You are here

British Commonwealth Occupation Forces

Last amended 
5 July 2017

The British Commonwealth Occupation Forces (BCOF) were formed after the formal surrender of Japan and comprised personnel from the armed forces of Australia, New Zealand, India and the United Kingdom. BCOF's primary role was to ensure that the terms of the unconditional surrender of Japan were met. Service for Australian personnel extended from 13 February 1946 to 28 April 1952 (both dates included).    

More →


Operational service

A member of the permanent defence force who served in the BCOF in Japan has operational service up to the earliest of:

  • 1 July 1951, or
  • the day on which they arrived back in Australia.    More →
Qualifying service

Service solely with BCOF (Japan) is not qualifying service. The Japanese forces had surrendered and there was no longer an enemy.

Treatment under the Australian Participants in British Nuclear Tests and British Commonwealth Occupation Force (Treatment) Act 2006

Any period of service in Japan as part of BCOF from 31 January 1946 to 28 April 1952 gives entitlement to a Gold Card under that Act.



Qualifying service is one of the criteria used to determine eligibility for certain benefits under the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986. Refer to section 7A of the VEA for the full defintion.



“enemy means

  • in relation to World War I or World War II - the naval, military or air forces, or any part of the naval, military or airforces, of a State at war with the Crown during that war; and
  • in relation to service in, or a period of hostilities in respect of, an operational area - the naval, military or air forces against which the Naval, Military or Air Forces of the Commonwealth were engaged in that operational area; and
  • persons assisting any of those forces.”