Ministry of Commerce and Industry (Japan)

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (商工省, Shōkōshō) was a cabinet-level ministry in the government of the Empire of Japan from 1925-1947. It was created from the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce (農商省, Nōshōshō), and was briefly merged with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to reestablish that Ministry during World War II.


The original Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce was created on 7 April 1881, initially under the Meiji Daijō-kan Cabinet, and then under the Meiji Constitution. It combined the Bureaus of Agriculture, Forestry, Natural History and post station maintenance which were formerly directly under the Prime Minister with the Bureau of Commerce formerly under the control of the Ministry of Finance.

On 1 April 1925, under Prime Minister Takahashi Korekiyo, the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce was divided into the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. The division was a result of long-standing acrimony within the ministry between the “commerce” portion of the ministry, which sought expanded overseas trade, and the protectionist “agriculture” portion of the ministry which sought to ban imports of food, especially rice.

In 1934, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry divested itself of the iron and steel industry, leading to the formation of the Nippon Steel Corporation. Following the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry found its role changing from promotion of trade and commerce to enforcing restrictions on trade and management of rationing programs. By the middle of World War II, the Ministry of Munitions, Ministry of Transport and Communications and the Planning Board absorbed most of the functions of the Ministry of Commerce, and the vestigial remains were merged with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to re-establish the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce on November 1, 1943. The re-formed ministry was also in charge of distribution of rationed goods.

In the post-war period, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry was re-established briefly under the aegis of the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers, and was assigned control of electrical power production and electrical power distribution. The Ministry of Commerce and Industry became the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, or MITI on May 25, 1949.

Ministers of Commerce

1Korekiyo TakahashiKatō1 April 192417 April 1925
2Noda UtarōKatō17 April 19252 August 1925
3Kataoka NaoharuKatō
1st Wakatsuki
2 August 192514 September 1926
4Fujisawa Ikunosuke1st Wakatsuki14 September 192620 April 1927
5Nakahashi Tokugorō1st Tanaka20 April 19273 July 1929
6Tawara MagoichiHamaguchi3 July 192914 April 1931
7Sakurauchi Yukio2nd Wakatsuki14 April 193113 December 1931
8Maeda YonezoInukai13 December 193126 May 1932
9Nakajima KumakichiSaitō26 May 19329 February 1933
10Matsumoto JōjiSaitō9 February 19338 July 1934
11Machida ChūjiOkada8 July 19349 March 1936
12Kawasaki TakukichiHirota9 March 193627 March 1936
13Ogawa GōtarōHirota27 March 19362 February 1937
14Godō TakuoHayashi2 February 19374 June 1937
15Yoshino Shinji1st Konoe4 June 193726 May 1938
16Ikeda Shigeaki1st Konoe26 May 19385 January 1939
17Hatta YoshiakiHiranuma5 January 193930 August 1939
18Godō TakuoAbe30 August 193916 October 1939
19Godō TakuoAbe16 October 193916 January 1940
20Fujiwara GinjirōYonai22 January 19405 July 1940
21Kobayashi Ichizō2nd Konoe22 July 19404 April 1941
22Toyoda Teijirō2nd Konoe4 April 194118 July 1941
23Sakonji Seizō3rd Konoe18 July 194118 October 1941
24Kishi NobusukeTōjō18 October 19418 October 1943
25Tōjō HidekiTōjō8 October 19431 November 1943
26Chikuhei NakajimaHigashikuni26 August 19459 October 1945
27Sankurō OgasawaraShidehara9 October 19452 May 1946
28Jirō Hoshijima1st Yoshida2 May 194631 January 1947
29Mitsujirō Ishii1st Yoshida31 January 194726 May 1947
30Chōsaburō MizutaniKatayama26 May 194710 March 1948
31Chōsaburō MizutaniAshida10 March 194815 October 1948
32Sanzō Ōya2nd Yoshida15 October 194816 February 1949
32Heitarō Inagaki2nd Yoshida16 February 194925 May 1949


  • Harari, Ehud (1073). The Politics of Labor Legislation in Japan. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-02264-5.
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