MITI was created with the split of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in May of 1949 and given the mission for coordinating international trade policy with other groups, such as the Bank of Japan, the Economic Planning Agency, and the various commerce-related cabinet ministries. At the time it was created, Japan was still recovering from the economic disaster of World War II. With inflation rising and productivity failing to keep up, the government sought a better mechanism for reviving the Japanese economy.
As late as the 1980s, prime ministers were expected to serve a tenure as MITI minister before taking over the government. MITI worked closely with Japanese business interests, and was largely responsible for keeping the domestic market closed to most foreign companies.
Important MITI agencies include:
The declining significance of MITI to Japanese companies made it a less powerful agency within the bureaucracy, and by the end of the 20th century, it was folded into a larger body. In 2001, it was reorganized into the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI).