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Press translations [Japan]. Economic Series 0110, 1945-12-28.
Supreme Commander for The Allied Powers. Allied Translator and Interpreter Section.

translation-number: economic-0542

call-number: DS801 .S81

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No 542 Date: 28 Dec 45


ITEM 1 Actual Situation of Food Crisis. The Staple Food Program of the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry Requires Re-investigation - Nippon Sangyo Keizai - 25 Dec 45. Translator: T. Okamura.
The actual food situation of JAPAN for 1945 does not permit an optimistic forecast since the current year's harvest is said to be the worst in the last four decades. Though the Government forecasts that the food crisis will reach its peak by next May, it is doubtful whether or not the Government can maintain the present food ration until that time. The rice offered for public consumption by farmers throughout the country was said to be on 10 December an average of only 1.1 per cent which indicates the lowest contribution of rice yet. Most large towns have enough stocks of staple foods to last for only several days, and when the new year comes, many such towns will be confronted with a major crisis, unless urgent and adequate measures for distribution are taken by the authorities. In this connection, it has become imperative that the food program drown up by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry be minutely investigated again. It is generally anticipated that the food situation will be most crucial by next February if the present supply and demand basis is maintained.
The estimates of the demand and supply of staple foods made by the Ministry follows: Estimated supplies comprise 2,500,000 koku of rice to be carried over from the preceding year; 40,170,000 koku of rice yielded for l945; 2,800,000 koku of rice production anticipated in 1946; 7,500,000 koku of wheat and barley; 3,670,000 koku of potatoes (staple products other than rice are all measured as rice); 1,000,000 koku of edibles which have thus far not been utilized as food; and 1,650,000 koku of other cereals, aggregating 59,290,000 koku.
Anticipated demands are, 22,000,000 koku for peasant consumption, 51,810,000 koku for consumption by the general public; 650,000 koku for the manufacture of sake; and 1,050,000 koku for the manufacture of MISO and similar foods; and 2,500, 000 koku to be carried over to the following year, aggregating 73,010,000 koku. Thus, there is an adverse balance of 13,720,000 koku or 3,120,000 tons.
The 2,500,000 koku of rice to be carried forward from the preceding year consists of 750,000 koku of old rice owned by the Government, and a similar amount owned by the Staple Foods Association (SHOKURYO EIDAN), and 1,000,000 koku of stock owned by farmers, according to the estimate of 31 October 1945 The first crop forecast gave the estimated

