After the capitulation of the Dutch East Indies on March 8, 1942, the Japanese occupiers tried to erase all traces of the colonial era and Western culture. The Dutch East Indies becomes a war economy, which increasingly deteriorates, and the population faces scarcity, poverty, and eventually also famine.

Before the war, the Dutch Government had taken care to ensure that there was enough rice for the population. In case of poor harvests, rice was imported. However, due to the destruction of ports, the so-called "Outer Regions" could no longer receive rice and salt from Java.

In Java, there was no coal for the industry and the railways from the "Outer Provinces". Import and export were prohibited between the 17 "self-sufficient areas" (as classified by the Japanese).

All forests on the mountain slopes were cut down by the Jap. As a result, there were poorer rice harvests and heavier river floods during the rainy season.

Supplies were stored in tunnels. And everything had to be done to sustain the Japanese army. The Japanese neglected the economic infrastructure of Java, the railway network, and the irrigation works, which had been the pride of the Dutch.

This structure, established to serve the plantation economy, was also an essential network for the food supply and provision for the Indonesian population.

War took precedence over agriculture, coffee, rubber, and tea trees were cut down. Also trees and bushes of other food crops, because of the lack of fuel. Many fields lay fallow, causing severe food shortages. Even the farmers had to serve the Japanese. Shortly after the invasion, the population had to give rice to the Japanese at low prices. And soon there was a great shortage of everything.

Throughout the entire war, Indonesians would play an ambivalent role; at times they were protectors of their former employers, but there are also examples in which they acted as ruthless camp guards and torture companions of the Japanese. (Voices fall silent...)