Japanese Occupation of Indonesia 1942-45

21 December 2015 - dalam History Oleh azro_el-fib11

The Japanese invaded Indonesia on January 10, 1942 and went first for the oil installations at Tarakan and Balikpapan on Kalimantan and at Palembang in southern Sumatra. By the end of February they had defeated the Dutch fleet in the Java Sea. The Japanese occupied much of Sumatra and invaded Java in March. The Dutch refused to collaborate with the Japanese as the French had in Indochina. Instead they signed an unconditional surrender on March 8, and Governor-General van Starkenborgh was arrested. Japan’s 25th Army occupied Sumatra, and their 16th Army was stationed in Java and Madura; their navy controlled eastern Indonesia and Kalimantan (Borneo). During the next year about 170,000 Europeans were interned, including 65,000 Dutch military and 25,000 Allied soldiers. About a quarter of the men and about an eighth of the women and children interned would die by 1945. In February 1942 in Acheh the ulamas began sabotaging the Dutch and killing the administrators, and they welcomed the Japanese; but in March they began a general revolt that lasted until November. The Japanese army put down revolutions and executed the leaders. They forced thousands of “comfort women” to serve them.

The Japanese imposed military law and enforced colonial laws. They banned the use of Dutch and English and tried to promote Japanese, but for their propaganda to reach people they had to use Indonesian. All political activities and associations were banned as the Japanese set up their own organizations, starting with the Triple A Movement praising Japan as the “light of Asia, leader of Asia, and protector of Asia.” When this failed, the Japanese turned to Indonesian leaders. Hatta had just written an article urging they resist the Japanese; but in March he decided to cooperate rather than be punished. Sukarno joined Hatta and Sjahrir in Jakarta in July 1942, and they collaborated with the Japanese in order to work for independence. Sukarno got a commission appointed in September to study Indonesian customary laws, and it became an advisory council to the military government.

Amir Sjarifuddin organized a resistance movement, but in January 1943 he and 53 others were arrested. Several leaders were executed, but Sukarno and Hatta persuaded the Japanese to commute Amir’s death sentence to life imprisonment. The Japanese formed the Center of People’s Power (Putera) in March 1943 and used Sukarno, Hatta, Dewantara, and Mas Mansur of Muhammadiyah as its leaders. Sukarno urged people to support the occupying Japanese because they had freed Indonesia from “centuries of slavery.” Military governor General Yamamoto Moichiro arrived in March and made it clear the only cooperation he wanted from the Indonesians was in helping the Japanese to win the war.

On May 13 a secret conference in Tokyo resolved to incorporate Indonesia into the Japanese empire. Yamamoto began censoring the press and Sukarno’s speeches. On June 15 Prime Minister Tojo told the Japanese Diet that the Javanese should be allowed to cooperate in the government. In mid-1943 the Japanese began training Indonesian youths as auxiliaries (Heiho), and by 1945 there were 25,000. Muslims refused to declare a holy war in support of the Japanese, and they insisted on using Arabic in their schools; but they had to teach Japanese too. The requirement of bowing toward the Emperor in Tokyo was offensive to Muslims, and it was dropped from religious meetings. In October the MIAI held its only congress during the occupation in order to dissolve itself, and in November the Japanese created the Indonesian Muslim Council (Mayumi) for all the Muslims.

Japan did not consider Indonesia prepared for independence, but they appointed Sukarno chairman of a Central Advisory Board in Jakarta. In November 1943 Sukarno, Hatta, and Muhammadiyah chairman Ki Bagus Hadikusumo were flown to Tokyo and were decorated by Emperor Hirohito. Allied submarines blockaded Indonesia and so trading with Japan was minimal. Agriculture shifted to more food production to feed the Japanese military, and rubber production fell by 80%. Yet food requisitioning, forced labor, and poor distribution led to famines in 1944 and 1945, causing about 2,400,000 deaths. The Japanese estimated that 270,000 peasants were sent to foreign labor camps, some as far away as Burma, and only about 70,000 survived. In his autobiography Sukarno admitted that he used propaganda to enlist workers (romushas) into this slave labor under miserable conditions.

The Japanese formed a volunteer army of Indonesians that reached 37,000 men in Java and 20,000 in Sumatra. Those and the youths in the Protectors of the Homeland (Peta) were trained to resist an Allied invasion with guerrilla warfare. Putera was replaced by the Java Service Association (Jawa Hokokai) for everyone over fourteen years of age in January 1944. That month Zainal Mustafa led five hundred Muslims against the Japanese near Tasikmalaja for a few days. Peasants at Priangan rebelled against rice requisitioning in February, but the Japanese brutally suppressed them. A botched experiment with tetanus injections caused the death of more than 5,000 workers outside Jakarta.

Japan’s Prime Minister Koiso Kuniaki promised the East Indies independence on September 7, 1944 without setting a date, and that month Americans landed on Morotai in eastern Indonesia. The Japanese gave the Indonesians permission to fly their flag and sing their national anthem, and rallies and processions celebrated the promise of independence. In November the Central Advisory Committee adopted the five duties (pantja dharma) of the Indonesian people that merged the goal of independence with loyalty to the Japanese empire, and Sukarno began promoting this propaganda. Vice Admiral Maeda Tadashi founded a school for Indonesian independence in December, and he financed speaking tours in Java; Sukarno spoke on politics, and Hatta lectured on economics and cooperatives.

In February 1945 the Japanese let their Muslim organization Masjumi begin training volunteers for the Army of God (Hizbullah), and by the end of the war they had 50,000 members. On February first a Peta battalion led by Lt. Suprijadi killed some Japanese soldiers at Blitar in eastern Java; 68 were court martialled, and eight were executed. On May 1 the Allies invaded eastern Borneo at Tarakan. Youth organizations met at Bandung in May and decided to challenge the Japanese with the slogan “independence or death.”

The Japanese formed an Investigating Committee for Preparatory Work for Indonesian Independence (BPKI), and 62 nationalist leaders met in late May with Radjiman Wediodiningrat as chairman. On June 1 Sukarno made a speech in which he recommended five principles (pantja sila). He had been strongly influenced by the three principles of Sun Yat-sen—nationalism, socialism, and democracy. He got humanitarianism from Gandhi and belief in God from his Muslim background. The first principle of national unity meant independence, and the second principle of humanitarianism expanded this to internationalism as well. For Sukarno democracy was representation, deliberation, and consensus. Social justice, the fourth, meant social and economic rights as well as political ones, and the fifth principle, belief in God, included tolerance of all religions. These five were unified by the Indonesian principle of mutual help (gotong rojong).

On July 2 the youth (pemuda) formed the New People’s Movement (Gerakan Rakjat Baroe). The Japanese tried to control them but failed to unite the youth groups. The BPKI met and voted 55-6 for a republic rather than a monarchy. The Committee drew up Indonesia’s first constitution for a unified republic with a powerful president. They included Malaya as well as all of Borneo, Timor, and New Guinea. Muslims complained and insisted on the president being a Muslim and the obligation of Muslims to carry out Islamic law. Sukarno persuaded the delegates to accept this Jakarta Charter. On August 7 the Japanese in Saigon announced that the BPKI was replaced by the 21 members of the Preparatory Committee of Indonesian Independence (PPKI). Sukarno, Hatta, and Radjiman were flown to Saigon, and they met with Field Marshal Terauchi Hisaichi in Dalat on August 11. He promised them independence but without Malaya, British (northern) Borneo, and Portuguese (eastern) Timor. Sukarno was appointed chairman of the Preparatory Committee with Hatta as vice-chairman.

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