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Press translations [Japan]. Economic Series 0022, 1945-11-29.
Supreme Commander for The Allied Powers. Allied Translator and Interpreter Section.

translation-number: economic-0116

call-number: DS801 .S81

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No. 116 Date: 29 Nov 1945


ITEM 1 Abolition of Control of Prices on Perishable Foods - Nippon Sangyo-Keizai - l8 Nov 45. Translator: O. Takeo.
It was officially decided by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry that abolition of price controls and restrictions on transportation of perishable food, which has long been discussed in vain since the formation of the HIGASHIKUNI Cabinet, will be put into effect on 20 November. The formal announcement in connection with the new food price-control policy will be published in detail in the 20 November issue of the Government Gazette.
In order to avoid unnecessary confusion anticipated at the enforcement of abolition of all price controls, the collection system of products in productive districts and the ration system for consumers will be continued as usual, it is understood.
The policy for the new project is summarized as follows:
Price controls and restrictions of transportation promulgated in the control ordinances will be abolished on 20 November.
Collection of perishable foods will be conducted more aggressively by present organizations such as farmers' or fishermen's associations.
Foods collected in this way by these organizations in production districts will be purchased on the spot, and be transported to ultimate consumers. Prices at these dealings will be fixed between the producers and licensed buyers, subject to bargaining.
Consumers prices will be fixed in accordance with the situation in ultimate consumers' districts for the products to be shipped as a consignment directly from producers to consignees.
Present retailers will, in principle, be authorized as licensed buyers from markets, and systematic dispatch of these buyers in rotation and self-organized assignment systems at the markets are to be enforced.
Sale by hawkers is admitted.
Products collected in the ways provided in items three and four will be distributed fairly among neighborhood associations in the same manner as they are done at present.

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ECONOMIC SERIES: 22 (Continued)

ITEM 1 Continued)
Vital daily necessities will be given to farmers or fishermen in exchange for their products, when they willingly offer them.

More detailed explanation is necessarily introduced here for the benefit of readers, in regard to fresh fish or other sea products in the new plan:
The highest prices of perishable foods permitted in Ordnance number 640 promulgated by the ministry of Commerce and Industry in September 1941, and the ceiling prices of fresh-water fish or other fresh-water products promulgated in Ordnance number 360, issued by the Ministry in July 1943, are to be abolished.
Provisions in regards to fresh fish and shellfish promulgated in the Marine Products Distribution Controlling Ordnances will be cancell and controls thereof will be abolished.
Prices of refrigerated, salted, or dried fish will be fixed sometime in the near future, but in the meantime, these products will be placed under exceptional prices.
To avoid confusion and to conduct the supply and delivery of products smoothly at the abolition of controls and restrictions, negotiations will be conducted at the main fishery centers between fishermen and buyers to fix the prices and assign the amounts as they please.
Fishing associations are to be promoted in every prefecture to readjust the amounts of products and their transportation.

