American occupation 1945-1952

By the end of World War II more than 2 million Japanese lives had been lost and over 100 cities destroyed. Industrial production stood at less than 10 per cent of its pre-war level, and transportation networks had been severely damaged. An acute shortage of food was to continue for several years, as over seven million were repatriated from the armed forces and Japan's lost overseas empire.

The American occupation of 1945-1952 brought demilitarisation, democratisation, industrial and land reform, and a new educational system.

Under the terms laid down at the Potsdam Conference, the Japanese empire was dissolved and Japan was deprived of all territories it had seized by force during the war. Emperor Hirohito provided a valued element of continuity while co-operating enthusiastically with the reconstruction; the emperor publicly renounced his divinity and the new constitution adopted in 1946 renounced war and 'the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes'.

In 1951 Japan signed a peace treaty with most of its opponents in World War II, and once more assumed full sovereignty. A Treaty of Mutual Co-operation and Security was signed between Japan and the United States of America on 19 January 1960. In 1972 the USA returned the Ryukyu island chain (which includes Okinawa) to Japanese control.