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Resisting reform: Police and society in occupation Japan (1945-1952).

Aldous, Christopher (1994) Resisting reform: Police and society in occupation Japan (1945-1952). PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom).

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Abstract

The thesis examines the role of the Japanese police during the American Occupation of Japan (1945-52), highlighting the problems that attended reform of this key institution. It contends that there was tension between the commitment to democratise the police on the one hand and the decision to engage in an indirect Occupation on the other. Emphasis on the ambivalence of US policy, mirrored by divisions within GHQ, SCAP, helps to explain the discrepancy between the professed aims of police reform and its actual results. Parallels are drawn between the prewar/wartime police and its postwar counterpart, particularly with regard to the range of duties undertaken and the attitude of the police towards ordinary Japanese. Historical legacies stretching back to the beginning of the Meiji period and beyond are juxtaposed with the ideas of American reformers, determined to circumscribe the role of the police and to dissolve its ties with the Japanese establishment. Both aims were difficult to achieve, it is argued, amidst widespread socio-economic dislocation, typified by a thriving black market. Elucidation of the symbiotic relationship between prominent black marketeers and the police points up the latter's financial problems. It is suggested that these were compounded by decentralisation of the police system in 1948. Drawing on the memoranda, letters and reports of reformers in Tokyo and administrators in the field, the thesis concludes that the Japanese police resisted reform, taking strength from deeply-rooted traditions and benefiting from the Occupation's decision to opt for indirect rule. The police institution was too important an agency to be overhauled in the first two years of the Occupation, and when structural reorganisation was finally pushed through in 1948 it was sabotaged by the Japanese government. In sum, this study sheds light on the limitations of the Occupation, the durability of traditional forms and institutions and the basic continuity between the prewar and postwar periods.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: History, Asia, Australia and Oceania, Sociology, Criminology and Penology
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/1276

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