Before America occupied Japan for 7 years, following the tragedies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, two thirds of Japan’s agricultural land was not owned by the farmers who worked the fields but leased to them.
A lease fee was no small amount, often totaling half of the crop being paid to landlords.
Together with the fact that farms were often around an acre there was no significant remaining capital after each harvest to reinvest in infrastructure or crucial advancements. The incentives to invest were also weak – after all they didn’t own the land so why continue to invest in it?
Enter the economic policy championed and instilled by America, not necessarily the white knight here but an interesting influence none the less.
They redistributed the land to be owned by the farmers which allowed them more freedom and choice over their farm.
Farming was principle to Japan’s economy, employing over 50% of the labor force, so this transfer of ownership created a ripple of wealth creation across the nation.