End of Empire100 days in 1945 that changed Asia and the world.

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  • Japanese zaibatsu monopolies dissolved

    6 November 1945. Recognizing the important role they played in Japan’s war effort, General MacArthur orders that all 17 of Japan’s vertically integrated corporations dissolve their structures. This is the first antitrust law in Japan’s history.

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    One of the big four zaibatsu targeted for dissolution was Mitsubishi, which had its roots in the time of the Meiji Restoration and, like the other conglomerates, was controlled by a single family. This photograph shows Iwasaki Koyata (1879–1945), the 4th leader of the Mitsubishi zaibatsu, and his family. Although the ‘old’ zaibatsu argued that the newer conglomerates were most complicit in and had profited more extensively from Japanese militarism, the old families too were heavily involved. Mitsubishi, for example, had close links to the Imperial Navy and manufactured Japan’s famed Zero fighter plane