Japan Population and Commerce
Delimitation and extension. – The defeat in the Second World War caused Japan to lose its empire with Formosa, Korea and Manchuria (returned under the sovereignty of China), the southern part of the island of Sakhalin and the Kuril islands returned to Russia, the islands Ryū-Kyūdi whose destination has not yet been established, the Caroline Islands, Marianne, Marshall, which are now under the trusteeship of the United States (see below). With this Japan was reduced to the territory of the Japanese archipelago proper with the four large islands of Kyōshō, Shikoku, Hondo (or Honshū) and Hokkaidū (or Yezo) and about four hundred smaller islets, between the strait of La Pérouse to the north. and that of Togara to the south. Its surface is now 382,253 sq km.
Population. – According to the latest official data, prior to the World War, the population of the Japanese Empire rose in 1937 to 100,855,804, of which 71,252,800 belong to Japan proper and 29,602,604 to possessions in East Asia and the Pacific islands.
As demographic characteristics, the surplus of males over females and the tendency to increase marriages is still notable, while divorces and deaths are decreasing, and natural growth remains high, which indicates an aspect of the physical and moral health of the population. . Furthermore, in 1937, there was an urban population of 25,946,700 and a rural population of 46,376,000 in the respective measure of 36% and 64%, distributed variously over the territory, with a prevalence of centers of medium demographic importance.
Among the centers with more than 100,000 residents, in 1935 there were five main cities: Tōkyō: 5,875,667 residents (1,196,876 families); Ōsaka: 2,989,874 (630,434 fam.); Nagoya: 1,082,816 (219,739 fam.); Kyōto: 1,080,593 (224,662 fam.); Kobe: 912.179 (198.018 fam.); Yokohama: 704,290 (148,580 fam.).
A further census of 1940, of which however only the general results are known, gave for Japan proper a population of 73 million and 114,308 residents (36,566,000 males and 36,548,000 females) with a density of 191.1 residents per sq. km. It is evident that the increase was still considerable (12% per annum, on average, in the period 1937-40). The main cities had in 1940: Tōkyō, 6,778,804 residents; Ōsaka, 3,252,340; Nagoya, 1,328,084 residents; Kyōto, 1,089,726 residents; Yokohama, 968,091 residents; Kobe, 967,234 residents
But population growth also continued, despite the gaps produced by the war, during this and after. The population was calculated by official estimates at the end of 1945 at 77,875,800 residents and riel 1947 to 78,025,000 with an increase of about 6 million compared to 1937. The fact is explained by taking into account the repatriation of millions of soldiers and civilians from various territories of the lost empire and those occupied in China and the Pacific islands. But Tōkyō was reduced in 1945 to 3,271,000. In 1947, births across Japan amounted to 34.7%, an increase compared to the pre-war period, and deaths to 14.7%.
Commerce. – Continuously increasing, in 1938 it reached 2690 million yen for exports and 2663 million for imports, with the most intense traffic with the countries of Asia, the United States, England, etc.
In the first years of the war, international traffic increased further (in millions of yen, for 1939: export 3,564.3 and import 2,905.3; for 1940: export 3,972.4 and import 3,809.0) to reach after 1940 the 4 million due to the intensified currents with the USSR, Germany and the territories occupied during the war years; it then fell in 1945 to irrelevant figures. By 1946 it had reached $ 120 million for exports, $ 300 million for imports, mostly including US shipments of food, clothing, etc., that is, more than 30% of the country’s needs. A program already underway by the allied command intends to activate foreign trade, especially for the export of silk and pearls to the United States.
Communications. – They marked a progressive development in the last pre-war years: the railways with 3515 stations in 1937 and various lines for 18,422 km.
Of course, the destructions produced by the war operations are considerable. However, the restoration of the railway network to pre-war efficiency is expected by 1948.
The telegraphic networks showed a length of 33,361 km in 1938; the underground and underwater cables measured 16,062 km. and overhead telephone networks 61,258 km. For telephone and radiotelegraphic communications, the work already required in 1946 an expense of 1 billion yen and the employment of 400,000 workers, while measures are being taken to reactivate the international post and radio broadcasting services.
The merchant navy has greatly diminished from the war and is now reduced to only about 1 million tonnes. (in 1939 it was over 5.6 million and ranks third in the world after the United States and Great Britain). The merchant navy will reach the one and a half million tonnage established by the allied nations in 1951.