Mukden Incident

Last updated

Mukden Incident/918 Incident
Part of the Japanese invasion of Manchuria
Mukden 1931 japan shenyang.jpg
Japanese troops entering Shenyang during the Mukden Incident
Date18 September 1931 – 18 February 1932 (154 days)
Location
41°50′05″N123°27′58″E / 41.834610°N 123.465984°E / 41.834610; 123.465984 Coordinates: 41°50′05″N123°27′58″E / 41.834610°N 123.465984°E / 41.834610; 123.465984
Result

Japanese victory

Belligerents
Flag of the Republic of China.svg  China Merchant flag of Japan (1870).svg  Japan
Commanders and leaders
Strength
160,000 30,000–66,000
Casualties and losses
Unknown Unknown

The Mukden Incident, or Manchurian Incident, was an event staged by Japanese military personnel as a pretext for the Japanese invasion in 1931 of northeastern China, known as Manchuria. [1] [2] [3]

Japanese invasion of Manchuria part of the Second Sino-Japanese War

The Japanese invasion of Manchuria began on 18 September 1931, when the Kwantung Army of the Empire of Japan invaded Manchuria immediately following the Mukden Incident. After the war, the Japanese established the puppet state of Manchukuo. Their occupation lasted until the Soviet Union and Mongolia launched the Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation in 1945.

Manchuria geographic region in Northeast Asia

Manchuria is a name first used in the 17th century by Japanese people to refer to a large geographic region in Northeast Asia. Depending on the context, Manchuria can either refer to a region that falls entirely within the People's Republic of China or a larger region divided between China and Russia. "Manchuria" is widely used outside China to denote the geographical and historical region. This region is the traditional homeland of several ancient groups, including the Buyeo (Koreans), Xianbei, Shiwei, Khitan, and Jurchen peoples, who built several states within the area historically. Several modern ethnic groups such as Mongols, Koreans, and Han Chinese are also regarded as Manchurian indigenous peoples.

Contents

On 18 September 1931, Lt. Suemori Kawamoto of the Independent Garrison Unit (独立守備隊) detonated a small quantity of dynamite [4] close to a railway line owned by Japan's South Manchuria Railway near Mukden (now Shenyang). [5] The explosion was so weak that it failed to destroy the track, and a train passed over it minutes later. The Imperial Japanese Army accused Chinese dissidents of the act and responded with a full invasion that led to the occupation of Manchuria, in which Japan established its puppet state of Manchukuo six months later. The deception was soon exposed by the Lytton Report of 1932, leading Japan to diplomatic isolation and its March 1933 withdrawal from the League of Nations. [6]

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.

South Manchuria Railway railway line

The South Manchuria Railway, officially South Manchuria Railway Company, or 滿鐵 for short, was a large National Policy Company of Japan whose primary function was the operation of railways on the Dalian–Fengtian (Mukden)–Changchun corridor in northeastern China, as well as on several branch lines.

Shenyang Prefecture-level & Sub-provincial city in Liaoning, Peoples Republic of China

Shenyang, formerly known by its Manchu name Mukden or Fengtian, is the provincial capital and the largest city of Liaoning Province, People's Republic of China, as well as the largest city in Northeast China by urban population. According to the 2010 census, the city's urban area has 6.3 million inhabitants, while the total population of the Shenyang municipality, which holds the administrative status of a sub-provincial city, is up to 8.1 million. Shenyang's city region includes the ten metropolitan districts of Shenyang proper, the county-level city of Xinmin, and two counties of Kangping and Faku.

The bombing act is known as the Liutiaohu Incident (simplified Chinese :柳条湖事变; traditional Chinese :柳條湖事變; pinyin :Liǔtiáohú Shìbiàn, Japanese: 柳条湖事件, Ryūjōko-jiken), and the entire episode of events is known in Japan as the Manchurian Incident (Kyūjitai: 滿洲事變, Shinjitai: 満州事変, Manshū-jihen) and in China as the September 18 Incident (simplified Chinese :九一八事变; traditional Chinese :九一八事變; pinyin :Jiǔyībā Shìbiàn).

