14 September 1920: Japanese press on topics of the day – independence movement in Korea, Japanese in California

Today’s excerpt from the news 90 years ago comes from the Japan Advertiser, which was absorbed by The Japan Times in 1940.

It is natural that the Government should have removed the ban on the press regarding the situation in Korea, which should be considered not only in the official light but from many other points of view. Morever, if the situation in Korea is not made known to the Japanese, they may suffer serious damage in their occupations and their lives and property may be subjected to serious danger.
It is doubtful whether the views taken by the authorities of the situation in Korea are correct, for in spite of the fact that not a few measures have been taken since the end of last year, not only no improvement has come over the situation, but things tend to grow more serious. Of course, it is too much to hope for an immediate eradication of the independence agitation, but judging by the present state of affairs it seems that the measures of the authorities leave not a little to be desired. The Korean agitation seems to be more deep-rooted than is supposed by the public, and there are indications that extreme plots will be carried into execution before long. It is said that when Northern Korea is frozen, it will demand particular caution on the past of the Japanese authorities, and it is hoped that they will be more vigilant than ever. It is also necessary that every incident in Korea should be made known to the people so that they can ascertain for themselves what the situation there is like.
Importance of Korea.
Shortly after the appointment of the present Governor-General of Korea, it was reported that there was friction between the officials holding office since the days of the preceding Governor-General and those who had been appointed after the changce of Governor-Generalship. A traveller returned from Korea says that this is still the case. If his statement is true, it is a serious matter.
Before the war the affairs of Japan and Korea were confined to themselves, but Korea has assumed worldwide importance since the war. What relation Korea has to Japan will be clear when one reflects on the rumor during the war that Ireland furnished Germany with a submarine base. The independence agitation in Korea has now become an international question. If the peninsula is lost to Japan and if she is thus exposed to danger, the resultant calamity will not be confined to Japan alone but the peace of the whole of the Orient will be jeopardized. The functions of the Japanese officials in Korea, therefore, relate not only to the welfare of the seventy million Japanense but to that of all the five hundred million peoples in the Orient.
The Pan-Pacific Union.
In trying to settle the Pacific questions we should not ignore Great Britain and Australia, but the main responsibility for the solution of the problems rests with Japan and America. Japan is as closely interested in the present and future of the Pacific as America and Great Britain. Though it is difficult to say which country is bound to hold the supremacy of the Pacific, Japan wmill have to abandon her position as one of the Great Powers and as guarantor of peace in the Orient if she loses her supremacy. It follows therefore that the solution of the Pacific questions is a matter of life or death to Japan. In trying to solve these questions we should absolutely avoid recourse to arms, and endeavor to reach an agreement by conciliation. This is perhaps the object of the establishment of a brlanch of the Pan-Pacific Union by Mr. Alexander Ford.
Unless, however, the whites consider the problems without bias and racial projudice, it will be difficult to arrive at a satisfactory agreement. We doubt whether this will be possible if America and Australia stick to a policy of discrimination against the Japanese. There is no doubt, however, that if the whites consider all the problems fairly and justly, free from all racial prejudice, much will come out of the arrangement.
Californian Outlook Gloomy.
It is satisfactory that the land question is being considered as an issue between Japan and America, not as between Japan and California. Judging by various reports, nine (?) out of ten the anti-Japanese bill will (?) in November. All recognize (?) bill is unjust, but the trouble is that California is in a position to enact a law in spite of the opposition of the Federal government. In the present state of affairs, the situation will become worse if the Federal Government attempts interference, and it seems that the American authorities contemplate taking some indirect action.
While the Japanese Government is doing its best in regard to the question, the Americanr Government sincerely appreciates the difficulties of the Japanese immigrants and public opinion in the Eastern States supports Japan’s position. All these influences, however, are impotent unless they are imparted legal authority to override that of California. This question seems to be the subject of the present negotiations between Japan and America. The American Government may grant the right of naturalization to the Japanese or make some treaty agreements with Japan, but at present these are only theoretically possible. As practical issues, the remedies cannot be taken before November.
The outlook for the Californian question is thus gloomy. It should be pointed out that there is a peculiar law in Japan which places her in a disadvantageous position regarding naturalization and the establishment of a most-favored nation agreement regarding landownership. In any case, the Californian question involves the prestige of this country. It should be declared that if the question is settled entirely as is desired by the Californians, it will be impossible for the Japanese to submit to the settlement. If the American Government is really solicitous for the friendship of Japan and America and wishes to see to it that the honor of the Japanese is not impaired and that the Japanese immigrants in California are not deprived of their vested rights, we cannot but hope that it will act with firm determination. At the same time, let us add that Japan is prepared to make suitable concessions so as not to wound the amour propre of the Californians.
A Proposed Solution.


Knowing, as we do, the facts of the case, we regret that the Japenese authorities are idle in regard to the Californian question. It is true that they are conducting negotiations with the American authorities, but these negotiations are useless and are only designed to deceive the Japanese.
The fact is that the Japanese authorities are not able to hit upon a plan which is sure to settle the problem, and let us suggest a measure. On one hand, Japan shouldf make a concession and prohibit any further emigration to America, and on the other, America should grant the right of naturalization to some of the Japanese who are already lawfully domiciled in America and who are of good character. It is desirable that all the Japanese should be given the right of naturalization, but as this is apparently difficult of realization, it is to be hoped that America will grant the right to a limited number of Japanese who intend to live permanently in America. There are many Japanese in America, but the number of those who have considerable investments in land and who intend to live there permanently is limited. Even if the American government decides to give the right of naturalization to the Japanese if they apply for it within a certain period, nobody beyond those who have special interests will prefer to abandon their Japanese nationality.
Funeral for Mr. Imai’s Daughter.

Kokusai Reuter
ROME, September 9 — The body of the daughter of the Japanese diplomatist, Mr. Imai has arrived here. The fatherl took it to the church of Sant Andrea, where on Saturday the funeral service will be held. Mr. Imai is leaving for Japan by the first boat, which sails from Marseilles in the beginning of October.
Published in: on September 14, 2010 at 6:16 am  Leave a Comment  

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