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one could know the need of the hour as well as the statesmen at the head of affairs, for men more progressive, with sounder judgment, could not be found in the empire. While of course extremists who were thus extinguished were exasperated beyond bounds, the proper attitude of foreigners was surely to trust the men in power who had proved themselves such actual leaders of reform, and whose acts of repression bore no trace of old Orientalism, but could be more than duplicated in European politics.

During the year that has elapsed since writing my last outline of the situation in Japan, several events have occurred which have shown the ever-recurring difficulties in the way of Japanese statesmanship, and will also throw light on the manner of development amid a ferment of opinion in this formative period of the empire. There being here as yet no parliamentary tribune for national questions, the acts of the cabinet are practically final, hence every cabinet change is watched with intense interest as producing national effects. The first important ripple on the surface of the stream of progress was the retirement of Viscount Tani from the administration. Viscount Tani, the hero of Kumamoto, had shown himself a brave soldier and intrepid leader in arms, and was universally recognized as a man of sterling integrity and frugality. He had made a trip abroad, and the country was curious to know what the result would be in his political policy and what its influence on the cabinet. Shortly after his return he formulated his thoughts in a memorial to his colleagues, which memorial, though a secret state paper, by some means or other got into the hands of the public and aroused considerable excitement in the ranks of the opposition. So far as the memorial was concerned, it showed clearly enough that the honest old soldier was a novice in statesmanship and no fit colleague in this intricate time for the men who for years had had large experience in practical politics. The impression most deeply sunk into his mind as the result of his tour was that of the sovereignty of the state, - state autonomy regardless of outsiders. And no matter how much we may sympathize with the theory and mourn that Japan's sovereignty is trampled upon by treaty powers, it must be considered


a misfortune that in the midst of the conferences for treaty revision a document should emanate from a cabinet minister calculated to inflame the prejudices of the rabble against the policy of the government, which seemed almost within reach of its object. He charged the cabinet with framing their codes and shaping their general policy, simply to please the Western nations and purchase treaty revision. Nothing could be more misleading. The policy all along has been a reform on Western models for the sake of the country itself — treaty revision or no treaty revision. Viscount Tani's memorial amounted to a charge that the cabinet was purchasing treaty revision by the surrender of a more important sovereign right than anything ceded by the treaties as they now stand. Such a charge emanating from a responsible member of the government could not but discredit the government itself, and create an exaggerated idea of the concessions proposed to be given as the price of treaty revision and of the unjustness of those demands, directly tending to inflame prejudices alınost forgotten. Another error of the meinorial was of equal gravity; he argued that though extra-territoriality is “disgraceful in name and utterly objectionable in reality,” the injury practically inflicted was not so great as to make it necessary to procure its repeal at so great a price. He seems to have seen only the present, and to have been blind to the facts of the very near future when speedy development will produce a very much aggravated situation, with perhaps aggravated difficulties in the way

of a settlement. A third idea of the memorial was that the matter of treaty revision might by postponed until the parliament meets, when by a unanimous and distinct expression of popular opinion foreign powers will yield the privileges now held by treaty. These and other points in the memorial made it evident that Viscount Tani's policy being out of harmony with that of the cabinet his further continuance as minister would only be a source of weakness. His place was taken by Viscount Hiji-Kata, and matters went on as before. But the seed sown by the memorial took deep root and speedily bore fruit in new difficulties.

The next important event, and one which in a sense over

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shadows all others, was the retirement of Count Inonye from the cabinet soon after the postponement of the conferences on treaty revision. Political agitation had reached an acute stage early in the fall of 1887, largely the result of Viscount Tani's memorial and the unceasing attacks of leading opposition journals, which in spite of press laws had perfect liberty to express disapprobation, if they chose, of all that could be learned of the policy of the plenipotentiary of Japan at the treaty revision conferences. These agitators seemed determined to maintain their demand for complete immunity from concessions to foreigners, and complete restoration to Japan of all privileges granted foreigners by extra-territoriality. If politics were carried on in accordance with the moral law, there would be some ground for their stand; but as nations treat each other to-day, it is a pure infatuation. Count Inonye had for eight years been working on the line of practical statesmanship, aiming at the complete restoration to Japan of all the rights of a civilized nation, but saw that this must be done gradually and by giving guarantees which would bind the government for a certain number of years, after which time all disabilities should be removed. For these years of probation a certain number of Western experts were to sit on the Japanese bench in special cases, the foreigner was to be allowed to plead in his own tongue, and the codes were to be translated into a Western language. At the end of a fixed number of years Japan was to recover completely her judicial and tariff autonomy. In the mean time, even with these conditions, her position among the nations would have been as daylight to the darkness of her actual condition, her present disabilities would have vanished, and she would have taken her place first of Orient states in the ranks of Western civilized nations. Yet these agitators wrought themselves wild in denunciation of these three temporary concessions, as though they were beneath the dignity of Japan! The result was that when Count Inonye had almost accomplished what seemed to be an impossibility in securing harmony in the foreign demand, and the national boon was almost within grasp, the cabinet felt that it was wiser in face of this public opinion to close the treaty revision conferences until all her codes were

