The period of military and political control of Japan by the United States and its allies following World War II; a period that technically lasted from Japan's formal acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration on August 14, 1945 to the implementation on April 28, 1952 of the San Francisco Peace Treaty. For more than six and a half years, Japan was subject to the authority of the supreme commander for the Allied pwers (SCAP). The Occupation, while officially an Allied effort, was primarily directed and staffed by the United States. The Occupation may be roughly divided into three major phases: (1) a period from 1945 to 1947 when extensive political, social, and economic reforms were instituted under heavy American pressure; (2) a period between 1947 and 1950, sometimes known as the "reverse course," when US policy makers shifted their major concern from reform to the economic rehabilitation of Japan; and (3) a period from 1950 to 1952 when discussion focused most sharply upon preparing for the restoration of Japanese sovereignty and on the nation's post-Occupation security requirements. The shifting nature of the Occupation policy has been the subject of much debate. Most observers see it as the period in which the foundation for Japan's later prosperity and stability were laid down; critics tend to emphasize the "reverse course" and regret that fundamental reforms were not pursued more aggressively and thoroughly. What is clear, however, is that Japan was a very different nation in 1952 than it had been in 1945, and that the Occupation years witnessed the restoration of a war-shattered nation to domestic health and international recogntion. (adapted from Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1993)
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