Oppression and Romanticism: The Food Supply of Java during the Japanese Occupation
Before the invasion of South-East Asia, the authorities in Tokyo gave their expeditionary forces guidelines concerning the military administration of the lands to be occupied. These guidelines covered three main points: speedy acquisition of strategic resources; self-sustenance of the field forces; and restoration and maintenance of public order.1 During the first half of the Occupation, the Japanese Army in Java achieved these objectives easily. The strategic resources to be obtained from Java were no more than several items which Java produced in abundance. These were, in the plan for 1942, manganese, rubber, castor oil, cinchona bark, quinine, industrial salt, maize, tobacco, coffee, kapok, and theriac (an antidote to venomous bites). With the exception of manganese, Japan planned to obtain less than the quantities Java used to export in the prewar years.2 Self-sufficiency for the field forces also posed few difficulties. The total Japanese population in Java, military men and civilians combined, fluctuated around 50 000, or 0.1 per cent of the local population. Therefore, to secure rice for their own use in Central Java, for instance, all the Japanese had to do was to request a few mills to process it for them.3 With regard to public order there was no organized opposition to the Japanese, and the local people were generally cooperative.
KeywordsMaize Manganese Transportation Propa Rubber
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