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Historical Materials Related to Taking Over of Japanese-owned Properties

Historical Materials Related to Taking Over of Japanese-owned Properties In the Organic Act of the Ministry of Finance amended in 1936, it was stipulated that the Taxation Administration shall be in charge of the management and evaluation of national properties. However, the evolution of the National Property Administration (NPA) to date mainly results from Japanese-owned properties in Taiwan that were taken over by the Republic of China Government after the War of Resistance Against Japan. In March 1944, the R.O.C. Government set up the “Taiwan Investigation Commission” under the Central Design Bureau which focused on post-war reconstruction work. In October 1944, Chen Yi, Chairman of the Taiwan Investigation Commission, submitted the “Highlights of Taiwan Takeover Plan (Draft)” to the R.O.C. Government. With respects to lands, Section 16 of the Draft stipulated that “Those government-owned and public-owned lands during the Japanese occupation period, and other lands that shall be returned to the nation, shall be returned to the nation after taking over Taiwan. As for urban lands, they shall be planned and used by the land administration offices.” On August 15, 1945, Japan announced its unconditional surrender. On October 25, 1945, Taiwan was retroceded, and Japan-owned public and private properties in Taiwan were taken over by the R.O.C. Government. Since Japan had ruled Taiwan for 50 years, the work of take-over properties was extremely heavy. Therefore, under the Taiwan Provincial (Military) Take-Over Commission jointly formed by the Taiwan Provincial Administrative Executive Office and the Taiwan Garrison Command (TCG), the Japanese-Owned Property Disposal Committee was specially set up, consisting of the Secretarial Office, Accounting Office, Investigation Team, Review Team, and Disposal Team, as well as 17 branches in 17 counties and cities, respectively, to be jointly responsible for property take-over work and formulation of relevant laws and regulations. The Taiwan Provincial (Military) Take-Over Commission began its operations in November 1945, and was mainly responsible for taking over Japanese-owned public properties. In January 1946, the R.O.C. Government began to repatriate a total of 292,713 Japanese nationals and began to take over Japanese-owned private properties. Accordingly, the Japanese-Owned Property Disposal Committee was established under Taiwan Provincial (Military) Take-Over Commission, which was responsible for disposal of the Japanese-owned properties taken over. Due to the heavy work load on the property sale through tendering and liquidation business, the Japanese-Owned Property Sale-Through-Tendering Committee, and the Japanese-Owned Property Liquidation Committee, were established on July 1, 1946. In April 1947, the repatriation of Japanese expatriates was put to an end, and the take-over of Japanese-owned properties was also completed. Therefore, the work of Japanese-Owned Property Disposal Committee and its subordinate agencies was finalized. From May 1947 onwards, the Japanese-Owned Property Clearance Office was set up separately to continue the clearance of public properties. Additionally, a Japanese-Property Clearance Deliberation Committee was set up to review matters and disputes related to the clearance of Japanese-owned properties. As for the business of valuation basis and sale of premise, the Public Property and Object Settlement Committee was commissioned to take charge of the handling thereof. In November 1949, the Taiwan Provincial Government merged and reorganized the Japanese-Owned Property Clearance Office and the Public Property and Object Settlement Committee into the Taiwan Provincial Public Property Management Office, which was subordinate to the Finance Department of the Taiwan Provincial Government, and was in charge of matters of public property clean-up and Japanese-owned properties clearance, so as to unify the authority, expedite the sale of premises and bases, and review property rights cases. In addition to the Taiwan Provincial Public Property Management Office, the Taiwan Provincial Government also set up a Public Property Management Deliberation Committee, while setting up Public Property Offices (Sections) in each county and city government (bureau). In July 1952, the Public Property Offices (Sections) of all county and city governments (bureaus) handed over the outstanding business of leasing and selling premises and lands to the Finance Department. In September 1952, the Taiwan Provincial Public Property Management Office ended its operations, and the business of the public property administrative department was transferred to the Public Property Office of the Finance Department. Also, the outstanding business of the clearance of Japanese-owned properties was handed over to the Public Property Substitute Management Department of the Land Bank of Taiwan. In December 1952, the Public Property Management Review Committee also concluded the related business. In July 1952, the Land Bank of Taiwan was ordered to take over the business of lease and sale of Japanese-owned premises and bases in nine counties and cities (bureaus), including Taipei City, and the Public Property Substitute Management Department was approved to undertake such business. In December 1960, the National Property Bureau (NPB) was officially established (which was adjusted to the National Property Administration (NPA) on January 1, 2013). Then, all the administrative business of clearance of Japanese-owned properties was taken over by the NPB. The Japanese-owned properties taken over by the Taiwan Provincial Government consisted of three types: Japanese government public properties, Japanese private properties, and Japanese corporate properties: As for Japanese government public properties, once such properties were registered with a Japanese-owned property disposal agency, they were handed over to the competent financial authority. Those public