With the second World War looming every country was busy preparing for it. This fueled political, economic and social changes at various levels. The buildup to the war involved competition and governments were starting to come up with mechanisms of gaining an advantage over other. In some instances, the governments through the legislature had to come up with laws that would promote strengthening the army. The Empire of Japan also resorted to these reforms to restructure their system to favor military advancement.
The beginning of the Second Sino-Japanese saw the Japanese legislature, the Diet of Japan, make reforms to the law. The laws were set up to gain some control over civilians and to benefit the Japanese army. There was resistance opposing the formulation of the law at the start of 1938. This pressure, however, was subdued by the military. By May the same year, the bill was put into effect. The fifty clauses created by the legislature were collectively termed as the National Mobilization Law.
The National Mobilization Law had placed the government in a position where its activities favored military operations. The government was given the authority to impose unlimited subsidies on the production of military-related goods. The actions of the labor unions were curtailed thereby reducing private opinion over government matters. Industries that were deemed crucial by the government were nationalized. This increased government control in the economy. Price controls were set up by the government on various products, rationing of the goods was also used. Majority of what was in the media was government controlled. The press was nationalized.
Articles one up to three interpreted the Mobilization Law and its relation to the industries. Article thirteen gave the government powers to control what was happening in the private sector. The government had aims of providing an environment that would favor armament and increase of military strength. The government would then have the ability to confiscate, hire and manage private business entities. The law explained in article twenty-one that the government might appoint civilians if the government sees it fit. It was a requirement for some industries to keep in hand a certain number of goods if a directive was made. There were policies under which firms and organizations would create plans to conduct research and do experiments that may advance the military. In return, the government would provide subsidies to these organizations.
The creation of the supervisory commission also fulfilled the government need for control. The commission was responsible for overlooking sectors of the economy that were deemed “crucial.” The law, at first was only to be applied during emergency situations. It was, however, invoked and was made to include cases like the conflict with China. The National Service Draft Ordinance was also created to supplement National Mobilization Law. The Ministry of Welfare was in charge of recruiting workers to serve industries that promoted supplies to the war. At its peak, the ministry had hired 1.6 million people, another 4.5 million people had been reassigned from their previous jobs.
The National Mobilization Law had a social impact on the Japanese people. The women in the Japanese society were more like caretakers of their homes. According to custom, they were required to stay at home doing household duties. The advent of the Second Sino-Japanese war pushed the government to recruit women thereby changing their roles. As the war continued, the labor force required was insatiable. This situation prompted the recruitment of children to work in factories. The standards of living had also deteriorated. More hours were spent to increase military oriented production leaving other sectors deprived.