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Japanese Shipping And Shipbuilding: An Introduction To The Motives Behind Its Early Expansion

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Chapter Summary

When the Meiji Government came to power in 1868 it quickly decided to give a high degree of priority to the development of its shipping industry. Japanese policy in concentrating its support on just the two shasen Lines was further strengthened during the Sino-Japanese war. The establishment of the NYK and the OSK provided Japan with two large shipping companies whose operations were very similar to those of many British firms. The vast majority of their ships were purchased in Britain until well into the twentieth century and, as many Western deck officers and engineers were employed, British influence was very marked. The early Meiji Period was also an era when a huge number of essential projects were desperate for the limited amount of capital then available. A few examples of cases where scarce resources could have been more profitably employed include the educational sector and the rail network.

Keywords: British firms; Japanese policy; Meiji Government; shipping industry; Sino-Japanese war



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