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Japan And World War II Essay, Research Paper

The Economic Effect on Japan during Post World War II

Japan?s economy was greatly affected by the atomic bombs

dropped on both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Japan?s

economic recovery as a result of this incident transformed

Japan?s economic growth which has become known as the

?Economic Miracle.? The bombs caused Japan to

reconstruct many more facilities in which the economy

moved forward. The Economic Planning Agency, which

used to be known as the Economic Stabilization Board,

helped Japan to become one of the leading economic

nations. The United States also contributed to much of

Japan?s recovery by occuping it from 1945-1951. After the

bombs shattered the cities on August 6 and August 9 in

1945 the war was concluded. Japan had many parts to pick

up such as the deaths of innocent citizens and the

dilapidation of their major cities. Peter Tasker (40) mouthed

?When the casualties were counted they calculated to more

than three million people and left more than ten million

people lacking housing.? The war forced the economy to be

cut off from its normal flow of trade. That was hurtful

because Japan needed to trade with other nations to receive

money to rebuild their damaged cites. Many Japanese

people suffered severely because they were forced to live on

the black market to stay alive which helped them in some

ways because they could purchase goods for a much

cheaper price. Even though the black market is illegal, Japan

stayed on it to survive the post war age. Edwin Reischauer

(103) uttered that ?The unfortunate circumstance about the

tragedy was that the hearts of many civilians had been

burned out as well as their cities.? What Reischauer said is

probably correct because many Japanese civilians were

presumably so shocked at what surrounded them that they

did not know what to do in this astonishing situation.

Because of the war Japan experienced shortages of food,

clothing and other goods and services. This was very harmful

because many people had lost all their food and clothing

during the explosions and they needed to change their lives

drastically. The only fortunate thing about the bombs was

that they did in fact leave the railways and electric power

with little damage. That was very positive for Japan because

they still had power to the factories where people could go

to work and get money to reconstruct their lives. In Paul

Langer?s book, Japan Yesterday and Today (135) he said,

?The bombs left the prices to rise 10 per cent a month in

which the civilians had to pay because of the United States?

destruction to Japan.? The ruins that were leftover from the

attack left Japan in a time for a major recovery. The

destruction from the war is one of major items that will go

down in Japanese history forever. The United States, the

nation which caused this frightful and fatal period, engaged in

Japan from the day after the releasing of the bomb until 1951

when a treaty was signed forcing the United States to leave

Japan. General Douglas Mac Arthur led the American army

into Japan to give them help. The United States helped

Japan by bringing in food and in the year of 1946, 800,000

tons of American food was rushed into Japan. Paul Langer

(136) mouthed, ?From the damages done the United States

had to pay about one million dollars per day which included

the bill for food, fertilizer and other major essentials.? The

United States had to pay this enormous amount of money

because they were forced to help Japan recover both

physically and economically. Japan, a nation that was in

great need of aid, accepted the United States? support but

tried to pretend that they did not need them. While the

Americans stayed in Japan they wanted to destroy the

power, privileges and wealth of Japanese ruling classes who

were blamed for Japanese militarism. The United States

occupation of Japan led to the distribution of many of the

American ideas and practices into the Japanese culture. This

was a negative aspect because Japan and the United States

are two different countries who have different ideas and

practices. So, in fact the American occupation of Japan tore

away from the Japanese culture and filled it with American

culture and traditions which was harmful to the Japanese

civilized life. Besides destroying Japan, the United States

introduced many new reforms. One of the improvement

programs that was broken up was called the Zaibatsu which

was a land-reform program that required landlords to sell

land cheaply to their tenants. This was broken up because

after the war the land was destroyed and many of the

landlord?s tenants wanted to buy the land cheaply to begin a

new life. While the United States was in Japan, they wanted

to turn it into a military power and help to get them out of the

depressing time they were in. The Japanese people did not

really have a choice but to listen to the Americans because

they did not have enough money and they still needed

support from the Americans. The United States continued to

help Japan in its defense so Japan used a lot of its money to

rebuild their country?s industries. William L. Neuman (296)

