Read this article to learn about the freedom movements in Japan after the Second World War!
Japan was occupied by the US forces after her defeat in the war. A number of reforms were initiated in the political system of Japan and in the economy and society which laid the foundations of the post-war development of Japan.
The power of the big landlords was broken. Workers’ unions were given freedom to function. The educational system was reformed and its misuse for inculcating militaristic and chauvinistic values was prevented.
In May 1947, a new constitution prepared mainly by the occupation authorities (the US), came into force.
It introduced a democratic parliamentary form of government and universal adult franchise in Japan. Though the institution of monarchy was retained, the emperor was divested of all his powers and was viewed as just “the symbol of the state”. The new Japanese constitution renounced war as a national policy. It also prohibited Japan from having a standing army or navy. In 1952, the US occupation of Japan was ended, though by a security pact she retained the right to station her troops in Japan.
The country has been almost throughout ruled by the conservative Liberal Democratic Party which, in spite of many cases of corruption involving the prime ministers of the country, has been generally returned to power.
The second most popular party is the socialist party which advocates nationalisation of industry and wants the security pact with the US scrapped which has aligned Japan with the US. The Japanese Communist Party also has a substantial following. These two parties along with others are opposed to any revival of militarism in Japan. The security pact with the US provoked countrywide protests in Japan when it was renewed in 1960.
A number of small right-wing groups have emerged in recent years in Japan which advocated the revival of the greatness of Japan as a military power, and inculcation of the traditional values some of which are closely related to militarism.
Japan has, during the post-war decades, emerged as a great world economic power, challenging US supremacy in many areas of the economy. Her economic growth is often referred to as a ‘miracle’. Lacking most of the natural resources herself, she has made tremendous advances in technology which has become her main asset. In many fields of manufacture requiring high technology, she has surpassed every other country in the world.
As one of the economic ‘giants’ in the world today, she is closely allied with the most advanced capitalist economies of the West. In her foreign policy, she has generally followed the US. She started normalising her relations with China, formerly her main victim since her rise as a modern nation, in the early 1970s, and subsequently with the Soviet Union (and after her break-up, with Russia).