Courtesy Reuters

Japan's Demand for Naval Equality

THE Washington Naval Treaty was the product of the Disarmament Conference which was convened in Washington on November 12, 1921 -- the day after Armistice Day -- when the experiences of the World War were still fresh in our memory. The world, still suffering from the effects of its harrowing nightmare, was weary of all wars and hence in a frame of mind to accept any arrangement which gave promise of peace. The Treaty was signed by the representatives of the five participating Powers on February 6 of the following year, and was duly ratified by their governments. It is to be effective until the end of 1936, but in the absence of a two-years' notice of termination by any of the five Powers concerned its validity is to continue even after that date. Should such notice be given, however, a Conference must be held within one year of the date on which the notice takes effect.

As a result of becoming a party to the Treaty, Japan, along with her co-signatories, was subjected to some restrictions with respect to her national defense. That is not to say, however, that the Treaty was wholly without benefit to us.

The 5:5:3 ratio in capital ships was a decided blow to the self-respect of the Japanese people. This ratio was proposed by the United States on the grounds that, calculated on the basis of existing strengths, Japan was entitled to 60 percent of American naval tonnage. Japan, on the other hand, contended that her actual tonnage was 70 percent of that of the United States, no matter on what basis the calculation might be made. Both countries being adamant in their contentions, agreement on the proposed ratio was reached only on condition that the status quo of naval bases in the Far East should be maintained.

As regards the maintenance of the status quo of the naval bases, there were not a few critics in Japan who pointed to our acceptance of this condition as a disgraceful action, for the

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