How did the Taiwanese end up in SE Asia with some later sent to concentration camps in Australia and finally repatriated to Taiwan?
This odyssey goes back to 1936 when 台灣拓殖株式會社Taiwan Takushoku Co was created. In fact, the origin of this organization can be traced back to 三五會社SanGo Co founded in 1902.
The 下関条約Shimonoseki Treaty agreed upon by both China and Japan after the first Sino-Japanese war actually stipulated that Hokkien would not be allowed to fall into the hands of foreign powers, that is, except Japan. With this promise from the Qing Court, the Japanese Colonial Gov't in Taiwan began planning for financial/banking operations in this region - in preparation for the SE Asia expansion of the Japan empire.
However, because of the prevailing anti-Japanese sentiment at that time, official operations would meet with popular resistance. A different approach, using the Chinese as figureheads of registered corporations, was therefore adopted. Coincidentally, 林朝棟 who fought in the Sino-French war in Taiwan had received, in part as a reward, the exclusive rights to manufacture camphor in Hokkien but was short on funds. Lin subsequently applied for a loan from the Bank of Taiwan. The Colonial Gov't (during the reign of Governor General 後藤新平), after a number of assessments, authorized 愛久澤直哉Akuzawa Naoya in 1902 to form a joint Chinese-Japanese corporation, the 三五公司, to represent the Japanese interest. The company employed predominantly Taiwanese and Hokkienese and was well-funded by the Colonial Gov't. This was a sizable corporation with activities extending into education, field investigation and surveys, camphor manufacturing, and railroad and waterwork construction. Many of these business activities, especially railroad building was controversial; most eventually proved unprofitable and were closed down. 愛久澤直哉, however, continued on, into the shipping business. Between 1912-24, the company operated shipping routes sailing between Hokkien and SE Asia and also invested heavily in rubber plantations in Singapore. 三五公司 in fact was the prototype for another created later in 1936, the 台灣拓殖株式會社Taiwan Takushoku Co.
Of the three major "national policy" corporations, the Bank of Taiwan, the Taiwan Electric Co, and the Taiwan Takushoko Co, only the first two survived after the Pacific War. The Takushoko Co was ordered to disband by the Allied Forces because of its role as the supplier of the Imperial Japanese military. Between 1936-45, it followed the progress of Japanese military and spawned 1000+ branches, operating from India to the Philippines, and from Hong Kong to Java. The company, in addition to running public utilities in occupied southern China, had also engaged in mining in Indo-China, cotton growing in Thailand, and farm animal raising in Dutch East Indies - among numerous other enterprises. These overseas activities provided the Taiwanese with employment opportunities. In the end, in 1946, its vast land holding and properties back in Taiwan were taken over by 台湾土地銀行the Land Bank of Taiwan [the headquarters building shown on upper left] and the company faded into history. Now, only a few know about the existence of this quasi-official organization.
The Taiwanese internees in Australia, repatriated on board of Hell-ship Yoizuki, were members of this highly skilled group.
Sources in Chinese provided by Fung-yin: