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industry, agriculture, and foreign trade. Economic control of the country is largely concentrated in the hands of the so-called Big Five Banks, behind which stand the great banking families, the Mitsui and the Mitsubishi. These bankers, controlling thousands of undertakings, occupy the key positions in the economic life of Japan, enriching themselves at the expense of millions of peasants, workers, and petty tradesmen.

Japanese industry presents a highly complicated picture. While wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few billionaires, Japanese industry to a considerable part consists of small and medium-sized establishments, using the most backward methods of production. It extends through a series of stages from peasant home industry, exploited by the landlords, merchants and loan-sharks, to gigantic industrial establishments, textile mills, and highly organized metal and war industries. 

This complicated pattern merely shows that the exploiting classes of Japan, in extorting fabulous wealth from the plunder of the masses, have not hesitated to use all forms of backward and medieval exploitation in the oppression of their people. The Japanese money lords have succeeded in combining under the cloak of an absolute monarchy the most up-to-date forms of twentieth century wage-slavery, with a primitive plundering of the masses reminiscent of the Middle Ages.


Let us glance at the bottom of Japan's social pyramid. 

The living conditions of the Japanese are notoriously


lower than those of any other industrial country. Indeed, they are comparable only to those of a colonial people. For example, in 1932, the total rural population owned altogether only 9 per cent of the cultivated area. The starvation rent-in-kind, a sort of sharecropping system similar to that practiced in our own Southern States, deprives the peasants of two-thirds of their crops. Oppressive taxes and interest payments add to this burden. 

The peasants are forced to sell their daughters into brothels and cotton mills. Five thousand girls were sold during the first half of 1932 alone. Indeed, it can be said that the wealth of Japan's rulers is built almost directly on the backs of Japanese women. The spinning and weaving industry--second in importance in Japan--employs 740,000 women as against 150,000 men. Child labor is widespread, constituting 11 per cent of all industrial employment.

The average wage is one-eighth that received by the average American industrial worker. In the textile industry, with its majority of women wage-workers, it is only one-twelfth.

Working hours are among the longest in the world, with wage earners working from twelve to nineteen hours a day. The school teachers are not paid even their paltry five yen a month, and are literally starving. 

How can the Japanese imperialists, who today preserve a form of peonage in the agriculture of their own country, who tenaciously cling to old Middle-Age serf forms in the exploitation of the Japanese masses, and who deny to their own people the most elementary democracy--how can they be expected to give democratic culture and enlightenment to their colonial subjects?


The series of post-World War depressions which have spread unemployment and suffering throughout the capitalist world

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