I just saw the table of contents for the December issue of 『歴史学研究』 and noticed that Frog in a Well contributor Sasaki Kei (see his postings here) has published an essay on his research on wartime labor conscription in Japan.
I am away from libraries where I can read the article at the moment but here is the English abstract available online:
The Development of Labor Conscription Support Projects in Japan during the Asian Pacific War: A Study of National Integration
This paper examines an aspect of national integration in Japan during the Asian-Pacific War through an analysis of the development of labor conscription support projects. Prior research on wartime Japanese society has mainly focused on cultural and welfare movements, or local communities. However, few of them have paid attention to the labor conscription system, which is very important to understand Japan’s total war system.
Firstly, this article establishes that national support projects for the conscripted people and their families were developed in various ways and on a wide scale from the middle of 1943. Though prior research has emphasized the irrationality of the system of labor conscription, we demonstrate that it actually based on an elaborate mechanism.
Secondly, we examine the realities of labor conscription support projects in Osaka Prefecture, where social workers (homen iin) appointed to the Conscripts Consultation Committee (Ochoshi sodan iin) mainly engaged in the projects, and explore the various aspects of interaction between the support projects with the populace. The “effects” of support projects did not necessarily coincide with what the state intended, and the projects served as a medium for the people to achieve their demands.