Ministry of Munitions (Japan)

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.

Labor Mobilization, 1944


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

  • Secretariat
    • General Operations Bureau
    • Aircraft Production Bureau
    • Mechanical Bureau
    • Iron & Steel Bureau
    • Light Metals Bureau
    • Non-Metallic Materials Bureau
    • Chemical Bureau
    • Fuels Bureau
    • Electricity Bureau

List of Ministers

No. Portrait Name Term of office Cabinet
1 Hideki Tōjō
東條 英機
1 November
22 July
2 Ginjirō Fujiwara
藤原 銀次郎
22 July
19 December
3 Shigeru Yoshida
吉田 茂
19 December
7 April
4 Teijirō Toyoda
豊田 貞次郎
7 April
17 August
5 Chikuhei Nakajima
中島 知久平
17 August
26 August



  • Hoshi, Takeo (2001). Corporate Financing and Governance in Japan: The Road to the Future. MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-08301-9.
  • Neary, Ian (2002). The State and Politics in Japan. Polity. ISBN 0-7456-2134-1.
  • Roth, Andrew (2007). Dilemma in Japan. Roth Press. ISBN 978-1-4067-6311-9.
  • Friedman, David (1988). The Misunderstood Miracle: Industrial Development and Political Change in Japan. Cornell University Press. ISBN 0-8014-9479-6.


  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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