] Fresh from his triumph in pushing through the purge in January, Whitney persuaded MacArthur to have a draft constitution prepared and given to the Japanese as a "model." The supreme commander saw this as a way to shore up the position of the emperor and to bind Japan to a policy of pacifism. He was concerned that if he did not act swiftly, the new FEC might soon tie his hands. He therefore commissioned GS to sit in conspiratorial secrecy as a "constitutional convention" to draft the charter. MacArthur took an unusually keen interest in the whole operation and followed it carefully, leaving Whitney


to supervise the drafting and steer the document through the Japanese legal shoals.

MacArthur had received only general guidance from Washington about constitutional change. At no time had he been told that a new constitution would be necessary to achieve Allied goals, although he had been advised of numerous reforms that should be made in Japan's political structure to make it representative and democratic. Sir George Sansom, a member of the soon-to-expire FEAC, thought the existing constitution would be compatible with Allied goals if three changes were instituted: make the cabinet responsible to the Diet, or parliament; reduce the powers of the house of peers, the nonelected upper house; and give the Diet full power to make the annual budget.[4] American views were more ambitious.

In the fall of 1945, when Sansom gave these views, the U.S. government had not yet formulated any specific ideas about constitutional reform. On November 6, 1945, the political adviser informed the State Department of MacArthur's view that "as the Japanese Government has been directed by the Supreme Commander through the prime minister to initiate a constitutional revision, none of us should be involved until the Japanese Government itself formally submits something on the matter"; he was referring to MacArthur's statement to Shidehara on October 11 of the need for "liberalization of the constitution."[5] When Atcheson drafted a message in mid-November telling the State Department of his concern that the Japanese were moving too slowly, MacArthur added a paragraph to the effect that the message did not reflect his views, which were "very much more optimistic." The political adviser seemed to be out of step with the general.[6]

Meanwhile, Washington had been working on a statement of U.S. policy on political reform. Atcheson received an advance copy on December 13, which he sent to MacArthur with the suggestion that liaison be set up with the Japanese to make sure they were aware of the views of the United States. MacArthur did not react to this advice. He received the final copy of the Washington policy on January 11, 1946, and this document was reportedly used by GS as a guide in its drafting endeavor.[7] By that time General Whitney had taken charge of GS, leaving Atcheson with a negligible role in the making of the constitution.

Drafted largely by Hugh Borton, a Columbia University expert on Japan, the Washington policy paper bore the number SWNCC 228 (SWNCC referred to the State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee, an interagency planning group) and was entitled "Reform of the Japanese


Governmental System." First it described the major defects of the existing political system, such as concentration of power in a small group of personal advisers to the emperor; the weakness of the lower house of the Diet; the emperor's overriding prerogatives, such as the right to select the prime minister and to exercise "supreme command" of the armed forces; and inadequate protection of civil rights. The paper then recommended goals for U.S. policy: an executive branch responsible to the electorate or to a fully representative legislature, guarantees of fundamental civil rights, popular sovereignty, and "the drafting and adoption of constitutional amendments or of a constitution in a manner which will express the free will of the Japanese people." The paper contended that the emperor system could not be retained as it was: the people should decide the eventual form of government, but they should be encouraged to abolish the emperor institution or reform it. If they decided to retain it, the emperor must act only on the advice of the cabinet and should be deprived of all authority in military matters.

SWNCC 228's last caveat was that "only as a last resort should the Supreme Commander order the government to effect the above listed reforms, as the knowledge that they had been imposed by the Allies would materially reduce their acceptance and support." Inserted by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, this clause reflected concern that the "proposed reforms may foment unrest in Japan to such a degree as to require increases in occupational forces." SWNCC 228 was later referred to the FEC as a U.S. proposal. In accord with the usual procedure, it was also sent to SCAP for information so that Tokyo would know what Washington was thinking and doing. The FEC approved SWNCC 228 as Allied policy, with minor changes, on July 2, 1946. All member governments including the Soviet Union and Australia thus approved giving Japan the right to decide whether to retain the emperor institution.[8]

In early 1946 the Matsumoto committee set up by Shidehara continued to work on revising the 1889 constitution, but the scope of the planned reforms, especially in regard to the role of the emperor, was limited. The prime minister stated publicly that he saw no need for broad revision of the constitution. The political parties and several private groups prepared drafts of a new constitution; some, like that of the Socialist Party, were quite liberal, and others, like those of the Progressives and the Liberals, were quite limited. There was no contact between the Japanese government and SCAP on this matter. Indeed, at that stage GS had few contacts with the Japanese on any political matters.[9]


