Section 5. Wartime Research and Production

Item 9. Aircraft Development and Production

Establishment of Tokai Hikoki Co., Ltd.

On June 19, 1942, Toyota Motor Co., Ltd. and Kawasaki Aircraft Co., Ltd. received from Japan's Army Air Headquarters a proposal to establish an aircraft manufacturing company. This approach was motivated by observation of the automobile industry's mass production technology. The army's proposal envisaged the establishment of a new company to mass-produce aircraft engines in a joint venture between Toyota Motor Co., Ltd. and Kawasaki Aircraft.

In preparation for the establishment of the new company, Toyota Motor Co., Ltd. set up an aircraft department in the same month. On August 18, the Tokai Air Industry Company Founders' Meeting was organized jointly with Kawasaki Aircraft, and on December 18 an application for the establishment of Tokai Air Industry Company and associated business license was submitted to the relevant government authority, the Ministry of Communications, and to the Development Bureau of the Ministry of War.

On December 29, 1942, the army (which was in a hurry to build a plant) answered that the need to create a company was established. In response, a general meeting for the establishment of the Tokai Air Industry Company was held on February 18, 1943. On March 15, a provisional aircraft manufacturing business license was granted by the Aviation Bureau of the Ministry of Communications. On the 17th of the same month, an order for the construction of the Kariya Plant was received in the name of the Ministry of War.

The Tokai Air Industry Company, whose establishment was registered on March 19, applied to the Minister of Communications on the 31st of the same month for an aircraft manufacturing business license, which was granted on April 1. However, after the registration, it was discovered that a company of the same name existed. On April 8, the company name was therefore changed to Tokai Hikoki Co., Ltd.

Tokai Hikoki had capital of 50 million yen (including 12.5 million yen paid-in capital), of which 60 percent was provided by Toyota Motor Co., Ltd. and 40 percent by Kawasaki Aircraft. The head office was located at Yotsuya 3-chome in Tokyo's Yotsuya-ku (now part of Shinjuku-ku). Kiichiro Toyoda was appointed president and Higuma Ikenaga managing director. While keeping open the option of future production of a water-cooled engine, Tokai Hikoki initially set out plans for the manufacture of 300 units a month of an air-cooled engine, the Ha-13A-2.1 Subsequently, on October 2, 1943-while the plant was under construction-the plan was changed to manufacture of the Ha-1402 water-cooled engine.3

Based on a construction order from March 17, 1943, plant construction began on a 99,000m2 site adjacent to the Toyoda Machine Works, Ltd. site at Shigehara in the municipality of Kariya. The Tokai Hikoki Kariya Plant was completed on March 31, 1944. Built for the manufacture of machine tools and jigs for aircraft engine production, the plant had products in common with Toyoda Machine Works. The height and the orientation of its buildings were aligned with those of the latter's plant as part of measures to enable the two companies' plants to be amalgamated in the event of future expansion.

Next, following an order from November 18, 1943, the construction of Tokai Hikoki's Koromo Plant was begun on a site of around 660,000m2 on the north side of Koromogahara Airfield. The first phase of construction, the foundry, was completed at the end of September 1944. Under the controlled economy of the time, it was difficult for private-sector enterprises to procure capital and materials, and Tokai Hikoki thus depended on the Ministry of Munitions to secure the site, building, machinery and all other plant facilities. The plant was operated by a private-sector enterprise under an arrangement known as 'government establishment with private operation'.

However, although the foundry had been completed, there was no schedule in place for construction of the machining plant. According to the 'specifications of Ha-140 gear wheel machine tools' drawn up by the gear wheel section of Toyota Motor Co., Ltd. in February 1944, 292 machine tools for processing gear wheels were required for monthly production of 200 units of the Ha-140 engine, but only 81 were due for delivery by the end of 1944, and the latest ones were not due for delivery until five years later in March 1949. There was only one solution: in October 1944, Tokai Hikoki's Koromo Plant began provisional manufacture of the light alloy cast parts for the Ha-13A-2 engine which was produced at Toyota Motor Co., Ltd.'s Aircraft Plant.

A situation then developed whereby Tokai Hikoki had to move from the Koromo Plant. The Nagoya engine plant of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. suffered heavy damage in an air raid on December 13, 1944, and was bombed again on December 22. As a result, the plant had to be evacuated and Tokai Hikoki's Koromo Plant was chosen as the site for its relocation. From the 27th of the same month, the private-sector operation of the Tokai Hikoki Koromo Plant (light alloy foundry) was transferred to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (Nagoya Metal Works), and it was operated as Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Works No. 22.

With this development, preparations for the production of the Ha-140 engine at the Tokai Hikoki Koromo Plant came to an effective halt.4 Moreover, the machine tools of the Kariya Plant were placed under the management of Toyota Motor Co., Ltd.'s Aircraft Plant and were used to process parts for the Ha-13A-2 engine.

Thus, due to changes in army policy, the war ended with Tokai Hikoki yet having to start proper production.5

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