Ministry of Greater East Asia

Last updated
10 sen Japanese postage stamp depicting a map of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere DaitouaKyoueiken.JPG
10 sen Japanese postage stamp depicting a map of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere

The Ministry of Greater East Asia (大東亜省, Daitōashō) 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.


History and development

The Ministry of Greater East Asia was established on 1 November 1942 under the administration of Prime Minister Hideki Tōjō, by absorbing the earlier Ministry of Colonial Affairs (拓務省, Takumushō) and merging it with the East Asia Department and South Pacific Department of the Foreign Ministry and the East Asia Development Board (興亜院, Kōain), which looked after affairs in Japanese-occupied China.

Theoretically, the ministry had political and administrative responsibilities in a vast 4.4-million-square-kilometer (1.7-million-square-mile) area under Japanese influence (extending south 7,200 kilometers (4,500 miles) from the Aleutians to the Solomon Islands, and west 8,000 km (5,000 mi) from Wake Island to Burma and the Andamans), with perhaps a population of over 300 million inhabitants. In reality, wartime conditions meant that the ministry was little more than a paper creation. Aside from the first Minister of Greater East Asia, Kazuo Aoki, all succeeding ministers simultaneously held the portfolio of the Foreign Minister.

The Ministry of Greater East Asia was abolished on 26 August 1945 by order of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers after the surrender of Japan brought an end to Japan's overseas holdings.

List of Ministers of Greater East Asia

PortraitNameTerm of officeCabinet
1 Kazuo Aoki.jpg Kazuo Aoki
青木 一男
1 November
22 July
2 Shigemitsu Mamoru.jpg Mamoru Shigemitsu
重光 葵
22 July
7 April
3 Kantaro Suzuki suit.jpg Kantarō Suzuki
鈴木 貫太郎
7 April
9 April
4 Shigenori Togo.jpg Shigenori Tōgō
9 April
17 August
5 Shigemitsu Mamoru.jpg Mamoru Shigemitsu
重光 葵
17 August
25 August

See also

Related Research Articles

Foreign relations of Japan Overview of the foreign relations of Japan

The foreign relations of Japan are handled by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.

Empire of Japan Empire in the Asia-Pacific region from 1868 to 1947, also known as Imperial Japan

The Empire of Japan was a historical nation-state and great power that existed from the Meiji Restoration in 1868 until the enactment of the post-World War II 1947 constitution and subsequent formation of modern Japan. It encompassed the Japanese archipelago and several colonies, protectorates, mandates, and other territories.

Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere Japanese imperialist concept

The Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, or the GEACPS, was an imperialist concept which was developed in the Empire of Japan and propagated to Asian populations which were occupied by it from 1931 to 1945. It extended across the Asia-Pacific and promoted the cultural and economic unity of East Asians, Southeast Asians, South Asians and Oceanians. It also declared the intention to create a self-sufficient bloc of Asian nations which would be led by the Japanese and be free from the rule of Western powers. The idea was announced in a radio address which was titled "The International Situation and Japan's Position" and delivered by Foreign Minister Hachirō Arita on 29 June 1940.

Mamoru Shigemitsu

Mamoru Shigemitsu was a Japanese diplomat and politician in the Empire of Japan, who served as the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs at the end of World War II and later, as the Deputy Prime Minister of Japan.

Karafuto Prefecture Former prefecture of Japan, located in South Sakhalin

Karafuto Prefecture, commonly known as South Sakhalin, was a prefecture of Japan located in Sakhalin from 1907 to 1949.

Shigenori Tōgō

Shigenori Tōgō was Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Empire of Japan at both the start and the end of the Axis–Allied conflict during World War II. He also served as Minister of Colonial Affairs in 1941, and assumed the same position, renamed the Minister for Greater East Asia, in 1945.

South Seas Mandate Mandate issued by the League of Nations to Japan following WWI.

The South Seas Mandate, officially the Mandate for the German Possessions in the Pacific Ocean lying North of the Equator, was a League of Nations mandate in the "South Seas" given to the Empire of Japan by the League of Nations following World War I. The mandate consisted of islands in the north Pacific Ocean that had been part of German New Guinea within the German colonial empire until they were occupied by Japan during World War I. Japan governed the islands under the mandate as part of the Japanese colonial empire until World War II, when the United States captured the islands. The islands then became the United Nations-established Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands governed by the United States. The islands are now part of Palau, Northern Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, and Marshall Islands.

