chapter  30
From Benevolence to Enmity: Britain and Japanese Communism, 1945–50
Pages 15

RECENT SCHOLARSHIP has vividly revealed Britain’s subordinate role in the history of occupied Japan.1 The British Commonwealth Occupation Force garrisoned areas of Western Honshu and Shikoku.2 London voiced support for American defenders of the Imperial Institution.3 British judges co-operated effectively in the International Military Tribunal for the Far East but weakness and unreadiness were major obstacles to any significant British influence on America’s programme of reform.4 Yet America’s power and authority scarcely justify the present scholarly neglect of many important aspects of British policy towards defeated Japan. British diplomats wrote incisive reports on the state of Japanese society. Their notes and despatches illuminate American and Japanese, as well as British, attitudes, while London’s diplomacy formed part of a broad strategy towards the Asian continent which was of major international significance.