For Japan, the Korean conflict was the turning point in its postwar economic development. During the first five years after its surrender, the Japanese economy languished, and was heavily dependent on American support. Then, the outbreak of the Korean War turned the economic situation around. The U.S. government at the onset of conflict made the decision to take advantage of Japan’s proximity, low costs, and recovery needs to use it as a supply base for the war effort. Consequently, the Americans made $2.37 billion worth of special procurements in the four years starting with June 1950, creating a huge demand for ammunition, trucks, uniforms, communications equipment, and other products from Japanese companies. The president of Toyota would later remark “These orders were Toyota’s salvation, I felt a mighty joy for my company and a sense of guilt that I was rejoicing over another country’s war.” The president of the Bank of Japan, drawing a comparison to the “divine wind” (kamikaze) that saved Japan from the Mongols, called the war procurement “divine aid.” Yoshida Shigeru, the dominant political figure of the era, agreed, calling the Korean War “a gift of the gods.” The war consolidated the power base of the political conservatives and helped to shape Japan’s postwar relationship with the United States. It unfortunately had a tragic consequence for the remaining Koreans in the country, who found it difficult to be repatriated to a North Korea hostile to Japan or to a devastated South Korea. They remained a marginalized and mistreated minority.
— Michael J. Seth, A History of Korea