** World War II -- Japan oil imports

World War II: Japanese Oil Imports

Figure 1.--Here you can see just how dependant Japan was on American oil. Actually all the non-American sources were conttrolled or stroingly influencded by America and Britain. Vz was an American company in the Dutch East Indies (DEI). Iran was the British Angolo-Iranian oil company. Indonesia was at the time the DEI. Mexico was an independent country, but had decided to wirk with the Roosevelt Afminisistration. Also notice how Japanese crude imports were affected by the american oil emnbargo (1941) and the American sunmsrine campaign (1944).

No only was Japan almost totally dependant on imported oil, but Japanese oil companies had been shut out of the major oil-producing areas. Japan imported about 90 percent of its oil. To make matters worse for Japan, the United States was the major world producer of oil and Japan's principal supplier. And America was beginning to back demands that Japan withdraw from China with increasingly serious economic sanctions. And America with its Pacific fleet was the country Japan would have to fight if it was to expand its aggression beyond China and move to seize an empire in the resource-rich South Pacific--the Southern Resource Zone. Japan imported 1.0 million barrels from Soviet Sakhalin. There were other options, including British Borneo, the Dutch East Indies (DEI), Mexico, and Venezuela. And Japam did import some oil from the DEI amd Mexico. In the DEI two compnies were important, Shell and the Standard-Vacuum Oil Company (Vz) Shell was a British-Dutch joint venture. Vz was a subsidiary of Standard Oil (New Jersey) and Socony-Vacuum. The DEI possessed the largest reserves in East Asia, but British fields in Borneo were akso important. Japan's major source of oil was the United States. The problem for the Japanese is that the British and Dutch generally followed American initiatives as did Mexico and Venezuela. This left Japan vulnerable to economic and political pressure and America moved beyond polite diplomatic messages to applying pressure in the form of economic sanctions. In addition, the Royal Navy controlled access to Middle Eastern oil and the U.S. Navy controlled acces to Latin America oil, not only thiygh diplomatic pressure, but through control of the Panama Canal. Before the invasion of China, Japan had been purchasing 80 percent of its oil in the United States (1937). The United States through its moral persuasion policy had suceeded in convincing American ship owners to reduce shipments to Japan without any formal action. Thus on the brink of war the Japanese were only obtaining 60 percent of their oil from America (1941). The Americn sanctions were painful, but the United States continued selling oil, if reduced amounts. America knew that the game chnger would be an oil embargo. Japan would consider it an act of War. Jaoan would have to either acceed to Americn demands or go to war.


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Created: 3:46 AM 3/27/2021
Last updated: 3:46 AM 3/27/2021