World War II
World War II known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries; the major participants threw their entire economic and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China, it included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, the only use of nuclear weapons in war. Japan, which aimed to dominate Asia and the Pacific, was at war with China by 1937, though neither side had declared war on the other. World War II is said to have begun on 1 September 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and the United Kingdom.
From late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, formed the Axis alliance with Italy and Japan. Under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned and annexed territories of their European neighbours, Finland and the Baltic states. Following the onset of campaigns in North Africa and East Africa, the fall of France in mid 1940, the war continued between the European Axis powers and the British Empire. War in the Balkans, the aerial Battle of Britain, the Blitz, the long Battle of the Atlantic followed. On 22 June 1941, the European Axis powers launched an invasion of the Soviet Union, opening the largest land theatre of war in history; this Eastern Front trapped most crucially the German Wehrmacht, into a war of attrition. In December 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States as well as European colonies in the Pacific. Following an immediate U. S. declaration of war against Japan, supported by one from Great Britain, the European Axis powers declared war on the U.
S. in solidarity with their Japanese ally. Rapid Japanese conquests over much of the Western Pacific ensued, perceived by many in Asia as liberation from Western dominance and resulting in the support of several armies from defeated territories; the Axis advance in the Pacific halted in 1942. Key setbacks in 1943, which included a series of German defeats on the Eastern Front, the Allied invasions of Sicily and Italy, Allied victories in the Pacific, cost the Axis its initiative and forced it into strategic retreat on all fronts. In 1944, the Western Allies invaded German-occupied France, while the Soviet Union regained its territorial losses and turned toward Germany and its allies. During 1944 and 1945 the Japanese suffered major reverses in mainland Asia in Central China, South China and Burma, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy and captured key Western Pacific islands; the war in Europe concluded with an invasion of Germany by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, culminating in the capture of Berlin by Soviet troops, the suicide of Adolf Hitler and the German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945.
Following the Potsdam Declaration by the Allies on 26 July 1945 and the refusal of Japan to surrender under its terms, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August respectively. With an invasion of the Japanese archipelago imminent, the possibility of additional atomic bombings, the Soviet entry into the war against Japan and its invasion of Manchuria, Japan announced its intention to surrender on 15 August 1945, cementing total victory in Asia for the Allies. Tribunals were set up by fiat by the Allies and war crimes trials were conducted in the wake of the war both against the Germans and the Japanese. World War II changed the political social structure of the globe; the United Nations was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts. The Soviet Union and United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the nearly half-century long Cold War. In the wake of European devastation, the influence of its great powers waned, triggering the decolonisation of Africa and Asia.
Most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic expansion. Political integration in Europe, emerged as an effort to end pre-war enmities and create a common identity; the start of the war in Europe is held to be 1 September 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland. The dates for the beginning of war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937, or the Japanese invasion of Manchuria on 19 September 1931. Others follow the British historian A. J. P. Taylor, who held that the Sino-Japanese War and war in Europe and its colonies occurred and the two wars merged in 1941; this article uses the conventional dating. Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935; the British historian Antony Beevor views the beginning of World War II as the Battles of Khalkhin Gol fought between Japan and the fo
The Sengoku period is a period in Japanese history marked by social upheaval, political intrigue and near-constant military conflict. Japanese historians named it after the otherwise unrelated Warring States period in China, it was initiated by the Ōnin War, which collapsed the Japanese feudal system under the Ashikaga shogunate, came to an end when the system was re-established under the Tokugawa shogunate by Tokugawa Ieyasu. During this period, although the Emperor of Japan was the ruler of his nation and every lord swore loyalty to him, he was a marginalized and religious figure who delegated power to the shōgun, a noble, equivalent to a generalissimo. In the years preceding this era the Shogunate lost influence and control over the daimyōs. Although the Ashikaga shogunate had retained the structure of the Kamakura shogunate and instituted a warrior government based on the same social economic rights and obligations established by the Hōjō with the Jōei Code in 1232, it failed to win the loyalty of many daimyōs those whose domains were far from the capital, Kyoto.
