apan’s security policy until recently has been similar to that she followed after the grand bargains struck at the Washington Conference of 1921-22, in which China came to the international table for the first time as a full equal and saw her territorial grievances, notably in Shandong, remedied, the presumption being that she had now become a fully-fledged and responsible international player, while at the same time Japan was forced to abandon her bilateral alliance with Britain, in return for promises of consultation among the Powers should conflict emerge, and multilateral security (i.e. everyone agrees to protect everyone else) in place of the tangible tie to London. Japan then planned for peace guaranteed by a concert of Asia.
Of course things did not work out as planned: within ten years of the end of the Conference (to this date still the most comprehensive and thorough attempt to deal with Asian issues) Japanese troops had occupied Manchuria and were menacing China. The outbreak of the full Pacific War, ended only with nuclear weapons, was only five years away.
Something had gone terribly wrong; something that should be noted very well today. Some historians have argued that blame for Japan’s new aggressive policies was to be found in internal developments: hunger, economic down turn, autocracy, eventually the Japanese version of fascism—an argument that, whatever its merits for explaining the 1920s and 1930s is clearly irrelevant to the solidly constitutional Japan of today. So perhaps we should listen to other historians, less well known than those who concentrate on Japanese domestic history, stressing instead a series of completely unexpected developments in the region that even the most liberal Japanese leaders saw as threatening to their country’s security.
Most important of these was a strong but erratically guided rise of Chinese power that saw that country’s government, goading and reacting to the resentments of her people, flout many of the undertakings she had made at Washington. Almost simultaneously came political splits and then civil wars in a China that at the time of the Conference had seemed politically stable and set on a course of peaceful economic development. These wars threatened continental interests that Tokyo considered vital, and when the allies who had promised at Washington to consult on such threats and act to protect legitimate interests failed to do so, Japan attempted to do so herself—in a catastrophic way that saw both democracy and millions of Japanese people perish.Japan Emerges
by Arthur Waldron, Ph.D
Published on March 31st, 2005
ジョン・ヴァン・アントワープ マクマリー (著), アーサー ウォルドロン (著), John Van Antwerp MacMurray (原著),