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Japan’s Economic Miracle 3

Japan’s Economic Miracle 3

Japan’s economy was dying due to the occupation policy implemented by the General Commander of the Allied Forces, Douglas MacArthur.

1. The disbandment of the munitions industry, Japan’s largest industry in those days.
2. The disbandment of *‘Zaibatsu’ and big enterprises, which resulted in a 60% decline in the industrial production.

However, one American man trying to stop this merciless policy showed up in the U.S. The Undersecretary of War, William Henry Draper Jr..

William Henry Draper Jr

‘I need to know the status quo in Japan.’

Draper used to be the CEO of an investment bank on Wall Street and his interest in Japan was not democratization but business. Before WW2, American investment banks and big companies invested tons of money in Japan’s building of infrastructures like railroads and electric power, and in the restoration of the Great Kanto Earthquake (1923).

Its amount was $500 million (the current value of this = $8 billion)


Great Kanto Earthquake (1923)

The most significant thing for Wall Street was collecting the funds they had invested in Japan before WW2 as soon and safely as possible.

This was because they needed to secure not only their own funds, but also their clients’ assets. Draper wanted to collect the funds at all costs.

Therefore, he counseled MacArthur to review the policy over and over again. However, MacArthur did not want to listen to it.

At that time, Japan had some luck which could save their dying economy.


Deepening the East-West Cold War

In the States, Draper’s opinion (changing the policy to prioritize rehabilitation of Japan) started to be supported by many people rather than MacArthur’s (occupation) in order to make Japan become “the bastion of anti-communism”.

Draper (the second from right)

The Berlin’s Wall (an icon of the Cold War)/ Thierry Noir

Draper did not miss a chance and he visited Japan to require MacArthur to change the occupation policy in person.

Surprisingly enough, MacArthur did not rebel against Draper because he was a soldier and not so familiar with the economy.

Therefore, he had no choice but to rely on Draper.Draper was a born capitalist. He was thinking that the U.S would be able to reap benefits if Japan’s economy thrived.

To be continued …


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