Empire of Japan (economic and financial data)

In the half century up to 1999, Japan's exports grew from 144 million to 5,331 million yen (¥). This amounted to a share of world trade of only 3.7%, compared with 13.7% for the United Kingdom or 11.8% for the United States. The Great Depression of the 1930s also resulted in imports exceeding exports by ¥1,000 million.

In 1936, Japan possessed the third-largest commercial shipping fleet in the world, valued at $1,183,000,000, or $28.10 per person.


Government economic administration (previous days & WW2 period)

The official government entities which guided the Japanese national economy were the Economy and Finance Ministry. the Bank of Japan, and the Industry and Commerce Ministry. For military spending there was the Marine and War Ministry, and other important government entities.

Japanese investment in Chosen (previous times and WW2 period)

During 1932, Japan invested $550,000,000 and $320,000,000 in 1938. This investment produced a return of 400% in industrial monetary value.

In the fishing industry, Japan extracted a value of 20,000,000 U.S. dollars annually. This is a high per capita statistic in fishing and collected 15% of world fishing volumes.

The Noguchi Family put their principal investments in Banking commerce and Industry in this province. With their funds, zaibatsu and the Japanese government founded the Bank of Chosen, the central banking institution in the province, which stayed linked with the Central Bank of Manchou, the Manchu central bank.

Other significant industries were chemicals (30%) and Metal and machinery (10%) with a total 1,000,000 of workers in these areas, plus woodworking, textile, foods and handcrafts.

Japan developed 4,000,000 acres (16,000 km²) for rice and 4,000,000 acres (16,000 km²) for rye and mice, and another 3,000,000 acres (12,000 km²) for soybean, wheat, tobacco and cotton. 7% of peasant families were employed in this cultivation which produced 5,000,000 tonnes annually. The harvest supported 1,700,000 cows, 1,400,000 pigs and others.[citation needed]

Fishing (World War II era)

The important Okhotsk fisheries had a value of ¥50 million. Other fisheries in Chosen, Karafuto, South Mandate and Formosa came to ¥122,000,000 and ¥358,000,000 from Japan proper, for a total of ¥480,000,000 (1938 figures). Secondary products from fishing had a value of ¥150 million to ¥200 million. (From another source, fishing values were of ¥235,000,000 and ¥275,000,000 during 1919 to 1913, more than the British.)

Coastal fishing represented 61% of the total value, with a fleet of 364,260 small boats of which 20% had engines; the rest were sailing boats. High seas fishing represented 28% of the industry, with whaling, coral and pearl collecting and a little physiculture on land making up the rest. The high seas vessels operated in the North Pacific area (Alaska coasts), to the South Pacific. During Japanese administration the fishing in the Kwantung leased territory was 61,000 tonnes.

In 1938, the fish factory vessels packed 204,000,000 packages of crab, and 370 packages of sea salmon. In the same year, four whale hunting vessels fished in waters around the Antarctic. Factories were built in Chisima, Hokkaidō, Karafuto, Taiwan, Chosen, Kyūshū, Shikoku and other coastal areas to process fish products.

Forestry products (World War II times)

Local forestry represented a production of 14,000,000 meters of wood with a value of ¥75,000,000, a total value of ¥50,000,000 in cut wood, ¥3,000,000 in bamboo and other secondary wood products for a total value of ¥100,000,000. The local forests covered 200,000 km², 90,000 km² under State administration or Imperial Family reserves and taking part in scientific forest research during latter years. Coal of wood was valued at 100,000,000 yen. The Sugi (Scryptomeria Japonica), representing a quarter of the total quantity, Pine more than 20%in quantity and value and the Hinoki (Chamaecypaaris Obtusa) only 1/4% of quantity, but more than 9% in value.

Despite many forests and their importance, Japan continued to buy wood overseas. In accord with another dates, Japan had 200,000 km² of forest, 100,000 km² in private hands, the other 75,000 km² in state control and 12,000 km² owned by the Imperial House. Wood exports were made to the rest of the Japanese empire and to foreign markets.

