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[Professor Minoru Nomura, Military History Department, National Defense College, Tokyo, Japan.]


There are no universally accepted opinions on the origin of the Japanese people, but it can be considered that they are probably a complicated mixture of northern peoples who migrated from Manchuria and Korea, and of southern peoples from the South Seas. Naturally the Indonesians are also included in these southern peoples. The enthusiastic welcome that the Indonesians gave to the Japanese Army, when it advanced into the Dutch East Indies during the Sec- ond World War 1, is not unconnected with this close racial relationship.

There are considerable disagreements over exactly when Holland began her colonial policy in Indonesia, but one can probably suggest the appointment of a Governor-General for Java and the building of Batavia in 1619. However, the final formation of the Dutch East Indies was only in 1904. Before that, from the end of the 16th century, Japan's trading with the South Seas area, including Indonesia, had been fairly active, but with the Tokugawa Bakufu's complete introduction of the sakoku (closed country) policy in 1639, Japan's connections with Indonesia were severed.

In the 19th century Japan avoided being colonised by the Western powers, and by victories in the Sino-Japanese War, 1894-95, and the Russo-Japanese War, 1904-05, became herself one of the world's great powers. Japan's growth as a world power was watched with astonishment by the Indonesians, who had been colonised by the Dutch, and it has been widely recognised that this had an influence in restoring the self-confidence that the Indonesians had lost. 2

The Dutch East Indies was an area in which, since the Meiji Restoration, Japan had hoped for peaceful economic development. After the Russo-Japanese War the Emperor approved the 'Imperial National Defense Policy' on 4 April 1907. This was the state's basic policy, decided in order to unify the policies of the government and the supreme command, in a situation whereby the Japanese government and the supreme command had come to function separately and in parallel. It stated that Japan had to protect, firstly, her rights and interests in Manchuria and Korea, and secondly, the development of emigration and com- mercial influence in South Asia and on the American Pacific Coast.3 It was Ja- pan's desire to make inroads into the Dutch East Indies, but obviously this con- flicted with Holland's colonial policies and could not progress smoothly.

The Japanese Armed Forces first gave close attention to the Dutch East Indies in the second half of the 1930s. This paper will present an outline of the

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