Initial Post-Surrender Policy for Japan


Part 1: Ultimate Objectives


The ultimate objectives of the United States in regard to Japan, to which policies in the initial period must conform, are:


(a) To insure that Japan will not again become a menace to the United States or to the peace and security of the world.


(b) To bring about the eventual establishment of a peaceful and responsible government which will respect the rights of other states and will support the objectives of the United States as reflected in the ideals and principles of the Charter of the United Nations. The United States desires that this government should conform as closely as may be to principles of democratic self-government but it is not the responsibility of the Allied Powers to impose upon Japan any form of government not supported by the freely expressed will of the people.


These objectives will be achieved by the following principal means:


(a) Japan's sovereignty will be limited to the islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku and such minor outlying islands as may be determined, in accordance with the Cairo Declaration and other agreements to which the United States is or may be a party.


(b) Japan will be completely disarmed and demilitarized. The authority of the militarists and the influence of militarism will be totally eliminated from her political, economic, and social life. Institutions expressive of the spirit of militarism and aggression will be vigorously suppressed.


(c) The Japanese people shall be encouraged to develop a desire for individual liberties and respect for fundamental human rights, particularly the freedoms of religion, assembly, speech, and the press. They shall also be encouraged to form democratic and representative organizations.


(d) The Japanese people shall be afforded opportunity to develop for themselves an economy which will permit the peacetime requirements of the population to be met.


If you are interested, please see the recent comparisons of the the Japan experience with what we may be anticiapting with Iraq should the U.S. invade in order to topple Sadddam Hussein (or effect a "regime change" I think they like to call it).


As Dower and Herbert Bix show, behind these objectives was a subtle plan--code-named "Operation Blacklist"--designed by MacArthur's friend and subordinate, Brigadier General Bonner F. Fellers, a psychological warfare expert. His aim was to "drive a wedge" between the military and the emperor, and utilize the emperor to bring about "a great spiritual transformation of the Japanese people." (Bix, Hirohito, p. 545) With this in mind, it became essential to establish Hirohito's innocence before the machinery of the war crime trials got up and running, for there were many who thought Hirohito should/would be indicted.

For example, although the emperor DID in fact know all about the Pearl Harbor attack in advance and "had personally taken great pains to ensure that the attack would be a surprise,"(Bix, p. 546), MacArthur and his staff worked diligently to see that Hirohito was never held accountable. MacArthur cabled Eisenhower in January of 1946 to say that he could uncover no evidence connecting Hirohito with political decisions and that his connection to the affairs of state was largely ministerial and responsive to the advice of his councillors. He cautioned that the US could ill afford to indict this man for it would convulse the nation and cause it to disintegrate, leading to riots and violence in the streets. A million troops might be needed to keep the Japanese people down, he warned, for years to come.

Ironically, the same kind of scare tactics that convinced people that the US needed to drop the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima--accompanied by equally inflated figures--are now used to preserve the emperor's position on the throne, and to keep the kokutai in tact.