East Asia Development Board

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The East Asia Development Board, or Kōain(興亜院), was a cabinet level agency in the Empire of Japan that operated between 1938 and 1942. It was created on 18 November 1938 under the first Konoe administration to coordinate the government's China policy. It was initially designed to sponsor industrial and commercial development in China to boost support for Japanese rule in occupied territories. However, the agency was quickly usurped by the Imperial Japanese Army and became a tool for forced labour and enslavement in mines and war industries. It was absorbed into the Ministry of Greater East Asia in 1942.

Cabinet (government) Group of high ranking officials, usually representing the executive branch of government

A cabinet is a body of high-ranking state officials, typically consisting of the top leaders of the executive branch. Members of a cabinet are usually called cabinet ministers or secretaries. The function of a cabinet varies: in some countries it is a collegiate decision-making body with collective responsibility, while in others it may function either as a purely advisory body or an assisting institution to a decision making head of state or head of government. Cabinets are typically the body responsible for the day-to-day management of the government and response to sudden events, whereas the legislative and judicial branches work in a measured pace, in sessions according to lengthy procedures.

Empire of Japan Empire in the Asia-Pacific region between 1868–1947

The Empire of Japan was the historical nation-state and great power that existed from the Meiji Restoration in 1868 to the enactment of the 1947 constitution of modern Japan.

Fumimaro Konoe Japanese politician

Prince Fumimaro Konoe was a Japanese politician in the Empire of Japan who served as the 34th, 38th and 39th Prime Minister of Japan and founder/leader of the Imperial Rule Assistance Association. He was Prime Minister in the lead-up to Japan entering World War II.

Contents

History

The Second Sino-Japanese War had not been quickly resolved as had been promised by the military, and Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoe authorized the establishment of a central agency to coordinate all government activities and economic initiatives on the Chinese mainland, aside from the issue of formal diplomatic relations, which remained within the purview of the Foreign Ministry. It was intended that the Kōain would sponsor industrial and commercial development, creating jobs and infrastructure, and thus boost support for Japanese rule in the occupied territories.

Second Sino-Japanese War military conflict between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan from 1937 to 1945

The Second Sino-Japanese War was a military conflict fought primarily between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan from July 7, 1937, to September 2, 1945. It began with the Marco Polo Bridge Incident in 1937 in which a dispute between Japanese and Chinese troops escalated into a battle. Some sources in the modern People's Republic of China date the beginning of the war to the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931. It is known as the War of Resistance in China.

Prime Minister of Japan Head of government of Japan

The Prime Minister of Japan is the head of government of Japan and the commander-in-chief of the Japanese Armed Forces. The Prime Minister is appointed by the Emperor of Japan after being designated by the National Diet and must enjoy the confidence of the House of Representatives to remain in office. He is the Chairman of the Cabinet and other Ministers of State serve at the pleasure of the Prime Minister. The literal translation of the Japanese name for the office is Minister for the Comprehensive Administration of the Cabinet.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Japan) Runs the diplomatic relations of Japan with other countries

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is a cabinet-level ministry of the Japanese government responsible for the country's foreign relations.

The Kōain established branch offices throughout Japanese-occupied China; however, its activities were quickly usurped by the Imperial Japanese Army, which hoped to limit all civilian involvement in China and afterwards appointed General Yanagawa Heisuke to oversee its operations. Per historian Timothy Brook, some military members of the Kōain spoke out against expansion of the conflict in China during 1939-1940, urging genuine independence for the Japanese-sponsored collaborationist states, and were consequently punished for their views by mainstream Army officials. [1]

Imperial Japanese Army Official ground-based armed force of the Empire of Japan, from 1868 to 1945

The Imperial Japanese Army was the official ground-based armed force of the Empire of Japan from 1868 to 1945. It was controlled by the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff Office and the Ministry of the Army, both of which were nominally subordinate to the Emperor of Japan as supreme commander of the army and the navy. Later an Inspectorate General of Aviation became the third agency with oversight of the army. During wartime or national emergencies, the nominal command functions of the emperor would be centralized in an Imperial General Headquarters (IGHQ), an ad-hoc body consisting of the chief and vice chief of the Army General Staff, the Minister of the Army, the chief and vice chief of the Naval General Staff, the Inspector General of Aviation, and the Inspector General of Military Training.