Simplified Chinese characters Standardized Chinese characters developed in mainland China

Simplified Chinese characters are standardized Chinese characters prescribed in the Table of General Standard Chinese Characters for use in mainland China. Along with traditional Chinese characters, they are one of the two standard character sets of the contemporary Chinese written language. The government of the People's Republic of China in mainland China has promoted them for use in printing since the 1950s and 1960s to encourage literacy. They are officially used in the People's Republic of China and Singapore.

Traditional Chinese characters Traditional Chinese characters

Traditional Chinese characters are Chinese characters in any character set that does not contain newly created characters or character substitutions performed after 1946. They are most commonly the characters in the standardized character sets of Taiwan, of Hong Kong and Macau, and in the Kangxi Dictionary. The modern shapes of traditional Chinese characters first appeared with the emergence of the clerical script during the Han Dynasty, and have been more or less stable since the 5th century.

Pinyin Chinese romanization scheme for Mandarin

Hanyu Pinyin, often abbreviated to pinyin, is the official romanization system for Standard Chinese in mainland China and to some extent in Taiwan. It is often used to teach Standard Mandarin Chinese, which is normally written using Chinese characters. The system includes four diacritics denoting tones. Pinyin without tone marks is used to spell Chinese names and words in languages written with the Latin alphabet, and also in certain computer input methods to enter Chinese characters.

Background

Japanese economic presence and political interest in Manchuria had been growing ever since the end of the Russo-Japanese War (1904–1905). The Treaty of Portsmouth that ended the war had granted Japan the lease of the South Manchuria Railway branch (from Changchun to Lüshun) of the China Far East Railway. The Japanese government, however, claimed that this control included all the rights and privileges that China granted to Russia in the 1896 Li–Lobanov Treaty, as enlarged by the Kwantung Lease Agreement of 1898. This included absolute and exclusive administration within the South Manchuria Railway Zone. Japanese railway guards were stationed within the zone to provide security for the trains and tracks; however, these were regular Japanese soldiers, and they frequently carried out maneuvers outside the railway areas. There were many reports of raids on local Chinese villages by bored Japanese soldiers, and all complaints from the Chinese government were ignored.[ citation needed ]

Russo-Japanese War 20th-century war between the Russian Empire and the Empire of Japan

The Russo-Japanese War was fought during 1904–1905 between the Russian Empire and the Empire of Japan over rival imperial ambitions in Manchuria and Korea. The major theatres of operations were the Liaodong Peninsula and Mukden in Southern Manchuria and the seas around Korea, Japan and the Yellow Sea.

Treaty of Portsmouth peace treaty

The Treaty of Portsmouth formally ended the 1904–05 Russo-Japanese War. It was signed on September 5, 1905 after negotiations lasting from August 6 to August 30, at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, United States. U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt was instrumental in the negotiations and won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts.

Changchun Prefecture-level & Sub-provincial city in Jilin, Peoples Republic of China

Changchun is the capital and largest city of Jilin Province. Lying in the center of the Songliao Plain, Changchun is administered as a sub-provincial city, comprising 7 districts, 1 county and 2 county-level cities. According to the 2010 census of China, Changchun had a total population of 7,674,439 under its jurisdiction. The city's metro area, comprising 5 districts and 4 development areas, had a population of 3,815,270 in 2010, as the Shuangyang and Jiutai districts are not urbanized yet. It is one of the biggest cities in Northeast China, along with Shenyang, Dalian and Harbin.

Meanwhile, the newly formed Chinese government was trying to recover the rights of nation. They started to claim that treaties between China and Japan were invalid. China also announced new acts, so the Japanese people (including Koreans and Taiwanese at this time) who settled frontier lands, opened stores or built their own houses in China were expelled without any compensation. [7] [8] Manchurian warlord Zhang Zuolin tried to deprive Japanese concessions too, but he was assassinated by the Japanese Kwantung Army. Zhang Xueliang, Zhang Zuolin's son and successor, joined the Nanjing Government led by Chiang Kai-shek from anti-Japanese sentiment. Official Japanese objections to the oppression against Japanese nationals within China were rejected by the Chinese authorities. [7] [9]