<i>Hakkō ichiu</i> Japanese imperialist slogan popular during World War II

Hakkō ichiu or Hakkō iu was a Japanese political slogan meaning the divine right of the Empire of Japan to "unify the eight corners of the world". This slogan formed the basis of the Japanese Empire's ideology. It was prominent from the Second Sino-Japanese War to World War II, popularized in a speech by Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoe on January 8, 1940.

Japanese occupation of Malaya Empire of Japan military rule in contemporary Singapore and Malaysia

The then British colony of Malaya was gradually occupied by the Japanese between 8 December 1941 and the Allied surrender at Singapore on 16 February 1942. The Japanese remained in occupation until their surrender to the Allies in 1945. The first Japanese garrison in Malaya to lay down their arms was in Penang on 2 September 1945 aboard HMS Nelson.

Nanshin-ron Imperial Japanese political doctrine emphasizing expansion into Southeast Asia and Oceania

Nanshin-ron was a political doctrine in the Empire of Japan that stated that Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands were Japan's sphere of interest and that their potential value to the Empire for economic and territorial expansion was greater than elsewhere.

Second Philippine Republic Puppet state established in 1943 during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines

The Second Philippine Republic, officially known as the Republic of the Philippines and also known as the Japanese-sponsored Philippine Republic, was a puppet state established on October 14, 1943, during the Japanese occupation.

State of Burma Puppet state of the Empire of Japan from 1943–1945

The State of Burma was the wartime administration of Burma created by Japan in 1943 during the Japanese occupation of Burma in World War II.

The Ministry of Colonial Affairs was a cabinet-level government ministry of the Empire of Japan from 1929 to 1942.

Greater East Asia Conference

The Greater East Asia Conference was an international summit held in Tokyo from 5 to 6 November 1943, in which the Empire of Japan hosted leading politicians of various component members of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. The event was also referred to as the Tokyo Conference.

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.

Japanese colonial empire Japanese empire of 1895–1945

The Japanese colonial empire constituted the overseas colonies established by Imperial Japan in the Western Pacific and East Asia region from 1895. Victories over China and Russia expanded the Japanese sphere of influence, notably in Taiwan and Korea, and southern Sakhalin became a colony of Japan as the Karafuto Prefecture in 1905. At its apex, the Japanese colonial empire was one of the largest empires in history. Including the home islands, the total amount of land under Japanese sovereignty reached 8,510,000 km2 (3,300,000 sq mi) in 1942. By 1943, it accounted for more than 20% of the world's population at the time with 463 million people in its occupied regions and territories.

The ABCD line was a Japanese name for a series of embargoes against Japan by foreign nations, including America, Britain, China, and the Dutch. It was also known as the ABCD encirclement. In 1940, in an effort to discourage Japanese militarism, these nations and others stopped selling iron ore, steel and oil to Japan, denying it the raw materials needed to continue its activities in China and French Indochina. In Japan, the government and nationalists viewed these embargoes as acts of aggression; imported oil made up about 80% of domestic consumption, without which Japan's economy, let alone its military, would grind to a halt. The Japanese media, influenced by military propagandists, began to refer to the embargoes as the "ABCD ("American-British-Chinese-Dutch") encirclement" or "ABCD line".

The administrative structure of the government of the Empire of Japan on the eve of the Second World War broadly consisted of the Cabinet, the civil service, local and prefectural governments, the governments-general of Chosen (Korea) and Formosa (Taiwan) and the colonial offices. It underwent several changes during the wartime years, and was entirely reorganized when the Empire of Japan was officially dissolved in 1947.

Before Pearl Harbor the Japanese had already begun imperial expansion in Manchuria, (1931) Inner Mongolia, (1936) Jehol, (1933) China, (1937) and in other territories and islands during World War 1. The Empire of Japan entered World War II on 27th, September, 1940 by signing the Tripartite Pact with Germany and Italy, and the Japanese invasion of French Indochina, though it wasn't until the attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 that the U.S. entered the conflict. Over the course of seven hours there were coordinated Japanese attacks on the U.S. -held Philippines, Guam and Wake Island, the Dutch Empire in the Dutch East Indies, Thailand and on the British Empire in Borneo, Malaya and Hong Kong. The strategic goals of the offensive were to cripple the U.S. Pacific fleet, capture oil fields in the Dutch East Indies, and maintain their sphere of influence of China, East Asia, and also Korea. It was also to expand the outer reaches of the Japanese Empire to create a formidable defensive perimeter around newly acquired territory.