Paper and cellulose industry

Since ancient times, Japan has manufactured assorted paper types by hand. A modern mechanized industry appeared in 1872 and became one of the most important industries in the nation. The total production was about 1,000,000 tonnes of paper and cardboard. cellulose paste, the principal prime material, was made in Shikoku, Hokkaidō and Karafuto. The Cellulose production resulted in 8% of U.S. manufacture; the Cellulose industry in Japan developed in Shikoku, North Honshū, Hokkaidō, Chosen, Manchukuo and Karafuto. In Karafuto was the Shiretoru Cellulose Factory, the most advanced installation dedicated to the cellulose industry in all of East Asia. The first place where European-type paper was manufactured in Japan was in the city of Shikuka. Additionally, to complement this local production, these products were sold in Canada and the United States of America.

Notes of Japanese concessions in North Sakhalin and Japanese-Russian fishing convention

The Japanese and Russian oil wells, in the same oil zone, were strictly controlled to ensure equitable exploitation. The pits stayed in direct connection with the Moskalvo port in the west coast of Ohka through a network of oil pipelines.

In 1925, the Soviet Government granted Japan petroliferous and carbonaceous concessions in North Sakhalin to Mitsubishi, Itoh-Korada, Mitsui and other Japanese Companies for a period of 45 years. By Protocols and agreements signed in Moscow in May 1944, these concessions expired 26 years before the accorded time in 1970, while a new Japanese-Russian accord over fishing conventions agreed to the formal retirement of some Japanese fisheries in the Far East to Japanese concessors, the right of Soviet Organizations to buy annually and for auction 10% of Japanese fish shares, and a supplementary payment in gold for Japanese owners.

When modifying these fishing conventions in 1928, according to the activities of Soviet Fishing Organizations, citizens were subject to substantial reductions. The Japanese-Russian accord of March 1944 cancelled all restrictions previously observed.

Japanese subjects and foreigners were banned from fishing in certain maritime zones in the Far East under an agreement with the Soviet Government made in July 1941. The Japanese Government also guaranteed that fishing rights on the East Coast of Kamchatka and Olyutorsk were not taken up by the Japanese.

Birth rates for the Japanese population

Some dates and figures:

  • In 1914, the Japanese birth rate stood at 15%, close to that of Germany or Russia, slightly lower than Java (Dutch Indies) at 22%. There was a reduction to 13.6% in 1924. For example in Japan proper there were 157 inhabitants per km², and Hokkaido had 184 residents in per km² (cf. Java, which had 274).
  • In 1925, the population grew by 875,000 per year, in 1926 by 900,000, in 1927 this number grew to 1,000,000. In next last four years, the annual increase in population averaged 900,000, but in 1932-1940 the net growth was more than 1,000,000 per year, a rate which would double the population in 40 years. Japan imported 10% of the food for this population.
  • In 1936, Japan had 30.3 births per 1,000 residents and 17.5 deaths per 1,000. The net increase in population was 1,028,623 in 1935, but notably reduced to 653,000 in 1939 and 239,000 in 1940. Among the great countries, the birth average of Japan immediately followed British India (34.9) and was double that of the United States (16.7). This was accompanied by a growth in rice production between 1880-1940 of 60 million koku (300 million bushels).
  • Japanese thinkers were preoccupied with demographics: to reduce of rate of deaths and increase that of births and comparing this with growth in China and Soviet Union. Army ideologists pondered the question and produced a eugenics law which ordered the sterilization or abortion of inferior or inadequate babies and ordered the increase of birth physically "perfect" future Samurai warriors. The Japanese government gave economic support to all mothers having many children. These experts planned a ten-year program to increase the number of soldiers to the number of 100,000,000. If needed for conquest purposes, Japanese mothers "manufactured" three million babies or, in other words, a sixfold increase in this "production" by all Japanese women.

These programs were guided by Katsuko Tojo, General Tojo's wife. She said wives y should have seven children and suggested this should be the correct Japanese mother, inclusive the central government for she suggested creating one program for increasing the number of marriages.

Naval construction industry

In 1893 naval construction was in the range 177,000 to 1,528,000 tonnes. In 1913 this increased to 3,565,000 tonnes. In 1924 with 237 500-tonnes vessels and 11 10,000-tonnes and reaching 4,140,000 tonnes in 1928. The Japanese Navy was third in the world behind British and American Navies and dominated the West Pacific area before the war. The first modern Shipyard was built in 1891, and since then naval construction rapidly advanced. Japanese boats of more than 100 tonnes represented a total registered tonnage of 5,007,000 tonnes out of 1,198,000 corresponding to naval construction of 1936-1938. This put Japan in third place between maritime powers, a notable realization in such short time. The old vessels were destroyed or disarmed which is why the regular fleet was efficient and modern. Without scarcity of Petrol, much of these modern vessels were designed for that energy source.

