Japan played a crucial role in the chain of events leading to the Korean War. Complex issues involving the termination of the allied occupation of Japan and the repercussions for all those powers interested in East Asia and the western Pacific were closely linked. The original purpose of the allies in Japan, following the Japanese surrender in August 1945, had been to reform Japanese society so as to eliminate the aggressive, militaristic character of Japanese government, which had largely explained the growth of the Japanese empire between 1894 and 1943. It soon became clear that the occupation, while formally an allied one as represented in the Far Eastern Commission (FEC) and the Allied Council for Japan (ACJ), was effectively controlled by the United States. Great Britain and the Soviet Union entertained hopes for influencing allied policy in Japan in 1945 but these were quickly dashed. Little interest in British views on Japan were shown beyond the superficial courtesies of diplomatic exchanges in Washington. The fact that the Soviet Union only entered into the Pacific War as it was about to end restricted likelihood of a prominent Soviet voice in Japan, apart from the deterioration in Soviet-American relations in Europe. The American aim was to produce a genuinely democratic constitution in place of the reactionary Meiji document; to eliminate or reduce the power of the zaibatsu - the powerful financial combines headed by Mitsui, Mitsubishi, Yasuda, Sumitomo and Okura; to dissolve the armed forces; to implement land reform; to foster trade unions; and, in all, to put Japan securely on a new footing. The occupation in 82practice was a mixture of idealism and pragmatism underpinned by a potent sense of what was in the best interests of American foreign policy. 1