Social Reform of Japan

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Japan social reforms

After its capitulation to the Allied powers in August 1945, Japan underwent a series of vigorous reforms that changed the socio-economic spectrum in many respects. The U.S. initiated such reforms in hopes of democratizing and demilitarizing the nation of Japan, and while the occupation forces may have taken an integral role in initiating the reforms, the Japanese people made them possible. The United States sought to recreate Japan in its own image. SCAP (Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers), realized that in order to create a friendly, pacifist Japan, the seeds of authoritarianism would first have to be removed from society. This meant, amongst other things, equalizing (to some degree) the economic system of Japan, making it more conducive for a more just distribution of wealth.1 Some of the first economic reforms that greatly changed Japanese society were the land reforms of December 1945 that allowed tenant farmers to purchase their fields.2 These reforms attempted to work out the flaws of the pre-1945 regime and transform Japanese economic society into another capitalist economy modeled after the type of democracy and market system of the United States. Democratic ends were achieved however, albeit limited to one's own definition of democracy. The underlying belief of SCAP in making these reforms was that of a society in which power and wealth would be more evenly distributed, and thus the pitfalls of authoritarian militarism could be deterred from taking over the national polity ever again. While economic reform was necessary as the material conditions of the Japanese state changed, they also fell short of reaching true justice in respect to creating another market economy that was based on private ownership of capital and the means of production which only solidified class distinctions amongst the Japanese people. In short, a revolution (of the working class) was necessary to completely end the corrupt market economy and...
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