Courtesy Reuters

Conflicting Purposes in Japan

IF HISTORY does not repeat itself closely enough to allow us to predict the future, at least it gives some useful hints. Japan in 1868 was a country with no political, military or industrial strength. By 1905 she had become the strongest power in eastern Asia largely because it had suited the United Kingdom and the United States to encourage her development. Already in 1900, Captain Mahan, in a book entitled "The Problem of Asia," had proposed the coöperation of four sea Powers, namely the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan, for the protection of Asiatic sovereignties against Russian land power, arguing that by the annexation of the Philippines the United States was irrevocably committed in Asia. Events have strangely distorted his international picture and cast doubts upon his strategic concepts. They have not, however, entirely destroyed his general theory of world politics, which would seem to justify a belief that the future choice of Japan between peace and war may be determined less by her form of government and her industrial strength than by the general distribution of power in the world during the next decade or so.

It looks as if the discussion of the future treatment of Japan at the forthcoming Peace Conference will deal chiefly with political and economic controls designed to prevent her from developing the will and the strength to make war. These are desirable ends. But it is worth while to examine whether they can be attained by the methods now proposed.

The problem of the future treatment of Japan attracts little public attention, or at any rate causes little public concern, because the comparatively untroubled course of events in Japan since the surrender has been in striking contrast with the melancholy tale of disagreement and failure in Germany. This is a natural result of the unified control exercised with such remarkable success by the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, and also -- it should be recognized -- of the sensible behavior of

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