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MAKING JAPAN OVER

that complete surrender by Japan seems imminent the United Nations face a problem in conversion which makes the task of the civil administrative officers in Germany look comparatively easy. In the wake of the initial occupying forces must follow trained experts capable of directing the measures which will transform the Japanese authoritarian system, which has dominated the country since IS6S, into a free, democratic way of life. The task is staggering in its complexity. Farreaching internal political changes must be carried through before the economic aspect can be tackled, and it is obvious that there must be a difficult period of transition during which the old regime is thoroughly destroyed and free elections held under United Nations auspices. When the new Assembly has drafted a democratic Constitution, acceptable to the Allied Supreme Commander, the second stage, economic reform, can be undertaken.

The key feature of Japan's social order lies in the special relationship between the monopolists and the landlords. In the country the large holdings of some 3500 big landlords (including the Emperor) stand out over the meagre plots of more than five million tenant and smallowner farm households. In the cities a dozen private and semi-State monopolies (in which the Emperor holds large blocks of shares) dominate banking, industrial and commercial life. The connecting link between the monopolists and the landlords is formed by the thirty million poverty-stricken farm workers, who also constitute an inexhaustible reservoir of cheap labour for Japan's manufacturing industries. The United Nations are pledged to eliminate Japan's potential for making war. When the heavy industries, which while they remain must menace world peace, have been removed or dismantled it is obvious something must be put in their place. Japan's economy must be rebuilt on new lines, as much in the interests of the outside world as in those of the Japanese people. Anarchy cannot be allowed to take charge.

Can the outside world assist such a development without the necessity of standing on guard for all time? Only under one condition— that the stranglehold of the monopolists and landlords on Japan's economic life, and on the welfare and livelihood of the ordinary Japanese people, be broken for ever. Agrarian reform constitutes the starting point for the needed changes, but it cannot be expected to work unless it is associated with measures curbing the great industrial and commercial monopolies. In the person of the Emperor, no matter who he may be, are united the diverse aspects of this huge oligarchy. He is the feiggest landlord, a leading member of the tribe of monopolists, supreme head of the State and commander-in-chief of the army and navy. It is easy to understand, in these circumstances, why both the Japanese and the United Nations place so much importance on his future role. It may well be decisive.

Where are the United Nations going to find sufficient men and women with the background knowledge of the customs and language needed to supervise the transformation of Japan? It is probable that large numbers of specially selected students have been under training for the job ever since the war with Japan began, but it is idle to suggest that they will be numerous enough to fill all the posts which have to be filled. Perhaps the solution may lie in employment of the Nisei, the generation of Japanese born on American soil and brought up in American schools. These Japanese-Americans had a splendid record fighting in General Mark Clark's Fifth Army in Italy, and by their gallantry under fire proved their loyalty to the homeland of their birth. These men and women understand the mentality and outlook of their blood relatives in Japan, and might be in a unique position to preach the gospel of the United Nations. It is possible that Nisei, who for obvious reasons were not employed in combat roles in the Pacific fighting, may prove of the greatest assistance when the Allied Occupation Government comes to make over Japan.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AS19450814.2.31.1

Bibliographic details

MAKING JAPAN OVER, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 191, 14 August 1945

Word Count
664

MAKING JAPAN OVER Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 191, 14 August 1945

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