1. The first point at issue is whether Chisso considered Minamata Disease as well as economic factors when it decided to expand into petrochemicals. The only period during which Minamata Disease could have possibly influenced Chisso's petrochemical plan was from July 1959 to December 1959. During this period, Chisso's executives would not admit that Minamata factory was the cause of Minamata Disease, so they did not take any appropriate measures. There was no scheme to scrap the acetaldehyde plant in Minamata at that time. Chisso continued to operate the old plant although the petrochemical plants were completed. To conclude, Chisso's changeover to petrochemicals was promoted independent of Minamata Disease and only based on economic considerations. 2. The second point at issue is whether Chisso increased its acetaldehyde production by obtaining a license. In Japan's second petrochemical plan, the main product was polypropylene and acetaldehyde was secondary. In January 1961, four companys' plans were presented to the government authorities, and all four plans were approved. Chisso was the top company in the acetaldehyde industry, which justified approval of its plan.
During the 1920s, too many banks failed. One of the important reasons for the failures was the arbitrariness of the banks. The Ministry of Finance's (MOF) bureaucrats were aware of it, and strongly advocated the need to correct this. In 1926, the preparatory committee on the reform of financial institutions and the main committee were established. There, the introduction of the system of the joint-stock company with the auditing book rules for banks was determined. MOF's discretionary powers were introduced for the issuing of warnings. MOF's explained that because the Japanese financial system had strong regional varieties according to a multi-strata financial structure, strict adherence to legal regulations was impossible. All the committee members accepted this without objections. Based on MOF's proposals, the draft of the 1927 bank law was drawn up. In 1927, the 52nd Imperial Diet was convened. There, MOF gave the above reasons to explain the need to regulate banks with discretionary powers in MOF hands. The draft passed the Diet, and from January 1928, the 1927 bank law went into effect. One of the important features of the bank regulation based on the 1927 bank law is the prevention of bankers' arbitrariness by introducing organic principles with rules and procedures in bank management. Another is MOF's discretion in the issuing of warnings, which enabled MOF to take action according to each region's financial situation. Thus the regulations reflected the multi-strata and strong regional characters of the financial system during the 1920s crises. These constitute the historical nature of the bank regulation based on the 1927 bank law.
This study intends to clarify the development of the Taiwanese electric power industry by analyzing the Jitsugetsutan Project during the interwar period. Taiwan was then under Japanese colonial rule. The project has therefore been traditionally referred to in the literature as an example of a special enterprise established and owned by the Japanese government in order to strengthen its military sector under its “southern advance” policy. In this study, the author attempts to re-examine such traditional views on the role of the project by tracing the project from its planning stage to completion. The analysis sheds new light on the relationship between the Taiwanese colonial government and the trends of related markets, especially the financial market in Japan and the state of demand for electric power that the enterprise was expected to supply. Our analysis reveals that the project, which was initiated in 1919, had to be cancelled once in 1926 because of the banking crisis and the lack of demand in the first half of the 1920s. When the project was resumed in 1928, it was the chemical fertilizer industry that turned out to be a potential and major consumer of its electric power. However, the final plans changed again. The aluminum industry was to become the major consumer of its electric power in 1932. This re-examination leads to the conclusion that the project was not based on the military goals of the Japanese government but on the industrial policy of the Taiwanese colonial government and the economic motivation of the Japanese industry. Although it is undeniable that the completion of the project brought a rapid growth of the aluminum industry and it consequently strengthened military power a great deal, this should be interpreted as the effect of the project, not as its cause.
The machine-tool production industry in Singapore is much smaller than in Taiwan or Korea. Nevertheless, it is noteworthy because Singapore's case shows a feature different from the other Asian Newly Industrializing Economies. The Taiwanese machine-tool industry is composed of numerous local small builders. In Korea, the local business groups include prominent machine-tool builders. In contrast, foreign direct investment plays an essential role in building machine tools in Singapore. Presently, three foreign machine-tool builders operate in Singapore. Okamoto was established as a grinding machine builder in 1973. Makino Asia took over LeBlond Asia, an American lathe builder's subsidiary, in 1981 and commenced to build machining centers. The main products of Yamazaki Mazak are numerical controlled (NC) lathes since 1996. Each parent company transferred production technology to these subsidiaries and has been supplying key parts. Their products are exported to developed countries. They depend on neither local vendors nor customers. The business linkage between the foreign builders and the domestic industries is not strong. But Okamoto served as an incubator for local entrepreneurs and technicians. A former Okamoto sales manager and his colleagues founded their own small company, Excel Machine Tools, and started building machine tools in 1987. They had gained their technical and managerial experience at Okamoto over ten years. On the basis of their expertise, Excel received technical assistance from a small machine-tool builder in Japan and obtains substantial financial support from the government. This successful local machine-tool builder is the most remarkable outcome of Japanese direct investment.