Courtesy Reuters

The Permanent Bases of Japanese Foreign Policy

EVER since Japan's entrance into the family of modern nations in the middle of the nineteenth century her diplomacy has striven, and still strives, to attain two objectives -- equality and security. The first has been almost, but not entirely, attained; the second has for seven decades been the absorbing problem of the nation and will evidently remain such for long years to come.


First let us consider the problem of equality. By "equality" I do not mean that Japan should fall behind no Power on earth in point of wealth, natural resources and military strength -- in short, in every respect. Obviously, equality in this sense is as impossible among nations as among individuals. What Japan has insisted upon, what she still insists upon, is that she shall not be made the object of discrimination and derogatory treatment by any of the nations with whom she has relations. The full significance of this phase of our policy cannot be appreciated unless we first understand the circumstances in which we entered into intercourse with foreign nations.

When Japan opened her doors to the West seventy years ago, she (like the rest of Asia) had to acquiesce in there being put upon her a stigma of inferiority in the shape of unequal treaties which deprived her of judicial and tariff autonomy. To read into those treaties any sinister designs on the part of foreign Powers, as some ultra-nationalists are inclined to do, is not fair. The Powers, cognizant of the state of our internal administration at the time, and knowing how different it was from their own, did not think it wise or practicable to place their respective nationals under our jurisdiction, though they might, I believe, have been a little more generous in the matter of tariffs. We, on our part, bowed to the inevitable, trusting that the Powers, as soon as we had put our house in order, would remove the extraterritoriality and the one-sided tariff which they had

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