Literature which has accumulated during three years since the surrender of Japan has not yet encompassed a consideration of the administrative process of military government at the local level. That the function of local military government units as the field service of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP) has been overlooked is to be explained principally by the dramatic character and impressive scope of the functions of MacArthur's headquarters and the resulting eclipse of local activities necessarily of a more prosaic nature. Moreover, in neglecting the local levels of administration, analysts have reflected a prevalent American conception of central-field relationships, a conception which implies that the importance of administrative activity diminishes as it descends from level to level.
The presence of nearly two thousand military government personnel in the 46 prefectures makes evident the inadequacy of a critique of the occupation based solely on the functions of SCAP. It is this group of field service administrators who, living close to the citizenry, have daily contact with native government officials and are in an unparalleled position to impress the Japanese with the quality of American administration. The close relationship which inheres at this level subjects American administration to careful scrutiny and will be of no little importance in judging the final success of the occupation. Poor official performance or disreputable personal conduct is not as easily concealed by small detachments in the field as by large headquarters in metropolitan areas. Neither the headquarters personnel living in large Americanized compounds and working in modern office buildings nor tactical forces isolated in cantonment areas have the same intimate responsibility and contact with Japanese officialdom.