Documents with Commentaries

3-2 Reform of the Japanese Governmental System (SWNCC 228)

This document (SWNCC 228), approved by the State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee (SWNCC) on January 7, 1946, described the policies of the United States government regarding the revision of the Constitution of Japan. SWNCC 228 indicated that it was necessary for MacArthur to inform the Japanese authorities that the Japanese governmental system should be reformed to accomplish such objectives as a government responsible to the electorate, guarantee of fundamental civil rights and the drafting and adoption of constitutional amendments in a manner which would express the free will of the Japanese people. The decision to form the Far Eastern Commission (FEC) had already been made and thus the United States government had lost the right to issue directives regarding the revision of Japan's Constitution, when SWNCC 228 was issued on the eleventh of the month to MacArthur for his "information" and not as official orders. Later, when GHQ was writing its draft it came to be used as a "control document" and played an extremely important role in the revision process. In the text of this document the United States government stressed that if reforms and constitutional revisions were not carried out independently by Japan the people of Japan would not accept them, and that ordering the Japanese government to initiate reforms would be used only as a "last resort."

Actual Title of Source Reform of the Japanese Governmental System(SWNCC 228)
Date 7 January 1946
Document Number GHQ/SCAP Records; Top Secret Records of Various Sections. Administrative Division; Box No. CHS-1:" SWNCC 228: Reform of the Japanese Governmental System" <Sheet No. TS00124-00125>
Repository (reproduction) National Diet Library
Repository U.S. National Archives & Records Administration (RG331)
Note Microfiche
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