Most studies of wartime Japan have assumed a close and complementary relationship between business and the military. This essay challenges this view by examining the complexities and tensions of wartime institutional dynamics. The lack of a monolithic industrial and political structure hindered efficient economic mobilization. This can be seen in the industrial control associations (kōgyō tōsei kai), which were intended to be the most important link between military, government, and business after 1941. Their organization and functioning reveals a three-way administrative struggle between business, military, and bureaucracy. All three power groups were internally divided over both the formulation and the implementation of policy. Japan, the epitome of government-business cooperation in the postwar era, was surprisingly divided during the war.

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