The US Initial Post-Surrender Policy for Japan is a legal document approved by US President Harry S. Truman on September 6, 1945, which governed US policy in the occupation of Japan following surrender in the Second World War. It was released to the public on September 22.
The document titled "US Initial Post-Surrender Policy for Japan" was drafted by the State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee, and approved by that committee on August 29, 1945, and its official designation was SWNCC 150/4. It was approved by the president on September 6, and released to the media on September 22.
The document set two main objectives for the occupation.
"The ultimate objectives of the United States in regard to Japan, to which policies in the initial period must conform, are:
The document also set four main policies to be pursued:
The document stipulated the occupation was to last until these objectives were to be met, without specifying time limit. Practical control was vested in the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers (SCAP), appointed by the US, a post given to General Douglas MacArthur. Other Allied governments were only given symbolic participation in policy making over Japan.
The Japanese government was retained along with the Emperor, but were subjected to SCAP.
The document established freedom of speech and freedom of religion as basic principles, and also prohibited religious and racial discrimination.
Two issues the document referred to were the issue of free elections and the demand for the dissolution of the big businesses then controlling the Japanese economy. The document did not require any policy on these issues, but called upon SCAP to encourage the Japanese government to take steps on these matters.
This non-committal attitude on free elections and corporate control derived from the view of Japanese society as over conservative and not very susceptible to change.
The US Initial Post-Surrender Policy for Japan became an official legal document for the conduct of Japanese affairs during the occupation. Following the establishment of the Allied Council for Japan in December 1945, it was charged with drafting a joint Allied occupation statute for Japan, to be based on the same document. However, opposition among Allied governments to approve a statute that gave the US government the dominant position led to delays, and the new statute was finally approved on June 19, 1947.