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Prozattv

1/".1,1s2o_

111

SPEECH BY BENJAMIN STRONG,

*

GOMM OY TIS FEDNRAL RESERVE BANE OF NEW YORK,
AT TIEN TOKYO GINKO CLUB,

maatieb, 1920

100

JonaIllma /awls

It has long been my hope to visit Japan.

As with

any of my countrymen I have wanted to enjoy your beautiful
scenery, Mad to visit MOWS of the many wonderful temples and
palaces of which we have heard so much.

Thea I have looked

forward to meeting some of the non who have helped to make
Japan the great and modern nation that she has become.

But

more than anytaing I have been anxious to make sone friends in
Japan.

The hospitality of my reception makes certain that
my visit will be a success in all of these respects.

Nothing

could have been so pleasing as to find upon our arrival that
the friends I mac: looked forward to making 'were already rime.

Every attention that friendship and painstaking courtesy could
suggest, has been thought of in advance anc every discomfort
and inconvenience of travel has been removed.

As you know it is ones first experience in visiting
new scenes that makes the deep impression that endures and

my memory of this beautiful country will remain vivid with
this welcome of good

11 and kindness.

To Mr. Inoue, Mr. rukai and their associates I am
especially indebted.

Some day I shall hope to have the

pleasure of entertaining them and you in lisv York whenever
you honor us with a visit.




A cordial welcome awaits you.










The world is just now staggering under the many





http://fraser.stlouisfed.org/
perfect
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

this new organization with a view to meeting







our ability to require reduction in their discounts if it
appeared that the proceeds were used for speculative
purposes.

The daily reports made by our member banks

have enabled as to determine how much was so employed, and
to regulate to some extent the speculation movements.

We

cannot claim that our policy has been an Weal one or our
program wholly successful.

But it has accomplished much,

due largely to the splendid cooperation of the public and
of our bankers and business men.

But possibly our most important efforts to cheek
expansion since the war ended have been exercised through
our direct relations with the nenber banks which own our
stock and maintain their reserve accounts with us.

Here our work

has been educational, designed to inform the bankers generally
of the policy and wishes of the government and of the Reserve
System.

Meetings are held, usually at the office of the

Reserve leak, frequently at other convenient centers, when
40,00.0 of bankers are frankly told of conditions, warned of

dangers, advised as to policies to be pursued, and informed
of the working of the new banking system.

We also have a

staff of men who visit our member banks, taking with them a
record of transactions with those visited, and dealing more
in detail and at greater length with these matters.

In general there is a strong desire to meet our
wishes and cooperate with our policies.




At times, however,











billion


dollars from the sale of war savings stamps.

S
system has not yet been so organized and perfected that this
40

transformation can be effected promptly.

Were it so, by

some system of rationing consumption and mobilizing labor,

the whole of the 3O

might be saved from consumption, and

the materials required for var be produced out of the saving
without any gross increase in production.
change the character of what we produce.

We would simply
The same would

be true of the credit required to finance the production
and movement of that percentage of goods.

What was saved

would be absorbed by Government taxes and loans and no
expansion of credit would result.
humanly possible.

But this ideal is not

Warring governments enter the markets to

buy goods in competition with each other and with their
ovu citizens.

Prices advanced more rapidly than production

The banking and credit machinery of the world,

increases.

which plays the part of bookkeeper, simply records the price
advance on the books of accounts.

Of all materials required

for var, credit is the easiest to manufacture.

One stroke

of the pen on the books of a bank, one revolution of the
printing press, and bank deposit or note currency is produced.

The banking machine responds to the demands of higher prices
and sometimes of Finance Ministers, almost it seems with
note of joy.

This is because we cannot control consumption

by direct methods of rationing.

But our critics say that it could be controlled by
making new credit difficult and expensive to obtain.




In

other words by advancing our rates of discount.
is, how far should they be advanced?

My reply

Will 6% be effective

in reducing consumption, or will it require 600?

Should

we risk a catastrophe to security values, government credit
and credit generally, by relying solely upon making credit
dear so that labor and goods may be cheap?

The penalty of

the

high rates must be borne by the Just and/unjust alike.

Producers of shells and war ships would feel the pressure
as severely as would producers of automobiles and whiskey.

It would mean a complete Government control of all industry
and commerce and transportation essential to war and a high
percentage of mortality among those not enjoying such protection.

In the absence of means to directly control con-

sumption, particularly of unessential materials such as
luxuries, it seems to me that a great variety of indirect
methods of influencing as veil as controlling both production
and consumption must be employed.

The interest rate is only

one of many such means, it will not be effective alone, and
relied upon alone would bring disaster.

work imperfectly, slowly, and with
different classes.