SCAP experts told the visiting FEAC in January 1946 that many changes were being made in Japan's system of government but that "we do not amend the constitution as such." The Philippine representative on the FEAC said he did "not understand why constitutional revision was not part" of GS's work; several other representatives appeared to think that revision would eventually be necessary. MacArthur seemed to end the debate, however, when he told the FEAC on January 30 that the matter of constitutional reform "had been taken out of his hands by the Moscow agreement" setting up the FEC. Nevertheless, three days after meeting the FEAC MacArthur instructed his staff to draft a new constitution. He acted because his most trusted adviser, Courtney Whitney, had convinced him that he had the authority he needed, that he had to move quickly before Washington intervened, and that the Japanese were stalling on reform.[10]

SCAP's role in constitutional reform having been questioned, Whitney first requested a study of MacArthur's authority. Drafted by Kades, the study was sent to the supreme commander on February 1.[11] It argued forcefully that MacArthur had both general authority from the Allied powers to take such steps as he thought proper to carry out the surrender terms and specific authority, under the surrender terms and U.S. policy, to take measures to strengthen democratic tendencies, eliminate authoritarian practices, and require Japan to develop a non-militaristic and democratic government. Only two limitations could restrict his authority: action to remove the emperor would require prior consultation with the JCS; and any directive to the Japanese government about constitutional change would, if the FEC had previously issued a policy decision on that matter, be subject to review by the ACJ and the FEC.

This legal opinion did not become generally known until 1949 when GS published it as part of a detailed and sometimes self-serving report of its activities, The Political Reorientation of Japan . As penetrating an analysis as it was, most members of the FEC would certainly have disputed its conclusion. MacArthur was careful, however, not to press his assertions of authority too far, and he soon avoided the whole issue by claiming that the draft constitution was a Japanese product, not a response to any "order" by him.

Having satisfied the supreme commander that he had the necessary. authority, Whitney probably went on to urge him to act quickly. The new FEC, which would soon hold its organizational meeting, would take up the constitutional issue and could quite possibly, under pressure


from the Soviets and the Australians, impose a constitution on Japan and on him.[12] MacArthur had little confidence in the U.S. representatives on the commission and might have thought that the United States would not veto radical solutions, such as elimination of the imperial institution, that a majority of the commission might devise. Citing these dangers, Whitney might then have persuaded MacArthur that he should take steps to forestall undesirable action by the FEC.

Whitney's clinching argument was a scoop in the Japanese newspaper Mainichi , also on February 1, making public what it claimed was a revision plan prepared by the Matsumoto committee.[13] Whitney immediately wrote a memorandum to the supreme commander describing the draft as "extremely conservative in character" because it left substantially unchanged the status of the emperor, with all rights of sovereignty vested in him.[14] The press widely criticized the "Matsumoto draft" as reactionary, leading the government to issue a statement that the draft was merely the working paper of one committee member. In any case, MacArthur's earlier optimism that left to themselves the Japanese would produce a suitable revision seemed to have been unwarranted.

On February 3 MacArthur decided that GS should prepare a draft constitution. Whitney was optimistic that the Japanese would accept the principles of a SCAP draft and "get into the swing of this thing as they finally did in compliance with the 'purge' directive."[15] At that point Whitney's intention was to give the Japanese a "model constitution" that would serve as a statement of basic principles but not as an order.

The next month—from February 4 to March 6, when the draft of a new constitution was made public—was one of the most extraordinary periods of the occupation. The U.S. military command wrote a basic national constitution for the defeated nation in utmost secrecy and then made sure it was approved by Japan's political leaders with only a few changes. The document was then made public, and other governments were told it was the joint product of the Japanese and SCAP.