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ECONOMIC SERIES: 110 (Continued)
ITEM 1 (Continued)
rice production for the 1945 harvest at 46,610,000 koku, showing a sharp decline of l4,135,000 koku or 25 per cent, in comparison with the average rice production of the last five years, which was 67,450,000 koku. The estimated crop, too, due to much rain, and inclement weather, is now expected to decline by 3,600,000 koku, which is but 30 per cent of the average year crop. Thus, the total rice production available for general consumption in the new harvest year will be 40,170,000 koku.
The 7,500,000 koku of barley and wheat estimated to be available for general consumption consists of 1,500,000 koku produced in 1945, and 6,000,000 koku expected to be produced in the new crop year. It is anticipated that the wheat and barley crop will reach an average annual production mark of 20 million koku, if adequate measures for planting are taken at the proper time; even if the shortage of good fertilizer is taken into consideration here. Of this total, half was usually alloted to the farmers, but this year the Government fixed the amount at 8,600,000 koku, and the remaining 11,400,000 koku will be bought by the Government. Most of these products are to be used in the manufacture of MISO, soysauce, beer, and medicines while some will be used as fodder or seeds. The Government will begin to purchase the wheat crop from farmers in June, and in the month of August wheat will be sown. It is therefore anticipated that these products will be distributed among the public from August on. However, it is doubted whether or not the Government can collect a minimum of 6,000,000 koku after next July.
The Agriculture and Forestry Ministry at first estimated the production of sweet potatoes at 4,200,000 koku, but, because of the climate and the excessive number of purchases, the Ministry was compelled to change the figure to 3,670,000 koku. The Government estimates the amount of sweet potatoes to be collected after November 1945 at 500 million Kan, of which 270 million kan will be distributed as s taple food, 230 million kan will be used in the manufacture of alcohol, sake, MISO, and starch. Potatoes to be produced during the new crop year of 1946 are estimated at 800,000 koku or 144 million kan, and these products will be distributed among individual households from next May on. One million koku of edibles other than cereals and potatoes, which the Government plans to produce, in abundance will be made from sediments of starch, vines and leaves of the potato plant, and mulberry trees, nuts and seaweeds.
The government anticipates the production of cereals other than rice, barley and wheat, at 1,650,000 koku. This will be employed by the agrarian classes for their own consumption. The Government, which has never collected them for general consumption, will not request farmers to offer them this year. The 22 million koku of rice which the Government appropriated for the consumption of agrarian classes includes one million koku to be utilized as seeds for next year, and sets individual rice consumption at two GO per day or 750 GO per year.
The number of farmers including ex-servicemen and discharged factory laborers who have returned to their homes plus totals 29,555,000. An additional 8,550,000 koku is calculated for distribution among such classes, making an annual consumption at one koku per person. The 51,810,000 koku of rice calculated for the general consumption is assigned on the basis of 2.1 go rice ration per day per person. The
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ECONOMIC SERIES: 110 (Continued)
ITEM 1 (Continued)
estimated number of these consumers by 1 May next year will be 46,932,000. This amount includes 2,060,000 koku and 8,550,000 koku assigned for emergency distribution and special distribution, respectively, among those farmers who have not produced enough to feed themselves.
In 1937 and 1938, the Government appropriated some four million koku of rice for brewery purposes and it authorized 850,000 koku last year for that purpose. The Government has decided to use 650,000 koku of rice for the same purpose this year. Of the 1,050,000 koku which the Government originally estimated for the manufacture of MISO and other Japanese foods, only 550,000 koku will be used in the manufacture of MISO. 500,000 koku will be used by repatriated servicemen and civilians, as well as by those discharged men in various territories and islands who are waiting for shipping to take them home. Rice amounting to 2,500,000 koku to be carried over to the next crop year will consist partly of the rice brought forward from the preceding year. A minimum amount of rice which the Government will set aside as reserve stock, will be carried over from the new harvest of this year. 18,720,000 koku or 3,120,000 tons which the Government estimates as a shortage for the new harvest year, is nothing but a desk-plan figure. It is doubtful whether or not the estimated amount of rice will be distributed among the people, since it is not an easy task to conduct smooth production and distribution. Of this governmental program, only rice, sweet potatoes, starch and other edibles produced during the current year are sure to be distributed for general consumption by next May. Since other staple products are obtainable for the most part after the month of May, there is a possibility of a food crisis.
The fact that the total amount of rice offered by farmers in the first ten days of December was only 11 per cent of the estimated rice harvest total, clearly shows the breaking up of governmental control and the remarkable decline of the zeal of farmers in their assigned contribution of products. The dreadful effects which will result will be most disasterous. The percentage of rice contributed by the peasant classes up to the 10 December 1945, compared with the contributions in 1943 and 1944 was as follows:
First 10 days of December Second 10 days of December Last 10 days of December
1943 30 per cent 41 per cent 64 per cent
1944 26 per cent 33 per cent 42 per cent
1945 11 per cent ——- ——-

Since information concerning available rice after 10 December 1945 is not available, we cannot forecast the real situation for the current year. Investigating rice production figures throughout the country, we find that only two prefectures, NIIGATA and ISHIKAWA have filled half of their allotted assignments. The contributions of rice from the HOKKAIDO and KANTO Districts are said to be the worst, followed by the TOHOKU District. Such scanty contributions are mainly attributed to the lateness of the harvest season, and to the delay in assigning amounts to be contributed. A one month delay in harvesting this year was due to late planting, because of unfavorable weather throughout the country. The delay in assigning rice-production allotments, which was not done until early November, discouraged the peasants.
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ECONOMIC SERIES: 110 (Continued)
ITEM 1 (Continued)
In normal times, at the end of the year and during the early part of January, the delivery of rice by farmers is negligible. To make matters worse, recent adverse transportation conditions have aggravated the situation. It is, therefore, advisable that those large towns far away from rice producing districts collect the products within the current year which are suitable for distribution by the middle of January. It is also necessary that the Government collect at least 4,500,000 to 5,000,000 koku of rice throughout the country within the remaining days of 1945.
ITEM 2 A Steel and Coal Crisis - Mainichi Shimbun - 25 Dec 45. Translator: J. Kitagawa.
The long predicted iron shortage has reached a critical point. Iron and steel production dropped to two and one tenth per cent of that thriving days, with almost no hope of further production. On the other hand, we are in urgent need of iron and steel for repairs of railways and communications, shipbuilding, farm-implements, coal mines, and many other things. The solution of the coal shortage problem will solve the iron problem. If the coal shortage is not remedied, the iron industry will have to cease production completely.
The Commerce and Industry Ministry estimated the country's requirements for steel as four and a quarter million tons. Still, there are complaints about Ambassador PAULEY'S estimate of 2.5 million tons as JAPAN'S minimum iron and steel requirements. The output of iron and steel for the past five years is shown in the following table:
Output of Iron
(Unit, 1000 metric tons)
Monthly Average (Unit, 1000 metric tons)
1941 4,087 357
1942 4,042 353
1943 3,892 324
1944 3,059 254
1945 910 75

