THE Japanese fighting services constitute an imperium in imperio. They have their special objectives in foreign and domestic policy which no Cabinet can ignore with impunity. Their position is trebly buttressed by tradition, by constitutional privilege, and by the present balance of political forces.
The Japanese officer is the heir of the mediæval knight, the samurai, in popular respect and esteem. The Chiefs of the Army and Navy General Staffs enjoy the important right of direct access to the Emperor; and service theoreticians interpret this as freeing the Army and Navy from any parliamentary control of their activities. The requirement that the War and Navy Ministers must always be respectively a General and an Admiral in active service makes for strong military and naval influence on every Cabinet, since the corporate spirit of the services is so strong that no senior officer could be prevailed on to assume office in a Cabinet with a personnel or a policy that seemed inconsistent with the realization of military and naval aims and objectives. Moreover, the whole trend of events since the occupation of Manchuria, still more since the incident of February 26, has been in the direction of consolidating the predominant position of the Army and the Navy. The February outbreak was a dramatic and spectacular move in the complicated struggle between extremists and moderates that is always going on in Japan.
In one camp are the fighting services. The Army, especially in the middle and lower ranks of its officers' corps, is deeply affected by a ferment of vague but strong anti-capitalism and social radicalism. The Navy, less concerned with social questions, makes a united front with the Army on such points as insisting on industrial policies with a strategic turn, asserting freedom from civilian control, and demanding larger appropriations. With the fighting services may be reckoned the small but active societies and groups that advocate various brands of extreme nationalism. The Army and Navy, especially the former, exert much influence on
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