On February 4 Whitney summoned members of the public administration division of GS and told them they would "sit as a constitutional convention."[16] He said he planned to submit a draft to General MacArthur in a week and then give it to the Japanese. Twenty-seven persons—officers and civilians, professionals, and secretaries—prepared the draft. Some were lawyers; others were teachers, civil servants, or military professionals. There were no constitutional lawyers. Only


a few had any background in government or prewar experience in Japan. For reference material, they had the Meiji and U.S. constitutions, those of several European and American states, and a few charters drafted by Japanese scholars and political parties.[17]

Whitney told the group the Japanese would be advised that the only way to retain "the Emperor and the remnants of their own power is by their acceptance and approval of a constitution that will force a decisive swing to the left." To do this, General MacArthur had "empowered him [Whitney] to use not merely the threat of force, but force itself."[18] MacArthur would insist on only a few points, Whitney told his GS staff. He had a sheet of yellow paper on which three numbered paragraphs were written in longhand, either MacArthur's or Whitney's. The main points were:


The emperor is at the head of state….His duties and powers will be ... responsible to the basic will of the people....


War as a sovereign right of the nation is abolished.... Japan renounces it as an instrumentality for settling its disputes and even for preserving its security. It relies upon the higher ideals which are now stirring the world.... No Japanese army, navy or air force will ever be authorized and no rights of belligerency will ever be conferred upon any Japanese force.


The feudal system of Japan will cease. No rights of peerage except those of the imperial family.... Pattern budget after British system.

In his remarks to Whitney, MacArthur also said he preferred that Japan have a unicameral legislature rather than two houses.[19]

GS was divided into seven committees to produce drafts of various parts of the proposed constitution. In addition, a steering committee of three lawyers headed by Kades supervised the drafting and resolved differences. Taking his cue from MacArthur, Whitney delegated all the drafting work to the staff and intervened on only a few matters. No one outside the section was to know what was being done, and the project was to be treated as top secret.

Whitney worried particularly that the State Department political adviser might get wind of the project and tell Washington what was going on. POLAD and Washington learned nothing about the operation until they saw the draft constitution in the press on March 6. Kades wrote a memorandum of record in early March asserting the supreme commander was not required to consult the JCS about constitutional


changes unless they involved the removal of the emperor and reasserting that MacArthur's powers were absolute so long as he acted within the scope of his basic directives. Kades added that SCAP actions were in "complete conformity with SWNCC 228." The secrecy of this operation demonstrated the confidence MacArthur and Whitney had in themselves and their lack of confidence in the rest of the U.S. government.[20]

The draft, which was finished by February 10, took seven days, almost surely a record time for the drafting of any constitution. Writing the U.S. Constitution of 1787 had required 127 days' work for fifty-five persons, many of them experts with long experience in government.[21] The three overriding principles of the SCAP draft were popular sovereignty, pacifism, and protection of individual human rights. The draft provided for retention of an emperor as the "symbol" of the state, a popularly elected and representative legislature, and a cabinet responsible to it.

In light of Japan's constitutional history, the group adopted the British system of parliamentary supremacy rather than the U.S. system of checks and balances among three branches of government. A prime minister would appoint and dismiss cabinet ministers. A supreme court would have the power to determine the constitutionality of laws and official acts. The draft included lengthy definitions of civil and human rights. Two provisions in the SCAP draft soon fell quietly by the wayside, however: one providing that the Diet could reverse Supreme Court decisions by a two-thirds vote in certain cases and the other prohibiting the Diet from voting appropriations in excess of anticipated income.

The preamble was notably eloquent in its borrowing from the Constitution of the United States: "We, the Japanese people, acting through our duly elected representatives in the National Diet, determined that we shall secure for ourselves and our posterity the fruits of peaceful cooperation with all nations and the blessings of liberty throughout this land, and resolved that never again shall we be visited with the horrors of war through the action of government, do proclaim the sovereignty of the people's will."

Chapter One provided, "The Emperor shall be the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people." According to Kades, a number of Americans in Washington and Tokyo had come to the view that the emperor should have only a symbolic and ceremonial role and that if he were to have the role of "head of state," as MacArthur proposed, the


suspicion might arise that the emperor had retained some political power.[22] Chapter Two, on renunciation of war, was drafted by Kades much as MacArthur had directed, although the stricture that Japan should not resort to war "even for preserving its own security" was dropped, a crucial change as it turned out later.

Chapter Three, on the rights and duties of the people, was a comprehensive recital of thirty-one civil and human rights. One provision stated that laws with regard to marriage and the family would be enacted "from the standpoint of individual dignity and the essential equality of the sexes." As a result, the civil code was later amended to break up the old family system, the ie , in which the oldest living male member inherited the family property and exercised certain legal rights over the extended family, which consisted of a number of his close kin.[23] Under the new system the core family consisted of the husband, the wife, and their children. Although a logical consequence of the principle of individual equality, this radical change provoked stormy debate and considerable opposition.

