Reflections of Japan, 68 years after surrender

Increasing rights of the individual helped Japan move forward

In the summer of 1945, the U.S. military took strong action to stop the Imperial Shinto in Japan, which had been ravaging much of east Asia for years.

While the emperor and military were preparing people to fight to the death of every man, woman and child in Japan in an expected land invasion, the U.S. developed the ability to fly over Japan.

Unfortunately, the Imperial Shinto regime did not heed the lessons of conventional bombing of Tokyo, then did not heed the lesson of the first atomic bomb.

John David Lewis describes the nature of that regime in his book Nothing Less than Victory: Decisive Wars and the Lessons of History. Lewis goes on to explain how a wise U.S. occupying force fostered freedom by ghost-writing a constitution that included strict separation of religion and state, and by pointing Japanese residents toward individual freedom.

For example, the occupation administration directed Tokyo police to hire female officers. Honest Japanese citizens embraced the positive way and changed their society.

People should remember how malevolent the Imperial Shinto regime was and how steeped in its destructive ideology was much of the Japanese population (who were making the weapons, uniforms and other supplies for the military).

They should note the ultimate result of total surrender and American direction to a proper way of life is 68 years of peace and relative prosperity in the country.

In contrast, six decades after the 1950s stalemate in Korea, the Marxist regime in North Korea is still aggressive – while people there starve, forbidden to accept food from relatives in China.

It’s proof that ideas matter and the defence of individuals against such forces as Imperial Shinto is moral.

Keith Sketchley

Saanich