National Mobilization Law

Adopted in March 1938, the National Mobilization Law enabled the Japanese state to control the economy and the lives of its citizens without parliamentary consultation. Despite being openly criticized in the Japanese parliament, the law came into effect due to strong pressure from the Japanese military. Protracted war in China was putting increasing strain on the Japanese economy, with the military demanding a 2.5-million-yen budget, an amount nearly equivalent to the entire national budget of the previous year. The law gave the Japanese bureaucracy wide-ranging authority over the economy, including the ability to conscript workers for war industries. By the time it was abolished, in December 1945, millions of young men and women had been compelled under the law to work in factories, often disrupting or ending their education.