Refugees and expatriated Greeks, victims of social-economic circumstances from Russia, inquisitive traders from the Balkans and Asia Minor, islanders from Greece, seamen and adventurers, members of large families, were the first Greeks who settled in countries of South East Asia, the Far East and the Pacific, according to Professor Tamis. Many of them had initially settled in major cities of Alexandria, Constantinople, Smyrna, St. Petersburg, Odessa and Plovdiv since 1725. The headstones in the cemetery of the Catholic Church of Our Lady in Murghihatta, a suburb in Calcutta, were many of them were buried, is evidence to this. During the second phase (1960 - 1985), known for its economic characteristics, over 7000 Greeks settled in Japanese ports and Tokyo, as a result of the manifold activities of Greek maritime initiative, from the romantic era of S. Livanos and A.S. Onassis, until the glorious days of P. Tsakos. It was a time when over 1000 cargo ships and tankers were manufactured on an annual basis in Japan, thousands of Greek ships reached the country's ports with their Greek crew, while thousands of Greeks were employed in Japanese shipyards and maritime companies. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to mention that during that period, the Greek maritime sector had been, following the American contribution and presence, the second largest factor towards the recovery of the Post-War Japanese Economy, a fact which is not omitted in Japanese bibliography and certainly not disregarded by the state. During the difficult post war era, the Japanese economy was almost exclusively dependent on U.S. and Greek capital investments. The number of Greeks who settled in Japan was progressively reduced from 7.000 to 1985, to less than 600 at the moment, as a result of globalized economy, states Professor Tamis.

 

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Greeks in the Far Orient

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