Courtesy Reuters

The Realistic Foreign Policy of Japan

FOUR recent deliberate moves by Japan have aroused suspicion and resentment in many parts of the world. By invading Manchuria and establishing the state of Manchukuo, Japan in 1931 issued a challenge to the world's effort to set up workable machinery for the peaceful settlement of international disputes. That challenge went unanswered, for no state, not even China, was prepared to reply in kind. In 1933 Japan began a drive for trade predominance in markets hitherto regarded as peculiarly the field of Western enterprise. To this challenge there was a prompt response in the form of tariff and quota restrictions aimed at Japanese goods. In recent months Japanese leaders have expressed a dissatisfaction with existing naval ratios and have demanded legal equality with the United States and Great Britain. Finally, on April 17, 1934, the spokesman of the Japanese Foreign Office issued an open claim on Japan's behalf to a position of paramountcy in the Far East, seemingly in disregard of the interests of other major Powers and of formal legal obligations.

In other words, Japanese statesmen, usually farsighted and realistic, appear not to hesitate in pursuing aims certain to provoke international ill-will. A careful observer should at once suspect the existence of some impelling cause behind these manifestations of aggressive policy. It is not enough to say that the Japanese Government and people are at the mercy of a reckless military clique. The Japanese people are disciplined but neither docile nor unintelligent. They have been presented with a reasoned defense of recent foreign policy, and their constant support is based in large part on a line of argument worthy at any rate of repetition in the United States in the interests of mutual understanding. Japan is confronted with a pressing problem; her foreign policy, whether wise or unwise, can be understood only when it is examined with relation to the necessity for solving that problem.

For at least two decades Japan's foreign policy has been chiefly directed towards the alleviation of overcrowding and unrest

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