Many of these Lords began to fight uncontrollably with each other for control over land and influence over the shogunate. As trade with Ming China grew, the economy developed, the use of money became widespread as markets and commercial cities appeared. This, combined with developments in agriculture and small-scale trading, led to the desire for greater local autonomy throughout all levels of the social hierarchy; as early as the beginning of the 15th century, the suffering caused by earthquakes and famines served to trigger armed uprisings by farmers weary of debt and taxes. The Ōnin War, a conflict rooted in economic distress and brought on by a dispute over shogunal succession, is regarded as the onset of the Sengoku period; the "eastern" army of the Hosokawa family and its allies clashed with the "western" army of the Yamana. Fighting in and around Kyoto lasted for nearly 11 years, leaving the city completely destroyed; the conflict in Kyoto spread to outlying provinces. The period culminated with a series of three warlords, Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Tokugawa Ieyasu, who unified Japan.
After Tokugawa Ieyasu's final victory at the siege of Osaka in 1615, Japan settled down into several centuries of peace under the Tokugawa shogunate. The Ōnin War in 1467 is considered the starting point of the Sengoku period. There are several events which could be considered the end of it: Nobunaga's entry to Kyoto or abolition of the Muromachi shogunate, the Siege of Odawara, the Battle of Sekigahara, the establishment of the Tokugawa Shogunate, or the Siege of Osaka; the upheaval resulted in the further weakening of central authority, throughout Japan regional lords, called daimyōs, rose to fill the vacuum. In the course of this power shift, well-established clans such as the Takeda and the Imagawa, who had ruled under the authority of both the Kamakura and Muromachi bakufu, were able to expand their spheres of influence. There were many, whose positions eroded and were usurped by more capable underlings; this phenomenon of social meritocracy, in which capable subordinates rejected the status quo and forcefully overthrew an emancipated aristocracy, became known as gekokujō, which means "low conquers high".
One of the earliest instances of this was Hōjō Sōun, who rose from humble origins and seized power in Izu Province in 1493. Building on the accomplishments of Sōun, the Late Hōjō clan remained a major power in the Kantō region until its subjugation by Toyotomi Hideyoshi late in the Sengoku period. Other notable examples include the supplanting of the Hosokawa clan by the Miyoshi, the Toki by the Saitō, the Shiba clan by the Oda clan, in turn replaced by its underling, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a son of a peasant with no family name. Well-organized religious groups gained political power at this time by uniting farmers in resistance and rebellion against the rule of the daimyōs; the monks of the Buddhist True Pure Land sect formed numerous Ikkō-ikki, the most successful of which, in Kaga Province, remained independent for nearly 100 years. After nearly a century of political instability and warfare, Japan was on the verge of unification by Oda Nobunaga, who had emerged from obscurity in the province of Owari to dominate central Japan, when in 1582 Oda was assassinated by one of his generals, Akechi Mitsuhide.
This in turn provided Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who had risen through the ranks from ashigaru to become one of Oda's most trusted generals, with the opportunity to establish himself as Oda's successor. Toyotomi consolidated his control over the remaining daimyōs and, although he was ineligible for the title of Sei-i Taishōgun because of his common birth, ruled as Kampaku. During his short reign as Kampaku, Toyotomi attempted two invasions of Korea; the first spanning from 1592 to 1596 was successful but suffered setbacks to end in stalemate. When Toyotomi died in 1598 without leaving a capable successor, the country was once again thrust into political turmoil, this time Tokugawa Ieyasu took advantage of the opportunity. Toyotomi had on his deathbed appointed a group of the most powerful lords in Japan—Tokugawa, Maeda Toshiie, Ukita Hideie, Uesugi Kagekatsu, Mōri Terumoto—to govern as the Council of
Sakoku was the isolationist foreign policy of the Japanese Tokugawa shogunate under which relations and trade between Japan and other countries were limited, nearly all foreign nationals were barred from entering Japan and common Japanese people were kept from leaving the country for a period of over 220 years. The policy was enacted by the Tokugawa shogunate under Tokugawa Iemitsu through a number of edicts and policies from 1633 to 1639, ended after 1853 when the American Black Ships commanded by Matthew Perry forced the opening of Japan to American trade through a series of unequal treaties, it was preceded by a period of unrestricted trade and widespread piracy when Japanese mariners travelled Asia and official embassies and envoys visited both Asian states, New Spain, Europe. This period was noted for the large number of foreign traders and pirates who were resident in Japan and active in Japanese waters; the term Sakoku originates from the manuscript work Sakoku-ron written by Japanese astronomer and translator Shizuki Tadao in 1801.