stated, ?What was good for the United States must be good

for Japan.? The United States helped Japan both positively

and negatively throughout their occupation. The war caused

many disasters in which new facilities were needed to be

built. Some of the facilities that were damaged had to be

completely rebuilt in newer and more advanced models

which helped Japan to become more powerful. The newer

machinery was more updated compared to the old

machinery. After World War II ended over thirty million

people made up the working population. That shows how

many people were ready to rebuild their lives and to forget

the past. Of the thirty million people that worked about half

were involved in agriculture and farming. Interesting enough,

3/4 of the Japanese farmers either rented the land they

cultivated or rented some land to supplement their own poor

holdings. That means that some Japanese farmers grew their

crops from someone else?s fields and paid to rent the land.

The manufacturing industry in Japan expanded after the

1950?s because of the serious emphasis on export items.

Due to the many unemployed Japanese, the government

worked to raise the level of technology and production

capacity in the heavy industry and steel machinery. The new

machinery was very helpful to the Japanese because they

were more advanced and the Japanese had to do less work

because of the well-developed machinery. With the new

materials, the local government was strengthened and

farmers were given the opportunity to own their own land.

Many labor unions were encouraged which helped the

people of Japan have better working conditions. Also

around the post war period, which was from 1945 to about

1955, many educational changes came about which had a

positive affect on Japan because the more children that got

educated in school, the better for Japan. As education

became popular Social Studies was emphasized so the

students could learn about the history of Japan and other

nations. As the new programs and facilities came about

Japan advanced itself and helped itself economically at the

same time. The Economic Planning Agency played a very

important role during Japan?s post World War II period.

The Economic Planning Agency had a lot of different names

before it became known as the EPA. The EPA was once

known as The Economic Stabilization Board and was

founded in 1946. When the ESB was founded in 1946 it

suddenly began to take Japan on the road to recovery.

Under the Economic Stabilization Board the economy was

able to recover by the end of the 1940?s and transformed

from a controlled system to a free market system. In 1952

the EDB took over the Economic Stabilization Board . Then

in 1955 the Economic Deliberation Board changed its name

to the Economic Planning Agency. The EPA drew a five

year plan for the economic self-support and it was Japan?s

first post war economic plan. In Roy Thomas? book, Japan:

The Blighted Blossom, (177) Hiroshi Kishida voiced that

?Japan has grown into an economic power. But we do not

feel that our country is an economic power…You must

understand that we live in small homes called ?rabbit

hutches,? work hard all year long and still worry about life in

old age.? In that quotation Kishida is saying that Japan did

recover from the bombs but they still are not a very powerful

economic nation. The Economic Planning Agency said, ?This

is no longer the post war period . The high growth unfolding

before us is supported by modernization and technological

innovation.? The Economic Planning Agency launched many

plans such as the Doubling National Income Plan of 1960,

and the Comprehensive National Development Plan of

1962. The Economic Planning Agency helped to get Japan

out of the post war period and helped them through what is

known as the ?Economic Miracle.? Japan suffered many

hardships from the time the bomb was dropped and for

many years later. Japan recovered from the deaths and

destruction and started to build again with the help of the

Economic Planning Agency and the United States. With all

this aid Japan recovered so quickly from the slump that it

became known as the, ?Economic Miracle? and to this day it

is still known as that. Japan?s recovery became known as

the ?economic miracle? because it recovered so quickly after

war. Much of Japan?s recovery was because of the help

from other nations such as the United States.

Page: Economic Planning Agency.

http://entrance.epa.go.jp:70/guide/helms.html. Infoseek

Corporation. 1995-1996. Langer, Paul F. Japan Yesterday

and Today. New York: Praeger, 1970. Neumann, William

L. America encounters Japan From Perry to Mac Arthur.

Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1963

Reading, Brian. The Coming Collapse. New York: Harper

Business, 1992. Reischauer, Edwin O. The Japanese Today:

Change and Continuity. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Belknap

Press of Harvard University Press, 1995. Tasker, Peter. The

Japanese: A major exploration of Modern Japan. New

York: Dutton, 1987. Thomas, Roy. Japan: The Blighted

Blossom. Vancouver, Canada: Newstar Books, 1989.

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