Republic of China (1912–1949) 1912–1949 country in Asia, when the Republic of China governed mainland China

The Republic of China (ROC) was a sovereign country that existed between 1912 and 1949 in what is now the People's Republic of China. It was established in January 1912 after the Xinhai Revolution, which overthrew the Qing dynasty, the last imperial dynasty of China. The Republic's first president, Sun Yat-sen, served only briefly before handing over the position to Yuan Shikai, the leader of the Beiyang Army. Sun's party, the Kuomintang (KMT), then led by Song Jiaoren, won the parliamentary election held in December 1912. However, Song was assassinated on Yuan's orders shortly after; and the Beiyang Army, led by Yuan, maintained full control of the Beiyang government. Between late 1915 and early 1916, Yuan Shikai was the self-proclaimed Emperor of China before abdicating due to popular unrest. After Yuan's death in 1916, the authority of the Beiyang government was further weakened by a brief restoration of the Qing dynasty. Cliques in the Beiyang Army claimed individual autonomy and clashed with each other during the ensuing Warlord Era.

Japanese people are a nation and an ethnic group that is native to the Japanese archipelago and modern country of Japan, their nation state where they constitute 98.5% of the total population. Worldwide, approximately 129 million people are of Japanese descent; of these, approximately 125 million are residents of Japan. People of Japanese ancestry who live outside Japan are referred to as nikkeijin(日系人), the Japanese diaspora. The term ethnic Japanese is often used to refer to mainland Japanese people, specifically Yamato people. Japanese are one of the largest ethnic groups in the world.

Koreans people based in the Korean Peninsula and Manchuria

Koreans are an East Asian ethnic group native to Korea and southwestern Manchuria.

The 1929 Sino-Soviet conflict (July–November) over the Chinese Eastern Railroad (CER) further increased the tensions in the Northeast that would lead to the Mukden Incident. The Soviet Red Army victory over Zhang Xueiliang's forces not only reasserted Soviet control over the CER in Manchuria but revealed Chinese military weaknesses that Japanese Kwantung Army officers were quick to note. [10]

Sino-Soviet conflict (1929) 1929 border conflict

The Sino-Soviet conflict of 1929 was an armed conflict between the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Chinese warlord Zhang Xueliang of the Republic of China over the Chinese Eastern Railway.

Red Army 1917–1946 ground and air warfare branch of the Soviet Unions military

The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army, frequently shortened to Red Army was the army and the air force of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, and, after 1922, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The army was established immediately after the 1917 October Revolution. The Bolsheviks raised an army to oppose the military confederations of their adversaries during the Russian Civil War. Beginning in February 1946, the Red Army, along with the Soviet Navy, embodied the main component of the Soviet Armed Forces; taking the official name of "Soviet Army", until its dissolution in December 1991. The former official name Red Army continued to be used as a nickname by both sides throughout the Cold War.

The Soviet Red Army performance also stunned Japanese officials. Manchuria was central to Japan's East Asia policy. Both the 1921 and 1927 Imperial Eastern Region Conferences reconfirmed Japan's commitment to be the dominant power in Manchuria. The 1929 Red Army victory shook that policy to the core and reopened the Manchurian problem. By 1930, the Kwantung Army realized they faced a Red Army that was only growing stronger. The time to act was drawing near and Japanese plans to conquer the Northeast were accelerated. [11]

In Nanjing in April 1931, a national leadership conference of China was held between Chiang Kai-shek and Zhang Xueliang. They agreed to assert China's sovereignty in Manchuria strongly. [12] On the other hand, some officers of the Kwantung Army began to plot to invade Manchuria secretly. There were other officers who wanted to support plotters in Tokyo.

