When Germany surrendered to the Allied Forces on May 8, 1945, what had once been a threesome of not much fun, was now down to just Japan versus the world.
After the Potsdam Declaration on July 26, 1945, the U.S. dropped atomic bombs first on Hiroshima on August 6 and then Nagasaki on August 9, 1945.
Despite the horrible losses to civilian life, Japan still did not want to surrender. In fact, it wasn't until a combination of realization came together, that Japan finally came around.
- The Japanese realized that the Allies might do more bombings;
- were also considering an invasion of the main island;
- saw the USSR declare war on Japan;
- saw forces invade their holding in Manchuria.
Granted not everyone pre-1868 was a samurai warrior, but by 1945 everyone in Japan seemed to channel that warrior spirit... not just the soldiers and officers, but the regular folks back home... the elderly, the women, and its children. You'll notice there's a lot of that self-same channeling going on NOW by the Japanese, as every single damn sports team is known as the Samurai.
On August 15, after hearing the weak, high-pitched voice of its Emperor for the first time on the radio telling its citizens that Japan had surrendered, Japan was in shock.
Officially, the war did not end until the documents were signed aboard the deck of the American battleship USS Missouri on September 2,1945, ending the war.
The next day, with the Occupying Force now in place in Japan, it began issuing rules for Japan and its populace to follow.
Now... this Occupying Force was an Allied occupation of Japan, but make no mistake, this was an American undertaking, with all occupation forces composed of American personnel, except for a bit of participation by some British Commonwealth nations.
Everyone in Japan, however, was under the command of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP), who was the United States General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, who was also the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces, Pacific, and under the direct instruction of the American Government.
The objectives of the Americans (and the Allies) were detailed via the document known as "The U.S. Initial Post-Surrender Policy For Japan" that was written up BEFORE Japan actually surrendered, in anticipation of such an event.
The document was a wartime cooperation among many U.S. government agencies for post-war policy, and was sent to SCAP on August 29, 1945 by the U.S. Government.
Basically, everything set out in these directives was to ensure that:
- Japan would not become (again) troublesome to the U.S., or to the peace and security of the world;
- To bring about the eventual establishment of a peaceful and responsible Japanese government that would support the objectives of the U.S., as reflected in the ideals and principles of the newly formed Charter of the United Nations.
- The U.S wants this government to conform to the principles of democratic self-government.
This took the form of SCAPIN (Supreme Command for Allied Powers Instruction Note), which between September 3, 1945 and 1952 when the forces left, there were about 2,200 SCAPIN and 7,000 administrative SCAPIN referred to as SCAPIN-A.
SCAPIN had a large field of applicability, while the SCAPIN-A relates mostly to specific persons or companies.
Now... here's the thing... you would think that with such important rules and regulations being set down by the Occupying Forces, that there would be a complete record of all of them, but there isn't one... at least none that most academics seem to be able to get their hands on, let alone me.
These SCAPIN and SCAPIN-A are not found in your typical Japanese university libraries, but one can find a fair number of them in the National Diet Library in Tokyo, with 15 volumes of SCAPIN, and 18 volumes for the SCAPIN-A.
It should be noted that not all the exchanges between occupation and Japanese authorities took the form of SCAPIN or SCAPIN-A, with many memos not cataloged as SCAPIN, as well as directives addressed to agencies of the Japanese government by Eighth Army headquarters.
At the local level of each prefecture instructions were addressed by Corps or Division commanders (and may be also by Military Government teams) to prefectural authorities. These archives do not seem to be kept at the Japanese prefectural archives (which have mostly been created in the 1970s), and I don't believe anyone knows where all of these important SCAPIN have been archived.
Below are some of the directives set about by the U.S. Occupying force... to get Japan under its control:
September 2, 1945: SCAPIN 1
(not a direct quote)
The Japanese Government was directed to prohibit the manufacture and distribution of all arms, ammunitions and implements of war.
The Japanese Government should hold intact and in good condition pending further instructions from SCAP all factories, plants, shops, research institutions, laboratories, and testing stations connected with the production or use of any implements of war.
