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Konoe Fumimaro (1891—1945)



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Imperial Rule Assistance Association

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An organization intended to form a totalitarian political regime in wartime Japan, established on 12 October 1940 and dissolved after the Japanese surrender in 1945. It was set up by the Prime Minister, Konoe Fumimaru, in order to replace existing political parties and groups, and to absorb all in a single organization that could be used to mobilize the domestic population and facilitate the prosecution of Japan's war in Asia. While recognized parties were dissolved in preparation for the IRAA in 1940, the organization never possessed the monolithic character of its counterpart in Nazi Germany. For example, the IRAA's attempts to bring under its control established business and financial interests met with strong resistance throughout the war period. Opposition to the IRAA was also voiced on the principle that such an organization undermined the constitution of imperial rule. A measure of its efficacy came during the 1942 general elections, when candidates who had not received its endorsement were able to stand and win seats in the Imperial Diet. Its formal machinery was vast, reaching down to the local level in an attempt to involve every Japanese subject in its activities. IRAA campaigns included a drive to increase productivity and decrease consumption. As the war progressed the IRAA became increasingly an organization through which the Home Ministry exercised its control, despite the army's attempts to use it for its own purposes.

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