ADVANTAGES

Much of the increasingly militarized economy was diverse and sophisticated in ways that facilitated conversion to peacetime activity. On the automobile industry, for instance, of the 11 major auto manufacturers in postwar Japan, ten came out of the war years: only Honda is a pure product of the postwar period. Three of the ten: Toyota, Nissan, and Isuzu, prospered as the primary producers of trucks for the military after legislation passed in 1936 had driven Ford and General Motors out of the Japanese market. Other corporate giants on the postwar scene gained comparable competitive advantage during the war years. Normura Securities, which is now the second wealthiest corporation in Japan after Toyota, was founded in 1925 as a firm specializing in bonds. Its great breakthrough as a securities firm, however, came through expansion into stocks in 1938 and investment trust operations in 1941. Hitachi, Japan's largest manufacturer of electrical equipment, was established in 1910 but emerged as a comprehensive vertically integrated producer of electric machinery in the 1930s as part of the Ayukawa conglomerate that also included Nissan. Similarly, Toshiba, which ranks second after Hitachi in electric products, dates back to 1904 but only became a comprehensive manufacturer of electric goods following a merger carried out in 1939 under the military campaign to consolidate and rationalize production. Whole sectors were able to take off in the postwar period by building on advances made during the war.

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