Courtesy Reuters

The Pan-Asiatic Doctrine of Japan

JAPAN'S Pan-Asiatic Doctrine was announced by the official spokesman of the Imperial Japanese Foreign Office on April 17, 1934. The announcement was followed by similar but more explicit statements by Japan's official representatives in Washington, Berlin and Geneva, all of which were of the same spirit and contained the same fundamental principles: 1. Japan considers itself as primarily responsible for the maintenance of peace and order in East Asia, along with other Asiatic Powers, especially China. 2. The time has passed when other Powers or the League of Nations can exercise their policies for the exploitation of China. 3. Japan intends in future to oppose any foreign activities in China which Japan regards as inimical, and she alone can judge what is inimical. Tokyo considered the third principle as of special importance; and in explaining it, Mr. Saito, Japanese Ambassador at Washington, declared that "Japan must act and decide alone what is good for China," and recommended that all "legitimate foreign interests should consult Tokyo before embarking on any adventures there." The manifesto was considered abroad as the most important declaration of Japanese policy in regard to China which had been made for many years. The sweeping character of the claims put forth and the peculiar form chosen for their announcement were equally startling.

The United States Government took account of the Japanese declaration in a note which the American Ambassador handed to Foreign Minister Hirota on April 29. It was pointed out that China's relations with the United States are governed, as are her relations with Japan and other countries, by generally accepted principles of international law and provisions of treaties to which the United States is a party, and that these treaties are lawfully modifiable or terminable only by processes prescribed, recognized, or agreed upon by the parties to them. The note continued that in its international associations and relationships the American Government seeks to be considerate of the rights, obligations, and legitimate interests of other countries, and expects on the part of other Governments

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