The Process of Japan’s Independence

August 15th, 1945 – Japan accepts the Potsdam Declaration. (Surrenders to the Allied Powers, end of World War II.)

Salutations! I’m sure all of you have a general idea of World War II, but how much do you know about Japan?

The acceptance ceremony of the Potsdam Declaration.

After the Potsdam Declaration was signed by Japan, an organization consisting of allied forces (mostly America)  known as the G.H.Q. (General Headquarters), occupied Japan. The G.H.Q. had the emperor stripped of power, making him a mere symbol of Japan, thus having no government or military power whatsoever. Before, the Japanese Constitution stated that the Emperor was a human-god, but after the declaration was signed the Emperor became nothing but a symbolic figure of Japan. After the G.H.Q. settled in Japan, they were forced to remake their constitution in order to fulfill the Potsdam Declaration’s terms. Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution states the “Renunciation of War”– stripping Japan of their military and Belligerent Rights, which made them into a fragile, targetable country. America had planned to make Japan into America’s  puppet country. They made it so that Japan could not survive without America both economically and governmentally.

However as of now, Japan is a fully-independent country with a proper government and a “military” force called the Japanese Self-Defense Force. How’d this happen? Why’d America let go of Japan–allowing them to become an independent country once more?

The answer lies in this post.

When Japan accepted the Potsdam Declaration, all Japanese troops that were stationed outside of Japanese land were withdrawn. The Korean lands were freed from Japan’s rule, and so the citizens in Korea planned on making their own country. However, the Soviet Union and the United States of America were extremely interested in these Korean lands. They barged into the Korean peninsula and split the land into two. The U.S.S.R. occupied the Northern part of Korea, while the U.S.A. occupied the South. I’m sure that most of you have heard of the Cold War. The Cold War was between America (the capitalists) and the Soviet Union (the Communists), which was a war that never involved any military combat, yet both countries competed with one another and was on the verge of war.

 At first, the U.S.A. planned to control Japan and make them their puppet country, so that Japan could not stand alone without the U.S.A. However in 1950, North Korea, which was under the influence of the U.S.S.R, started to attack South Korea (which was under the protection of the U.S.A.) Seeing this, the United States decided to send in some U.S.A. (G.H.Q.) troops from Japan in order to aid South Korea, whilst the U.S.S.R. encouraged North Korea to attack the capitalist countries. This war was basically a war between the U.S.S.R. and the United States of America, just not directly.

When the Korean War broke loose, the U.S.A. changed their perspectives. The American government announced that in order to fill in the military officers shortage (because they were sending troops to South Korea), they had to allow Japan to hold a police force in order to maintain the authority and security of the country.

That was their enunciation of why Japan needed a paramilitary organization. However, is that the truth?

Screen shot 2013-10-23 at 7.25.39 PM

Let’s say North Korea were to successfully invade and take over South Korea. The east part of Asia would turn into a massive communist nation. America feared that Japan would be the U.S.S.R.’s next target if they successfully occupy South Korea, which is why the U.S.A. decided to prepare for the worst.

Just one year after the Korean War started, the American government signed the San Francisco Peace Treaty, which ordered the withdrawal of the G.H.Q., and stated the independence of Japan. The treaty also allowed Japan to hold a defense force that is able to maintain weapons and troops, but only for the purpose of defending themselves. At the same time, the US–Japan Security Treaty was signed. This formed an alliance between Japan and the United States of America, and allowed U.S. military bases to be stationed in Japan. By doing so, the U.S.A. hoped that Japan would be able to defend themselves whenever the communist forces advanced.

If the Korean War never happened, Japan may still be under the close influence of the United States. Now that’s something to think about.


History Republic



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