Shizuki invented the word while translating the works of the 17th-century German traveller Engelbert Kaempfer concerning Japan. Japan was not isolated under the sakoku policy, it was a system in which strict regulations were applied to commerce and foreign relations by the shogunate and by certain feudal domains. There was extensive trade with China through the port of Nagasaki, in the far west of Japan, with a residential area for the Chinese; the policy stated that the only European influence permitted was the Dutch factory at Dejima in Nagasaki. Western scientific and medical innovations did flow into Japan through Rangaku. Trade with Korea was limited to the Tsushima Domain. Trade with the Ainu people was limited to the Matsumae Domain in Hokkaidō, trade with the Ryūkyū Kingdom took place in Satsuma Domain. Apart from these direct commercial contacts in peripheral provinces, trading countries sent regular missions to the shōgun in Edo and Osaka Castle. Japan traded at this time with five entities, through four "gateways".
The largest was the private Chinese trade at Nagasaki, where the Dutch East India Company was permitted to operate. The Matsumae clan domain in Hokkaidō traded with the Ainu people. Through the Sō clan daimyō of Tsushima, there were relations with Joseon-dynasty Korea. Ryūkyū, a semi-independent kingdom for nearly all of the Edo period, was controlled by the Shimazu clan daimyō of Satsuma Domain. Tashiro Kazui has shown that trade between Japan and these entities was divided into two kinds: Group A in which he places China and the Dutch, "whose relations fell under the direct jurisdiction of the Bakufu at Nagasaki" and Group B, represented by the Korean Kingdom and the Ryūkyū Kingdom, "who dealt with Tsushima and Satsuma domains respectively". Many items traded from Japan to Korea and the Ryūkyū Kingdom were shipped on to China. In the Ryūkyū Islands and Korea, the clans in charge of trade built trading towns outside Japanese territory where commerce took place. Due to the necessity for Japanese subjects to travel to and from these trading posts, this resembled something of an outgoing trade, with Japanese subjects making regular contact with foreign traders in extraterritorial land.
Commerce with Chinese and Dutch traders in Nagasaki took place on an island called Dejima, separated from the city by a narrow strait. Trade in fact prospered during this period, though relations and trade were restricted to certain ports, the country was far from closed. In fact as the shogunate expelled the Portuguese, they engaged in discussions with Dutch and Korean representatives to ensure that the overall volume of trade did not suffer. Thus, it has become common in scholarship in recent decades to refer to the foreign relations policy of the period not as sakoku, implying a secluded, "closed" country, but by the term kaikin used in documents at the time, derived from the similar Chinese concept haijin, it is conventionally regarded that the shogunate imposed and enforced the sakoku policy in order to remove the colonial and religious influence of Spain and Portugal, which were perceived as posing a threat to the stability of the shogunate and to peace in the archipelago. The increasing number of Catholic converts in southern Japan was a significant element of that, seen as a threat.
Based on work conducted by Japanese historians in the 1970s, some scholars have challenged this view, believing it to be only a partial explanation of political reality. The motivations for the gradual strengthening of the maritime prohibitions during the early 17th century should be considered within the context of the Tokugawa bakufu's domestic agenda. One element of this agenda was to acquire sufficient control over Japan's foreign policy so as not only to guarantee social peace, but to maintain Tokugawa supremacy over the other powerful lords in the country the tozama daimyōs; these daimyōs had used East Asian trading linkages to profitable effect during the Sengoku period, which allowed them to build up their military strength as well. By restricting the daimyōs' ability to trade with foreign ships coming to Japan or pursue trade opportunities overseas, the Tokugawa bakufu could ensure none would become powerful enough to
History of Japanese foreign relations
History of Japanese foreign relations deals with the international relations in terms of diplomacy and political affairs from about 1850 to 2000. The kingdom was isolated before the 1850s, with limited contacts through Dutch traders; the Meiji Restoration was a political revolution that installed a new leadership, eager to borrow Western technology and organization. The government in Tokyo monitored and controlled outside interactions. Japanese delegations to Europe brought back European standards which were imposed across the government and the economy. Trade flourished, as Japan industrialized. European-style imperialism and colonialism were borrowed, as in the late 19th century Japan defeated China, acquired numerous colonies, including Formosa and Okinawa; the rapid advanced in Japanese military prowess stunned the world in 1904-1905 when it decisively defeated Russia and gained recognition as a world power. Imperialism continued as it took control of Korea, began moving into Manchuria, its only military alliance was with Great Britain.
