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Land reforms of 1946

An effort to redistribute land holdings that was one of the most successful reform measures of the Allied Occcupation. It aimed at establishing a US-style democracy through the creation of a broad class of independent yeomen farmers. Welcomed by the many Japanese who worked as tenant farmers prior to the war, land reform was implemented with relatively little opposition. It brought substantial changes to the countryside but was dependent for its ultimate success upon industrial policy and other seemingly unrelated factors. The reforms permited the government to buy all the land owned by absentee landlords as well as all land that might be cultivated but was not. The government then sold that land to tenants through 30-year mortgages at 3.2% interest. The land transfers significantly altered economic relationships in rural Japan, and they were one of the most ambitious and most consistently applied reform policies of the entire period. (adapted from Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1993)

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