chapter  2
Human Rights in Japan
Pages 53

In Japan during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries a powerful state structure had been created. Meanwhile liberal and social democratic ideas had influenced intellectuals, social movements and even some within state institutions so as to have acquired a degree of legitimacy by the 1920s. They were attacked in the 1930s but this did not eliminate them so much as force them underground. The decisive defeat at the hands of the Allies discredited the nationalist authoritarian ideas that had been developed by the civil and military bureaucracy and its apologists during wartime. Liberals, socialists and communists who had been critical of government before 1930 were now free to suggest how the state might be restructured and the mass of the Japanese population were receptive to suggestions of how their lives might be reorganised and the military disasters of the previous fifteen years avoided in the future.