Ministry of Munitions (Japan)

Labor Mobilization, 1944

The Ministry of Munitions (軍需省 Gunjushō) was a cabinet-level ministry in the final days of the Empire of Japan, charged with the procurement and manufacture of armaments, spare parts and munitions to support the Japanese war effort in World War II


The Ministry of Munitions was created on 1 November 1943 [1] out of the Board of Planning of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, which was subsequently abolished. With an increasing portion of Japan's industrial base and infrastructure damaged by Allied air raids, the Japanese government felt it necessary to unify the administration of munitions production to improve efficiency and to increase production levels, particularly that of military aircraft. The concept was inspired by the German Ministry of Armaments and Munitions under Fritz Todt and Albert Speer, which had successfully increased Nazi Germany's industrial production under similar adverse conditions, and was also an unsuccessful political move by the military to impose more control over the zaibatsu.[2]

Although Prime Minister Tōjō concurrently was first Minister of Munitions, the actual day-to-day running of the Ministry devolved to his deputy, Nobusuke Kishi.[3]

Key firms were designated as components of the nationalized Munitions Companies System, and managers were given positions as government officials. Production staff was regarded as conscript labor and was not allowed to quit, or go on strike.[4] State-controlled financial institutions provided working capital and subsidized the firms for any losses.[5]

The Ministry of Munitions was abolished in 1945, by the American occupation authorities, and its functions were absorbed into the modern Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI).[6]


Munitions Minister

List of Ministers

Name CabinetFromTo
1Hideki Tōjō Tōjō 1 November 1943 22 July 1944
2Ginjirō Fujiwara Koiso22 July 1944 19 December 1944
3Shigeru Yoshida Koiso19 December 1944 7 April 1945
4Teijirō Toyoda Suzuki 7 April 1945 17 August 1945
5Chikuhei Nakajima Higashikuni17 August 1945 26 August 1945



External links


  1. National Diet Library
  2. Friedman, The Misunderstood Miracle, page 61
  3. Roth, Dilemma in Japan
  4. Yamamura, The Economic Emergence of Modern Japan, page 155
  5. Hoshi, Corporate Financing and Governance in Japan: The Road to the Future, page 60
  6. Neary, The State and Politics in Japan, page 45
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