[Basically, the U.S. wanted to see if there was any cool experimental weaponry or science it could take for its own. The SCAPIN also directed the collection of all arms in the possession if Japanese civilians and to deliver them to occupation authorities. This did NOT include any swords.]
September 3, 1945: SCAPIN 2
- The Japanese Imperial Government will place at the disposal of the occupation forces all local resources required for their use.
- The Japanese Imperial Government will provide labor in quantities and with the training and skills and the time and place designated by the Supreme Commander or the Commanders of the Occupation Forces within their respective areas.
- The Japanese Imperial Government will be prepared to furnish to the Occupation Forces all buildings suitable for and required by these forces. Requirements will include the following general categories: office buildings, hospitals, living quarters, warehousing and storage shops, transportation and communication installations.
- Buildings will, insofar as possible, be of fireproof construction and equipped with running water, sewage disposal facilities, electricity.
Subject: Funds for Occupation Forces [excerpt]
It is desired that your office [i.e. the Japanese government] place to the credit of the GHQ such sums as may be necessary for expenditures of the occupation forces. It is understood that the cost of printing, handling and distribution of these funds will be borne by the Imperial Japanese Government. [Signed] For the Supreme Commander, Harold Fair (Lt Colonel, AGD)
September 6, 1945: SCAPIN 8
Subject: Legal tender [excerpt].
It is desired that the Japanese Imperial Government place in effect immediately as a decree [that] ‘Supplemental Military Yen Currency marked “B” issued by Military Occupation Forces is legal tender in Japan. Penalties for the enforcement of this decree will be prescribed by the Japanese Government and submitted to this headquarters for approval. [Signed: For the Supreme Commander, Harold Fair (Lt Colonel, AGD)
September 7, 1945: SCAPIN 12
Addressed to the Chairman of the Military Commission in Yokohama [excerpt].
With reference to the request from the Japanese Imperial GHQ concerning the retention of swords by Japanese military personnel you are advised that if these swords are the personal property of these officers they may be retained. Swords which were issued by the government are government property and will be turned in with other weapons of war. [Signed:] For the Supreme Commander, R.K. Sutherland, Lieutenant General, US Army Chief of Staff
September 10, 1945: SCAPIN 16
The Japanese Imperial Government will issue the necessary orders to prevent dissemination of news through newspapers, radio broadcasting and other means of publication which disturbs public tranquility. The Supreme Commander will suspend any publication or radio station which does not comply.
September 12, 1945: SCAPIN 21
Subject: Use of supplemental yen (type “B”) [excerpt].
The Japanese Imperial Government has not yet complied with the memorandum of September 6, 1945 (SCAPIN 8) that supplemental yen (type “B”) be decreed legal tender in Japan. In the event that any further delay occurs the SCAP will take such action as he deems appropriate. It is further directed that the Japanese Government prohibit the giving or taking of US currency or any other foreign currency in any transaction.[Signed: For the Supreme Commander, Harold Fair (Lt Colonel, AGD)
September 12, 1945: SCAPIN 22
Subject: Japanese aircraft [excerpt].
It is desired to secure a number of Japanese aircraft for test and study by technicians of the US Armed forces.
[The rest of the SCAPIN provides practical details for the organization of test flights.]
September 13, 1945: SCAPIN 26
Subject: Protection of Allied property [excerpt].
The Imperial Japanese Government will preserve in good order all property owned or controlled in whole or in part by any national of any of the United Nations on December 7, 1941 and make a complete report to the Supreme Commander within one week.
September 19, 1945: SCAPIN 33
Subject: Press code for Japan
September 19, 1945: SCAPIN 34
Subject: Suspension of the newspaper Asahi Shimbun
September 19, 1945: SCAPIN 37
Subject: Suspension of the newspaper Nippon Times
September 22, 1945: SCAPIN 40
Subject: Apprehension of certain individuals [excerpt].
It is directed that you apprehend and deliver to the custody of the Commanding General, Eighth Army, General Nobuyuki and General Kenji Doihara.
[This is the first SCAPIN to direct the arrests of Japanese officers]
September 22, 1945: SCAPIN 47
[no subject] [excerpt].
The Japanese Imperial Government is hereby directed to comply with the requirements stated in this directive.
- You are responsible for initiating and maintaining a firm control over wages and prices of essential commodities.
- No production will be permitted of all types of aircraft including those designed for civilian use, and of all materials produced for incorporation into aircraft of any type. [Signed:] For the Supreme Commander, R.M. Levy, Colonel AGD
Subject: Radio Code for Japan
September 25, 1945: SCAPIN 60
Subject: Provision of coal at Fusan, Korea [excerpt].
It is directed that necessary action be taken to institute at once measures that will insure monthly delivery at Fusan, Korea of 70,000 tons of coal for use in operating Korean railways. In order to secure earliest delivery at Fusan, you will consider diversion of ships with suitable cargo.
September 27, 1945: SCAPIN 67
Subject: Funds that may be brought into Japan by repatriated Japanese [excerpt].
Japanese Army and Navy personnel will be permitted to carry with them into Japan a maximum of 500 yen for commissioned officers, of 200 yen for non-commissioned officers or enlisted men and of 1,000 yen for civilians. All currency in excess of these limits will be taken up and delivered to this Headquarters. All jewelry will also be taken up. [Signed:] R.C. Kramer, Colonel , GSC, Chief Economic and Scientific Section
October 1, 1945: SCAPIN 80
Subject: Censorship of the mails [excerpt].
All postal communications are subject to censorship to the extent deemed advisable by the Supreme Allied Commander. [Signed:] For the Supreme Commander, Harold Fair, Lt Colonel AGD
October 1, 1945: SCAPIN 79
Subject: Confiscation of September 29 edition of Toyo Keizai Shimpo. [excerpt].
The Japanese Imperial Government will issue the necessary orders to effect the confiscation of all distributed copies of the September 29, 1945 issue of Toyo Keizai Shimpo. The confiscated copies will be submitted to the Civil Censorship Detachment, 6th floor, Radio Tokyo Building, for disposition.
October 2, 1945: SCAPIN 80
Subject: Supplies and services required by the Occupation Forces [excerpt].
[The instructions mentions 23 supplies and 19 services; the following list gives a few examples]. Construction materials, fuel (coal wood), textiles, furniture and office equipment, soap and candles, ice, special entertainment (music, dramatics, wrestling, etc.), repair of occupation installations, laundry and dry cleaning, shoe repairs, tailoring.
October 3, 1945: SCAPIN 91
Subject: Misconduct among occupation troops [excerpt].
Receipt is acknowledged of CLO no 54,55,77 dated September 27. [CLO stands for Central Liaison Office] and CLO no 107 dated September 29 concerning various instances of alleged misconduct of the part of American troops. In the instant cases there appears to be insufficient evidence to properly identify the alleged violators. To assist the occupation forces in controlling cases of alleged misconduct, it is desired (i) That such violations are reported immediately by the offended person or the Japanese Civil Police to the nearest Military Police. (ii) That a written report in duplicate, numbering each incident serially be furnished this Headquarters as soon as practicable after the incident giving time and date of incident, place, name and address of person allegedly offended, description of alleged misconduct, time and person to which initial report required in (i) was submitted.
[This SCAPIN was rescinded only on January 23, 1950. If this directive has been effectively implemented (which requires that Military Police did indeed registered the complaints in spite of the language barriers), it means that the records with the descriptions of such incidents should be available in Japanese and American archives.]
October 4, 1945: SCAPIN 93
Subject: Removal of restrictions on Political, Civil and Religious Liberties
[See image at top of article]
October 5, 1945: SCAPIN 95
Subject: Request for funds [excerpt].
In accordance with SCAPIN 7 dated September 4, 1945, it is requested that the Bank of Japan segregate and earmark for the use of occupation forces, the sum of 3 billion yens (about $200-million in 1945 value).
October 9, 1945: SCAPIN 110
Subject: Import of essential commodities.
Several requests have been received from the Central Liaison Committee for authorization to import commodities deemed to be essential for the maintenance of the civil population. Requests to import commodities will not be submitted unless credits have been established for payment by means of exports, approved by this Headquarters.
October 11, 1945: SCAPIN 119
Subject: Japanese government proposal to increase domestic police force [excerpt].
There shall be no increase in the strength, organization and armament of the civil police force at this time.
October 13, 1945: (No SCAPIN #)
Memorandum for the Imperial Japanese Government (GA). Subject: Raising of the national flag [excerpt].
Receipt is acknowledged for your letter of the 13th instant.
In the near future you will be given a directive covering every circumstance under which the Japanese national flag may be displayed. Pending issuance of this directive no action will be taken in the matter.
[Subsequently, authorization had to be obtained in each circumstance in which the Japanese government wished to display the national flag. Nineteen SCAPIN were issued, including no number SCAPIN on December 21, 1945; and then SCAPIN 1260; 1296; 1343; 1397; 1413; 1567; 1577; 1610; 1636; 1773; 1793; 1805; 1816; 1831; 1833; 1853; 1867; 1934, to grant such authorizations.
The first one of these authorizations reads as follows. December 21, 1945 (no SCAPIN number): The Headquarters has no objection to the use of the Japanese national flag on December 25, 1945 for the anniversary of the late Emperor Taisho. Eventually, on January 6, 1949, SCAPIN 1956 granted authorization to display the national flag without restriction.]
October 19, 1945: SCAPIN 158
(LS) Subject: Command exercised by General Yamashita Tomoyuki (surname first) during the period from December 7, 1941 to September 2, 1945 [excerpt].
It is directed that you [i.e. the Japanese government] furnish this Headquarters within 5 days copies of duly authenticated official documents setting forth (i) the geographical extent of the command of General Tomoyuki Yamashita (ii) all orders issued to him (iii) all orders issued by him to subordinate commanders (iv) the biographical record of General Yamashita.
[General Yamashita Tomoyuki was most famous for conquering the British colonies of Malaya and Singapore. In 1944 he assumed the command of the Fourteenth Army to defend the Philippines. From October 29 to December 7, 1945, he was tried by an American military commission for war crimes relating to the war in the Philippines and sentenced to death. The legitimacy of the hasty trial has been called into question by many. He was hanged on February 23, 1946, at Los Banos Prison Camp, 30 miles south of Manila.
October 20, 1945: SCAPIN 162
ESS) Subject: Dissolution of major financial or industrial enterprises. [excerpt].
No approval will be given to plans submitted to the Japanese Government [by the companies] for the dissolution of any holding company “Zaibatsu” without prior submission to this Headquarters.
October 21, 1945: (No SCAPIN #)
Memorandum to the Imperial Japanese Government.
Subject: Destruction of Japanese prisoner of war records.
The memorandum demands the list of the documents that have been destroyed and the names of the individual who directed such destruction.
October 22, 1945: SCAPIN 172
Subject: Colonel Iijima Nebuyaki (surname first). The Imperial Japanese Government will apprehend and deliver to the authorities of the Omori Prison camp Colonel Iijima, former director of military training.
October 22, 1945: SCAPIN 173
(CIS) Subject: Military government of Batangas Province, Philippines Island [excerpt].
It is directed that you furnish this headquarters with the name of the Military Governor of Batangas Province during the period of October1944 to July 1945, the units under his command and the complete names of all subordinate officers.
October 22, 1945: SCAPIN 179
(GS) Subject: Proceedings of the Diet [excerpt].
In order that the Supreme Commander may be informed of the activities of the Diet, it is desired that the Japanese Government establish a procedure by which this Headquarters will be furnished copies, in English, of proposed laws and reports on the progress of proposed legislation from the time the bills come before the Bureau of Legislation throughout the entire legislative process until enacted into law. It is desired that the proposed procedure be submitted to this Headquarters not later than 10 days after receipt of this memorandum.
October 24, 1945: SCAPIN 183
Civil Intelligence Section (CIS).
The Imperial Japanese Government is directed immediately to:
- Dismiss from their present positions the following officials of Rikkyo Gakuin [i.e. St Paul’s University, a Protestant institution of higher learning] [11 names follow; note that these persons were not accused of being ultranationalists; their offense was to have allowed the disruption of Christian services and teaching after 1943]
- Direct that none of the individuals designated above be reemployed or placed in any position in any public or private educational or religious institution of in any government position.
