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Japan’s Merchant Marine

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Chapter Summary

Japan made a late start in joining the industrialized economies of the world but by the First World War her shipping industries had already made up much of the lost ground. Thus by 1910 the Japanese merchant fleet consisted of 1,146,977 million tons and was third in size after the UK's. The opening of hostilities in China following the Manchuria Incident in 1931 led to both sides of the shipping industry being subject to increasingly tight government control. These moves towards a quasi-war footing led the shipping companies to develop a self-regulating system, but as the demands of the state intensified the degree of autonomy steadily declined. In December 1941 when Japan became involved in war with the western Allies its merchant marine amounted to about six million tons plus a million tons of coastal and fishing vessels, many of which were constructed of wood.

Keywords: China; fishing vessels; Japanese merchant; Manchuria Incident; self-regulating system; shipping industries



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