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Chōsen Kaihatsu-chō


Evangeline Anovilis
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While for some time now, Japan had established a protectorate in Korea, the matter of what to do with Korea and how to improve the post-communist economy were still debated, while Korea itself stagnated. Only after about a year, the first Plan for the reform of Korean industry was approved by the Kim cabinet of Korea and the Akiyama cabinet of Japan, to properly establish a market economy on the peninsula, and with it democracy and stability. While the Japanese government originally proclaimed to stay out of Korean internal affairs, the Chōsen Kaihatsu-chō (Korea Development Agency) was created, in order to oversee the efforts. This measure, though not incredibly popular was legitimated by the necessity for Japanese financial and technological assistence to be utilised well and not to vanish in a post-Communist money sink plagued by corruption.

 

The Chōsen Kaihatsu-chō set up its main office in Seoul and soon started its activities, supervised by the Resident-General in Korea. Mainly, the Agency organised Japanese capital to provide loans to Korean enterprises. These enterprises would be expected to use the money to set up their business, buy the necessary equipment, undergo training in entrepeneurship and other business-related skills and to find ties to related business. These would mostly be smaller private enterprises related to light industry.

 

Heavy industry meanwhile would be a different story. Formerly state-owned heavy industry would be privatised into special partnerships of Japanese Keiretsu and Korean reestablished Chaebol, with the former providing assistence in setting up competitive enterprises, while in turn gaining part of the profit and establishing cooperations with the new conglomerates. Most notable among these would be the Mitsui and Mitsubishi keiretsu, which established ties to mining and shipbuilding respectively. Mitsui in cooperation with local Koreans set up a new model mining company i the Northern parts of the peninsula, importing modern technology and practices to improve worker safety and efficiency, integrating the mining with metal processing and nuclear energy generation. Mitsubishi meanwhile focussed on steel industry in the South and the local shipbuilding sector. This scheme was seen by many as a good way to promote cooperation and assistence, though it also functioned in a way to integrate Korean potential into Japan's existing economy and thus limit negative impacts from increased competition.

 

However, not just industry was seen as responsibility of the Chōsen Kaihatsu-chō, as also democratic and cultural development were considered relevant. Not to mention, the potential establishment of proper defenses, given after all, Korea was a protectorate - to be protected.

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As the Republic of Korea became a fully independent state once again, the Chōsen Kaihatsu-chō was transformed into a cabinet agency of Japan tasked with administering the foreign assistence to Korea. It's budget would be about ¥1.45 trillion, with which it was supposed to fund Japanese projects in Korea. Mostly, this would be given as direct aid for rebuilding and restructuring Korea and for infrastructure and public services. But some also would be used to help the Bank of Japan to establish the Korean Agricultural Development Bank, which established its headquarters in Seoul and established branches in the different provinces. Small-scale loans would be given to farmers at low interest rates, for them to invest in modern equipment and education, as well as expanding their farmholds. It was advertised that by taking out loans, then improving ones farm and repaying the low-interest loan through the increased returns, long-term investment was possible for oneself and one's descendants. Additionally, the KADB was of course accepting savings from people, as it was eventually to be run like a normal bank and would need funding to hand out loans. Lastly, a section was created for more major loans, which were accessible to communes of farmers, in order to make common investment into heavier equipment to be shared, or even to establish communal processing plants for their agricultural goods to integrate into their business. The KADB was given the mission by the KDA to establish a stable and productive agricultural base in Korea, productive enough to allow limited self-sufficiency and to integrate the farmers safely into capitalism, while protecting them from any potential structural weaknesses in the Korean economy. Thus, the Bank's slogan would be nothing other than "Sowing Korea's Future."

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