Monthly output 1945 (Unit, 1000 metric tons)
January 180
February 148
March 142
April 123
May 111
June 99
July 54
August 15
September 9
October 9
November 7
December (estimate) 8
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ECONOMIC SERIES: 110 (Continued)
ITEM 2 (Continued)
Steel Output (Unit, 1000 metric tons)
Monthly Average
1941 4,242 353
1942 4,018 334
1943 4,112 342
1944 3,233 269
1945 725 60
Monthly Output of Steel (Unit, 1000 metric tons)
January 179
February 122
March 117
April 99
May 73
June 64
July 44
August 5
September 3
October 3
November 6
December (estimate) 6
As is shown in the tables, the production of iron and steel has been on the down-grade since the end of last year and has gone still lower following the end of the war. Major cause for this deplorable situation is scanty supply of coal and minerals.
Supply of Iron Ore in the past Five Years (Unit, 1000 metric tons)
Native Supply Supply from
1941 1,268 5,058 6,326
1942 2,059 4,880 6,939
1943 2,052 3,666 6,168
1944 2,672 1,668 4,340
1945 702 145 847
Note: The figure for this year represents output during the first quarter. Since 1943, import of iron ore of high quality was interrupted by the loss of ships.
Coal ration for iron industry is shown in the following table: (Unit, 1000 metric tons)
1941 12,034
1942 12,159
1943 12,084
1944 9,831
1945 3,974 (Represents the first three quarters)
The coal ration of the third and fourth quarters of this year for steel production is an extremely low figure on account of hurricanes and transportation of repatriates. Large plants such as YAWATA, NIHON SMITETSU and others have been supplied with hardly enough coal to keep coal furnaces warm. 15 out of 25 leading plants were forced to discontinue their production. It is anticipated that in January, YAWATA wall be the only plant supplied with coal, and this amount will be only 20,000 tons. In the steel production program, figure for the third quarter of 1945 was 70,000 tons, while the actual figure was cut by
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ECONOMIC SERIES: 110 (Continued)
ITEM 2 (Continued)
80 per cent; that is, the output will be around 16,000 tons. Adding stock of the steel apportioned for third quarter consumption which amounted to 80,000 tons making a total of 96,000 tons in all.
Total steel stocks held in the country is 870,000 tons, but that figure for steel stocks is found on paper, while the actual quantity remains to be worked out. Moreover, shipping difficulties and adaptability of material for peacetime production requires investigation. Of the 870,000 tons of steel stocks, the 145,000 tons which were allotted for civilian consumption have been used, and of the remaining 725,000 tons which belonged to the Japanese armed forces, 180,000 became the property of the Commerce and Industry Ministry and 545,000 tons, the property of the Ministry of Home Affairs'. The Commerce and Industry Ministry will distribute 60,000 tons of steel during January 1946 and the Ministry of Home Affairs will distribute what it has in February or March.
Coke furnaces must be protected from cracking at any cost and more should be ready for production. Coal should be distributed in order to effect 100 per cent operation of steel plants. Utilization of 115,000 tons of steel stocks formerly allotted to the aircraft industry, and restriction of resale by those who are entitled to steel distribution will facilitate efficient production.
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HomePress translations [Japan]. Economic Series 0110, 1945-12-28.
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