For the representation and protection of the commercial and industrial interests of the various provinces, there are now 77 chambers of commerce, while 42 stock exchanges facilitate and regulate the movement and activity of internal and external commerce in the Empire.
The establishment of banks, in the modern sense, dates back to 1873, the year in which the Daiichi Kokuritsu Gink ō (First National Bank) was created, organized on the American model. In a short time other banks arose, all authorized to issue banknotes. In 1882, with the creation of Nippon Gink ō (Bank of Japan), the issue was concentrated in this institution and gradually withdrawn from the others. The Bank of Japan (paid-up capital 37.5 million yen) is authorized to issue government notes up to the amount of 120 million yen, if covered by government or other trusted bonds, without limitation, if guaranteed by metal reserves. The only other banks of issue existing today in the Empire are the Ch ō sen Ginkō (Bank of Korea) and Taiwan Gink ō (Bank of Formosa). The first (paid-up capital 25 million yen), founded in 1909, issues legal tender tickets throughout Korea, in Kwan-tung and in the territory crossed by the South Manchese railway; those issued by the Bank of Formosa, created in 1899 with a capital of 15 million yen, instead ran in the sole jurisdiction of the governorate of the island. The issue is, for both, unlimited, if covered by metal reserves, limited if guaranteed by government or trust bonds.
In 1926, there were 1,578 banks throughout the Empire, with a total paid-up capital of 1,961,290,000 yen and 976,158,000 yen of reserve funds. The most important of these are Nippon Kwangy ō Gink ō (Japanese Mortgage Bank), founded in 1895 to encourage agricultural and industrial enterprises, N ō k ō Gink ō (Agricultural Bank), Hokkaid ō Takushoku Gink ō (Colonial Bank of Hokkaidō), founded in 1900, to promote the colonization of Yezo and Sakhalin by issuing credits, the Nippon K ō gy ō Gink ō (Japanese Industrial Bank), founded in 1902, important for the issuance of industrial bonds. Important banks belonging to industrial syndicates are Mitsui Gink ō (vers. Cap 60 million yen), Mitsubishi Gink ō (Mitsubishi Bank), Sumitomo Gink ō (Sumitomo Bank), Daiichi Gink ō (First bank), J ū go Gink ō (Fifteenth bank), Kawasaki Gink ō (Kawasaki bank).
In 1924, in Japan alone there were 33,567 companies or companies thus divided among the various companies.
According to Clothesbliss, the most important commercial center of the Empire is Ōsaka; then come Tōkyō, Nagoya, Sendai, Niigata, Hiroshima, Shimonoseki, Kumamoto.
The balance of Japanese trade with foreign countries has, from the beginning to the present day, marked a more or less large but constant surplus. of imports on exports; the exception is the four-year period 1916-20 in which, due to the war, without competitors in the Far East, Japan was able to make exports undergo a dizzying rise.
From a general point of view, raw materials dominate in imports, finished products and semi-finished products in exports. The first place among imports goes to cotton which feeds the country’s largest industry; then come wool, and woolen fabrics, with jute and hemp. The metallurgical industry receives semi-finished raw products and machines from Germany, England and Belgium, in smaller quantities from America, which, on the other hand, is the largest supplier of timber, required in large quantities by the reconstruction works in Tōkyō and of Yokohama, after the last earthquake of 1923; currently there is a tendency to decrease. Edible kinds are 14% of imported goods. L’
In exports, the first place goes to silk, which alone is enough to cover 58% of world consumption (22% goes to China, 16% to Italy); the largest customer is the United States, where Japanese silk is highly sought after for its qualities of particular luster and resistance to use, and satisfies 90% of local needs. Soon after come the cotton fabrics, which are sold especially in China, although for some time she has cared less because she is starting to make them herself, the hats and matches, sold all over America, paper, and finally coal., which supplies large warehouses in the Pacific and China. The Japanese foreign trade balance closed in 1927 with the figures we give in the following table.
Exchanges are not very active with Italy. In 1920 Italy sent to Japan for Lire 54,078,255 of goods, among which the first place goes to cars and accessories and to wool yarns; he imported it for L. 100,031,313, mainly raw silk, silk waste, braids for hats, silk and coral fabrics.