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JAPAN: Present & Past

2 minute read

One of the unpleasant realities of 1938 for the Occident is that the West is being kicked out of East Asia by Japan. The recent establishment of the monopolistic, Japanese-financed North China and Central China Development Companies is an extension of the same Japanese methods used to squeeze Occidental trade out of Manchukuo. Japan’s conquest of Canton last month put 20,000 British traders in Hong Kong temporarily, if not permanently, out of business. The Yangtze Valley is virtually closed to all except Japanese salesmen.

Last month the U. S. protested that Japan had closed besieged China’s “Open Door” to U. S. business. Chapter & verse of specific violations of the Nine Power Treaty of 1922 were sent from Washington to Tokyo. Premier Prince Fumimaro Konoye observed that there was a “new order” in East Asia, and the Japanese Foreign Office official spokesman declared that the Nine Power Treaty was “obsolete.”

Last week Japan made an unpleasant reality even more real. In a note to the U. S., which was approved by the whole Cabinet and by sacred Emperor Hirohito. the U. S. charges were answered with a polite, sugary denial: “It is far from the thoughts of the Japanese Government to impair the rights and interests of American citizens in China or discriminate against their enterprises.” Tucked away at the end of the note was a paragraph which, translated to plainer, less diplomatic language, was blunt advice to the U. S. to wake up and realize that 1938 is not 1922:

“It is the firm conviction of the Japanese Government that in the face of the new situation fast developing in East Asia any attempt to apply to the conditions of today and tomorrow inapplicable ideas and principles of the past would neither contribute toward the establishment of real peace in East Asia nor solve immediate issues.”

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