Publishing about Asia in Academic Journals and Book Series (Roundtable)


) M. William Steele, International Christian University



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1) M. William Steele, International Christian University
Constructing the Construction State: The Postwar Revival of the Cement Industry in Japan

As the war in the Pacific drew to a close, air raids destroyed Tokyo, Yokohama, and nearly all other major cities. Reconstruction began in earnest in the late 1940s with onset of the Cold War serving as a major stimulus for Japanese economic recovery. In addition to new ferro-concrete buildings, bridges and roads, cement was necessary for river and coastline repair, tetrapods, embankments and dams. Although Japanese cement production declined dramatically during the war years, revival of the cement industry was initially slow. It was only after the so-called “reverse course” years, 1948–49, that the Allied Occupation began to make comprehensive plans to rebuild the Japanese economy and undertake basic reconstruction of a country in ruins. In 1948, controls on the production of basic industries, coal, iron, steel, and concrete were lifted; cement production began to rise dramatically thereafter. By 1956, Japan produced 13,737,594 tons of cement, double that of the prewar peak in 1939. This paper narrates the rebirth of the Japanese cement and limestone mining industries in the period between 1945 and 1956. It examines the contribution of the Cold War, and the Korean War in particular, in reviving a cement industry that Japan once boasted to be “of the highest rank of all cement produced in the world.” The paper also questions the cement industry’s role in the rebirth of Japan as a “construction state.”





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