properties taken over by the central government belonged to the nation, constituting the main source of national public use properties. Those properties once owned by the Sotokufu before being taken over by the provincial agencies and schools, belonged to the Province. Those properties once owned by county departments before taken over by the county and city governments, belonged to the county and city governments. As for Japanese private properties, what was taken over, including real properties, was a total of more than 20,000 buildings and nearly 20,000 “jia” (a measurement unit for area) of lands, as well as movable property such as factory equipment, raw materials and finished products, transportation equipment and repair tools, etc. All properties taken over were valued at approximately 1.4 billion old Taiwan dollars. Such properties, after taken over, were handed over for disposal, and any remaining properties after disposal and lease constitute one of the sources of national non-public use properties today. As for Japanese corporate properties, they consisted of three types of ownership: purely Japanese-funded enterprises, Japanese-Taiwan jointly-funded enterprises, and non-Japanese-funded enterprises. Those properties owned by purely Japanese-funded enterprises were nationalized; those properties owned by non-Japanese-funded enterprises were returned to their original shareholders; and those properties owned by Japanese-Taiwan jointly-funded enterprises were disposed by being partially nationalized (for the part of property representing Japanese shares), and by partially being returned to, or exchanged for new shares for, their original shareholders of Taiwanese nationals, based on the capital compositions determined via the disposal. Various cooperative organizations established during the Japanese occupation period were in the form of cooperatives or farmers’ associations. Where they were Japanese-Taiwan jointly-funded, they could continue to operate through reorganization in accordance with the Cooperatives Act, provided any Japanese shares in such organizations were liquidated and removed from the organizations. According to statistics, 1,265 Japanese enterprises were taken over, including 643 purely Japanese-funded enterprises and 622 Japanese-Taiwan jointly-funded enterprises, with a value of over 1.8 billion old Taiwan dollars. All take-over enterprises were nationalized, except for those allocated for public operation or transferred to various agencies, which also made up one of the sources of existing national non-public use properties. Before the Japanese expatriates were repatriated, some Japanese donated or sold their properties to the public, free of charge or at a lower price, or used their properties to offset their debts. There were also a few Taiwanese civilians who tried to illegally take possession of the properties by altering the date of the contract. All these hidden properties must be recovered. From 1950 to 1952, a total of 898 cases were deliberated by the Taiwan Provincial Public Property Management Office, where 508 cases had valid property rights, 351 cases had invalid property rights, and the remaining 39 cases were unable to be determined, due to a lack of strong supporting documents. Taiwan was the springboard for Japan’s southward advance policy, which was also an important relay for military supplies. Therefore, after Japan withdrew from Taiwan, many rumors among the people indicated the possibility of materials and resources buried underground and in ports by the Japanese government. In June 1947, according to the provisions of an order from the Executive Yuan, it was approved that such materials and resources were not regarded as enemy properties, and would be disposed of by the Taiwan Provincial Government. However, military supplies should be reported for disposal, and sunken ships should be handled in accordance with the provisions of the shipwreck salvage method. Dating back to early stages, applications for excavation of sunken properties were accepted by the Ministry of National Defense (MND) and police agencies, and the National Property Administration (NPA) had no information about the excavation results. From 1960 to 1991, 39 applications were approved for the applicants to conduct their own excavation, yet nothing was found out of such excavations. In Taiwan Province, the Japanese-Owned Property Disposal Committee, Japanese-Owned Property Clearance Office, and Taiwan Provincial Public Property Management Office successively drafted, stipulated, supplemented, or interpreted more than 300 laws and regulations related to the disposal of Japanese-owned properties. All such laws and regulations were compiled in print of into a total of four collections of “Compilation of Laws and Regulations on Clearing Japanese-Owned Properties in Taiwan Province” and “Compilation of Laws and Regulations on Managing Public Properties in Taiwan Province” and “Compilation of Laws and Regulations on Disposing of Japanese-Properties in Taiwan Province”. As for situations of acceptance and disposal of Japanese-owned properties, a “Statistical Report on the Disposal of Japanese-Owned Properties in Taiwan Province” was compiled in print by the Public Property Substitute Management Department of Land Bank of Taiwan in March 1954. Due to the large quantity, locations, and diverse types of Japanese-owned properties taken over, the work of take-over, clearance, management, and disposal was cumbersome. Meanwhile, laws and regulations were not thorough at the time, and management became difficult. According to the resolution of the Supervisory Yuan, it was advisable for national properties to be managed by a special agency set up by the central government. On December 12, 1960, the National Property Bureau (NPB) was formally established, subordinate to the Ministry of Finance, which was in charge of national property management. On January 27, 1969, the National Property Act, was promulgated by the government, which further legalized the management of national properties domestically.