The GS draft provided for a unicameral legislature, as MacArthur had proposed. No executive veto would limit the legislative power of the Diet. The Diet could be dissolved only by a vote of no confidence or by defeat of a resolution of confidence. The GS draft provided that the appointment of supreme court justices would be reviewed in a general election at ten-year intervals after their original appointment. Kades had at one point advocated popular election of judges but was persuaded to give up this idea.

Amendments would require a two-thirds approval of all members in each house of the Diet and a majority vote in a nationwide referendum. The amendment procedure was made particularly complex because SCAP wanted to be sure that the new constitution would not be quickly changed once the occupation ended.

When MacArthur approved the GS draft on February 12, he made only one change, deleting an article that would have prohibited future amendment of any of the provisions dealing with the rights and duties of the people. He approved a sonorous article that Whitney had personally drafted (Article 97) according to which "the fundamental human rights ... guaranteed to the people of Japan are fruits of the age-old struggle of man to be free; they ... are conferred upon this and future generations in trust, to be held for all time inviolate."[24]

On February 13, in one of the tensest meetings of-the occupation,


Whitney, Kades, and several of their experts presented the GS draft to Japanese officials, including Yoshida; Matsumoto, who was in charge of constitutional reform; and Shirasu Jiro, Yoshida's confidant and a member of the CLO. Expecting to get comments on the authentic Matsumoto draft, which had been officially presented in summary form to Whitney on February 8, the Japanese were "aghast" to be presented with a brand-new draft of a constitution for their nation.[25]

Whitney told them that their draft did not show that Japan had learned the lessons of the war and was ready to act as a responsible member of the international community. The supreme commander had therefore prepared, in the form of a draft constitution, a detailed statement of those principles he deemed basic. Whitney advised the Japanese to give the draft the fullest consideration in the preparation of a revised constitution. According to a record made by one of the American participants in the meeting, he also said, "MacArthur was firmly resisting pressure from other Allied nations to put the Emperor on trial as a war criminal, but if Japan would agree to this constitution, the Supreme Commander thought the Emperor would be safe."[26]

Whitney told the Japanese that they were under no compulsion to take further action but that MacArthur was determined that the people should have the opportunity to consider and express their will on the issue of constitutional reform well in advance of the general election. If the cabinet did not act, MacArthur was prepared to put the issue before the people himself. MacArthur later told Whitney he would back this strong assertion. Finally, Whitney said that MacArthur "feels this is the last opportunity for the conservative groups, considered by many to be reactionary, to remain in power and that this can only be done by a sharp swing to the left."[27]

According to the Japanese report of the meeting, Whitney also said that MacArthur was concerned about how to overcome U.S. domestic opposition to the retention of the emperor. According to Yoshida's memoirs, Whitney stated that if the SCAP draft was not accepted, "GHQ could not answer for whatever might happen to the Emperor."[28] Whitney then gave copies of the draft to the Japanese and said he and his aides would step outside for a few minutes while the Japanese looked it over. When he reentered the room twenty minutes later, according to his memoirs, he said he had been enjoying Japan's "atomic sunshine." Just at that moment a B-29 flew overhead. Kades stated afterward that a B-29 did fly over but that Whitney was merely


joking and not making any kind of threat. Whitney was not ordinarily known for his sense of humor, but he did seem to appreciate "psychological shafts."[29]

The Japanese did not comment at any length other than to question the provision for a unicameral legislature. Kades had previously suggested this might be a "throwaway" proposal useful for bargaining if the Japanese objected strongly. That MacArthur was the author of the idea did not seem compelling to his staff. Yoshida said little at the February 13 meeting because he thought it was up to Matsumoto to speak for the Japanese. Yoshida said later he thought the draft might have come from Washington; Shirasu thought it had been prepared months before in Australia. It was not until publication in 1949 of the GS opus on political reorientation that the Japanese learned that the draft was not an Allied policy document but rather the last-minute creation of MacArthur and his staff.

