Ministry of Commerce and Industry

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 April 7, 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 April 1, 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

Name Cabinet From To
1 Korekiyo Takahashi Katō 1 April 1924 17 April 1925
2 Noda Utarō Katō 17 April 1925 2 August 1925
3 Kataoka Naoharu Katō
1st Wakatsuki
2 August 1925 14 September 1926
4 Fujisawa Ikunosuke 1st Wakatsuki 14 September 1926 20 April 1927
5 Nakahashi Tokugorō 1st Tanaka 20 April 1927 3 July 1929
6 Tawara Magoichi Hamaguchi 3 July 1929 14 April 1931
7 Sakurauchi Yukio 2nd Wakatsuki 14 April 1931 13 December 1931
8 Maeda Yonezo Inukai 13 December 1931 26 May 1932
9 Nakajima Kumakichi Saitō 26 May 1932 9 February 1933
10 Matsumoto Jōji Saitō 9 February 1933 8 July 1934
11 Machida Chūji Okada 8 July 1934 9 March 1936
12 Kawasaki Takukichi Hirota 9 March 1936 27 March 1936
13 Ogawa Gōtarō Hirota 27 March 1936 2 February 1937
14 Godō Takuo Hayashi 2 February 1937 4 June 1937
15 Yoshino Shinji 1st Konoe 4 June 1937 26 May 1938
16 Ikeda Shigeaki 1st Konoe 26 May 1938 5 January 1939
17 Hatta Yoshiaki Hiranuma 5 January 1939 30 August 1939
18 Godō Takuo Abe 30 August 1939 16 October 1939
19 Godō Takuo Abe 16 October 1939 16 January 1940
20 Fujiwara Ginjirō Yonai 22 January 1940 5 July 1940
21 Kobayashi Ichizō 2nd Konoe 22 July 1940 4 April 1941
22 Toyoda Teijirō 2nd Konoe 4 April 1941 18 July 1941
23 Sakonji Seizō 3rd Konoe 18 July 1941 18 October 1941
24 Kishi Nobusuke Tōjō 18 October 1941 8 October 1943
25 Tōjō Hideki Tōjō 8 October 1943 1 November 1943
26 Chikuhei Nakajima Higashikuni 26 August 1945 9 October 1945
27 Sankurō Ogasawara Shidehara 9 October 1945 2 May 1946
28 Jirō Hoshijima 1st Yoshida 2 May 1946 31 January 1947
29 Mitsujirō Ishii 1st Yoshida 31 January 1947 26 May 1947
30 Chōsaburō Mizutani Katayama 26 May 1947 10 March 1948
31 Chōsaburō Mizutani Ashida 10 March 1948 15 October 1948
32 Sanzō Ōya 2nd Yoshida 15 October 1948 16 February 1949
32 Heitarō Inagaki 2nd Yoshida 16 February 1949 25 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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