During World War II, the Japanese Home Islands stood at the center of an empire, to which raw materials were sent, and from which manufactured goods, included arms, were dispatched.

Toward the end of the war, the Japanese Home Islands were blockaded and cut off from its territories, which is to say that she couldn't send arms to them.

Is it fair to say that most heavy equipment, planes, ships, tanks, heavy artillery were manufactured in, and came from Japan? But are there any parts of the empire where Japanese troops were capable of resupplying even small arms and ammunition locally? Or would the overseas territories "wither on the vine" when they were cut off from the mother country?

  • 1
    Occupied China.
    – Semaphore
    Nov 12, 2015 at 7:57
  • 3
    From reading the following country study, I get the impression that Korea was capable of feeding itself and of a good deal of manufacturing, but was deprived due to having material exported to Japan. In this case, the blockade might have even been a benefit to Korea. Not sure about armaments, though.
    – AlaskaRon
    Nov 12, 2015 at 8:33
  • Manchuko, Taiwan, Korea, most probably, for the longer than average Japanese presence.
    – Greg
    Nov 12, 2015 at 9:13

2 Answers 2


Manchukuo would have been fully self-sufficient, at least for small arms.

Located within this puppet state was the Mukden Arsenal, which produced an eclectic mix of arms including rifles like the Arisaka 99, various machine guns, light and medium artillery, a majority of Japan's artillery shells, grenades, bayonets and speed-loaders. Manchukuo was also home to the behemoth Mantetsu or Southern Manchuria Railway Company, and Showa Steel Works, one of the largest in the world and by the end of the war Japan's largest by far.

Apart from that, Korea could have produced her own small arms as well. Jinsen Arsenal in Incheon produced Arisaka 99s too.

  • True. It wasn't so much the atomic bombs (both of them!) which made the Japanese surrender, but the invasion and occupation of Manchukuo by the USSR.
    – Jos
    Nov 14, 2017 at 1:25

According to this source (pp/ 13-15), Japan relied somewhat on small pig iron plants for "local" operations. In 1943, some 111, 000 tons of iron ore were produced in such plants, of which about 30,000 tons each were produced in Japan, Manchuria/North Chna, and Korea. Much smaller amounts were produced in Formosa, and centralChina. (This was a small fraction of the 7.8 million tons of steel Japan produced that year.)

From this, I conclude that at least Manchuria and Korea, and to a lesser extent Formosa, were capable of local resupply of military hardware.

To put this in perspective, (per page 36) total 1942 planned capacity in iron ore broke down as follows: Japan-Korea 7.7 million tons, Manchuria 4.8 million tons, China 1.0 million tons, out of a total of 13.5 million tons.

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