Shirasu, who had a good command of English and a mordant sense of humor, wrote Whitney on February 15 that the Japanese were more than a little shocked at the direct American way of dealing with the problem but that they, too, wanted a democratic constitution and felt they should proceed carefully. Whitney sent a firm reply the next day asserting that MacArthur wanted to place the emperor "in a position of dignity, honor and respect" while placing political power in the hands of the people. Whitney added that if Japan did not act forthrightly, a far more drastic charter might be forced on it "from the outside ... a constitution which well might sweep away even those structures and traditions which the Supreme Commander by his instrument makes it possible to preserve."[30]

On February 18 Matsumoto gave Whitney a written "explanation" of his draft constitution, but Whitney dismissed it as frivolous and contentious. He told the Japanese they must state their position within forty-eight hours or MacArthur "will take the constitution to the people directly." Shirasu got a two-day extension from Whitney so that the English draft could be translated and explained to the cabinet.[31]

On February 19 the cabinet began for the first time to discuss the SCAP draft and soon found itself sharply split, especially regarding the status of the emperor and the no-war clause (Article 9). The prime minister and several others thought the SCAP draft should be rejected. They decided Shidehara should see MacArthur to find out how strongly the Americans felt.[32]

Whitney was accustomed to sending MacArthur memos with tidbits


of information. On February 19 he labeled Matsumoto and Yoshida "as the most reactionary element of the cabinet." On February 21, just before MacArthur was to see Shidehara, Whitney asserted that the cabinet was "playing its final card" and that MacArthur should ignore any threat to resign because he was giving the people the "essence of human freedom" as required by the Potsdam Declaration.[33]

Shidehara's meeting with MacArthur was surely one of the most significant meetings the general held with any Japanese during the occupation. They had a full discussion of Article 9 and its relation to the emperor system. There was no confrontation or argument, but Shidehara clearly reflected the deep concern he and his cabinet felt about these two provisions. MacArthur said to the prime minister, "I think the emperor system should be kept for Japan's sake, but the Soviet Union and Australia are worried that Japan will carry out a war of revenge, and so they oppose Japan's having the emperor system and armaments .... What will foreign countries say if a provision is retained that Japan will keep armed forces? They will obviously think that Japan is planning to rebuild its armed forces. Therefore, if you think about what is the good thing to do, Japan should take moral leadership by stating dearly that it renounces war." Shidehara then broke in, "You talk about leadership, but other countries may not go along with Japan." MacArthur cut him off in a positive tone of voice: "Even if no other country goes along, Japan will lose nothing. Those who will not give their support are in the wrong."[34]

In his report to the cabinet, Shidehara said he thought changes in the SCAP draft would be possible, except for the provision regarding the emperor and the no-war clause. Some members of the cabinet felt that if the constitutional issue were taken to the people, as Whitney had threatened, the conservatives might lose strength and even be voted out of office. Thereupon, the cabinet concluded, in the most far-reaching decision of any cabinet during the occupation, that there was no alternative to accepting the SCAP draft but that Japan should try to get the best deal possible. Some cabinet members even wept during this emotional meeting.[35]

In the afternoon of February 22, Shidehara reported to the emperor that the cabinet felt it must accept the U.S. draft. Accounts vary as to what the emperor said, but they agree that he gave his approval. Yoshida did not attend Shidehara's meeting with the emperor but later said the emperor's temperament was such that he probably said something like, "It [the SCAP draft] is all right this way, isn't it?" In any case,


according to Yoshida, the Tenno’s endorsement was decisive in winning government support for the SCAP draft.[36] The emperor's approval of the new constitution must rank with his influence in ensuring a smooth surrender in August 1945 and with his "declaration of humanity" in January 1946 as signal contributions to the occupation and the evolution of postwar Japan.

GS was able to get some inside information from Narahashi Wataru, a minister in the cabinet, when he invited several members of GS to a Sunday picnic at his country home soon after the meeting with the emperor. Narahashi described the "furious struggle" that took place in the cabinet and how several ministers were thinking of resigning even after the emperor had expressed "unqualified approval" of the GS draft. Narahashi categorized Yoshida as part of the group favoring acceptance of the new charter, thus contradicting unshakable GS suspicions.[37]

On the day Shidehara met with the emperor, February 22, Yoshida, Matsumoto, and Shirasu saw Whitney, Kades, and other members of GS. Quoting what General MacArthur had said the day before to Shidehara, Whitney asserted that "it is the basic principles and structure that we are insistent upon," adding that the terms of the SCAP draft were basic, though modifications in form might be permitted to make the meaning clearer or to conform with Japanese procedure. Matsumoto commented that the opening words of the GS version, "We, the people of Japan," posed a problem because the Meiji Constitution required the emperor, not the people, to initiate amendments. Whitney and Kades saw no difficulty if the new draft was approved by the emperor and adopted through the procedure required by the Meiji Constitution.

