【Booklet】Beginning of agricultural cooperatives <Agrarian reform ①> (January 23, 2016)

Matsumura, Minister of Agriculture, expressed determination

Matsumura (provided by Sakuradakai, General foundation)

Matsumura (provided by Sakuradakai, General foundation)

Ministerial personnel by Prime Minister Kijūrō Shidehara ( 1872 ~ 1951 ) was focused on personnel selection of Minister of Agriculture, Forestry. Kenzo Matsumura ( 1883 ~ 1971 ), Minister of Health and Welfare of Higashikuni Cabinet, was appointed the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry. Matsumura was known as most familiar with agricultural policy in the political world. Matsumura was called to the cabinet formation headquarter at Prime Minister’s Office. Matsumura was told his Post and answered, “Current food problem is difficult. I would like to consult some person.” He went out about an hour. The person was Tadaharu Machida ( 1863 ~ 1946 ), former Minister of Agriculture, whom Matsumura served as secretary.

Returned to the cabinet formation headquarter, he confided the consultation contents with Machida. He said “I was advised that I should not receive with no self-confidence. No choice but to refuse.” Shidehara began to anger turned to bright red. “With no self-confidence?  As regards myself, I have no self-confidence for Prime minister. It’s not only you. What do you say in this difficult situation?”

Matsumura decided to resolution. “Then I accept. But, could you let me do all the agricultural policy?” he said. “I let you do.” (Shidehara). “Then …” (Matsumura) Then, formation of Shidehara Cabinet roster was completed.

Decisive judgment in difficult situation of food shortage

At the press conference of inauguration, Matsumura said, “I think that the most important issue is to ensure food so as to realize the stability of people’s lives. The basic agricultural policy must aim for getting back the original spirit of farmers that had been suppressed during the war. We must give farmers peace of mind. It is largely concerned with the land issue. For example, law of tenant farmers should be abolished so as to establish owner farmers as much as possible. I would like to soften the base of farmers with all the agricultural measures in order to overcome the coming food problem. I undertook this work for it.”

It was his declaration on decisive action of agrarian reform. Journalist did not notice it. There was no article which commented on the speech of Minister of Agriculture. But perceptions of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry was different. The Ministry felt that “This Minister is different”. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry had long-cherished wish realizing the agrarian reform.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry was encouraged by this Matsumura discourse. As a result, this gave the historical go-ahead towards the agrarian reform.

Matsumura began to set the ministry personnel. He carefully selected the person who should be appointed to Director of agricultural policy responsible for farmland. He appointed Hiroo Wada( 1903 ~ 1967 ), whom Tadaatsu Ishiguro ( 1884 ~ 1960 ), called “God of agricultural policy” and former Minister of Agricultural and Commerce, also recommended.

Wada had just left the prison. He, at the time of being sent to the Cabinet Bureau of Investigation from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, had been arrested and imprisoned in the Peace Preservation Law violation alleged by the reason that his research work planned by Kikakuin (Planning Authority) was colored like communism. It was called “Kikakuin (Planning Authority) incident”. He was getting the acquittal in September of the year of the defeat.

Movement of the post-war agricultural policy

1945 farmers release command

(Memorandum related to agrarian reform)

The primary agrarian reform (dismantling of the landlord system)

1946   Food Emergency Measures Law (forced dispensing of rice)

The Second agrarian reform (cleanup of absentee landlord)

1947 Nogyokyodokumiai (agricultural cooperatives) law promulgated

Establishment of the Nogyokyodokumiai (agricultural cooperatives) division of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry

1948   Establishment of Zenkoren (National Supplying Federation of Nogyokyodokumiai (agricultural cooperatives)), Zenhanren (National Marketing Federation of Nogyokyodokumiai (agricultural cooperatives)), Zenshiren (National Guidance Federation of Nogyokyodokumiai (agricultural cooperatives))

Abolition of Sangyokumiai (cooperatives) law

Consumption cooperatives law promulgated

Cooperative School inaugurated

1949     Installation of Rice price council

Food Agency inaugurated

1950   Prohibition of other business by federation based in response to the revised Nogyokyodokumiai (agricultural cooperatives) Law

Zenkyoren (National Mutual Aid Federation of Nogyokyodokumiai (agricultural cooperatives)) founded

1951     Law of improvement and reconstruction of cooperatives of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries promulgated

Agriculture Commission Law promulgated

1952     The First National Nogyokyodokumiai (agricultural cooperatives)  Congress (in Mie Prefecture)

Subscription to International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) (Zenshiren)

1953    Law of Development and Promotion of Federation of cooperatives of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries promulgated

1954    legislation of the Federation system in the revision of the Nogyokyodokumiai (agricultural cooperatives) Law

1955    The First National Nogyokyodokumiai (agricultural cooperatives)  Women’s Division Congress

1956    Special Measures Law of Development of Nogyokyodokumiai (agricultural cooperatives)  promulgated

1957    The first Annual Report (hakusho) on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

1961    Agricultural Basic Law promulgation

 Minister of Agriculture and Commerce

In November 1943 (Showa 18) during the war, the major department of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry was moved to the Ministry of Munitions. The remaining departments of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry was integrated with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry so as to create the ” Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce “. After the war again, Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce was separated into the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Later, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry became the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and Ministry of Commerce and Industry became the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry through the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

【Booklet】Beginning of agricultural cooperatives <Agrarian reform ②> ( February 6, 2016)

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