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Creation and activity of the Japanese concessions on Northern Sakhalin in 1925-1944.



After the end of civil war and the beginning of restoration of the destroyed economy the Far East drew with one of the first regions of the country attention of soviet leadership as an object of concession policy. At the X congress of the All-Union Communist Party (bolsheviks) in March, 1921 it was specified that "those branches of the national economy which development will obviously raise the level of development of productive forces of Russia can be subjects to concessions" [11, page 566].

On January 20, 1925 in Beijing "The convention on the basic principles of relationship between the USSR and Japan" was signed. It confirmed the end of occupation of a northern part of Sakhalin by the Japanese troops and restored effect of the Portsmouth peace treaty of 1905. The famous American historian D. Stefan called this Convention "a brilliant victory of the Soviet diplomacy. Russians achieved withdrawal of the Japanese troops from Northern Sakhalin without the use of force though in 1924 many politicians believed that Japan either annexes, or will redeem this territory. Moreover, they confirmed officially the sovereign right of the USSR for this part of the island. This step dispelled hope of some Japanese circles that sometime all island of Sakhalin it is similar to ripe persimmon, will fall in a basket империи" [20, page 87].

The convention consists of seven articles of protocol "A", of five articles of protocol "B" and the short declaration. Questions which long time braked the course of negotiations in Beijing: evacuation of the Japanese troops from Northern Sakhalin, concession, are long, - found the reflection not in the main part of the convention, and in two of its protocols. In Article VI it is specified in protocol "A": "For the benefit of development of the economic relations between both countries and in view of needs of Japan concerning natural resources, the government of the USSR is ready to provide to the Japanese citizens, the companies and associations of concession on operation of mineral, forest and other natural resources throughout the USSR" [10, page 16].

All questions of the concession relations of two parties which have to be resolved within five months from the date of full evacuation of the Japanese troops from Northern Sakhalin found reflection in protocol "B" and also the main conditions of providing coal and oil concessions were formulated. The government of the USSR agreed to provide in operation coal fields on the western coast of Sakhalin and oil fields in a northern part of the island. Protocol "B" established concession term on operation of oil fields from 40 to 50 years.

On December 14, 1925 concession contracts for a period of 45 years were signed (two of them on coal mining, and one - oil). On behalf of the Soviet government the contract was signed by the chairman of VSNKh F.E. Dzerzhinsky, from the Japanese side - the admiral to Shigetsur Nakasato. Concession contracts were signed between the government of the USSR, on the one hand, and the Japanese society of the North Sakhalin oil enterprises "Keith Sagaren a sekiya to a kiga kumiay", on the other hand. Besides, contracts with the Japanese companies for development and operation of mineral resources of Northern Sakhalin were signed. Among them - firm "Keith Karafuto kogyo kabusik repent", formed by Hokusinkay consortium and being subsidiary of Mitsubishi Mining of the Company, acquired the right of development and coal mining on the Duysky field and also Sakay Kumiay which received coal concession near the Agnevo River. These fields contained about 15% of all reserves of coal explored on Sakhalin to the middle of the 20th [12, page 96]. According to conditions of the concession contract, the rent for operation of coal fields which amount was 45% of the general coal mining, and 4% - for operation of the equipment was established. Besides, the Japanese entrepreneurs had to pay 5% for each extracted 100 thousand tons of coal, and for production over 650 thousand tons - 8% [20, page 112].

In June, 1926 the Japanese formed "Keith Karafuto a Sekiya of a Kabusika Repent" (KKSKR) (North Sakhalin joint stock oil company) which was a successor to society of the North Sakhalin oil enterprises. Fixed capital of the company was 10 million yens (two hundred thousand actions on 50 yens), the paid capital - 4 million yens. "Nippon Sekiya", "Kukhara Kogio", "Mitsubishi of a Goosa", "Okura to the Godmother", "Nakano Kogio", "Matsuro Kodzan" [21, l were shareholders of society. 2]. All stocks were registered. Their holders were the Japanese citizens and legal entities with the prevailing capital of the Japanese citizens.

The general observation of work of the concession enterprises was assigned on Dalkontsessky. Preliminary conditions of concession were considered in Dalkontsesskom who presented drafts of concession contracts to Glavkontsesskom, and the contract was signed on behalf of the government [9, page 10]. Resolution of the Main concession committee (post. No. 20 of item XII) of May 8, 1926 to the Far East concession commission assigned implementation of the general observation of implementation of concession contracts. Besides, Dalkontsessk had to inform Glavkontsessk on a situation on Sakhalin.

For ensuring effective control over activity of the concession enterprises on the Soviet Sakhalin the special commission was formed. The chief of the Sakhalin mountain district (N.S. Abazov was the first chief), two of his deputies, members of narcomats of foreign affairs, work and agriculture were a part of this commission the representative from the Sakhalin revkom. Sakhrevkom's representative at the same time was the chairman of the commission, and assistants to the chief of the Mountain district exercised supervision of the coal enterprises on the west bank of Sakhalin and behind the oil enterprises on east coast of the island, [19, page 87]. Issues of labor protection and the organization of delivery of workers were under authority of the commission; control over import of the equipment and supply; observation for correct

development of fields and organization of production, safety measures; observation of the general provision on concession; the organization of the help at relationship with local authorities, etc.

On concessions the special technical commissions which part representatives from mountain supervision and the Japanese concessions - directors, geologists, drilling and operation engineers were were created. At meetings of the commission which were convened periodically production questions on protection of subsoil, the organizations of drilling operations, elimination of wells and others [6, l were considered. 35].

Between the concession enterprises and the government of Japan strong connection which was expressed in the right of the government to carry out observation of the course of production and commercial operations through the representatives were established. For example, the Japanese government received assignments from activity of the oil company in case the amount of profit exceeded 15% of the paid capital. All extracted oil was given to the Japanese sea ministry which exercised control over business activity on Northern Sakhalin.

Annually, since 1926, to Okhu there came representatives of a number of departments of Japan - sea, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, the Ministries of Trade and the industries, - which very in detail got acquainted with work of concessionaires. The consul watched closely work of concessions and relationship between the Soviet institutions and the enterprises of concessions and also activity of the Soviet oil and coal enterprises. Periodically to Northern Sakhalin there came with inspection also chairmen of KSK, for example in 1942 within a month the Chairman of society Araki Dziro [2, l carried out an inspection of work of crafts. 34].

Owing to political accent of concession case on Northern Sakhalin the special part was assigned to the representative of a narcomat of foreign affairs. In Aleksandrovsk the PEOPLE'S COMMISSARIAT FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS agency was located, and in Okh the position of authorized Aleksandrovsky agency was entered. The saved correspondence demonstrates that any question could not be submitted for consideration of a revkom or is lit in the press without preliminary coordination with the agent of People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs.

The narcomat of work informed Dalkontsesskom and the special commissions the provision on the organization of strict control of execution by concession of the Soviet legislation on work, but, at the same time, indicated the need of careful approach to concessionaires. Surveys of the concession enterprises were carried out in a planned order and, as a rule, by all types of inspections at the same time: mountain supervision, technical inspectorate, trade-union bodies, working inspection of work, but all sanctions against concessionaires and foreign workers could be carried out only with the consent of People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs [3, l. 93].

The politburo of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party (bolsheviks) made explanations to local authorities that arrest of the Japanese employees can be executed in necessary cases only with the permission of the prosecutor of USSR or the people's commissar of internal affairs in coordination with People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs and NKTP [12, page 189]. Mistrustful, captious, and sometimes hostility of local authorities towards concessionaires affected practical activities of the Japanese enterprises. The administration of concessions asked for the help the government, wrote letters to People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs and other instances. In this regard in March, 1932 from the Center to Sakhalin the telegram in which it was noted that "arrived... executive committee and other authorities... behave provocatively concerning the Japanese concessionaires and in general Japanese. The Central Committee orders... to give the immediate order to authorities on Sakhalin not to create reasons for the conflicts with Japanese and not to behave provocatively concerning Japanese at all. Not to inflate business with questions of labor protection, to punish strictly the directives of the Soviet power and contracts with Japanese which were guilty of violation" [1, page 78].

