Japanese Administration in the Netherlands East Indies

Before the outbreak of war the Japanese authorities in Tokyo had already divided the administrative responsibility for the occupied Netherlands East Indies among the Army and the Navy. The borders between the areas assigned to the Army and Navy were not very clearly drawn, and in order to facilitate combined operations several places in the area administered by the Navy also had an Army garrison. The Imperial Japanese Navy assigned the Southwestern Fleet to administer the area under naval responsibility (Minseibu), which included the islands of Borneo, Celebes, the Moluccas, the Lesser Sunda Islands and New Guinea. The Fleet had its headquarters in Makassar, Celebes.
The Army was assigned the densely-populated islands of Java and Sumatra. Java was placed under the responsibility of the 16th Army, which was commanded during the occupation by Lt. Gen. Imamura Hitoshi (March - November 1942), Lt. Gen. Harada Kumakishi (November 1942 - April 1945) and Nagano Yosiuchi (April - September 1945). In Sumatra the 25th Army administered the occupation from Bukittinggi (Fort de Kock). The 25th Army commanders during the occupation were Lt. Gen. Saito Yaheita (March 1942-March 1943) and Tanabe Moritake (March 1943 - September 1945). The Supreme Commander of the Southern Expeditionary Army Group (Nanyo) was Field Marshal Terauchi Hisaichi. He received his instructions directly from Imperial General Headquarters in Tokyo. Over the course of the war he moved his own headquarters from Saigon to Singapore, then to Manila and finally back to Saigon.
Mid-1942 - in Java on 1 August - the Army transferred its administrative control to the Japanese Military Administration, or Gunseibu. In the Naval occupation zone, the Department of Naval Civil Administration was responsible for implementing the occupation. The Gunseibu was a civil administration bureau staffed by Japanese officials with technical, economic and legal backgrounds, but which was run on military lines. The Commander of the occupational forces was officially responsible for civil affairs, but in practice he delegated much of his work to his Chief of Staff. The mission of the Military Administration was to maintain order, exploit the area's natural resources and make the occupying forces as self-sufficient as possible. The Japanese military police force, Kempetai, was responsible for enforcing Japanese orders. They were in turn supported by the Indonesian officials of the Politieke Inlichtingen Dienst (Political Intelligence Service, or PID). The PID had originally been a part of the Netherlands East Indies police force, where it was responsible for monitoring Indonesian nationalists.


I.J. Brugmans, H.J. de Graaf, A.H. Joustra en A.G. Vromans, Nederlandsch-Indië onder Japanse bezetting. Gegevens en documenten over de jaren 1942-1945 (Franeker, 1960)
D. van Velden, De Japanse interneringskampen voor burgers gedurende de Tweede Wereldoorlog (Franeker, 1985)

Information a.o. in:

Access Number 2.22.21, 808 to 824 (Documents originating from the Swedisch Consulats of Batavia and Surabaya) Riksarkivet Stockholm Zweden
Access Number 2.10.14, inv.no. 5192, 5196, 5197, 5199, 5203, 5212 and 5216
Access Number 2.10.62, inv.no. 2339, 2341, 2348, 2350 and 2355 (Indies resistance)
Access Number 2.12.27, inv.no. 58
Access Number 2.12.37, inv.no. 254 to 258 (Samenvatting van de belangrijkste gegevens uit Inlichtingenrapporten inzake N.I.)

Available in the reading room:

Access Number 2.10.62, inv.no. 44 to 56 (Interrogation reports and compilations of interrogation reports drawn up by NEFIS concerning military, political and economic developments in the Netherlands East Indies, with maps 1944 1945).
Access Number 2.12.37, inv.no. 327 to 331 (Interrogation reports drawn up by NEFIS, 1944-1945)

See also:

- Japanese Internment Camps