Subject: Sales of securities of certain firms [excerpt].
It is directed that no sale or other transfer of the stocks, bonds or other forms of securities of the firms listed below (nor of their subsidiary firms) shall be made without the prior approval of this Headquarters. Further such securities shall not be used as collateral for loans without prior approval of this Headquarters.
[The appended list comprises 15 firms; later on (see SCAPIN 403 of December 8, 1945), this list became known as the “Schedule of Restricted Concerns”; it was expanded. Over the years 1946-1950 there were many SCAPINs listing additions to or removals from the “Schedule of Restricted Concerns”.]
November 1, 1945: (No SCAPIN #)
GHQ, SCAP, Economic and Scientific Section Memorandum for: The Imperial Japanese Government [Transmitted] through: Central Liaison Office Subject: Shipment of 150,000 sheets of silkworm eggs to Korea. [excerpt].
- It is directed that the necessary action be taken at once to effect the shipment to Korea of 150,000 sheets of silkworm eggs.
- The shipment will be consigned to the commanding General of US forces in Korea.
- The assembly, crating and shipping arrangements are to be completed at the port of shipment as soon as practicable. This Headquarters is to be advised when all arrangements have been completed. For the Supreme Commander, H.W. Allen, Colonel A.G.D. [Adjudant General Division]
The following lines provide some excerpts of a directive issued by the Truman administration to General Douglas MacArthur; it is entitled “Basic initial post-surrender directive to the Supreme Commander for Allied Powers for the occupation and control of Japan”
- Nomination of the government: “You [i.e. the Supreme Commander] will assure that at all times the posts of Lord Privy Seal, Privy Council, Prime Minister and Cabinet members are held only by persons who may be relied upon to further the purpose of your mission.”
- Control over Japanese courts: “Ordinary criminal and civil courts in Japan will be permitted to continue to function subject to such regulations, supervision and control as you may determine. As rapidly as possible judges who are unacceptable will be removed. Such officials will be replaced with acceptable and qualified successors. Full power of review will be retained by you over all courts which are allowed to function. You will veto all decisions which are inconsistent with the purpose of your mission.”
- Standard of living of the Japanese people: “You will not assume any responsibility for the economic rehabilitation of Japan. You will make clear to the Japanese that you assume no obligation to maintain any particular standard of living in Japan and that the standard of living will depend upon the thoroughness with which Japan rids itself of all militaristic ambitions and cooperates with the occupying forces.”
- Control of foreign trade:“The Japanese authorities are to enter into no economic agreement of any kind with foreign governments except after prior consultation with you and by your express approval.”
- Payment of occupation expenses: “You will require the Japanese authorities to make available to you legal tender yen notes or yen credits free of cost and in amounts sufficient to meet all expenses or your forces including the cost of your military occupation.”
- Seizure of Japanese assets: You will impound or block all gold, silver, platinum, currencies, securities, accounts in financial institutions within the categories listed below: property owned by national, prefectural and local governments, the Japanese Imperial Household and all organizations dissolved by you, all public and private assets located within or outside Japan, all works of art regardless of ownership.
Memorandum for the Imperial Japanese Government. [excerpts].
The Imperial Japanese Government shall (a) Submit to this Headquarters within 10 days the name, rank, title and present location of the chief of the Kempei-Tai [Japanese military police] and his assistants including all headquarters officers. (b) Submit to this Headquarters by November 30, 1945 a comprehensive report in English describing the organization, structure, channels of command and methods of operations of the Kempei-Tai. This report shall include the list of all officers in each subdivision with indication of name, rank, and official position. Signed: H.W. Allen
November 6, 1943: SCAPIN 243
(LS) Subject: Apprehension of suspected war criminals
[excerpt]. The following named Japanese are alleged to have committed atrocities and offenses against persons of United Nations while confined in prisons, war camps, internment camps or hospitals in Japan. These persons will be delivered to the Omori prison, Yokohama at the earliest practical date.
[Appended to the text of the SCAPIN there is a list of about 400 names of military of all ranks (down to private) as well as civilians.]
November 10, 1945: NO SCAPIN #
A memorandum similar in form to the one cited above for Nov 1, requires 18,000 tons of coal to be delivered monthly to British troops at Kyushu ports.