Events

Japanese soldiers of 29th Regiment on the Mukden West Gate Japanese soldiers taking an offensive posture on the Mukden Little West Gate.jpg
Japanese soldiers of 29th Regiment on the Mukden West Gate

Believing that a conflict in Manchuria would be in the best interests of Japan, and acting in the spirit of the Japanese concept of gekokujō , Kwantung Army Colonel Seishirō Itagaki and Lieutenant Colonel Kanji Ishiwara independently devised a plan to prompt Japan to invade Manchuria by provoking an incident from Chinese forces stationed nearby. However, after the Japanese Minister of War Jirō Minami dispatched Major General Yoshitsugu Tatekawa to Manchuria for the specific purpose of curbing the insubordination and militarist behavior of the Kwantung Army, Itagaki and Ishiwara knew that they no longer had the luxury of waiting for the Chinese to respond to provocations, but had to stage their own. [13]

Itagaki and Ishiwara chose to sabotage the rail section in an area near Liutiao Lake (柳條湖; liǔtiáohú). The area had no official name and was not militarily important, but it was only eight hundred metres away from the Chinese garrison of Beidaying (北大營; běidàyíng), where troops under the command of the "Young Marshal" Zhang Xueliang were stationed. The Japanese plan was to attract Chinese troops by an explosion and then blame them for having caused the disturbance in order to provide a pretext for a formal Japanese invasion. In addition, they intended to make the sabotage appear more convincing as a calculated Chinese attack on an essential target, thereby making the expected Japanese reaction appear as a legitimate measure to protect a vital railway of industrial and economic importance. The Japanese press labeled the site "Liǔtiáo Ditch" (柳條溝; liǔtiáogōu) or "Liǔtiáo Bridge" (柳條橋; liǔtiáoqiáo), when in reality, the site was a small railway section laid on an area of flat land. The choice to place the explosives at this site was to preclude the extensive rebuilding that would have been necessitated had the site actually been a railway bridge. [13]

Incident

Japanese experts inspect the scene of the 'railway sabotage' on the South Manchurian Railway. 193109 mukden incident railway sabotage.jpg
Japanese experts inspect the scene of the 'railway sabotage' on the South Manchurian Railway.

Colonel Seishirō Itagaki, Lieutenant Colonel Kanji Ishiwara, Colonel Kenji Doihara, and Major Takayoshi Tanaka had completed plans for the incident by 31 May 1931. [14]

A section of the Liutiao Railway. The caption reads "railway fragment". Mukden 1931 spoorweg.jpg
A section of the Liǔtiáo Railway. The caption reads "railway fragment".

The plan was executed when 1st Lieutenant Suemori Komoto[ clarification needed ] of the Independent Garrison Unit (独立守備隊) of the 29th Infantry Regiment, which guarded the South Manchuria Railway, placed explosives near the tracks, but far enough away to do no real damage. At around 10:20 pm (22:20), 18 September, the explosives were detonated. However, the explosion was minor and only a 1.5-meter section on one side of the rail was damaged. In fact, a train from Changchun passed by the site on this damaged track without difficulty and arrived at Shenyang at 10:30 pm (22:30). [15]

Invasion of Manchuria

On the morning of 19 September, two artillery pieces installed at the Mukden officers' club opened fire on the Chinese garrison nearby, in response to the alleged Chinese attack on the railway. Zhang Xueliang's small air force was destroyed, and his soldiers fled their destroyed Beidaying barracks, as five hundred Japanese troops attacked the Chinese garrison of around seven thousand. The Chinese troops were no match for the experienced Japanese troops. By the evening, the fighting was over, and the Japanese had occupied Mukden at the cost of five hundred Chinese lives and only two Japanese lives. [16]

At Dalian in the Kwantung Leased Territory, Commander-in-Chief of the Kwantung Army General Shigeru Honjō was at first appalled that the invasion plan was enacted without his permission, [17] but he was eventually convinced by Ishiwara to give his approval after the fact. Honjō moved the Kwantung Army headquarters to Mukden and ordered General Senjuro Hayashi of the Chosen Army of Japan in Korea to send in reinforcements. At 04:00 on 19 September, Mukden was declared secure.

