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Poland Recognized By Allies.—On February 21 formal announcement was made by the Supreme Council in Paris that the Allies would extend recognition to the Polish Government headed by M. Paderewski. On March 5 an Interallied Commission left Paris to arrange new armistice terms between the Germans and Poles. At a meeting of the Polish National Assembly on February 20 General Joseph Pilsudski was again made Chief of State, subject, however, to the will of the Assembly.
Korean Independence Agitation.—Independence demonstrations verging on revolt occurred in Korea during the first week of March. Thousands of demonstrators were arrested, and the Japanese soon had the movement under control. According to a Shanghai dispatch of March 14, upwards of 100 persons were killed in rioting.
President Wilson, according to a Washington dispatch of March 16, was asked by the Korean National Association to initiate action at the Peace Conference looking toward the independence of Korea, under a mandatory issued by the League of Nations.
Japan And The Pacific Islands.—Japan has no moral right to possession of the South Sea Islands taken from Germany and now under Japanese occupation, nor is any other nation entitled to ownership of this territory, according to Professor Sakuzo Yoshino, of the Tokyo Imperial University, who, in The Japan Advertiser of that city, suggests a plan for control of the islands that is practically the same as President Wilson's, namely, that they should be placed in charge of a League of Nations or an Interallied commission responsible for the education of the natives until they become civilized and competent to settle for themselves all questions of their future. If Japan should be this guardian, it is predicted, the islands might eventually be annexed to Japan. An official outline of Japan's intentions is given in Paris cables by Baron Nobuaki Makino, senior Japanese delegate to the Peace Conference, who says of the Marshall and Caroline groups of islands, peopled by wild and practically savage tribes, that Japan claims the right to "occupy these islands for purposes of peaceful development." Japan contends, and will continue to contend, that she shall control the islands north of the equator, and it is her conviction that "the handing over of the supervision of these islands would be a just recognition of what services we rendered in maintaining the commerce of the Pacific and assisting our allies in the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean." An official statement of Australia's views is given in Paris also by Premier William M. Hughes, who maintains that of the former German island possessions Australia claims full control of all lying below the equator, except Samoa, which should go to New Zealand, and that part of New Guinea which is in Dutch possession. What Australia wants is a settlement of the Pacific island question by the Peace Conference, the Premier is further quoted as saying, "such as she is entitled to have, one that will insure her national safety and guarantee her industrial, social, and racial policies." Australia prefers not to accept the mandate principle, but if compelled to do so "it is imperative that we must make the same laws and have over the new territories the same powers as we exercise over Australia.
Professor Yoshino foresees a competition in colonial policies among the Powers entirely different from that of the past. The fundamental feature in this competition will be the education of the peo'ple in the colonics so that they become competent to manage their own affairs. Formerly, we are reminded, rivalry among the Powers in the development of colonies was based on the building up of commerce and industry. Under the new order of things, he points out that—
"If Japan be able to educate the inhabitants of the South Sea Islands rightly, giving them such civilization as to make them self-governing, when the time comes that other Powers recognize the ability of the inhabitants to determine their own future they declare that they arc desirous of becoming part of Japan, to which they owe their civilization and prosperity, Japan will properly be able to say that she made a great success. I am thinking always that the colonial policy of Japan, as well as that of all other Powers, should be changed as the result of the war, and in this respect I am confident that the questions arising regarding the settlement of the German colonies will prove helpful in bringing the Powers over to a new method and a new principle in their colonial policies."—Literary Digest, 22/2.
THE INDUSTRIAL PROGRESS OF JAPAN
An article in Engineering (London, February 21) gives an extended and highly interesting account of Japanese railroad and industrial development in the present century, during which she has grown into a great industrial nation, competing with western powers for the markets of the east. The latter part of the essay, dealing with Japan's advance into China, is as follows: •
That Japan would eventually reach a state of industrial independence was without doubt to be expected, but her industrial domination of China was not; and yet it is possible, for the Japanese Government is doing everything it can to secure it. Thus Finance Minister Shoda in May, 1918, in an address to a general meeting to the bankers of Western Japan, emphasized the need for independent sources of supply for necessaries and expressed dissatisfaction at the amount of Japanese money invested in China although this amounted to 9,800,000/. in the year 1917 alone, not quite as much as Japan's total investment in the country previous to the war. He also said that for the encouragement of investment abroad, the government had decided to guarantee principal and interest to the amount . of 10,000,000/. in the Industrial Bank of Japan. This is sufficient indication of the government attitude, and the further increase of Japanese power in China is to be feared for the following reasons, which give very little hope of the maintenance of the Open-Door policy under a dominant Japan.
Thus in the leased territory in Manchuria and in her colonies Japan has always stifled all competition either by high preference rates or by methods more questionable, as in Manchuria, where Chinese banks are compelled to cash a full face value note depreciated to the amount of 40 per cent or over, if presented by Japanese nationals.
Methods like these, coupled with the notorious partiality of Japanese law courts, whether consular or otherwise, effectually discourage competition even without the fear that any competing business would not be killed immediately by transport difficulties on Japanese-controlled railways.
Further no selection has been enforced by the government in the matter of emigrants, with the consequence that the name of Japan is continually being discredited in China by undesirables who seem to form the bulk of Japanese emigrants, judging from the disreputable trades engaged in and the low standard of their trade morality.
In addition, the government itself has at least laid itself open to the suspicion of fostering the continuance of the disastrous and wasteful war between North and South China, which has been going on since 1916, for she has lent money wholesale to North China, well knowing that there
was at least considerable doubt about the loans ever being used for their ostensible purposes. Among the most notorious of these loans was the Arms loan of 1917 for 4,000,000/., said to be for the equipment of the Chinese expeditionary force for the European war, but without doubt in part used for the purchase of war material for the war against the South. Among other exceedingly questionable loans may be enumerated the Telegraph loan, previously mentioned, the proceeds of which were undoubtedly used for the war, a loan of 300,000/. to the rebel southern government in February, 1917, secured on the Canton cement works, a further loan of 200,000/. to the rebel southern governor of Hunan secured on iron mines in Anhui and antimony mines in Hunan, and lastly a loan known as the Military loan of unknown amount, said to be 4,000,000/., the terms of which are secret, but are supposed to provide for the military reorganization of China under Japanese supervision.
Summarizing the above we find the British manufacturer confronted with the almost total loss of the Japanese market, worth over 12,000,000/. in 1912 and then on the increase, and also with a very clever competitor in what promises to be one of the world's greatest markets. Further this competitor has the great advantage of proximity, strong government backing both moral and financial, very low wages and a standard of living infinitely below ours, and last but not least a laxity of trade morals, coupled with great tenacity of purpose. It should also be remembered that since the war Japan has entered the market against us in almost every branch of Western industry, that their goods are at any rate extremely attractive, and have, in some cases, particularly as regards electrical goods im\ cement, proved very satisfactory, though in the great majority of cases they are inferior in quality, a defect largely counterbalanced by their cheapness, which appeals irresistibly to the half-trained mind.
Japanese industrial strength lies in organizing and imitative ability, her adequate finance of industry which insists on getting the best and most up-to-date even if of foreign origin, and her supply of cheap labor, even in the case of the skilled artisan class.
Japan's weakness lies in her lack, amongst some classes, of that high standard of trade morality which is so necessary to establish credit and reputation, her mineral poverty, her dependence on outside sources for much of her food supply and all her wool supply, and the popular dislike of immigration, for out of 55,000,000 people, only 500,000 are resident abroad, while very many of these are undesirables.—Engineering (London), 21/2.