On May 9, 1942, the Japanese colonial government of Korea announced that beginning in December 1944 Korean men would be drafted into the Japanese military. By the end of World War II, 110,000 Korean conscripts served with the Japanese armed forces. Why did the Japanese postpone the enlistment of Korean recruits for thirty months after the initial announcement? This article examines the reasons for the delay. It argues that Japan needed the time to expand Korean proficiency in the Japanese language, to provide basic military training, to solidify its ideological control over Koreans, and to rectify the dilapidated Korean family registry system.