Zhang Xueliang personally ordered his men not to put up a fight and to store away any weapons when the Japanese invaded. Therefore, the Japanese soldiers proceeded to occupy and garrison the major cities of Changchun and Antung and their surrounding areas with minimal difficulty. However, in November, General Ma Zhanshan, the acting governor of Heilongjiang, began resistance with his provincial army, followed in January by Generals Ting Chao and Li Du with their local Jilin provincial forces. Despite this resistance, within five months of the Mukden Incident, the Imperial Japanese Army had overrun all major towns and cities in the provinces of Liaoning, Jilin, and Heilongjiang. [13]

Aftermath

Chinese public opinion strongly criticized Zhang Xueliang for his non-resistance to the Japanese invasion. While the Japanese presented a legitimate threat, the Kuomintang focused their efforts mainly on eradicating the communist party. Many charged that Zhang's Northeastern Army of nearly a quarter million could have withstood the Kwantung Army of only 11,000 men. In addition, his arsenal in Manchuria was considered the most modern in China, and his troops had possession of tanks, around 60 combat aircraft, 4000 machine guns, and four artillery battalions.

Zhang Xueliang's seemingly superior force was undermined by several factors. First was that the Kwantung Army had a strong reserve force that could be transported by railway from Korea, which was a Japanese colony, directly adjacent to Manchuria. Secondly, more than half of Zhang's troops were stationed south of the Great Wall in Hebei Province, while the troops north of the wall were scattered throughout Manchuria. Therefore, deploying Zhang's troops north of the Great Wall lacked the concentration needed to effectively fight the Japanese. Most of Zhang's troops were under-trained, poorly led, poorly fed, and had poor morale and questionable loyalty compared to their Japanese counterparts. Japanese secret agents had permeated Zhang's command because of his past (and his father, Zhang Zuolin's) reliance on Japanese military advisers. The Japanese knew the Northeastern Army very well and were able to conduct operations with ease. [13]

The Chinese government was preoccupied with numerous internal problems, including the issue of the newly independent Guangzhou government of Hu Hanmin, Communist Party of China insurrections, and terrible flooding of the Yangtze River that created tens of thousands of refugees. Moreover, Zhang himself was not in Manchuria at the time, but was in a hospital in Beijing to raise money for the flood victims. However, in the Chinese newspapers, Zhang was ridiculed as "General Nonresistance" (Chinese :不抵抗將軍; pinyin :Bù Dǐkàng Jiāngjūn).

Chinese delegate addresses the League of Nations after the Mukden Incident in 1932. SesionDeLaSociedadDeNacionesSobreManchuria1932.jpeg
Chinese delegate addresses the League of Nations after the Mukden Incident in 1932.

Because of these circumstances, the central government turned to the international community for a peaceful resolution. The Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a strong protest to the Japanese government and called for the immediate stop to Japanese military operations in Manchuria, and appealed to the League of Nations, on 19 September. On 24 October, the League of Nations passed a resolution mandating the withdrawal of Japanese troops, to be completed by 16 November. However, Japan rejected the League of Nations resolution and insisted on direct negotiations with the Chinese government. Negotiations went on intermittently without much result. [13]

On 20 November, a conference in the Chinese government was convened, but the Guangzhou faction of the Kuomintang insisted that Chiang Kai-shek step down to take responsibility for the Manchurian debacle. On 15 December, Chiang resigned as the Chairman of the Nationalist Government and was replaced as Premier of the Republic of China (head of the Executive Yuan) by Sun Fo, son of Sun Yat-sen. Jinzhou, another city in Liaoning, was lost to the Japanese in early January 1932. As a result, Wang Jingwei replaced Sun Fo as the Premier. [18]

On 7 January 1932, United States Secretary of State Henry Stimson issued his Stimson Doctrine, that the United States would not recognize any government that was established as the result of Japanese actions in Manchuria. On 14 January, a League of Nations commission, headed by Victor Bulwer-Lytton, 2nd Earl of Lytton, disembarked at Shanghai to examine the situation. In March, the puppet state of Manchukuo was established, with the former emperor of China, Puyi, installed as head of state. [19]

On 2 October, the Lytton Report was published and rejected the Japanese claim that the Manchurian invasion and occupation was an act of self-defense, although it did not assert that the Japanese had perpetrated the initial bombing of the railroad. The report ascertained that Manchukuo was the product of Japanese military aggression in China, while recognizing that Japan had legitimate concerns in Manchuria because of its economic ties there. The League of Nations refused to acknowledge Manchukuo as an independent nation. Japan resigned from the League of Nations in March 1933. [19] [13]

