【Booklet】Beginning of agricultural cooperatives <prologue>(January 23, 2016)

After the defeat, food shortage attacked people

After the Second World War, General Headquarters (GHQ) of Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, which occupied Japan, on December 9, 1945 (Showa 20), in order to wipe out the rural feudalism, issued “farmers release command (memorandum of agrarian reform)”. It abolished nogyokai (agricultural institution) turned into national policy institutions, and ordered the establishment of “nogyokyodokumiai (agricultural cooperatives)” for farmers by farmers of the farmers to the Japanese government. We follow the decisive actions of agrarian reform and founded process of nogyokyodokumiai (agricultural cooperatives) while watching the process of negotiation between Government of Japan and GHQ.

On August 20, 1945, 5 days later from the end of The Second World War, blackout was solved. Censorship of the letter was also gone. The weather forecast, which had been prohibited by reason of giving the information to the enemy, was revived in Tokyo.

Air raid was eliminated, peace of mind and freedom was revived. However, many repatriate people and veterans returned into the city so that the food situation further worsened. Yami-ichi (unauthorized market) was opened here and there, hungry people rushed into the market. Starvation came out in Osaka and Tokyo. Citizens having clothing such as the best clothes and business suit rode in overcrowded shopping train so as to buy food by taking off their clothes. The living style at the time was called “living like Takenoko (bamboo shoots with many skins)”.

On August 30, as the person responsible for the occupation of Japan, General MacArthur of GHQ landed at Atsugi Naval Air Station in Kanagawa Prefecture. Dignitaries also landed back and forth. They were planned to attend the surrender document signing ceremony.

“Armistice Day” is August 15, but the day when Japan surrendered officially to Allies is September 2. On the US battleship “Missouri”, which anchored in Tokyo Bay, Aoi Shigemitsu  ( 1857 ~ 1957 ) , Minister of Foreign Affairs, signed the surrender document. The occupation of the Allies began from here.

We go back to past a little. On July 26, the Allies summit to ask Japan to surrender unconditionally was held in Potsdam, suburbs of Berlin, Germany. Based on agreement of Truman (US), Churchill (UK), and Stalin (the Soviet Union, now Russia), “Potsdam Declaration” for the end of war was announced. Declaration was composed of 13 items including return of Manchuria (Northeast China) and Taiwan to China and independence of Korea. However, the Cabinet of Kantaro Suzuki at the time, in accordance with the instructions of the military which claims to continue war, refused and said, “We should be only silent and push forward the war until completed.”

The United States had the intention to play leadership of the world after the war. When the end of the war approached, confrontation of the United States and the Soviet Union surfaced regarding the post-war world order. The United States had been already successful in the experiment of the atomic bomb just before the Potsdam Conference. And, on August 8 and August 9, US dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There is also a view that “It was the first tactics against the Soviet Union, rather than the last military action of World War II.” (Bracket, “Fear, war, bomb”)

Chuonogyokai (Central agricultural institution) lost its function

In 1943 (Showa 18) wartime, nogyodantai (agricultural organizations) law was promulgated, five agricultural organizations, sangyokumiai (cooperatives), Nokai (chamber of agriculture), livestock cooperatives, sericulture cooperatives, tea leaves cooperatives, were dismantled and integrated to create nogyokai (agricultural institution). Nogyokai lost cooperative spirit of sangyokumiai and became governance body to carry out the war.

People suffered in absolute shortage of food to become more and more serious. Tadaatsu Ishiguro( 1884 ~ 19960 ), Minister of Agriculture and Commerce of Suzuki Cabinet, reported in the Cabinet, ” Staple food fall into shortage soon. Further decreasing of food distribution is required.” Until then, food distribution unit was about 23 Shaku (1 Shaku = 330g) per capita. Further reduction or lack of food distribution became common. He explained to the emperor, “Starvation is not avoidable.”

Even in rural areas, lack of agricultural labor force occurred due to the outflow of the army and the munitions factory. Fertilizer and farm equipment fell into shortage. The rural area could not afford request of dispensing of rice.

After defeat, Suzuki Cabinet of War End resigned, Cabinet of Naruhiko Higashikuni( 1874 ~ 1950 ), who became the first Royalty prime minister, took over the Cabinet. At that time, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry was Kotaro Sengoku  ( 1874 ~ 1950 ), who advocated cooperative principle. However, Higashikuni Cabinet resigned in only one month. Sengoku finished the term of office while not completing, and passed the baton to the next Cabinet of Kijūrō Shidehara.

・Agrarian reform

・Nogyokyodokumiai (agricultural cooperatives) Law

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