Opium growing in Manchuria? Japanese involvement? The Wiki has it.

The opium poppy was grown to obtain opium. In November 1932 the Mitsui Zaibatsu conglomerate held a state monopoly for poppy farming with the “declared intention” of reducing its heavy local use. Fixed cultivation areas were set up in Jehol and northwest Kirin. For 1934-35, cultivation area was evaluated as 480 square kilometres (190 sq mi) with a yield of 1.1 tonnes/kmĀ². There was much illegal growing, and its high profitability retarded the effective suppression of this dangerous drug.

“Nikisansuke”, a secret Japanese merchant group, participated in the opium industry.

This group was formed by:

Hoshino Naoki (Army thinker)
Tojo Hideki (Army politician)
Kishi Nobusuke (Merchant and right-wing supporter)
Matsuoka Yosuke (Army follower and foreign affairs minister)
Ayukawa Yoshisuke (Chairman of Manchukuo Zaibatsu)
Kuhara Fusanosuke (Right-wing thinker)

The monopoly generated profits of twenty to thirty million yen per year.

The military prohibited the use of opium and other narcotics by its troops (punishment was loss of Japanese citizenship) but allowed it to be used as a “demoralization weapon” against “inferior races”, a term that included all non-Japanese peoples.

One of the participants, Naoki Hoshino negotiated a large loan from Japanese banks using a lien on the profits of Manchukuo’s Opium Monopoly Bureau as collateral. Another authority states that annual narcotics revenue in China, including Manchukuo, was estimated by the Japanese military at 300 million yen a year.

Similar policies operated across Japanese-occupied Asia.

There are other sources.

By 1938, following their invasions of the coastal areas of China, the Japanese were in the position to declare an official monopoly over the opium trade in East Asia. As in Formosa before, the revenue poured in, with, as an example, some 8% of budget receipts coming from the sale of morphine. When supplies of British opium were eventually cut off during the late 1930s and 1940s the Japanese army in China even cultivated extensive opium plantations in Manchuria and Korea and sold the opium into China, to finance the Japanese war effort.

However, although the Japanese have come in for much well-deserved criticism over this ‘chemical warfare’, the earlier role of the British and the role of the Kuomintang-condoned Green Gang should not be overlooked.

Another source: Japan as an opium distributor.

In an article which appeared in the New York Times, under date of February 14, 1919, we read: “A charge that the Japanese Government secretly fosters the morphia traffic in China and other countries in the Far East is made by a correspondent in the North China Herald in its issue of December 21st last. The correspondent asserts that the traffic has the financial support of the Bank of Japan, and that the Japanese postal service in China aids, although ‘Japan is a signatory to the agreement which forbids the import into China of morphia or of any appliances used in its manufacture or application.’

“Morphia no longer can be purchased in Europe, the correspondent writes. The seat of industry has been transferred to Japan, and morphia is now manufactured by the Japanese themselves. Literally, tens of millions of yen are transferred annually from China to Japan for the payment of Japanese morphia. . . .

“In South China, morphia is sold by Chinese peddlers, each of whom carries a passport certifying that he is a native of Formosa, and therefore entitled to Japanese protection. Japanese drug stores throughout China carry large stocks of morphia. Japanese medicine vendors look to morphia for their largest profits. Wherever Japanese are predominant, there the trade flourishes. Through Dairen, morphia circulates throughout Manchuria and the province adjoining; through Tsingtao, morphia is distributed over Shantung province, Anhui, and Kiangsu, while from Formosa morphia is carried with opium and other contraband by motor-driven fishing boats to some point on the mainland, from which it is distributed throughout the province of Fukien and the north of Kuangtung. Everywhere it is sold by Japanese under extra-territorial protection.”

The article is rather long, and proves beyond doubt the existence of a well-organized and tremendous smuggling business, by means of which China is being deluged with morphia.

And how about Japan’s invasion of French Indochina?

At the beginning of World War 11 Indochina’s 2,500 opium dens and retail shops were still maintaining more than 100,000 addicts and providing 15 percent of all tax revenues. The French imported almost sixty tons of opium annually from Iran and Turkey to supply this vast enterprise. However, as World War 11 erupted across the face of the globe, trade routes were blocked by the battle lines and Indochina was cut off from the poppy fields in the Middle East. Following the German conquest of France in the spring of 1940 and the Japanese occupation of Indochina several months later, the British Navy imposed an embargo on shipping to Indochina. Although the Japanese military occupation was pleasant enough for most French officials who were allowed to go on administering Indochina, it created enormous problems for those who had to manage the Opium Monopoly. Unless an alternate source of opium could be found, the colony would be faced with a major fiscal crisis.

While smuggled Yunnanese opium might solve the addicts’ problem, the Opium Monopoly needed a more controllable source of supply. The only possible solution was to induce the Meo of Laos and northwest ‘Tonkin to expand their opium production, and in 1940 the Opium Monopoly proceeded to do just that.

And what do we call French Indochina today? Vietnam.

Kinda changes your view of WWII don’t it?

Now about Afghanistan?