IN SEARCH OF SUITABLE POLITICAL LEADERSHIP Japanese conservatives in occupation plans and policies 1942–1947, ACTA UNIVERSITATIS OULUENSIS B Humaniora 93

The emergence of a cabinet and political parties that could be called democratic was one of the\nfocal objectives for the Allied Occupation of Japan that lasted from 1945 until 1952. Cooperation\nwith the local political actors was also necessitated by the model of indirect rule through domestic\ninstitutions that was adopted. The occupation authorities were actively seeking suitable political\nleadership to govern Japan and were ready to intervene in the development of Japan’s domestic\npolitics for the sake of achieving their goals. Great efforts were, however, made not to distract the\ndemocratic façade that covered the undemocratic and non-transparent behind-the-scenes orders. It\nwas important to make the selection of the new political leadership to appear as something that\noriginated from the freely expressed will of the Japanese people.\nThis dissertation offers the first narrative identifying and analyzing the characteristics of the\noccupation authorities’ policy concerning the Japanese conservatives at the beginning of the\noccupation. The study emphasizes the importance of understanding the planning period’s\ninfluence on the actual occupation policy and introduces a wartime discussion concerning the\nJapanese conservatives. The process of sorting out the most suitable Japanese leaders in 1942\n–1947 can be divided into several phases. What was considered suitable varied during different\ntimes, but what was expected from the suitable Japanese leadership remained rather unchanged.\nThe planners of the occupation looked for moderate conservatives: who were to be thanked for\nJapan’s prewar steps toward democracy; who were not to be blamed for the war; and who were to\nhelp in the reconstruction process. At the beginning of the occupation, the occupation authorities\nsought for cooperative conservative statesmen who would be ready to follow the wishes of the\noccupier and yet claim the reforms as their own initiatives. After the first postwar general election\nin April 1946 this rule had to be connected with the conservative parties. Finally, the occupation\nauthorities began to search for suitable middle-of-the-road conservatives who could, together with\nthe right-wing of the Socialist Party, continue the previous cabinet’s work while ensuring the\nsocial stability and the success of reforms in the changing situation.

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