1902-1923. In the First World War, it joined the Allies, seized many German possessions in the Pacific and in China. Japan put heavy pressure on China. Although the political system was formally democratic, the Army seized control in Japan. Indeed in the 1930s, separatist Army elements in Manchuria shaped foreign-policy; the League of Nations criticized Japan's takeover of Manchuria in 1931, so it withdrew. It joined the Axis alliance with Germany, But there was little close cooperation between the two nations until 1943. Japan opened a full-scale war in China, in 1937, taking control of the major cities and economic centers with a long record of atrocities. Two puppet regimes were nominally in charge in Manchuria. Military confrontations with the Soviet Union were disappointing to Japan, it turned its attention to the south. American economic and financial pressures, joined by Britain and the Netherlands, climaxed in the cut off of vitally needed oil supplies in 1941. Japan declared war, in three months scored spectacular successes against the United States and the Netherlands, as well as continuing the war with China.
The Japanese economy could not support the large-scale war effort with the rapid buildup of the American navy. By 1944, Japan was on the defensive, as its Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere collapsed, its navy was sunk, American bombing started to devastate major Japanese cities; the final blow came in August 1945 with the Russian invasion. Japan surrendered, was occupied by the Allies, or more by the United States, its political and economic system was rebuilt on the basis of greater democracy, no military capability, a weakening of traditional monopolistic corporations. Japan was a minor player in international affairs in the late 1940s, but its economy revived in part as a supply base for the Korean War. Non-involvement became the central focus of Japanese foreign policy, together with rapid growth of its industrial exports. By the 1990s, with the second largest economy in the world behind the United States, reached a peak, leveled off economically, it retained close relations with the United States, which provided it with military protection.
South Korea and other countries in the Western Pacific traded on a large scale with Japan, but still resented the wartime atrocities. See Military history of Japan Beginning with the Meiji Restoration of 1868, which established a new, centralized regime, Japan set out to "gather wisdom from all over the world" and embarked on an ambitious program of military, social and economic reforms that transformed it within a generation into a modern nation-state and major world power; the Meiji oligarchy was aware of Western progress, "learning missions" were sent abroad to absorb as much of it as possible. The Iwakura Mission, the most important one, was led by Iwakura Tomomi, Kido Takayoshi and Ōkubo Toshimichi, contained forty-eight members in total and spent two years touring the United States and Europe, studying every aspect of modern nations, such as government institutions, prison systems, the import-export business, shipyards, glass plants and other enterprises. Upon returning, mission members called for domestic reforms that would help Japan catch up with the West.
European powers imposed a series of "unequal treaties" in the 1850s and 1860s that gave privileged roles to their nationals in specially designated treaty ports. Representative was the 1858 Treaty with the United States, called the "Harris Treaty." It opened the ports of Kanagawa and four other Japanese cities to trade, And provided for the exchange of diplomats. It granted extraterritoriality to foreigners, So that they govern themselves and were not under the control of Japanese courts or authorities. There were numerous trading stipulations favorable to the Americans; the Dutch and Russians followed suit with their own treaties, backed up by their own powerful naval forces. The unequal treaties were part of the series imposed on non-Western countries, such as Persia 1857, Turkey 1861, Siam 1855, China 1858; the inequality was not quite as severe as suffered by these other countries, but it rankled so much that ending the inequality became a priority, achieved in the 1890s. The humiliation was not as bad as China suffered.
On the other hand, the new treaties, provided for tariffs on imports from Europe.
The Edo period or Tokugawa period is the period between 1603 and 1868 in the history of Japan, when Japanese society was under the rule of the Tokugawa shogunate and the country's 300 regional daimyō. The period was characterized by economic growth, strict social order, isolationist foreign policies, a stable population, "no more wars", popular enjoyment of arts and culture; the shogunate was established in Edo on March 24, 1603, by Tokugawa Ieyasu. The period came to an end with the Meiji Restoration on May 1868, after the fall of Edo. A revolution took place from the time of the Kamakura shogunate, which existed with the Tennō's court, to the Tokugawa, when the samurai became the unchallenged rulers in what historian Edwin O. Reischauer called a "centralized feudal" form of shogunate. Instrumental in the rise of the new-existing bakufu was Tokugawa Ieyasu, the main beneficiary of the achievements of Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Powerful, Ieyasu profited by his transfer to the rich Kantō area.