Military industry

This sector was important from the First Chinese-Japanese war to the Pacific War.

Large industrial groups received large investment for making weapons for Japanese Army and Navy in national war efforts. In military aircraft industry exist the next names of important companies how:

For the Japanese Navy:

For the Japanese Army:

  • Nikkoku
  • Yokoi
  • Maeda
  • Rikugun/Kokukosho
  • Rikugun/Kogiken
  • Tachikawa (2,078,832 weapons)
  • Kawasaki (2,172,875 weapons)
  • Kokusai (60,037 weapons)
  • Kayaba

For both armed branches:

  • Nakajima (2,052,157 (army) and 3,148,417 (navy) weapons)
  • Mitsubishi (2,503,194 (army) and 1,287,742 (navy) weapons)

For Manchukuo and the Japanese Army:

  • Mansyu (125,379 weapons)

and other related companies.

In other war material, the name of Nambu Company are charged for making hand weapons for both armed branches, the Mitsubishi heavy Industries with your subsidiaries (Hitachi Company, Ikegai Iron works, Sagami Arsenal (factory) and others) possess the contract to manufacture the second Tank Type in use for armed forces the Medium Tank Type 97 or Chi-Ha and Shinhoto-Chi-Ha with a total of 1,049 units made in 1938-1941.

  • The first prototypes of Type 97 Medium Tank are constructed for Tokyo Plant of Mitsubishi Heavy industries Ltd. and Osaka Arsenal. The engine are designed by Mitsubishi and Ikegai Iron Works Ltd.
  • Production numbers of Medium Tank type 97:
    • 1938 (25 units)
    • 1939 (202 units)
    • 1940 (315 units)
    • 1941 (507 units)
    • 1942 (531 units)
    • 1943 (543 units)
    • 1944 (production ceased)
  • Total by factories:
    • Mitsubishi: (1,224 units)
    • Hitachi: (355 units)
  • Other factory why construct these tank are:
    • Sagami Arsenal
  • Of theirs ones:
    • 2,123 units of "Shinhoto-Chi-Ha" (New turret version)
    • Unknown cypher of "Chi-Ha" (regular model)
  • Total production stay in ones 1,049 units between 1938-1941.

The shipyards of Mitsubishi and Kawasaki heavy industries jointly with Naval arsenals making the war vessels and Submarines need for Japanese navy and exist other industrialist groups why manufactured other equipments needed for these war efforts too. Apart debt at your agreements with Germany, theirs receiving much military technology and samples of weapons for develop in country or Japanese government buying any licenses to making and the prototypes for same purpose too.

Additionally Japanese before and during last times of war, developed some types of unusual military combat infantry techniques, artifacts, special weapons and certain weapons of mass destruction between other various bellicose equipment. Theirs are collectively named "Japanese Secret and Special Weapons".

For this, also see "Japanese Secret and Special Weapons".

Natural Resources in occuped areas after 1937

Occupied Chinese Mainland

From 1937, during the Japanese military occupation of territories in China, they controlled certain mineral deposits in those areas. They fall into three sectors:

Deposits of tungsten, tin and manganese, also.

  • Chekiang: coal reserves were 101 million tonnes and extraction 250,000 tonnes in 1934. There were certain soils rich in bauxite.

South China area

  • Fukien: coal reserves of 500 million tonnes in 1934.
  • Kwantung (Canton): 421 million tonnes of coal reserves, and production was 338,000 tonnes in 1934. Iron reserves in Hainan, with 400 million tonnes of iron of high grade in 1934. A small tungsten production, also.
  • Kwangsi: coal reserves of 300 million tonnes, and production of 30,000 tonnes in 1940. There were some sources of tungsten, manganese (production of 1,246 tonnes in 1940) and a tin production of 417,000 tonnes too.
  • Hunan: coal reserves were 1,793 million tonnes and extraction of 1,050,000 tonnes in 1940. Some deposits of tungsten, mercury, antimony (Hsikwangshan mine), manganese and gold.
  • Kweichow: coal reserves were 1,549 million tonnes, and extraction 360,750 tonnes in 1940. Deposits of mercury, copper, antimony, and sulphur also.

South East Asia

This zone when conquered by Japanese forces added further resources and strategic points. This had formed part of Japanese Navy plans to expand into the 'South Sea lands'.

