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The Japanese Occupation - Concept of Great East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere

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Introduction

The Japanese Occupation - Concept of Great East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere Mehden - pp 43-46 Pluvier - pp 92-101, 269-281 Camb.Hist - pp 333-34 Bastin - pp 124-152 Osborne - pp 122-137 The rise of Japanese militarism Factors: 1. Beginning in the 1890s, the public education system indoctrinated students in ideas of nationalism, loyalty to Emperor and traditional ideas of self sacrifice and obedience. Therefore, ideas that were originally propagated to mobilise support for the Meiji government were easily diverted to form broad support for the militarism. 2. Japanese society still held remnants of feudal culture such as strong Confucian beliefs that stressed support for social order and lack of emphasis on individualist values. These values taught obedience not to a democratic government but to the Emperor. Therefore, the military government of the 1930s ruled with the Emperor as head of state meant that the Japanese were loyal to this government. Hence, when Japan's military government implemented programmes characteristic of totalitarianism, such as strong media control, a thought police and community organisations, the public held no protests. 3. Shintoism provided a religious justification for nationalism and support for the Emperor and the military government. Shintoism became an ideological weapon in the 1930s teaching Japanese that they were a superior country that had right to expand and that its government was divinely led by a descendent of the sun god. 4. The Machurian Incident of 1931 and the Marco Polo bridge explosion went unpunished and therefore the Japanese public rallied around the militarists. Hence, the militarists were able to push for expansion and a greater role in the government. 5. The London Treaty and Japan's rejection by the European powers at the Versailles Conference angered the militarists who felt the humiliation as Japan was denied equality with the great powers. The Japanese Plans for the concept of Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere 1. A decade of expansion had resulted in the creation of the 'Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere'. ...read more.

Middle

Cattle were requisitioned for transport purposes and for beef and leather while sesame was requisitioned to provide as a lubricant for engines. Such rakishness encouraged opportunities for corruption and extortionist practices either by the Japanese themselves or by the civil servants in charge of administering the scheme and the police who assisted in collecting the quotas that had to be delivered Enemy property was confiscated for the benefit of the Japanese not the local inhabitants and there was a rapid growth of "joint stock companies", a common device in China where local concerns were forced to accept Japanese partners. Local businessmen who had hoped that the expulsion of Westerners would secure economic control in their own hands were quickly disappointed . Army control over business increased which by the end of the war had developed to the point where Japanese companies were little more than army agents and company officials appeared in army uniforms. Japanese interests were the only considerations and they were not concerned for the public welfare. Economic Impact of Japanese occupation Wartime disruption of communications and the devastation of shipping. The invasion and the scorched-earth tactics of the retreating Allies had destroyed or badly damaged much of the infrastructure of colonial states and brought considerable havoc in the estates and mines of the colonial economy. The basis of the former colonial economies of Southeast Asia was further undermined by the different demands which the new colonial power made of the region. For example, according to the Commodity Materialisation Plan the value of Malaya, lay in its coal and iron rather than its rubber and tin, while the intention was to extract oil, nickel and bauxite from Indonesia. The effectiveness of Japan's command economy, however, rested on command of the sea and air; yet this was short lived, because of American victory at Midway in June 1942. Trade collapsed owing to a surfeit of traditional exports and a great shortage of vital imports. ...read more.

Conclusion

Out of the 837 tin mines operating in Malaya in 1940, either with dredges or ravel pumps less than 100 were worked during the occupation period and production fell nearly 90%. Tin mining in Billiton came to an almost complete halt. The acreage under tea in Indonesia was reduced by 52%, that under coffee by 28% and production dropped drastically. In 1942, the coal mines of Tongking were halved compared with the 1937 figure. Philippines sugar, which suffered an immediate setback due to Japan's lack of interest, was destined to be replaced by cotton. The cultivation of sugar in the Philippines was only sufficient to meet local needs or to produce liquid fuel and alcohol for Japanese military purposes. More than half of Java's sugar factories were converted for the production of cement and in 1945, the yield of sugar was one-fifteenth that of 1942. 5. The Japanese concentrated on products which they were interested. Thus, the mining of bauxite (for aluminium) in Indonesia was carried on throughout the entire war, with the total output exported to Japan. In agriculture the Japanese also introduced new crops or used existing products for other purposes than they were customarily were. For eg: they converted sesame oil and castor-oil into lubricants.The Japanese had also hoped to set up a large commercial cotton industry in the Philippines.but this was not very successful there was lack of capital, manpower and machinery and cultivation was badly affected by the lack of proper seed preparation and pest control 6. Each territory was forced to stand on its own feet and each had to rely on its own resources which was contrary to the principles the Co-prosperity Sphere plan which provided for the establishment of a viable interlocking economic sphere. 7. From the start there was lack of coordination brought about by the war circumstances and the difficulties of transport and to a greater degree by the autonomous position of the military forces which were in charge locally and whose activities often effectively counteracted whatever programmes of economic development Japan's experts and the government in Tokyo might have planned ...read more.

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