All indirect methods

degree of injustice to

The origin of the disease of high living

cost lies in the wasteful and useless consumption of goods
by the people.

The remedy is to induce frugality, simple

living, self dental, --to build up the morale of the civilian

population to a high standard of patriotism,--and to visit




the wrath and condemnation of public opinion upon those who
01

v5olnte the code of war tine behaviour.

Beyond this the various agencies of the Government
can do much.

But they cannot do it all, and we must be

content and possibly rrstified to realize, after bitter
experience, that war causes suffering and economic loss which
no system can evoid--that the supreme effort must now be
directed to realizing the great ideal --that war can be
prevented.

Gentlemen, it is a great honor and privilege to
meet this distinguished company.

You men of affairs in

Japan, and we in America have before us a great future of
progress, with great services to perform, and great responsibilities to assume.

We must undertake them with mutual help-

fulness in our minds, es one of the objects of our common
effort.

I shall take home with me happy memories of my

visit and hold constantly my good wishes :or your prosperity
and happiness.







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CONFIDM`TIA.E.
41111-

ft

Japan makes the claim that shn has become a modern nation and submits her

claim to the judgment of the world.

This judgment will at present be based upon

what we observe of the behavior of her business men, officials, and military
services in. their contacts with Europeans and Americans abroad, notably in China
,and Siberia.

It will also be formed in a large degree from the impressions of

casual travelers in Japan.

It must not be overlooked that those critics who condemn the Japanese and
their methods- may have been misled to

having no opportunity to observe the

mass of the people in their home environment; while those who lavish praise upon
them are too liable to have been misled by the impressive hospitality which is
literally forced upon travelers of oosition and influence when they visit Japan.
The former are perhaps blind to the best in the country and its people; the latter
blinded by deliberate propaganda, to,much that is dc,plorable and saddening.

The following comments claim to be no more than observations and impressions
gathered in a stray of three months.

They are, however, the fruits of trips into

many places rarely visited by travelers, and of rather intimate association with
all classes, from peasants, coolies and priests, to leading statesmen, bankers
and business men.

They are distinctly impressions rather than well settled

convictions.

Japan is an open book to one who desires simply to learn what Japan has done
and is doing.

The Japanese, however, is a .erplexing mystery to one who tries

to fathom the mental processes and motives actuating him in his affairs.

Eor can

this distinction be escaped when the history of the nation is considered.

Japan

is the only great nation whIch has Preserved a highly developed Oriental civilization
dorm to modern times, wholly untouched by the influences of .Western civilization,

and then in a lerioz of fifty years, has adopted destern things as one would put on

4.

a suit of clothes.

imp Oriental.

The clothes are Western, but the man inside is a Japanese and

or hundreds of years his blood has been unaixed Japanese, he has

lived for many generations within the influences of a feudal and paternal

political and social system.

He has had no true religious instruction and

worship, and he has recently conducted with great courage the fight for subsistence in an overpopulated land of limited resources.

We can readily under-

stand what the Japanese have accomplished, but none of us can honestly claim

to understand the man who has done it.
The greatest asset of the nation is its common people, whose characteristics will, in cue time, determine the place Japan is to occupy in the world.

One

cannot meet them intimately without realizing their many admirable qualities.
Long discipline has made them singularly obedient, they are respectful almost
without fail to those whoa they regard as their superiors,

and even amongst

the poorest, show a quality of courtesy and good nature in their relations
x

with each other, not to be found in America or Europe.a One gains the impression
that they are gentle and not quarrelsome; even in fact among the children, when
in three months no children's auarrels or fi;;Hts were observed.

They are

certainly superstitious, nor is that strange in a people who have practiced
ancestor worship back to t?a, remotest times.

Possibly their superstitions

are no more uncommon nor extreme than those of the 'Uropean peasant.
been heard of a supposed strain of fatalism in Japanese character.

Much has

arobably this

arises from stories heard during the Russo-Japanese war and to the large number o:
suicides reported.

Such occurrences may better be ascribed to their intense

patriotism, their personal courage, to their sensitiveness and pride, and to
discouraaements of struggles against the poverty so

the

endured by the working

people.

The war has made a great change in the material welfare of all classes,
but allowing for this recent eaceotional
period, it may be saiu that the great

patient toilers.

IN=

a),

The wor

are industrious,
aid f
is of the people
with little
by man power,
been performed
Fes peo
for centuries
until very recently.
Wae from steam or electricity
have t
forces of nature as
with the
such a contest
Volcanoe
cessfully
most of the population.
comprises
of Japan, which
typhoons and destructiv
landslides,
floods and
tidal waves,
Japan is a
and buildings.
to lives, crops
constant menace
subject to constant
formation,
of unstable
mountain ranges
rnany of the
all the valleys and
Farms occupy
de
heavy rains.
frequently
districts is
of whole
work of the population
designed t
can be imagined so

of nature.

