The postwar recession in Japan touched every aspect of people's life, when all the large cities (with the exception of Kyoto), the industries and the transportation networks were in ruins. A severe shortage of food supplies lasted for several years. Japan lost practically all territories acquired after 1894. Japan's war machine was destroyed and many war crime trials were held over the military officers. Right after Japan surrendered, over five hundred military officers committed suicide and many hundreds were executed for committing war crimes. These were hard times, when chaos and devastation governed the country and people's lives. However, this period did not last long in Japan.
Japan was in the occupation of the Allied Powers from August 1945 until April 1952. With the peace treaty that went into effect in 1952, the occupation ended. According to the terms of the treaty, Japan regained its sovereignty, though at the same time lost many of its possessions including the Kuril Islands, Sakhalin and a number of small islands in the Pacific. Nevertheless, this significant reduction of lands did not prevent postwar Japan from making a fast advance in the development so that later it won the position of one of the world economic leaders.
Before World War II Japan was one of the most powerful military powers, the postwar period shows Japan as the growing world economic power, following the policies of neutrality in the development of its foreign relations. Perhaps, the postwar recession and consequent occupation helped Japan determine its future development as the world leader to respect, but not to be afraid of.
A fast economic growth and industry development during the postwar period soon reflected in the increase of living standards, poverty reduction, low unemployment, education innovations and other important indicators of the human development.
As far as foreign relations of Japan are concerned, the country had little or no influence in global politics for much of the postwar period. Japan reestablished relations with China and the countries maintained cordial, but cool relations until 1971 with the general warming of relations among China, the USA and other Western countries. Only after that Tokyo established relations with Beijing with the following close cooperation in the economic sphere.
Japan's relations with the former Soviet Union were problematic long after World War II for the reason of the Soviet occupation of several islands of Japan. Simultaneously, Japan was improving its relations with the United States; in 1956, Japan joined the United Nations and signed the mutual security treaty with the United States in the mid-1980s. Japan's relations with the Soviet Union were normalized in 1956, the ones to China in 1972.
Therefore, having stabilized relations with many countries, Japan was able to present its export products to the wider world audience, thus, increasing its outside sales and strengthening its position as one of the most powerful world economies.