Resources Necessary to be Mobilized for the Execution of War

(Cabinet Planning Board. 29 July 1941)

From the time of the outbreak of the China Incident, Japan has been endeavoring to establish a production structure to insure self- sustenance. So far, this has proven impossible as Japan, in the past, depended so heavily upon international economy, particularly British and American. Further, Japan's national policy to establish a new order in the Far East has resulted in hindering diplomatic negotiations with the Netherlands East Indies in regard to the procurement of oil. The outbreak of the European war was another important factor in preventing the establishment of a self-supporting production structure in Japan by preventing the importation of machinery from Germany and Italy, or from Switzerland through Germany or Italy, which is vitally necessary for the production of strategic materials.

During the latter half of last year, Japan endeavored to become self-supporting within the East Asia Coprosperity Sphere and increased her stocks of materials by importing from Germany, Italy and the Soviet Union all essential items possible from those countries, and, as far as possible, materials from the United States and Great Britain and countries under their influence, prior to the severance of diplomatic relations with the United States and Great Britain. How-


ever, owing to the condition of Japan's gold reserve, maritime transportation capacity and storage facilities at that time, these special imports failed to meet the requirements of Japan's prospective war effort. Meanwhile, war between Germany and the Soviet Union prevented further importation of materials from Germany and Italy. This has placed Japan economically at a great disadvantage.

If Japan desires to maintain her present production power and acquire a quantity of material equal to that produced during 1940, she must secure certain vital strategic materials. To do this, it would be necessary to import large quantities of materials from countries outside Japan's self-supporting sphere [1] and her first sphere of supply [2]. It must also be borne in mind that Japan has always depended on areas under the influence of Great Britain and the United States for these strategic materials. This must be given careful consideration when Imperial General Headquarters draws up its plan for war. Japan must be fully prepared to face this grave situation in the event of a complete severance of economic relations with Great Britain and the United States.

In other words, Japan's materials war potential must depend upon the productive power of the self-supporting sphere and the first sphere

[1] Japan's "self-supporting sphere" covered Japan, Manchuria and occupied China.

[2] The "first sphere of supply" signified the area Japan anticipated occupying during the initial stage of the war and included the Philippines, Borneo, Netherlands East Indies, Malaya, French Indo-China and Thailand.


of supply with the existing stock, and, in the future, upon the increase in productive power by utilizing operational gains. This is a basic factor in Japan's decision when considering the type of war to be executed.

It is, therefore, absolutely essential that Japan obtain operational results within the shortest possible time, in view of her limited strength, and that she must secure new sources of materials by utilizing operational gains before her stocks are exhausted.

In the past, when there were possibilities of peace between belligerent countries upon the achievement of success in certain operations, wars could be successful when the country already had stockpiles of certain materials, but in modern warfare, final victory can only be attained by a country prepared to fight a protracted war on the strength of its self-supporting productive capacity.

An examination of the relation between stockpiles of strategically important materials of the Japanese Empire under the control of the Japanese Government and civilian authorities (not including material) already distributed to the Armed Forces) and the amounts required for operational purposes showed that it would be necessary to produce or obtain fresh supplies of important materials within the following period:

     Nickel and nickel ore ................. about two months

     Manganese ore ......................... about four months


     Pitch-cokes ........................... about four months

     Manila hemp ........................... about one month

     First-class crude oil ................. about four months

     Second-class crude oil ................ about six months

     Aviation gasoline ..................... about one to five months

     Ordinary gasoline ..................... about two months and a half

     Heavy oil ............................. about one month and a half

     Ordinary machine oil .................. about two months and a half

     Light oil ............................. about 10 days

     Kerosene .............................. about three months

     Semisolid lubricating oil ............. about three months

     Castor oil ............................ about six months

In other words, should Great Britain, the United States and the Netherlands East Indies, as well as other islands in the South Pacific and the South American nations, sever economic relations with Japan, it would be necessary to obtain these materials by force of arms within the specified periods. This point would have to be carefully considered in carrying out operations. Moreover, immediately after entering into a state of war with Great Britain and the United States, materials which had been imported from such countries as South America and India, such as cobalt, cobalt ore, platinum ore, lead and lead ore, quicksilver, high-class asbestos, high-class mica and tannin, which it would be impossible to obtain from either the "sphere of self-suffi-


ciency" or the "first supply sphere" would have to be supplied from stock. As the quantity of these materials in stock is so limited that it would soon be exhausted, every possible effort must be made to produce substitutes. A review of the present state of our industry shows little hope of a rapid increase in production of such substitutes; therefore, it will be necessary to drastically control and economize on the consumption of products made from these materials, as well as in the use of these materials themselves.

In regard to maritime transport capacity, which constitutes a bottleneck in productive capacity, unless the absolute command of the sea and air bases in the Southern area is secured immediately our shipping losses will exceed our shipbuilding capacity. This would affect the over-all productivity of the country. Therefore, every effort must be made to destroy enemy naval and air bases as quickly as possible.