Colonel Kenji Doihara used the Mukden Incident to continue his campaign of disinformation. Since the Chinese troops at Mukden had put up such a poor resistance, he told Manchukuo Emperor Puyi that this was proof that the Chinese remained loyal to him. Japanese intelligence used the incident to continue the campaign to discredit the murdered Zhang Zuolin and his son Zhang Xueliang for "misgovernment" of Manchuria. In fact, drug trafficking and corruption had largely been suppressed under Zhang Zuolin. [20]

Controversy

The Mukden Incident Museum (literally, "September 18th History Museum") in Shenyang Jiuyiba Lishi BowuguanJiu Yi Ba Li Shi Bo Wu Guan 106997.JPG
The Mukden Incident Museum (literally, "September 18th History Museum") in Shenyang

Different opinions still exist as to who caused the explosion on the Japanese railroad at Mukden. Strong evidence points to young officers of the Kwantung Army having conspired to cause the blast, with or without direct orders from Tokyo. Post-war investigations confirmed that the original bomb planted by the Japanese failed to explode, and a replacement had to be planted. The resulting explosion enabled the Japanese Kwantung Army to accomplish their goal of triggering a conflict with Chinese troops stationed in Manchuria and the subsequent establishment of the puppet state of Manchukuo.

The 9.18 Incident Exhibition Museum at Shenyang, opened by the People's Republic of China on 18 September 1991, takes the position that the explosives were planted by Japan. The Yūshūkan museum, located within Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, also places the blame on members of the Kwantung Army.

David Bergamini's book Japan's Imperial Conspiracy (1971) has a detailed chronology of events in both Manchuria and Tokyo surrounding the Mukden Incident. Bergamini concludes that the greatest deception was that the Mukden Incident and Japanese invasion were planned by junior or hot-headed officers, without formal approval by the Japanese government. However, historian James Weland has concluded that senior commanders had tacitly allowed field operatives to proceed on their own initiative, then endorsed the result after a positive outcome was assured. [21]

In August 2006, the Yomiuri Shimbun , Japan's top-selling newspaper, published the results of a year-long research project into the general question of who was responsible for the "Shōwa war". With respect to the Manchurian Incident, the newspaper blamed ambitious Japanese militarists, as well as politicians who were impotent to rein them in or prevent their insubordination. [22] [23]

Debate has also focused on how the incident was handled by the League of Nations and the subsequent Lytton Report. A. J. P. Taylor wrote that "In the face of its first serious challenge", the League buckled and capitulated. The Washington Naval Conference (1921) guaranteed a certain degree of Japanese hegemony in the Far East. Any intervention on the part of America would be a breach of the already mentioned agreement. Furthermore, Britain was in crisis, having been recently forced off the gold standard. Although a power in the Far East, Britain was incapable of decisive action. The only response from these powers was "moral condemnation". [24]

Remembrance

Each year at 10:00 am on 18 September, air-raid sirens sound for several minutes in numerous major cities across China. Provinces include Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, Hainan, and others. [25] [26]

See also

Related Research Articles

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Jiangqiao Campaign military campaign

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Yoshitsugu Tatekawa Japanese general

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Zang Shiyi Chinese collaborator with Japan

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Yu Zhishan Chinese politician

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Lü Ronghuan Chinese politician

Lu Ronghuan, was a politician in the early Republic of China who subsequently served in a number of Cabinet posts of the Empire of Manchukuo.

Ding Jianxiu Chinese politician

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Kwantung Army military unit

The Kwantung Army was an army group of the Imperial Japanese Army from 1906 to 1945.

Zhu Qinglan Qinglan

Zhu Qinglan, formerly transliterated as Chu Ching-lan courtesy name Ziqiao was a Chinese military officer of the Republic of China

Manchukuo National Railway

The Manchukuo National Railway was the state-owned national railway company of Manchukuo. Generally called the "國線", it was controlled by the Manchukuo Ministry of Transportation and had its lines primarily in the central and northern parts of the country. In local newspapers it was simply referred to it as "國鉄"

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