November 16, 1945: SCAPIN 287
(CIE) Subject: Elimination of undemocratic motion pictures [excerpt].
The Japanese government is directed to take immediate action (i) To insure against the present and future exhibition or sale of any of the motion pictures on the attached inclosure. (ii) To secure from the owners of these pictures all prints, whether positive or negative, and store them in a safe place in Tokyo subject to the disposition of this Headquarters.
[The inclosure contains a list of about 115 Japanese picture movies].
November 24, 1945: Excerpts of SCAPIN 338
The Imperial Japanese Government is directed to take the necessary steps as rapidly as possible and in no event later than February 1, 1946 to terminate all payments of any public or private pensions to any person: (a) By reason of military service, except compensation for physical disability limiting the recipients ability to work. (c) Who has been removed from any office or position as a result of any order of the Supreme Commander.
[The consequence is that persons removed from their position for non-compliance with SCAP directives will get no compensation of any kind whatever their age; as dismissed civil servants most often could not apply to other public positions they experienced (as well as their families) great hardship.]
December 8, 1945: SCAPIN 403
Subject: Establishment of a Schedule of Restrictive Concerns [excerpt].
The action directed in SCAPIN 215 (October 31, 1945) will be applied to a list of companies hereafter to be referred to as the “Schedule of Restricted Concerns”.
[The attached list comprises about 50 companies and it will be expanded in steps over the next two or three years to the extent of containing over 1,000 companies and subsidiaries.]
December 9, 1945: SCAPIN 411
Subject: Rural land reform [excerpt].
In order to destroy the economic bondage which has enslaved the Japanese farmers for centuries of feudal oppression, the Japanese Imperial Government is directed to take measures to insure that those who till the soil of Japan shall have a more equal opportunity to enjoy the fruits of their labor. More than three fourth of the farmers are tenants paying rentals amounting to half or more of their annual crops. The Japanese Imperial Government is therefore ordered to submit to this Headquarters on or before March 15, 1946 a program of rural land reform. This program shall contain plans for transfer of land ownership from absentee land owners to land operators, and provisions for reasonable protection of former tenants against reversion to tenancy status. [Signed:] For the Supreme Commander, H.W. Allen, Colonel AGD
December 11, 1945: SCAPIN 420
Subject: Utilization of the Central Aeronautical Research Institute. [excerpt].
The Central Aeronautical Research Institute is to be disbanded by December 31, 1945. The request to convert it to civilian use is not approved. [Signed:] For the Supreme Commander, H.W. Allen, Colonel A.G.D.
December 21, 1945: No SCAPIN #
Memorandum for the Imperial Japanese Government.
The Imperial Japanese Government will issue the necessary orders to suspend publication of the daily newspaper Ise Shimbun. This suspension is to be effective as of 1 hours, December 27, 1945 and ending 2400 hours, December 28, 1945 [a two-day suspension]. Signed: H.W. Allen.
And there you have it... JUST the SCAPIN documents from 1945! And yet, these documents are something the average Japanese person knows very little about nowadays, but ones that effectively changed the way Japan not only did business, but how it ran its daily life.
Every single one of these directives - these SCAPIN are an engrossing read, perhaps some more important than others, but an important and effective means to control and whip the Japanese people into complacity... to become good little subjects of the world...
I especially enjoy reading the directives to censor the newspapers... or the one to give up some of the secret police... or the one to set aside some money, Japan, because you guys are paying your conquerors to look after you and to take away whatever rights you think you deserve.
I'm divided on this whole thing, because I am separated by time. But if I was to look at it as though it were 1945 and I just had my ass kicked by Japan for a number of years before I was finally able to beat the stuffing out of them, I'd be pretty pissed off at Japan and would seek to break them down.
Of course, the U.S. was smart. As it initially began to break Japan down into insignificant components, it eventually began to build it up... giving the dog a bone every once in a while... eventually turning it itself into a superpower... regardless of its current economic strife.
For the Japanese, one of the hardest SCAPIN to swallow was the September 7, 1945: SCAPIN 12 denoting the giving up of one's swords.
We'll delve into that one in a future article.