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The Good Occupation

  • Yoshiro Miwa

    (Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo)

  • J. Mark Ramseyer

    (Harvard Law School)

Many Americans picture the Allied (i.e., U.S.) Occupation of Japan (1945-52) as the quintessentially good occupation: elaborately planned in advance, idealistically administered until derailed by anti-Communist indeologues in its later years, it laid the foundation for Japan's post-War democracy and prosperity. In fact, the Americans -- especially those Americans celebrated as most "idealist" -- did not plan a Japanese recovery, and for the first several years did not work for one. Instead, they mostly just planned retribution: whom to hang, and which firms to shutter. Economic issues they entrusted to Japanese bureaucrats, and those bureaucrats merely manipulated the controls they had used to disastrous effect during the War. Coming from a New Deal background in Washington, the Americans enthusiastically urged them on. Although the Japanese economy did grow, it did not grow because of the Occupation. It grew in spite of it. In early 1949, Japanese voters overwhelmingly rejected the political parties offering economic controls. In their stead, they elected center-right politicians offering a non-interventionist platform. These politicians then dismantled the controls, and (despite strong opposition from New Deal bureaucrats in the Occupation) imposed a largely non-interventionist framework. As a result of that choice -- and not as result of anything the Occupation did -- the Japanese economy grew.

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File URL: http://www.cirje.e.u-tokyo.ac.jp/research/dp/2005/2005cf340.pdf
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Paper provided by CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo in its series CIRJE F-Series with number CIRJE-F-340.

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Length: 50 pages
Date of creation: May 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tky:fseres:2005cf340
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  1. Yoshiro Miwa & J. Mark Ramseyer, 2004. "Directed Credit? The Loan Market in High-Growth Japan," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(1), pages 171-205, 03.
  2. Miwa Yoshiro & J. Mark Ramseyer, 2000. "Banks and Economic Growth: Implications from Japanese History," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-87, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
  3. Flath, David, 2014. "The Japanese Economy," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, edition 3, number 9780198702405, March.
  4. Yoshiro Miwa & J. Mark Ramseyer, 2003. "Does Ownership Matter? Evidence from the Zaibatsu Dissolution Program," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(1), pages 67-89, 03.
  5. Demsetz, Harold & Lehn, Kenneth, 1985. "The Structure of Corporate Ownership: Causes and Consequences," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(6), pages 1155-77, December.
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