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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, and an increased desire to restrict Soviet influence in East Asia after the Yalta Conference.
The Soviet Union had some intentions of occupying Hokkaidō.
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, tolerance 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, and the existence of a stable, resilient, 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 Gyokuon-hōsō).
The announcement was the emperor's first ever planned radio broadcast and the first time most citizens of Japan ever heard their sovereign's voice.
The document set two main objectives for the occupation: (1) eliminating Japan's war potential and (2) turning Japan into a democratic-style nation with pro-United Nations orientation.
Digging through a myriad of sources - 18th and 19th century battle accounts, muster rolls, genealogical records, pension files, letters, period newspapers, town and county histories - he was able to flesh out the stories of these veterans.
This foreign presence marked the only time in Japan's history that it had been occupied by a foreign power.
was ended by the San Francisco Peace Treaty, signed on September 8, 1951, and effective from April 28, 1952, after which Japan's sovereignty – with the exception, until 1972, of the Ryukyu Islands – was fully restored.
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 free 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, Mac Arthur 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, and had a good chance of putting away their troubled past.
On V-J Day, US President Harry Truman appointed General Douglas Mac Arthur as Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP), to supervise the occupation of Japan.
Mac Arthur's first priority was to set up a food distribution network; following the collapse of the ruling government and the wholesale destruction of most major cities, virtually everyone was starving.