In August 1945 Japan stood in ruins, having suffered a total defeat in the Pacific War. Its empire, which had once covered much of East and Southeast Asia, had collapsed. Soon the U.S. occupation authority began to introduce a series of sweeping democratization measures, such as the dissolution of zaibatsu (the family trusts that through the organization of holding companies had controlled most of the major industries in prewar Japan), the institution of land reform, the passage of prolabor laws, and the imposition of a new (peace) constitution, Article 9 of which explicitly prohibits the maintenance or use of armed forces as a means of solving conflicts with other nations. The U.S. occupation’s central objective was to destroy the seeds of Japanese militarism for good and to let the country be reborn as a political democracy.