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14 - The Shoup Mission to Japan: Two Political Economies Intersect

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 January 2010

Isaac William Martin
Affiliation:
University of California, San Diego
Ajay K. Mehrotra
Affiliation:
Indiana University, Bloomington
Monica Prasad
Affiliation:
Northwestern University, Illinois
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Summary

INTRODUCTION: AN AMBITIOUS MISSION

Between 1945 and 1952, during the military occupation of Japan, the administration of President Harry S. Truman undertook a restructuring of Japan's tax system. The most visible aspect of this effort was the so-called Shoup mission to Japan. On May 10, 1949, General Douglas MacArthur, the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP), brought to Japan a group of American tax experts, under the leadership of Carl S. Shoup, a distinguished professor of economics and public finance at Columbia University. SCAP charged the Shoup mission with the task of studying the Japanese tax system and making recommendations for its comprehensive reform. Three months later, the Shoup mission filed an extensive report that surveyed the Japanese tax system and made numerous recommendations (Shoup Mission 1949a, b). The mission was the most ambitious project ever of American experts to transform a national tax system, either at home or abroad. For both the Truman administration and the Japanese government, the stakes of the mission's work were high. Both assumed that comprehensive tax reform in Japan, just as in the United States, could influence economic stability, shape the course of economic development, reconfigure democratic institutions and practices, and advance the strategic, international interests of liberal democracies. Consequently, the background, recommendations, and effects of the mission provide a window into the political economies of both the United States and Japan.

Type
Chapter
Information
The New Fiscal Sociology
Taxation in Comparative and Historical Perspective
, pp. 237 - 255
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2009

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