The Japanese Monroe Doctrine

Courtesy Reuters

THE political principle expressed in the phrase "a Japanese Monroe Doctrine" has been used more and more frequently by the Japanese to interpret and to justify their policy in the Far East. Occasionally other terms are employed to express much the same idea, such as "paramount interest," "special interest," "Asia for the Asiatics," "Japanese leadership," and "the right to live." Whatever the name, a fundamental doctrine or policy has developed, and it constitutes a major factor in the affairs of Eastern Asia; it goes far to explain Japan's specific actions in China as well as her general attitude toward the Powers in matters concerning the Far East.

The Japanese Government has made official announcement of this Japanese Monroe Doctrine. "Japan is responsible for the maintenance of peace and order in the Far East," is the statement of the Japanese delegation in its report of February 21 to the Assembly of the League of Nations. Count Uchida, the Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs, in his address to the Imperial Diet on January 21, referred to Article XXI of the League Covenant, which recognizes the validity of the Monroe Doctrine under the designation of a regional understanding, and said: "The League of Nations Covenant very wisely provides that regional understandings shall be respected. In this sense, our Government believes that any plan for erecting an edifice of peace in the Far East should be based upon the recognition that the constructive force of Japan is the mainstay of tranquillity in this part of the world." Although this phraseology is vague and diplomatic, the intent of the Japanese Government to claim the rights of a Monroe Doctrine for the Far East is perfectly clear. Viscount Ishii, when acting as the special ambassador of Japan at Washington in 1917, spoke of a Monroe Doctrine for Asia and asked Secretary Lansing to recognize that Japan had a "paramount interest" in China. In his recently published Memoirs, this distinguished Japanese statesman writes: "From our point of view, Japan possesses interests

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