According to Chinese historian Zhifen Ju, the Kōain implemented a system of forced labor. She notes that until 1942, at least five million Chinese civilians from northern China and Manchukuo were enslaved for work in mines and war industries. [2] The Kōain was also directly involved in providing funds to opium dealers in China for the benefit of collaborationist governments in Nanjing, Manchukuo and Mengjiang. [3] This document corroborates evidence analyzed earlier by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East which stated:

North China Place

North China is a geographical region of China, consisting of the provinces of Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shanxi and Inner Mongolia. It lies north of the Qinling Huaihe Line, with its heartland in the North China Plain.

Manchukuo Former Japan puppet state in China

Manchukuo was a puppet state of the Empire of Japan in Northeast China and Inner Mongolia from 1932 until 1945. It was founded as a republic, but in 1934 it became a constitutional monarchy. It had limited international recognition and was under the de facto control of Japan.

Opium Dried latex obtained from the opium poppy

Opium is the dried latex obtained from the opium poppy. Approximately 12 percent of the opium latex is made up of the analgesic alkaloid morphine, which is processed chemically to produce heroin and other synthetic opioids for medicinal use and for illegal drug trade. The latex also contains the closely related opiates codeine and thebaine, and non-analgesic alkaloids such as papaverine and noscapine. The traditional, labor-intensive method of obtaining the latex is to scratch ("score") the immature seed pods (fruits) by hand; the latex leaks out and dries to a sticky yellowish residue that is later scraped off and dehydrated. The word "meconium" historically referred to related, weaker preparations made from other parts of the opium poppy or different species of poppies.

"Japan, having signed and ratified the opium conventions, was bound not to engage in drug traffic, but she found in the alleged but false independence of Manchukuo a convenient opportunity to carry on a worldwide drug traffic and cast the guilt upon that puppet state (...) In 1937, it was pointed out in the League of Nations that 90% of all illicit white drugs in the world were of Japanese origin...". [4]

League of Nations 20th-century intergovernmental organisation, predecessor to the United Nations

The League of Nations, abbreviated as LN or LoN, was an intergovernmental organisation founded on 10 January 1920 as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first worldwide intergovernmental organisation whose principal mission was to maintain world peace. Its primary goals, as stated in its Covenant, included preventing wars through collective security and disarmament and settling international disputes through negotiation and arbitration. Other issues in this and related treaties included labour conditions, just treatment of native inhabitants, human and drug trafficking, the arms trade, global health, prisoners of war, and protection of minorities in Europe. At its greatest extent from 28 September 1934 to 23 February 1935, it had 58 members.

The Kōain was absorbed into the Ministry of Greater East Asia in November 1942.

Ministry of Greater East Asia

The Ministry of Greater East Asia was a cabinet-level ministry in the government of the Empire of Japan from 1942 to 1945, established to administer overseas territories obtained by Japan in the Pacific War and to coordinate the establishment and development of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.

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<i>Collaboration: Japanese Agents and Local Elites in Wartime China</i> book by Timothy Brook

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References

Notes

  1. Brook. Japanese Collaboration. page 36
  2. Zhifen Ju, Japan's Atrocities of Conscripting and Abusing North China Draftees after the Outbreak of the Pacific War, Joint Study of the Sino-Japanese War, Harvard, 2002, http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~asiactr/sino-japanese/minutes_2002.htm
  3. Japan profited as opium dealer wartime China, http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20070830f1.html
  4. HyperWar: International Military Tribunal for the Far East [Chapter 5] Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine