British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF)

An Australian-led British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF) arrived in Japan in 1946. During the next 5 years approximately 16,000 Australians served in Japan, mainly around Hiroshima. Together with British, New Zealand and Indian troops they oversaw the demilitarisation and demobilisation as large numbers of Japanese soldiers were repatriated and stocks of war materiel were sorted and disposed of. Members of BCOF also oversaw elections and established the foundations for a return to a democratic government.

From the end of 1948 the Australians were all that remained in the Force and they too were being withdrawn gradually. Some of the Australian forces that remained in Japan until 1950 were moved straight over to combat roles in Korea when the war between north and South Korea broke out in June 1950. The last Australian forces left Japan in 1952.

Last updated: 1 February 2019

Cite this page

DVA (Department of Veterans' Affairs) (2019), British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF) , DVA Anzac Portal, accessed 26 September 2023,
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