complete, that these guarantees might be rendered needless or be largely modified. Count Inonye's policy being thus set aside, he could not do otherwise than deliver up his portfolio. All friends of Japan mourn the result of the short-sightedness of these inexperienced but honest theorists, who, combined with unscrupulous agitators, brought about this unfortunate sacrifice. Yet the government continued to have the advantage of his counsels as court councilor; and Count Ito, his friend and fellow for so many years, taking his portfolio temporarily, showed that the principles of his policy would still be adhered to, though there might be a change of programme in details. Count Kuroda, in whom the whole country appears to repose confidence, accepted a portfolio, and the strength of the cabinet remained unimpaired ; temporarily satisfying the shallow theorists but disappointing the political agitators who simply want the ins out and the outs in.

The next subject on which political agitation came to the point of effervescence was the character of the constitution now in process of formation. It came to be understood that the gift was not to be all at once in the form of the highest known type of Anglo-Saxon liberty, but rather in that of the moderately liberal constitutionalism of Germany. Again Count Ito and his colleagues were hounded with extravagant criticisms and demands, combined with threats of assassination. Eventually, towards the close of the year, a number of disaffected youths gathered in the capital, having sworn not to return to their homes until the cabinet should be overthrown and a more liberal policy inaugurated. Failing in this, they began to plot against the lives of the members of the government. The administration was kept apprised of all their movements by the watchful police, who had ample documentary evidence; and so, to put a stop to the thing before it could assume serious proportions, the Imperial Rescript of Christmas Day was issued, ordering 475 young men to return to their homes, or at least to leave the city of Tokio. Twelve of these refused to comply, and were sentenced to a short term in jail without hard labor. The police were for a few days particularly alert; at the time proposed for an outbreak a detachment of soldiers was kept in


readiness. The move was completely successful; no harm was done to anybody; and an irresponsible crowd of shallow young men was prevented from committing a grave crime. This is the whole story of the event at the close of the year which has been called a "revolution” in America, and which some hysterical madman has elaborated in the New York “ Nation” into a most insane fiction. It is true that among the suspected parties a few were unjustly removed ; the police have, indeed, discretionary power beyond what is desirable; and some mistakes, more comical sometimes than serious, were inevitable; as for instance when one of our evangelists, who was sent to the country just at that particular time, was shadowed for weeks by the police and prevented from holding any meeting whatsoever because he bore the same name as one of the suspects. The whole affair was certainly a shock to Japanese and to foreigners alike, but we outsiders cannot have one tithe of the information in the hands of the government officers, and they know better than any of their critics what is the best to do with their own people. At any rate the thing was a sudden and temporary move to meet an emergency, and was completely successful. To show that it did not indicate a reaction in the policy of the enlightened administration, the measures of reform of the press laws which had been under consideration were one by one published as they were completed, just as if nothing had happened to stay the steady flow of progress — and nothing had appeared but a su

- a perficial ripple.

Early in the year Count Oxuma reëntered the cabinet and accepted the portfolio of the foreign office. Count Oxuma left the cabinet in 1881, because his colleagues did not seem to move fast enough in the march of reform, and he became the popular leader of the progressive party. But the record of the last seven years of advance has been enough to show that the government is a progressive one. It has come at least to the point which he advocated, prematurely, seven years ago, and perhaps Count Oxuma has learned the value of a steadier pace. At all events he is once more one with his former colleagues, and will perhaps do more than any man in bridging over the interval created between the government and the people by shallow agitation.


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