He maintained two million koku of land, a new headquarters at Edo, a strategically situated castle town, had an additional two million koku of land and thirty-eight vassals under his control. After Hideyoshi's death, Ieyasu moved to seize control from the Toyotomi clan. Ieyasu's victory over the western daimyō at the Battle of Sekigahara gave him control of all Japan, he abolished numerous enemy daimyō houses, reduced others, such as that of the Toyotomi, redistributed the spoils of war to his family and allies. Ieyasu still failed to achieve complete control of the western daimyō, but his assumption of the title of shōgun helped consolidate the alliance system. After further strengthening his power base, Ieyasu installed his son Hidetada as shōgun and himself as retired shōgun in 1605; the Toyotomi were still a significant threat, Ieyasu devoted the next decade to their eradication. In 1615, the Tokugawa army destroyed the Toyotomi stronghold at Osaka; the Tokugawa period brought 250 years of stability to Japan.
The political system evolved into what historians call bakuhan, a combination of the terms bakufu and han to describe the government and society of the period. In the bakuhan, the shōgun had national authority and the daimyō had regional authority; this represented a new unity in the feudal structure, which featured an large bureaucracy to administer the mixture of centralized and decentralized authorities. The Tokugawa became more powerful during their first century of rule: land redistribution gave them nearly seven million koku, control of the most important cities, a land assessment system reaping great revenues; the feudal hierarchy was completed by the various classes of daimyō. Closest to the Tokugawa house were the shinpan, or "related houses", they were twenty-three daimyō on the borders of Tokugawa lands. The shinpan held honorary titles and advisory posts in the bakufu; the second class of the hierarchy were the fudai, or "house daimyō", rewarded with lands close to the Tokugawa holdings for their faithful service.
By the 18th century, 145 fudai controlled the greatest assessed at 250,000 koku. Members of the fudai class staffed most of the major bakufu offices. Ninety-seven han formed the tozama, former opponents or new allies; the tozama were located on the peripheries of the archipelago and collectively controlled nearly ten million koku of productive land. Because the tozama were least trusted of the daimyō, they were the most cautiously managed and generously treated, although they were excluded from central government positions; the Tokugawa shogunate not only consolidated their control over a reunified Japan, they had unprecedented power over the emperor, the court, all daimyō and the religious orders. The emperor was held up as the ultimate source of political sanction for the shōgun, who ostensibly was the vassal of the imperial family; the Tokugawa helped the imperial family recapture its old glory by rebuilding its palaces and granting it new lands. To ensure a close tie between the imperial clan and the Tokugawa family, Ieyasu's granddaughter was made an imperial consort in 1619.
A code of laws was established to regulate the daimyō houses. The code encompassed private conduct, dress, types of weapons and numbers of troops allowed. Although the daimyō were not taxed per se, they were levied for contributions for military and logistical support and for such public works projects as castles, roads and palaces; the various regulations and levies not only strengthened the Tokugawa but depleted the wealth of the daimyō, thus weakening their threat to the central administration. The han, once military-centered domains, became mere local administrative units; the daimyō did have full administrative control over their territory and their complex systems of retainers and commoners. Loyalty was exacted from religious foundations greatly weakened by Nobunaga and Hideyoshi, through a variety of control mechanisms. Like Hideyoshi, Ieyasu encouraged foreign trade but was suspicious of outsiders, he wanted to make Edo a major port, but once he learned that the Europeans favored ports in Kyūshū and that China had rejected his plans for official trade, he moved to control existing trade
Geography of Japan
Japan is an island nation comprising a stratovolcanic archipelago over 3,000 km along East Asia's Pacific coast. It consists of 6,852 islands; the main islands are Honshu, Kyushu and Hokkaido. The Ryukyu Islands and Nanpō Islands are south of the main islands; the territory extends 377,973.89 km2. It is fourth largest island country in the world. Japan has the sixth longest coastline 29,751 km and the eighth largest Exclusive Economic Zone of 4,470,000 km2 in the world; the terrain is rugged and mountainous with 66% forest. The population is clustered in urban areas on the coast and valleys. Japan is located in the northwestern Ring of Fire on multiple tectonic plates. East of the Japanese archipelago are three oceanic trenches; the Japan Trench is created as the oceanic Pacific Plate subducts beneath the continental Okhotsk Plate. The continuous subduction process causes frequent earthquakes and stratovolcanoes; the islands are affected by typhoons. The subduction plates have pulled the Japanese archipelago eastward, created the Sea of Japan and separated it from the Asian continent by back-arc spreading 15 million years ago.