Aat school

Here may lie the
and determination?
disc
patience, fortitude
recently
which have been
character
sides of Japanese
spirit are the
national
and a strong
Patriotism
of unmixed
worship in this people
feudalism and ancestor
enjoyed th
and who have
foreign influences,
is excluding
practiced
which they have
traditions,
customs and
social
Gov
position. The
their insular
protected b;,r
centuries,
now) was no more
extent
(and to a large
fifty years ago
by the head of
authority recognized
of the
recognition
and fina
the district,
of the lord of
or the clan, then
Shoguns solid
under the Tokugawa
of peace
hundred years
and less admirable
however, another
There is,
absence of expres
the almost complete
One is struck by
in their art, poet
do they appear
people, nor
Japanese
upo
observations
expresses
principally
Japanese poetry
feelings,
to one's
references
and obscure
trospective
flora and fau
depicts the scenery,
Their art, largely
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CONFIDENTIAL
July 19?0.

Japan makes the claim that she has become a modern nation and submits her
claim to the judgment of the world.

This judgment will at present be based upon

what we observe of the behavior of her business men, officials, and military

services in their contacts with Europeamand Americans abroad, notably in China
and Siberia.

It will also be formed in a large degree from the impressions of

casual travelers in Japan.

It must not be overlooked that those critics who condemn the Japanese
and their methods may have been misled through having no opportunity to observe
the mass of the people in their home environment, while those who lavish praise
upon them are too liable to have been misled by the impressive hospitality which
is literally forced upon travelers of position and influence when they visit
Japan.

The former are perhaps blind to the best in the country and its people;

the latter blinded by deliberate propaganda, to

much that is deplorable and

saddening.

The following comments claim to be no more than observations and impressions gathered in a stay of three months.

They are, however, the fruits of

trips into many places rarely visited by travelers, and of rather intimate
association with all classes, from peasants, coolies and priests, to leading
statesmen, bankers and business men.

They are distinctly impressions rather than

well settled convictions.

Japan is an open book to one who desires simply to learn what Japan has
done and is doing.

The Japanese, however, is a perplexing mystery to one who tries

to fathom the mental processes and motives actuating him in his affairs.

Nor can

this distinction be escaped when the history of the nation is considered.

Japan

is the only great nation which has preserved a highly developed Oriental civilization down to modern times, wholly untouched by the influences of Western civilization, and then in a period of fifty years, has adopted Western things as one would

- 2 -

put on a suit of clothes.

The clothes are Western, but the man inside is a

Japanese and an Oriental.

For hundreds of years his blood has been unmixed

OOP

Japanese, he has lived for many generations within the influences of a feudal and
paternal political and social system.

He has had no true religious instruction

and worship, and he has recently conducted with great courage the fight for subWe can readily under-

sistence in an overpopulated land of limited resources.

stand what the Japanese have accomplished, but none of us can honestly claim to
understand the man who has done it.

The greatest asset of the nation is its common people, whose characteristics will, in due time, determine the place Japan is to occupy in the world.
One. cannot meet them intimately without realizing their many admirable Qualities.

Long discipline has made them singularly obedient, they are respectful almost
without fail

to those whom they regard as their superiors, and even amongst the

poorest, show a ouality of courtesy and good nature in their relations with each
One gains the impression that they

other, not to be found in America or Europe.
are gentle and not Quarrelsome;

even in fact among the children, where in three

months no children's quarrels or fights were observed.

They are certainly

superstitious, nor is that strange in a people who have practiced ancestor worship
back to the remotest times.

Possibly their superstitions are no more uncommon

nor extreme than those of the European peasant.
strain of fatalism in Japanese character.

Much has been heard of a supposed

Probably this arises from stories heard

during the Russo-Japanese war and to the large number of suicides reported.

Such

occurrences may better be ascribed to their intense patriotism, their personal
courage, to their sensitiveness and pride, and to the discouragements of struggles
against the poverty so long endured by the working people.

The war has made a great change in the material welfare of all classes,
but allowing for this recent exceptional period, it may be said that the great mass
of the people are industrious, patient toilers.

The work of the nation has for

centuries been performed by man power, with little aid from animals, and none from
steam or electricity until very recently.

Few people have faced successfully such

a contest with the forces of nature as has

the agricultural class

comprises most of the population.

of Japan, which

Volcanoes and earthquakes, tidal waves, floods

and landslides, typhoons and destructive conflagrations are a constant menace to
lives, crops and buildings.