Ever since 1941 fresh vegetables and fish which have been under controlled prices and restrictions, as a result of which little amounts of these perishable products were distributed among the general public will these products be bought freely or will they be sold at high black market prices? In this connection, the reporter of the Journal asked opinions of Vice-Minister of Agriculture and Forestry KAWAI, and Mr. TOYAMA, Eikichi, assistant manager of the TOKYO Central Wholesale Market.
In Minister KAWAI's opinion, the new project was directed to distribut fresh food among the public consumers in a fair way, even though the prices might rise to some extent.
"Vegetables and fish brought to retailers," he said, "will be distribut among individual registered households through street or neighborhood associations, or consumers' co-operative unions which existed hitherto In such cases, retail selling prices will be influenced by the purchas prices quoted at the production centers.
"But in my opinion, "Mr. KAWAI went on, "retail prices will be settle between the present government permitted prices and black market price even if they may rise for some time."
He said that retail prices will be indicated at individual green groce or fish monger's at every arrival of the products; and retail prices w also at times be broadcast over the radio.
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ECONOMIC SERIES: 22 (Continued)
ITEM 1 Continued)
"Hitherto, we saw frequent misconduct among retail sellers, and we plan to send inspectors chosen from among households to retail sale shops," The warned. The minister also suggested the establishment of special selling shops such as public markets by granting subsidies for the benefit of the lower classes who may not be able to afford expensive perishable foods.
Mr. KAWAI said that the new step was directed to give equal opportunity to the people, altering the unfair systems under which only those who have plenty of money, time, and labor service, could enjoy privileges. He entertains, however, a slight doubt concerning bulky distribution, since the amount of production is limited, out expects fair distribution through the self-assertive attitude of producers, market employees, and retail dealers.
"The immediate operation of the projected abolition of price controls on perishables is a timely stroke, for now is the season of fresh vegetables and fish," declared Mr. TOYAMA of the Metropolitan Wholesale Market. "There are many opinions demanding free transaction by abolishing all restrictions, but we have to leave the distribution organizations as they are at present, for the general public cannot afford the high cost of fresh fish while the rich will be able to buy freely when controls and restrictions are removed.
Mr. TOYAMA stated that the total delivery of vegetables a day amounted only to 22,000 kan, half of which is disposed for public consumption while the remainder is sold to specially appointed consumers at auction prices.
In his opinion, the fixing of stipulated prices at the production districts, as suggested in the announcement which is understood to aim at moderate prices which will range between government admitted and black market prices, will invite new black market prices. It will never promote the supply of produce, he said.
The market official, in concluding, declared, "It is a mistake that the Government was contented only with fixing prices. The Government officials neglected to distribute among producers staple food and essential living necessities to aid in speeding up the flow of perishable food supplies."
ITEM 2 Property Tax Even on Hoarded Goods: Solution of Price Question Necessary First of all for Financial Reconstruction (Statement of Finance Minister) Nippon Sangyo Keizai - 18 Nov 45.- Translator: M. Maruyama.
Finance Minister Viscount SHIBUSAWA, Keizo, who left TOKYO on l6 November for the Grand Shrines of ISE, made the following statement to the press on his train:
"The proposed wartime profit tax, property tax, and reparations question are attracting the attention of the whole country. To me, also, these questions are vitally important. I have been directing every ounce of my energy to their solution since the assumption of my present
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ECONOMIC SERIES: 22 (Continued)
ITEM 2 (Continued)
post. The results are likely to be made public in the next 10 days or so.
"All of these questions really are not easy to solve. I'll tell you why. Some people urge that the Government's promises on the indemnification of loss incurred by munitions companies should be cancelled for the reason that the payment of a huge sum of money will aggravate the prevailing vicious inflation or cause the country's financial bankruptcy. Will such action on the part of the Government consolidate the basis of financial reconstruction or prevent inflation from becoming worse?
"Others advance the opinion that all wartime profits should be confiscated. What is wartime profit? It is very difficult to define. It is not necessarily proper to say that all the profits resulting from the munitions industry are wartime profits. Neither is it right to say that the savings earned by thrift and industry during wartime are wartime profits.
"Another term difficult to define is property tax. People may think that, in order to avoid property tax, their deposits should be withdrawn and money should be held in cash. Others may convert cash into materials. However, the property tax will be imposed on cash, objects of fine arts, curios, hoarded goods, and others. This opinion was advanced by the Postwar Currency Policy Commission. Efforts must be made by the Government to bring about lower prices in connection with the enforcement of the property tax. This means that plans are to be made so that anyone who buys nigh-priced black market goods will lose heavily.
"The solution of the price control question must be made first of all for financial reconstruction. Stabilization of prices must be realized and at the same time the present price structure, which is disjointed, must be set up on a rational basis. Economic activities will be resumed on this foundation and then a sound financial reconstruction will follow.
"The public seems to believe that there can be no way of eliminating inflation, but I am not so pessimistic. Inflation is caused by currency circulation, the amount of funded borrowings of the Government, deposits, and other things, but viewed from a different angle, inflation means that part of the nation has financial credits on the whole nation, or the State. This is, therefore, a question of dividing wealt among the nation. If the nation maintains its wartime determination to safeguard the country at any cost, the inflation question will surel be solved.
"Redistribution of wealth is necessary for JAPAN, but what is more necessary than this, is in the increase of the absolute amount of materials. Care should be taken not to interfere with efforts to increase the absolute amount of materials when people are too much interested in the question of redistribution of wealth."
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ECONOMIC SERIES: 22 (Continued)
ITEM 3 A Farmer proposes "Produce Tax Plan" as Substitute for KYOSHITSU System Nippon Sangyo Keizai - 18 Nov 45. Translator: R. Aoki.
Farmers bitterly attack the policy of delivering farm products to the Government. But they are still Japanese and they realize that when their own fellow-countrymen are starving they alone cannot stand by with folder arms. On the contrary, when the farmers see the endless lines of black market buyers of farm products, they sincerely pray that some unforeseen event will not happen in the cities.
Yet we farmers cannot help but object to the present system of rice delivery (KYOSHITSU). We simply cannot bear this kind of system. Under the present system the more the farmers toil, the more of their produce they are forced to hand over. This is so, not only in the material sense but in a spiritual sense as well.
In order to release the fervent brotherly love of the farmers, I propose the immediate abolition of the present crop delivery system and substitution of my so-called "Farm Produce Tax System." According to my plan the apportionment of quota down to the towns and villages may not need to change. But the quota for individual farmers shall be fixed like the farm rentals which are paid in produce. Of course, the basis of calculation shall be fixed more exactly than present farm rentals. The farmers shall be authorized to dispose freely of the remainder of rice, after they have paid the tax.
The difference between the present crop delivery and my tax systems is that, with the KYOSHITSU there is no relationship between the total products and the part remaining in the farmers' hands, while with the tax system there is relationship, which will induce farmers to toil more in order to enjoy more the remainder of crops.
ITEM 4 Cabinet Meeting on Food Crisis - Tokyo Shimbun - 18 Nov 45. Translator: H.Shindo.
Full translation:
Seeing that the current food situation permits no delay in completely reforming the farm land system, that is, redistribution of such lands free of charge to tenant farmers, and substitution of money payment for crop payment as rent. The Government submitted to the Cabinet meeting a farm land system reform bill on l6 November. At the meeting, Agriculture and Forestry Minister MATSUMURA requested a decision, but the bill was strongly opposed because of its aim, which is redistribution of farm lands to tenant farmers, and enforced removal of the lands from the possession of landlords.
The meeting reached no agreement that day. The same afternoon, the ministers concerned with economic affairs held a conference to study the bill. An irregular Cabinet meeting was held at three on the afternoon of 17 November and the bill was expected to be discussed once more.
On the other hand, although application was made to General MacARTHUR's Headquarters to import main foods and other vital commodities, the Allied attitude is not always favorable to us, so the uneasiness of the Government is becoming acute.
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ECONOMIC SERIES: 22 (Continued)
ITEM 4 (Continued)
Foreign Minister YOSHIDA visited Premier SHIDEHARA at his official residence at 10 on the morning of 17 November and took serious counsel regard these problems. At the irregular Cabinet meeting held at three o'clock the same day, the serious food crisis problem was likely deliberated. It is possible that this may turn into a great political problem and it deserves great attention.
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HomePress translations [Japan]. Economic Series 0022, 1945-11-29.
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