Restoration, a few foreign trading companies had some stakes in mining sectors1. These foreign
stakes were purchased back by the new government. Foreign firms resumed direct
investment in Japan only after 1899. Most foreign investments were joint
ventures, and mostly in technology-intensive sectors such as electrical
machinery and automobiles, established through the initiatives of Japanese
enterprises that encountered demand from foreign enterprises for equity
participation in exchanges of technology and equipment2.
The Series of Wars and their Impact on
Industries supported by Military Concerns
fought with China (1894-1895) and Russia (1904-1905), trades such as
shipbuilding, steam shipping, and even railway transport got strong government
support for military deliberations. These industries expanded their production
and physical scope of services. Although especially military production sectors
successfully achieved a world-class practical standard3, their
material and equipment base was not stable. Among others, steel manufacture had
been regarded as having main importance as a basis for all heavy industries and
military production. In 1901, the national steel mill at Yahata started
operations with the support of the military. Japanese colonial expansion into
northeastern China (Manchuria), Korea and Taiwan4 assured the
supply of raw materials to those heavy industries5.
First World War Japanese Imperial Forces showed a keen interest in automobiles
and airplanes, which played impressive roles on the European battlefields.
Backed by the military, automobile and aircraft industries emerged as new
industries, yet it took another twenty years for full take-off6.
WWI urged Self
Sufficiency in Strategic Commodities
Until the first decade of this century, the
Japanese economy was involved in international trade networks to a substantial
extent, but the outbreak of the First World War gave a shock to Japan. There
was a sudden supply-cut or shortage of many commodities which were essential to
support industrial production and daily life in Japan. Both industry and the