Japan is a series of precipitous mountain ranges, of

unstable formation; subject to constant action by frosts and heavy rains.
occupy all the valleys and many of the mountain slopes.

Farms

The work of the population

of whole districts is frequently destroyed by one outburst of nature.

What school

can be imagined, so well designed to cultivate industry, patience, fortitude and
determination.

Here may lie the explanation of some sides of Japanese character

which have been recently disclosed to the world.
Patriotism and a strong national spirit are the natural products of
feudalism and ancestor worship, in this people of unmixed blood, who have succeeded
in excluding foreign influences, and who have enjoyed their own highly developed
social customs and traditions, which they have practiced unchanged for many centuries,
protected by their insular position.

The Government of Japan, until fifty years

Ago, (and to a large extent now) was no more nor less than an elaborate recognition
of the authority exercised by the head of the family, of the tribe or the clan,
then of the lord of the district and finally of the Emperor.

Three hundred years

of peace under the Tokugawa Shoguns solidified the national loyalty.
There is, however, another and less admirable side to Japanese character.
One is struck by the almost complete absence of expressions of human sentiment by
Japanese people, nor do they appear in their art, poetry or social relations.
Japanese poetry principally expresses observations upon natural phenomena, intro.

spective and obscure references to one's feelings, the beauties of nature, etc.
Their art largely despicts the scenery, flora and fauna of the country, military
figures and events, some allusion to the spirits of the dead, and representations

- 4 -

5

they have shamefully neglected the creation of the necessary social institutions
to safeguard the welfare of their new industrial population.

They can reason

from cause to effect, but cannot construct the corresponding collateral circumstances induced by a given development.
It must be admitted that their social life has contained too little
wholesome recreation, such as is afforded by athletic and other clubs; it has been
too largely prescribed by convention and in certain respects has had a tendency to
develop immorality and its accompanying evils, both mental and physical.
Since Japan achieved her outstanding position in the East, we have become
accustomed to the idea that a problem has arisen for the world to deal with;

and

that the problem lay almost entirely in Japan's future political relations with
the Continent of Asia.

That may indeed be the problem for us, but for Japan it is

less serious and vital, though possibly not realized by her statesmen, than the
problem of how the 57 million people on her island archipelago are to be governed,
developed and directed.
courageous people.

They are a docile and loyal people, but a determined and

They have long been accustomed to government from the top down,

and are not yet capable of understanding, or assuming the responsibilities of
government from the bottom up;

that is of democracy.

So it remains to be seen

what shall be made of the nation's greatest asset by those who direct the destinies
of the people.

Herein lies Japan's greatest danger, as will be observed by con-

sidering some of the results of fifty years of an adopted civilization,

copied

from that of America and Europe.

Japan's determination to open intercourse with the world ana to introduce Western civilization was undertaken with a vigor and thoroughness never equalled
in any similar enterprise.

Men were sent abroad for education, technical experience

was drawn from Europe and America, schools were established in Japan, public finance,
banking and currency was reorganized, studies were made of political, economic,
military and educational institutions, wherever results abroad indicated that useful

- 6

incapable of realizing that these results may be bought at too high a price if

ad.uired regardless of the ;Doral, physical and social, not to mention spiritual
welfare of the people whose labor must produce them.

One is deeply impressed and frequently depressed by the spectacle of
neglect of attention to this vital factor in the upbuilding of new Japan.
Industrial centers are being created, with dense populations, involving a complete
readjustment of the social conditions affecting the lives of millions of young men
and women workers.

Water supply is frequently inade.uate and sometimes unwhole-

some; nowhere is there an effort to introduce modern sewage systems and improved
sanitary habits; even in cities with a million or more inhabitants, lighting for
homes where study is now compulsory, is deficient and expensive.

In a climate

where rainfall is almost excessive, transportation is so inade.uate that large
numbers of workers, including women and children, get wet on the way to factory
and school, and must frequently work or study in wet clothing.

Telegraph and

telephone service is slow and expensive, as well as insufficient; even now a
premium of 2,000 yen is being paid to obtain a telephone instrument from an old
subscriber.

Roads are rough, dusty or muddy,and not suitable for automobile and
In a hot, humid climate

heavy traffic, nor the huge loads dragged by man power.

such as Japan's, hygiene and sanitation are almost as essential as wholesome food
and drink, if industry is to thrive without injury to the industrial class.
Sufficient attention is not, being given to this subject.

Japan has no grazing

land, save in the northernmost islsnds, now rather sparsely populated.

No herds

of cattle are seen on the hills, now covered with bamboo grass or timber.

