Japan’s plunder seen through ‘provisional regulations governing the organization of land survey bureau’

March 26, 2023

During their occupation of Korea, the Japanese imperialists cooked up draconian laws to ensure colonial domination and freely pillage the country, thereby inflicting terrible suffering and misfortune on the Korean people. 

Among such legislation there was the “provisional regulations governing the organization of land survey bureau” designed to legitimize the plunder of Korea’s land.

The Japanese had kept a covetous eye on the land since they occupied Korea.

Feudal relations of land ownership were dominant in the Korean countryside and peasants made up over 80 percent of its population at the time. Therefore, if they seized the land, the Japanese would be able to take control of the main means of production in the countryside, dominate the peasants forming the overwhelming majority of the population and being dependent on land and furthermore create material conditions for being the master of Korea.

They set the appropriation of land as a major target for strengthening the economic foothold of their colonial rule and employed every means possible to this end.

They enacted the “provisional regulations governing the organization of land bureau” in March 1910 in order to legalize the possession of Korean land,  and appointed a Japanese as the survey department chief of the land survey bureau in April, thus making it possible to conduct a comprehensive survey of Korean land.

They declared the land ownership, which had been recognized by the Korean feudal government, null and void and made it a law to recognize the land ownership of only those who reported to them and received their approval.

They devised very stringent and complicated methods and procedures for report concerning land ownership in order to enable Japanese and pro-Japanese stooges to seize the land of many Korean peasants. 

Due to such plundering of land, Japanese large landowners that accounted for 20 percent in 1911 increased to 54 percent in 1921.

On the contrary, large numbers of Korean peasants who had been doing farming generation after generation were deprived of the land they regarded as more precious than their lives and reduced to tenants overnight.

In the course of guaranteeing their land ownership by law, the Japanese hindered the agricultural development of Korea and turned its rural areas into a source of raw materials and food supply base for them.

They charged Korean peasants high farm and land rents and all other kinds of exacting levies, forced them to do slave labour and got them to suffer untold hardships in life by severe usurious exploitation.

Japan’s crimes still remain as a deep wound in the mind of the Korean people, though decades have passed.

Nevertheless, it recklessly moves towards a military power and runs wild to realize its wild ambition for a “Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere” it failed to achieve, without any sense of guilt over what it had done in the past.

The Korean people do not remain a passive onlooker to such acts, but they are determined to make it pay dearly for the past crimes.


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