Having signed in December, 1925 concession agreements on exploration and production of oil and coal on Northern Sakhalin, the Japanese entrepreneurs hoped for fast development of works and therefore they began to hurry municipal authorities with withdrawal of sites. Transfer of coal mines of Northern Sakhalin to concession use was accompanied by the hard work of concessionaires concerning thorough inspection of fields reconstruction

miner constructions, import of the new equipment, housing-and-municipal construction. The fact that during 1925 - 1926 the production at the largest concession enterprise - the Duysky mine - was sharply reduced is explained by it. First of all the Japanese entrepreneurs carried out detailed prospecting works here. Up to the middle of 1927 in the territory of concessions the geological expedition of the Imperial university under the leadership of professor to S. Shimidz worked. On the basis of reports of an expedition detailed maps of Duysky and Agnevsky fields were made. A part of information collected by the Japanese researchers was transferred to an expedition of the Soviet geologists headed by professor A.N. Krishtofovich during the same period investigating coal stocks of Northern Sakhalin [14, page 24].

Works on land surveying of oil sites began summer of 1926 after arrival to Sakhalin of the special geological commission led by the large specialist in oil N.S. Abazov. During a season

1926 in coordination with the Japanese administration on concessions of work were conducted on three sites. On Okhinsky oil concession the otvodchik Parakhin, on Nutovsky - Pavlov, on Boatasinsky - N.K. Surevich [22, l was engaged in withdrawal of sites. 176]. In 1926 the Japanese oil company began investigation of the sites allocated to it. However rates of development of prospecting works were extremely low. On February 21, 1927 was

Table 1. Dynamics of production and export of coal from the Duysky mine in 1929-1934

Years Indicators

Production (t) Export (t) export % of production

1928 - 1929 115.500 110.551 95.7
1929 - 1930 116.500 118.866 102.0
1930 - 1931 131.700 120.683 91.6
1931 - 1932 127.700 130.335 102.1
1932 - 1933 135.100 125.455 92.9
1933 - 1934 130.000 116.623 89.7

In total 756.500 722.513 95.5

the Table is made by

on the basis of: GASO. T. 54. Op. 1. 175. L. 289 - 302.

the additional agreement with the Japanese oil joint-stock company "Keith Karafuto a sekiya of a kabusika is concluded repent" about allocation of the territory in 1000 of sq. versts on east coast of Northern Sakhalin. To the concessionaire for carrying out prospecting and search works it was allocated in a 1000-vyorstny strip of 11 prospecting areas from which only three (Northern Okh, Ekhabi-2 and Katangli-1) were divided and put into operation [17, l. 1]. In only 5.5 years the Japanese geologists explored 100

During the period from 1934 to 1936 the Japanese government repeatedly brought up a question of extension of prospecting works. So, in 1934 the Japanese concessionaires were granted the right to be engaged in investigation on east coast of Northern Sakhalin on the area of 1000 versts. In July, 1936. The politburo of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party (bolsheviks), having considered a question of the Japanese oil concession on Sakhalin, adopted the resolution in which it was provided, first, "to recognize as expedient in the forthcoming negotiations with the admiral Sakondzi to agree with extension of term of prospecting works on the Japanese oil concession till December, 1941; secondly, to allow production of prospecting works under general conditions on... four undersized sites of the Japanese oil concession; thirdly to allow production of prospecting works in three not begun areas of concession yet, namely: Chemerni - Dagui, Chakra - Nampi and Vengri - Big Huzi [1, page 128, 164]. In October, 1936 the additional agreement which prolonged the term of carrying out prospecting works for 5 years [15, l was signed. 26]. In 1937 the withdrawal of the areas was stopped. Thus, from 1929 for 1937 only 24 prospecting space with the general surface of 233 were reserved, i.e. about 20% are covered with prospecting branches. Other territory of areas as geologists of concessions was considered as not valuable concerning industrial oil-bearing capacity. The largest amount of works on withdrawal of the prospecting areas was observed in 1930, 1933, 1934, 1937 when during a season about 3 - 5 areas including from 31.5 to 42 of the territory [4, l were allocated. 4].

According to members of the commission on observation of concessions, along with research the Japanese entrepreneurs got to preparatory work on coal mining and oil. 1925 -

1927 were preparatory to start coal mining on the Japanese concessions. Follows from archival documents that during this period on mines a large number of the mine equipment was delivered, works on mechanization of the mine began, two shipping conveyors are installed, loading works were improved, construction of power plant, housing [16, l began. 86]. Therefore rates of coal mining on the concession mine these years were rather low as all production and administration premises and also warehouses and pier, were on reconstruction. A serious problem for the Japanese concessionaires was the lack of the port allowing to carry out smoothly loading and unloading works therefore considerable funds were allocated by concessionaires for reconstruction of port.

In the next years the volume of production began to increase promptly. Contemporary records demonstrate that till 1931 the concession Due mine advanced all mines of the Soviet Sakhalin on coal mining. Only since 1932 the coal-mining enterprises of Sakhalinugol trust for total volumes of extraction of mineral fuel began to surpass the concession enterprise.

Since 1929 work of coal concessions concentrates only on the Duysky mine. Production at other concession enterprise - the Agnevo mine - was not begun. This results from the fact that the organization of production demanded considerable capital investments here that was during this period unprofitable for the Japanese entrepreneurs. A number of circumstances did not allow to organize work on coal mining on the Agnevsky mine. First, considerable capital investments purposefully went for reconstruction of the Duysky mine, and works on production and construction of port in Agnevo was postponed for the uncertain future. Secondly, active supply of coal to Japan from colonies. Only since 1935 in Japan, in connection with activization of its foreign policy, there were additional requirements for the coal necessary for strategically important industries. Then the Mitsubishi Mining of the Company management returned to consideration of a question of commissioning of the Agnevsky field. However the Soviet part in October, 1937 unilaterally declared elimination of concession in Agnevo and transition of the mine to Narkomat's maintaining of the coal industry [16, l. 117]. In 1939 it was a part of Sakhalinugol trust and in small volumes began to give coal.

Since 1927 coal mining at the reconstructed Duysky concession enterprise began to increase and in the next three years made 363.700 t that exceeded production on mines of the Soviet Sakhalin more, than twice. Growth of volumes of production, increase in labor productivity of miners, increase in profitability of the concession enterprise testified to rather successful organization of work on the Duysky mine. It was reached thanks to rationally organized process of production and shipment of coal on Duysky raid. Introduction of technical devices on the concession mine allowed to increase production capacities, increasing the performance and volumes of coal mining. Thanks to successful work of the Duysky mine the Japanese entrepreneurs could carry out uninterrupted supply of mineral fuel to Japan.

Dynamics of oil production is connected with active conducting prospecting drilling. In 1926 - 1927, works on drilling were almost not conducted, except for the fact that in 1926 the drilling of earlier begun wells ended. Organizational works on expansion of by-pass activity and preparation for well-drilling on new branches were carried out to this period. And only in 1928 the drilling which in escalating sizes continued till 1937 began (with 62.5 m on 2937.2 m). Since 1935, works on drilling are reduced and during a summer season of 1937 completely stop at the initiative of concessionaires [4, l. 6].

From all sites provided to Japan under the contract, petroleum producers conducted oil production mainly on the Okhinsky field which was the most perspective. The managing director of the Sakhalin trust Sakhalinneft V.A. Miller in the report "The main ideas about work of Sakhalinneft" noted that in 1925 on the Okhinsky field the Japanese extracted 832 t of oil [6, l. 40]. Japanese forced oil production in the area especially in the first years of the activity [7, l.262 about.]. In 1926 - 1928 22 wells (in 1926 - 4 wells, in 1927 - 7, and in 9 months 1928 - 11) on which were drilled

it was got on average from 17.27 thousand on 64.5 thousand poods of oil. In general, increase in amount of oil for 1926 -

1928 142% [6, l made. 43, 49].

Table 2. Dynamics of oil production by Japanese on Northern Sakhalin

Years Oil production (thousand tons) Specific weight in the general production (%)

1927 77.0 100
1928 121.0 99.68
1929 150.0 85.2
1930 196.3 67
1931 200.0 58.8
1932 184.0 50.2
1933 195.5 49.3
1934 171.3 41.5
1935 157.8 39.8
1936 161.1 34.4
1937 127.3 28.1
1938 118.4 26.3
1939 57.4 13.5
1940 43.7 13.0
1941 51.7 13.4
1942 17.0 6.0

Note: made on the basis of: STsDNI. F. P-4. Op. 1. 11. L. 124 - 125; HA COKM. T. 1. Op. 3. 27. L. 12.; GAHK. T. 353. Op. 1. 714. L. 24; V.I. Remizovsky. To a question of volume

the extracted oil//the Bulletin of the Sakhalin museum. Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk,

2000. No. 7. Page 401.

The statistical data given above demonstrate that action of the concession contract provided broad lands for oil production to the Japanese oil industry workers who successfully operated the rented sites, getting the maximum profit, not making considerable costs of technical equipment of oil fields. In 1936 - 1942 the big gap in the specific weight of the general Japanese oil production in comparison with 1927 - 1935 which was caused by reduction in production because of strengthening of repressive policy from the Soviet part and positions of the Soviet oil trust was observed. The reasons of decrease in volumes of the Japanese oil production had objective and subjective character. First, by 1937 the prospecting works determining oil production growth were stopped; secondly, hopes of Japanese to receive free Russian oil sites in concession were not equaled; thirdly, a complication of the relations between the USSR and Japan and requirements of the Soviet government to liquidate concessions; fourthly, plans of the Japanese concessionaires to create joint oil trust on Northern Sakhalin broke. In 1927 from the director of society "Keith Karafuto a sekiya of a kabusika repent" Shimamura the offer on creation of the mixed trust came to the address of Sakhalinneft trust. An object of a trestirovaniye were the Soviet and Japanese sites. From Glavkontsesskom the telegram forbidding to conduct any negotiations on the matter with Japanese [8, l arrived. 84, 86].

Since the end of the 30th of concession began to serve as a subject of a dispute and friction as between concessionaires and administration of the Soviet Sakhalin, and between the governments. About it initiatives of the Soviet part of 1937 to termination of concession contracts [5, l demonstrate. 93]. In 1940 in connection with preparation for signing of the pact on a neutrality between the USSR and Japan the project of elimination of coal concessions was considered, however, from the beginning of war between the USSR and Germany the discussion of this question was temporarily stopped. Fundamental change in the Great Patriotic War allowed the Soviet part to insist on elimination of the Japanese concessions. By the end of 1943 the production activity of the concession enterprises on Sakhalin was preserved. On March 30, 1944 in Moscow "The protocol concerning transfer of the Japanese concessions on Northern Sakhalin" on which oil and coal concessions were liquidated was signed. The Soviet part received all production objects and technical documentation to them, the equipment and objects of civil engineering [10, page 30]. As compensation of the USSR paid to the Japanese government 5 million rubles (950 thousand an amer. dollars) also undertook to sell to Japan 50 thousand metric tons of crude oil from Okhinsky wells within 5 years after the end of war [21, l. 93].

Thus, activity of the Japanese concessions on Northern Sakhalin in the middle of 20 - the beginning of 40 promoted maintenance of normal functioning of coal and oil industry, pushed to creation of the state trusts Sakhalinugol and Sakhalinneft. Japan received a large amount of oil and coal which went generally to satisfaction of needs of the military of the fleet, aircraft and the Japanese industry from the Sakhalin fields. Production of oil, coal on Sakhalin increased while own developments and production were reduced. Existence of the concession enterprises on Northern Sakhalin was essential help in life support of the Soviet part of the island. To some extent coal and oil concessions were an important source of foreign currency as payments to the state were made in

Japanese yens and U.S. dollars. The relations between the Japanese concessionaires and local authorities remained intense as both parties considered the situation temporary and tried to strengthen the positions due to weakening of the opposite side.


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Georg Helmuth
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