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The Cold Mountain Memorial Foundation (RLOc)

Background

In 2184 Mogami Industries of Japan sent a full-scale survey team to Delta Pavonis, extremely interested in preliminary but incomplete geological survey results from prior expeditions. With little experience in interstellar operations (at that time, few did), Mogami believed that a facility could be built and operated to show considerable profit supplying future colonies there with a variety of metal and metal products, primarily steel but also aluminum, copper, and titanium, to name the primary candidates.

Their project was based on a few simple assumptions on their part, which were in fact largely correct: that the required metals would be present in sufficient quantity, that environmental considerations could be largely ignored, that power sources could be developed without undue complications, and that other colonies would gradually grow, demanding their product.

The surveys were completed without incident, focusing almost entirely on evaluating information related to extraction, processing, manufacturing and transport of product. The corporation was only interested in local climate, weather and ecology to the extent that it would help or hinder their facility. This short-sighted approach was to prove their undoing.

Construction began in 2187, funded by the Koki Consortium, formed by Mogami (40%), another leading Japanese raw materials firm named Wako Metals and Minerals, Inc (30%), and a 30% share by the Japanese government itself. Large tracts of land were claimed in a relatively high plateau region, based on survey reports, centered on a large valley extending through almost half the plateau and down to the lower surface. (Sections of the planet's surface at the base of the plateau were also claimed for future use.) This valley, created by river erosion, not only revealed considerable mineral sites, it also promised quick and easy hydroelectric power. In addition to production facilities, the firm also had to construct its own power generating plants and transportation facilities (flatbed hovertrucks were shipped in knockdown form and assembled onsite; later plans called for local production with outside sale). The first facility to come online, in 2200, was the aluminum plant, utilizing electrical power to smelt aluminum for forming into sheet and structural supports of various types. Prices were low enough to be extremely attractive to the growing Manchurian colony, and some export offworld began.

By 2205, the aluminum plant had been expanded twice, and construction of other mining and initial processing facilities were well under way. The titanium plant was never constructed as expected reserves of titanium were not located in economically usable form. While still enormously in debt because of the initial investment, the factory complex was making a significant amount of money and the future was bright.

The mining colony had always had problems with the unique organisms of Delta Pavonis, but management began to notice a gradual but unmistakable rise in intensity and frequency of razor-fly attacks. A research project was launched at once, and after a 6-month preliminary study determined that the tailings from the nearby bauxite mine contained minerals essential to razor-fly reproduction. The corporation was stunned: by this time, there were millions of cubic feet of tailings, no doubt nurturing millions upon untold millions of razor flies.

A variety of emergency measures were tried, including covering the tailings with thick layers of cement and other materials, but once the organisms had begun thriving in the fertile ground it proved remarkably difficult to remove them, with young bursting up through the cement covering to turn into windborne razor flies.

It also became evident that other forms of life enjoyed the unusually rich soil, and in a relatively short period of time the former mine site approximated a jungle.

Profits plummeted, and the corporation had increasing difficulty hiring new personnel to work in what was being termed "The Hellhole."

The final straw came in 2207 when giant roots, measuring some 1.5 to 2 meters in diameter, burst from the floor of the aluminum smelting plant and began snaking toward the aluminum ingot. The roots proved to be hollow, filled with a diverse variety of organisms living in a complex commensal arrangement, and an astonishingly large number of them were either fatal or harmful to Man.

The facility was abandoned, and the survivors fled. The Koki Consortium later negotiated with the Manchurian colony, selling them the remaining equipment and facilities for mere pennies but retaining title to the land. The equipment that the Manchurians wanted was relocated, and the entire region - now called "Mogami Valley" (or zui shang yu in Chinese) was left to the plants.


Birth of the Foundation

The Japanese government was, to say the least, dismayed by the failure. It had been Japan's first colonial effort, and while it was a corporate investment on the surface, the Japanese government had provided 30% of the capital and considerably more in the way of support, transportation and face. The effects on the three members of the consortium varied: Wako Metals and Minerals went bankrupt. Mogami Industries, having cleverly distanced itself by using an intermediary subsidiary, suffered considerable loss on its consolidated financial return, but was able to weather the crisis. The investing banks took enormous losses, which threatened the lead bank with bankruptcy and led to an informal request to the Japanese government for extraordinary assistance. The government, meanwhile, was also in a bad position, having gambled and lost an enormous amount of money. And, being the government of Japan, it could neither protect itself by using a subsidiary nor flee responsibility by declaring bankruptcy.

The government finally decided to put the whole problem in a separate compartment, washing its hands of the matter. The Kanzan Kinen Zaidan (Cold Mountain Memorial Foundation) was created with a massive amount of funding and an almost equally-large debt - in fact, all of the debt of the consortium and ample bailout for the threatened banks. It was established to "learn from the lessons of past colonization efforts and ensure that future colonization of the stars is carried out in an effective, efficient and safe manner." The first item of business on the agenda was cleaning up the Koki Consortium mess, which was handled over a period of 21 years out of annual government funding as budget, plus the original capital. In 2232, after the conclusion of the "clean-up" phase, the Foundation was given a healthy chunk of cash and split off from government control entirely, being established as a private corporation.

From that time, the Foundation began to seriously implement its stated function, establishing training programs for Japanese colonization efforts and eventually evolving into a general training institution closely linked to Japan's military. All three of its training facilities on earth (the Cold-weather Training Facility in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Sakhalin, the Hot-weather Training Facility in Aparri, Luzon, Philippines, and the Underwater Training Facility in Kaitel, the Gilberts) are shared with JSDF training facilities, although the Space Training Facility at L-4 is entirely independent.

In 2271, Manchurian prospectors working in the Mogami Valley region discovered extensive reserves of petroleum in underlying strata. The Foundation, no longer a mining company of any sort, was delighted at the sharp increase in the value of their real estate holdings on Delta Pavonis, elected to make the land available to the highest bidder. A number of Terran and other firms submitted bids, and the Foundation announced in 2273 that the Manchurian colony of Delta Pavonis had won. The terms were never announced, but judging from the improvement in Foundation finances from that time, it appears to have included some form of royalty payment based on output.


The Foundation in 2300

The Foundation is operated as a privately-held corporation under Japanese law, providing a range of services to (usually) national governments. The first and foremost of these is colony management, but they also handle training of colonists and colony personnel, colony siting surveys; colony resource surveys; planning for colonization, industrialization, and infrastructural upgrading. A wide range of courses are also available to the general public, including survival in a range of environments; theory and practice of social, economic and industrial networks; industrial development; and infrastructural development.

For reasons of national pride, while the Foundation provides training to large numbers of personnel from many nations, it is very rare for their name to be mentioned. Although the fact that the Foundation trains teams from other nations is hardly a secret, and has been the subject of many public articles and programs, the Foundation does not reveal the names or nationalities of trainees without their permission. This permission is rarely given by other nations utilizing Foundation facilities.

In a uniquely Japanese approach, military personnel being given advanced training at JSDF bases sharing facilities are, according to Foundation regulations, not allowed to utilize Foundation facilities. This legal fiction conveniently distances the Foundation from international military and political issues, but in fact many facilities and personnel are, for all effects and purposes, indistinguishable.


Foundation Facilities
  • Headquarters and main school: Aguinaldo City, Philippines
  • Cold-weather Training Facility: Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Sakhalin
  • Hot-weather Training Facility: Aparri, Luzon, Philippines
  • Underwater Training Facility: Kaitel, the Gilberts
  • Space Training Facility: Japanese L-4 colony

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