  • Burma: in the Irrawaddy river zone, there were the Yenangyaung and Chauk oil fields, 300 miles (500 km) north of Rangoon. These sources and other in Singu extracted 260,000,000 gallons in 1938, and there was an unexploited coal deposit. This nation had other minerals: amber and jade (nefrite stone), lapis lazuli, lazurite, rubies, extraction 141,490 carats (28.30 kg) in 1937, sapphires, etc. in Shan Mesete. There was a major mine in Bawdwin, producing silver, lead, zinc, nickel and copper. This deposit produced 72,000 tonnes of lead and ones 5,000,000 ounces in 1933, rock with content 20% of lead and zinc as a mineral. In Mergui and Tavoy(Tenasserin area) mines produced tungsten and tin from 1910. Tin extraction rose to 6,623 tonnes in 1937.
  • Thailand: in its ranges were abundant sources of tin, which were extracted for mining, and from rivers. On the south coast guano was mined for fertilizer production.
  • French Indochina: in Honggay (near Haipong) extracted ones 2,308,000 tonnes of coal in 1937. Minerals included Tungsten, Chromium, Tin, antimony and manganese in the northern area and Phosphate rock in the southern area. These minerals were extracted to export in bulk for processing abroad.
  • Malacca: Tin extraction was in the hands of its Chinese citizens; production in 1939 was 55,950 tonnes or some 30% of world production. There were tin factories in Singapore and Penang for processing local extractions, and those of Thailand, Burma and Indochina. In the same area Japanese pre-war investment had related to bauxite, iron and manganese. The Kelantan, Trengganu and Johore iron mineral extractions represented 1,944,701 tonnes in 1939; the manganese was from Kelantan and Trengganu and Bauxite provided from Johore in the same year. Other Japanese mining investments were in the Dutch island of Bintang and existing coal deposits.
  • Dutch Indies: Its minerals were scarce but had important value. The oil in the Palembang (Sumatra), Djambi, Medan and Borneo fields in Balikpapan and Tarakan produced 7,938,000 tonnes in 1940; perhaps a greater yield than California and Iran. Coal was in Sumatra and Borneo, with 1,456,647 tonnes mined in the same year. Additionally there were sulphur and manganese in Java, and nickel in Celebes. Tin came from Banka and the Billington Islands, which extracted 43,900 tonnes in 1940. The Japanese mining business in the Bintang Island tin deposits produced 275,000 tonnes that year, supposedly one sixth of world production.
  • Philippines: Its mining industry had spectacularly developed during the U.S. administration. It produced more gold than Alaska, or any other American state apart from California. Gold extraction in 1941 represented 1,109,000 troy oz (34,500 kg), five times more than in 1931, and silver associated with gold ore at the same level. These extractions proceeded mostly from the Benget district in Baguio Province, Luzon. Iron deposits were rapidly developed and during 1941 1,191,641 tonnes was exported to Japan. Iron sources were located in North Camarines (Luzon), Samar Island and Surigao in Mindanao island. In the last of these, the iron reserves were estimated as 500 million tonnes; Laterithic minerals with content of silicon, sulphur, phosphorus, and an iron content of 48% were of easy extraction from coastal areas. Chromium was not discovered until 1935, but the Philippines in 1939 produced 164,000 tonnes and had fifth place, or 11%, of world production. Sources were in Zambales (Luzon) with its extraction of 10 million tonnes, chrome oxide with a high 50% of chrome content. Manganese was abundant but of medium quality, and was sent to the USA from 1935; the local production was 58,038 tonnes in 1940. There were also copper, lead, zinc and coal.

Pacific Sea lands

In total or partial control:

  • New Guinea: certain Gold deposits in Bulolo (East New Guinea) with other minerals in these islands.
  • Nauru: certain sources of phosphates.
  • Gilberts: are other deposits of phosphates.
  • Salomon: sources of gold, copper and phosphates.


Except for the transportation difficulties due to great distances, the frequent sinking of Japanese merchants vessels or downed transport aircraft, guerrilla and local support resistance movements strikings against the mines, centers or transport lines, aerial allied attacks against occupied areas and great colonial administrative difficulties to manage these great territories outside Japan, these active or potential resources could not be used or disposed in adequate form for the Japanese Empire and much of these potential mineral exports did not arrive in Japanese markets and industries for finishing the process during the Pacific war time.

See also


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