Whitney offered one concession: "If the cabinet feels strongly about the desirability of a bicameral legislature, and both houses are elected by popular vote, General MacArthur will interpose no objection." In regard to the clause on renunciation of war, Whitney insisted that it be a separate article in the constitution, not a general principle in the preamble, because "this article affords Japan the opportunity to assume the moral leadership of the world in the movement towards lasting peace." Speaking as one lawyer to another, Whitney told Matsumoto, an authority on commercial law, "You have the satisfaction of knowing that your fee for this work will be the highest possible—the welfare of the Japanese people."[38]


During the next week the Japanese reworked the SCAP draft to incorporate language they thought more appropriate for Japan. At 10 A.M. on March 4 the top experts of the two sides began discussions and met continuously until 4 P.M. on March 5. At this critical meeting in the drafting of the Showa Constitution, the Americans insisted that agreement on the draft be reached at once. The Japanese presented their revised draft but found the Americans unyielding on all but minor changes in the SCAP draft of February 13. The model had become absolute.[39] Early in the meeting Matsumoto walked out after a quarrel with Kades over the translation of provisions defining the powers of the emperor. Matsumoto claimed Kades was attempting to alter not only the constitution but the Japanese language as well. Matsumoto's assistant, Sato Tatsuo, a skilled legal craftsman, carried on as the main Japanese representative, and the marathon meeting then proceeded without incident. The negotiators agreed, among other things, that the legislature would have two chambers. Shirasu, a participant throughout the negotiations, kept a somewhat cryptic record of the sessions. At the end he wrote, "This is the way the constitution that exposed our defeat was born. Now see what happens."[40]

The cabinet reviewed successive drafts of articles as they emerged from the conference, as did senior SCAP officials. The final version received the emperor's approval late in the day on March 5, when he issued a rescript stating his "desire that the constitution of our empire be revised drastically upon the basis of the general will of the people and the principle of respect for fundamental human rights." General MacArthur issued his own statement of deep satisfaction with the "decision of the Emperor and government of Japan to submit ... a new and enlightened constitution which has my full approval." He noted that it had been "drafted after painstaking investigation and frequent conferences" between the government and his staff. A "gist of the revised draft of the Imperial constitution," which was in fact an extensive summary, was made public on March 6. The press reaction both in Japan and abroad reflected some surprise at these announcements but was generally favorable.[41]

A week after the FEC's opening meeting on February 26, 1946, the members in Washington read about the new Japanese constitution in the newspapers. They were dismayed, to say the least, that a new charter drafted without their knowledge had received the approval of the emperor and the supreme commander. Nor were they enlightened


by the U.S. member, Major General Frank R. McCoy, the chairman of the commission and a retired officer with close ties to MacArthur. McCoy and the State Department knew no more than the FEC did.[42]

The commission's first significant action was to pass a policy decision on March 20, with the U.S. member concurring, instructing MacArthur to inform the Japanese government that the commission must be given. an opportunity to pass on the final draft of the constitution and to permit the Japanese to consider drafts other than the government draft just made public. Secretary of State Byrnes had already stated on March 12 that the commission would review the constitution in some way before it went into effect.[43]

MacArthur told the Pentagon he thought the FEC's action was based on "an invalid premise" and that the United States should have vetoed it. But he carried out the FEC's instructions by telling the newly organized ACJ on April 5 that changes might be made in the draft as a result of "ultimate consideration by the National Diet and the Allied powers," certainly an oblique way to refer to a direct instruction by the body set up to make policy for the occupation. The U.S. representative on the commission staunchly defended MacArthur's method of executing its first decision.[44]

The commission's second step was a request on April 10 that MacArthur send a member of his staff to consult with the FEC on constitutional questions. Well over a month later, the State Department conveyed MacArthur's reply that close understanding was desirable but that no officer on his staff was in a position to express his views because he was personally dealing with constitutional matters. It turned out that MacArthur had replied on April 13, but "due to a misunderstanding" the reply had not been sent to the commission promptly. Washington had been negotiating with MacArthur to persuade him to make a more helpful reply, which was finally given to the commission on May 29.

