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What strategies did Japan employ to manage occupied territories?

Japan managed its occupied territories through a combination of military rule, economic exploitation, and cultural assimilation policies.

Japan's approach to managing its occupied territories during the early 20th century was multifaceted. One of the primary strategies was the establishment of military rule. This was particularly evident in Manchuria, where the Kwantung Army effectively governed the region after the 1931 Mukden Incident. The military administration was characterised by strict control and harsh punishments, aimed at suppressing any form of resistance or dissent.

Economic exploitation was another key strategy. Japan viewed its occupied territories as sources of raw materials and markets for its manufactured goods. For instance, Korea was forced to supply rice and other agricultural products to Japan, while Manchuria's rich resources of coal and iron were heavily exploited. This economic strategy not only fuelled Japan's industrialisation but also weakened the economies of the occupied territories, making them more dependent on Japan.

Cultural assimilation policies were also implemented as part of Japan's management strategy. The aim was to erase the local cultures and identities of the occupied peoples and replace them with Japanese culture and values. This was done through various means, including education, language policies, and Shinto worship. In Korea, for example, the use of the Korean language was banned in schools and public places, and students were taught Japanese history and culture. Similarly, in Taiwan, the Japanese government promoted the use of the Japanese language and Shinto worship, while suppressing local customs and traditions.

However, these strategies were met with varying degrees of resistance. In some areas, such as Korea and Taiwan, there were numerous uprisings against Japanese rule. In others, like Manchuria, the local population was more passive, partly due to the heavy military presence. Despite these challenges, Japan was able to maintain control over its occupied territories until the end of World War II.

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