Meiji Restoration in Japan – 3

Economic Development

            The economic roots of the country lay deep in the feudal structure of society and this had to change. Therefore, the Meiji leaders desired to bring about this change and their goal was similar to that of western nations to build a strong economic base. Fortunately Japan enjoyed peace and stability after the Meiji restoration which enabled the policy-makers to introduce a western model of economy. However this dream was made difficult on account of the meagre revenue derived from the customs, the domestic borrowing and other sources. But the Japanese overcome these bottlenecks through ingenious methods. The Iwakura mission which had gone abroad to learn the secrets of the dynamism of  western industrial societies returned. It gave a new thrust in the direction of Japan’s rapid economic development. Japan sought the help of foreign economic advisors, notably British, German and American, to make the task easy. But they remained employed for a short period, and were thereafter succeeded by the Japanese themselves.

Industrial progress:

Some of the main industries like ship-building, ammunition and textiles had flourished during the Tokugawa regime, but to bring about rapid economic growth on modern lines, the government took over these industries. In the next few decades, they witnessed rapid expansion through her infrastructure, particularly transport and communications.

  1. The first railroad appeared in 1872connection the imperial capital Tokyo, with Yokohama and in 1874 from Osaka to Kobe.
  2. The introduction of the modern Postal System followed.
  3. The postal saving bank were opened for the purpose of introduced a public savings.
  4. Telegraph lines were laid connecting all important cities by 1894
  5. The government undertook construction of roads, bridges and public buildings.
  6. Small businessmen set up shops, bicycle and textile factories, painting foundry and cigarette factories.
  7. Japan established a stoke exchange and a chamber of commerce for stimulating trade and commerce.
  8. National Credit Banks were set upon the American model in 1882 to meet the growth in need and currency.
  9. The Central Bank of Japan was established with full Banking of the government. In order to finance foreign trade the Yokohama Specie Bank was founded. In the meantime the uniform currency there by replacing the paper currencies issued by the national currency.
  10. A decimal system of currency named the Yen became the national currency.