The climate of the Japanese archipelago varies from humid continental in the north to humid subtropical and tropical rainforest in the south. These differences in climate and landscape have allowed the development of a diverse flora and fauna, with some rare endemic species in the Ogasawara Islands. Japan extends from 122 ° to 153 ° east longitude. Japan is surrounded by sea. To the north the Sea of Okhotsk separates it from the Russian Far East, to the west the Sea of Japan separates it from the Korean Peninsula, to the southwest the East China Sea separates the Ryukyu Islands from China and Taiwan, to the east is the Pacific Ocean; the Japanese archipelago is over 3,000 km long in a north-to-southwardly direction from the Sea of Okhotsk to the Philippine Sea in the Pacific Ocean. The major islands, sometimes called the "Home Islands", are Hokkaido, Honshu and Kyushu. There are 6,852 islands in total, including the Nansei Islands, the Nanpō Islands and islets, with 430 islands being inhabited and others uninhabited.
In total, as of 2018, Japan's territory is 377,973.89 km2, of which 364,543.89 km2 is land and 13,430 km2 water. Japan has the sixth longest coastline in the world, it is fourth largest island country in the world. There are a wide range of climatic ecosystems. Due to Japan's many far-flung outlying islands and long coastline, the country has extensive marine resources; the Exclusive Economic Zone of Japan is the eighth largest in the world. It is more than 11 times the land area of the country. Japan has a population of 126,672,000 in 2016, it is the tenth most populous country in second most populous island country. 81% of the population lives on Honshu, 10% on Kyushu, 4.2% on Hokkaido, 3% on Shikoku, 1.1% in Okinawa Prefecture and 0.7% on other Japanese islands such as the Nanpō Islands. Total: 377,973.89 km2 land: 364,543.89 km2 water: 13,430 km2 notes: Includes the Bonin Islands, Daitō Islands, Minami-Tori-shima, the Ryukyu Islands, the Volcano Islands. This includes the Senkaku Islands which are owned by Japan and disputed by the PRC.
It excludes Liancourt Rocks. Location: Japan is a long island chain between the Sea of Okhotsk, the Sea of Japan and the Philippine Sea, it is in East Asia and North East Asia. Japan is east of the Korean Peninsula and Taiwan. Map references: Asia, East Asia, North East Asia, Pacific Ocean Terrain: rugged and mountainous with about 70% mountainous land. Land boundaries: the ocean, no land borders. Coastline: 29,751 km Population: 126,672,000 Territorial sea: 12 nmi. Exclusive economic zone of Japan: 4,470,000 km2, it stretches from the baseline out to 200 nautical miles from its coast. Contiguous zone: 24 nmi Climate: varies from humid continental climate in the north to humid subtropical and tropical rainforest climate in the south of the Japanese archipelago. Natural resources: small deposits of coal, oil and minerals. There is a major fishing industry and untapped marine resources in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Japan. Arable land: 11.65% permanent crops: 0.83% other: 87.52% Irrigated land: 25,000 km2 Total renewable water resources: 430 km3 Freshwater withdrawal: total: 90.04 km3 per year per capita: 714.3 m3 per year Japan is informally divided into eight regions from north to south: Hokkaidō Tōhoku region Kantō region Chūbu region Kansai region Chūgoku region Shikoku KyūshūEach contains several prefectures, except the Hokkaido region, which covers only Hokkaido Prefecture.
