Japanese opium policy in Taiwan (1895–1945)

Before Japan annexed Taiwan from China in 1895, Taiwan lacked an effective government capable of banning or regulating the consumption of opium. According to Japanese statistics, in 1900, there were 169,000 opium smokers in Taiwan, equivalent to 6% of the Taiwanese population. The Japanese colonial government eliminate opium use in Taiwan. (between 1895 and 1945) Japanese opium policy in Taiwan was one of the most controversial issues. For the Japanese administration, opium was both a deep-rooted problem of social control and an inviting source of revenue. The revenue from this source would help to balance a budget that remained in the red. Japanese opium policy was promoted under the administration and leadership of the East Asia Development Board (Kōain) in operation from December 1938 to November 1942.[1] The Japanese government tried to prohibit opium at first, but after encountering many difficulties, the strategy turned into one of "slow weaning" by adopting a licensing system. As a result, the number of opium smokers had decreased to 24,000 by 1929. However, as World War II progressed, opium licensing became a source of much-needed revenue for Japan's war efforts.


  1. ^ Hui-Yu Caroline Tsai, Huiyu Cai. Taiwan in Japan's empire building: an institutional approach to colonial engineering. Taylor & Francis, 2009 pp. 114 - 116. Retrieved 12 April 2010. 

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