On June 4 the commission received another exposition of the supreme commander's views. This message, drafted by Whitney, stated that MacArthur wanted to avoid "any implication ... that reform resulted from Allied pressure." His own "personal approval" was designed to give "moral support and encouragement to the liberal forces struggling in Japan for reform against tradition, prejudice and reaction." The SCAP message concluded disingenuously by remarking that the new charter "will probably have been the most freely discussed and considered constitution in history" and that the commission could ten-


der no better service than to permit the Japanese "as I propose to do, to proceed unshackled, unhindered, and in complete freedom to work out their constitutional reforms."[45]

The FEC was understandably unhappy with this reply. Members disagreed with MacArthur as to what was policy and what was implementation; they felt they had a responsibility to ensure that the charter reflected the "freely expressed will of the Japanese people." They also wanted to avoid a "trial of strength" with the supreme commander,[46] but they had just had a tilting match with him. He got his way and made no concessions.

Several points in this four-month period are noteworthy. First, changes in the SCAP draft were few and minor. Kades said later the Japanese could have made more changes, but they "chose the easy way."[47] The record is clear, however, that SCAP opposed all but minor changes. Second, MacArthur's role was mostly that of an observer, except for his instructions at the outset regarding the status of the emperor and the no-war clause and his persuasion of a doubting Prime Minister Shidehara.

Third, Article 9, the no-war clause, was conceived in mystery and confusion. MacArthur later said he got the idea from Shidehara, who confirmed this statement some years later.[48] MacArthur himself had been outspoken in the years after World War II that society should outlaw war. He said this to Time journalist Theodore White on August 8, 1945, to the emperor on September 27, and to president-elect Eisenhower in 1952 as a proposal to make to the Soviets in an effort to settle the Korean War. MacArthur made an eloquent antiwar speech in Los Angeles on his seventy-fifth birthday in 1955, dilating on how "war has become a Frankenstein to destroy both sides." The idea of a no-war clause in the Japanese constitution was almost certainly MacArthur's, and the responsibility for having it inserted was surely his. It was ironic, as Theodore McNelly, an authority on the origin and meaning of Article 9, has pointed out, that in later life MacArthur reverted to the view he held during most of his career that the profession of arms, wars, and sacrifice for the nation were still necessary and that "in war there is no substitute for victory."[49]

For MacArthur to insist on the no-war clause without giving Washington the slightest hint of what he was doing was an arrogant act. Although the initial U.S. policy of September 1945 provided that Japan was not to have an army, a navy, or an air force, it was evident that this measure was to apply during the occupation. In fact, Secretary of State


Byrnes was at that time trying to win Soviet agreement to negotiation of a twenty-five-year treaty of disarmament and demilitarization with Germany and Japan, implying there had been no derogation of Japan's sovereign right to have armed forces. Nevertheless, Under Secretary. Acheson told an Australian diplomat in 1947 that "the United States does not approve of the idea of Japan's having armed forces," thus seeming to ratify the concept underlying Article 9.[50]

In spite of this tangled background, the "peace constitution" is considered by many Japanese to be the legal basis and the symbol of their pacifism, and they associate it with the name of Douglas MacArthur. U.S. leaders have consistently pressed Japan since the late 1940s to take a larger role in collective security actions to counter threats to peace in East Asia. The Japanese have played only a modest part in these efforts, citing as one reason their constitutional barrier against offensive military forces.

Finally, the question of pressure arises. No doubt all military occupations are based on implied force and direct pressure. MacArthur and GS acted forcefully to win acceptance of their draft constitution. The emperor saw no reason to oppose it. The Japanese, according to Shirasu, understood and accepted U.S. pressure. Yoshida, a devoted patriot and conservative, had reservations about the draft when he first saw it, but he soon came around to accepting it and later vigorously supported it. Many Japanese wanted a new and democratic constitution. They were sympathetic then, and remained so later, despite the pressure applied by SCAP.

After the constitution went into effect in 1947, the imperial household sent all members of GS a memento in appreciation of their contribution to the new Japan. Initially, the gifts were to go only to the supreme commander and the chief of GS. Upon the suggestion of Whitney, however, all who took part in drafting the constitution were honored with a chalice bearing the imperial crest or with a certificate. MacArthur personally intervened to make silver available for the cups. The Tenno seemed to feel no resentment that he had become a "symbolic emperor."[51]



Preferred Citation: Finn, Richard B. Winners in Peace: MacArthur, Yoshida, and Postwar Japan. Berkeley:  University of California Press,  c1992 1992.