The regions are not official administrative units, but have been traditionally used as the regional division of Japan in a number of contexts. For example
Occupation of Japan
The Allied occupation of Japan at the end of World War II was led by General Douglas MacArthur, the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers, with support from the British Commonwealth. Unlike in the occupation of Germany, the Soviet Union was allowed little to no influence over Japan; this foreign presence marks the only time in Japan's history that it has been occupied by a foreign power. The country became a parliamentary democracy that recalled "New Deal" priorities of the 1930s by Roosevelt; the occupation, codenamed Operation Blacklist, was ended by the San Francisco Peace Treaty, signed on September 8, 1951, effective from April 28, 1952, after which Japan's sovereignty – with the exception, until 1972, of the Ryukyu Islands – was restored. According to John Dower, in his book Cultures of War: Pearl Harbor/Hiroshima/9-11/Iraq, the factors behind the success of the occupation were: Discipline, moral legitimacy, well-defined and well-articulated objectives, a clear chain of command and flexibility in policy formulation and implementation, confidence in the ability of the state to act constructively, the ability to operate abroad free of partisan politics back home, the existence of a stable, sophisticated civil society on the receiving end of occupation policies – these political and civic virtues helped make it possible to move decisively during the brief window of a few years when defeated Japan itself was in flux and most receptive to radical change.
Japan surrendered to the Allies on August 14, 1945, when the Japanese government notified the Allies that it had accepted the Potsdam Declaration. On the following day, Emperor Hirohito announced Japan's unconditional surrender on the radio; the announcement was the emperor's first planned radio broadcast and the first time most citizens of Japan heard their sovereign's voice. This date is known as Victory over Japan, or V-J Day, marked the end of World War II and the beginning of a long road to recovery for a shattered Japan. Japanese officials left for Manila, Philippines on August 19 to meet MacArthur and to be briefed on his plans for the occupation. On August 28, 1945, 150 US personnel flew to Kanagawa Prefecture, they were followed by USS Missouri, whose accompanying vessels landed the 4th Marine Regiment on the southern coast of Kanagawa. The 11th Airborne Division was airlifted from Okinawa 30 miles from Tokyo. Other Allied personnel followed. MacArthur arrived in Tokyo on August 30, decreed several laws.
No Allied personnel were to assault Japanese people. No Allied personnel were to eat the scarce Japanese food. Flying the Hinomaru or "Rising Sun" flag was severely restricted; this restriction was lifted in 1948 and lifted the following year. On September 2, 1945, Japan formally surrendered with the signing of the Japanese Instrument of Surrender. On September 6, US President Truman approved a document titled "US Initial Post-Surrender Policy for Japan"; the document set two main objectives for the occupation: eliminating Japan's war potential and turning Japan into a democratic-style nation with pro-United Nations orientation. Allied forces were set up to supervise the country, "for eighty months following its surrender in 1945, Japan was at the mercy of an army of occupation, its people subject to foreign military control." At the head of the Occupation administration was General MacArthur, technically supposed to defer to an advisory council set up by the Allied powers, but in practice did not and did everything himself.
As a result, this period was one of significant American influence, described near the end of the occupation in 1951 that "for six years the United States has had a freer hand to experiment with Japan than any other country in Asia, or indeed in the entire world." Looking back to his work among the Japanese, MacArthur said, "Measured by the standards of modern civilization, they would be like a boy of twelve" compared to the maturity of the US and Germany, had a good chance of putting away their troubled past. On V-J Day, US President Harry Truman appointed General Douglas MacArthur as Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, to supervise the occupation of Japan. During the war, the Allied Powers had planned to divide Japan amongst themselves for the purposes of occupation, as was done for the occupation of Germany. Under the final plan, however, SCAP was given direct control over the main islands of Japan and the surrounding islands, while outlying possessions were divided between the Allied Powers as follows: Soviet Union: North Korea, South Sakhalin, the Kuril Islands United States: South Korea, the Amami Islands, the Ogasawara Islands and Japanese possessions in Micronesia China: Taiwan and Penghu It is unclear why the occupation plan was changed.
Common theories include the increased power of the United States following development of the atomic bomb, Truman's greater distrust of the Soviet Union when compared with Roosevelt, an increased desire to restrict Soviet influence in East Asia after the Yalta Conference. The Soviet Union had some intentions of occupying Hokkaidō. Had this occurred, there might have been a communist state in the Soviet zone of occupation. However, unlike the Soviet occupations of East Germany and North Korea, these plans were frustrated by Truman's opposition. MacArthur's first priority was to set up a food distribution network. With these