The

Japanese diet consists principally of rice, beans, fresh, raw or dried fish, and
vegetables, with little meat and no milk and butter.
largely used by those tho can afford them.

of it pickled, preserved or dried.

Chickens and eggs are

The food is highly seasoned and much

This doubtless was adequate for 8 moderate

agricultural population; but a great industrial class, working in congested shops

-

and mills, will possibly become a prey to tuberculosis, without a larger proportion of animal fats.

Fifty years ago tuberculosis was practically unknown in

Japan, and is now prevalent and increasing.

It will undoubtedly find added

victims owing to the widespread suffering of the poor fronthe various venereal
diseases common in the East, and probably ineradicable so long as moral and living
standards are as low as they seem to be in Japan.
Neglect of the physical welfare of the people is only matched by the
ecual neglect of their mental and moral well-being.

Social relations and inter-

course are still largely those of feudal, paternal Japan, circumscribed by convention and tradition, and of little value in disseminating useful education or
in developing sound political and economic ideas.
society organized in all directions.

In the United States we see

Churches, with congregational worship,

Sunday schools, and innumerable welfare and other like organizations, fraternal
societies, Y. M. C. A., Y. W. C. A., the farm bureau and grange, block parties,
labor organizations, economic and debating clubs, rotary, athletic and social
clubs cover the land, with a membership embracing all, and an influence reaching
all.

We may overlook in our abundance, the benefits flowing from this highly

developed social structure, until we consider such a situation as Japan's, where
little - almost none - of this is found, and where public opinion must in consequence be sluggish, and the people easily become the dupes of corrupt politicians
or of a misleading and venal press.
The reaction from the exaggeration of material aims has not, however,
been confined to the effect upon the industrial population.

Commercial standards

of honor and morality have given way or been ignored, in the struggle for a place
in world, markets.

Universally, throughout the East, and among people of all

nations, the Japanese merchants are distrusted and heartily abused, for their
methods, and for their sharp or dishonest practices.

Innumerable instances of

shameful disregard of the truth, and of deception and fraud, are recounted by those

who have suffered in their dealings with Japanese merchants and manufacturers.

9

It seems that the crowning shame heaped upon the Japanese - the outgrowth of
political as well as business turpitude - was the boycott of Japanese goods
practiced by the Chinese in recent months; a spontaneous and unorganized outburst
of protest by millions of people, who undertook to exclude Japanese goods from
their markets, and succeeded in inflicting great losses upon Japanese firms.

Evolution of Government in modern tines has grown out of the ceaseless
struggle between the classes, which has centered around the power to levy and
apportion taxes, and to

control

their use.

In Japan policies of taxation are

liable to exercise as profound an influence upon political developments as they
have in Britain since the days of King John.

At present the revenues of the

Federal Government are principally drawn from indirect taxes, and between fifty
and sixty percent are consumed in military expenditures.

Popular franchise is

based upon the amount of direct taxes paid, which was originally fixed at fifteen
yen, and is now three yen.

Inevitably the business man of large means has been

drawn into political activities and the politicians have been tempted into business
ventures.

The association has co far produced only what could be expected, a venal

political class, closely associated with men of large affairs, and corruption in
elections as well as in the Legislature and officials.
come cannot be stated or assumed.

How serious this has be-

It is common knowledge that the rich escape

taxes, large holdings of unimproved real estate, for example, lying within city

limits, frequently in the heart of Tokyo, Kyoto, etc., belonging to business men
and to the old nobility, still pay nominal taxes as "forest lands."

The associa-

tion of business and politics so far seems to have resulted in fortifying the

policy of indirect taxation, subsidy to industry, and other evils of like character
both debasing to the Government and dangerous for the people.

An exception might

be stated in that the present Minister of Finance is making an effort to secure
legislation to increase the income tax and to authorize a study, looking to more
extensive tax reforms.

At present, however, the rich are growing richer, and the

- 10 -

governed by a very small number of men, many of whom are actuated either by

materialistic aims or military ambitions.

But it must also be said that this is

a species of exploitation of the great mass of the Japanese, of which the people
are gradually becoming conscious and thtt it cannot last.

It seems that in matters

of foreign policy, especially in Corea, China and Siberit, the military group have
so far dominated.

In domestic: developments, economic affairs, etc., policies have

largely been shaped by a combination of the business interests with the Civil
bureaucracy.

Behind both stands the influence of a few men, really a few of the

old feudal families, who with the Emperor still exercise a more or less limited,
but more than a nominal power of veto.

We see in the Japanese Government, at

present, the Western garment, but underneath is the Japanese of the feudal days,
not yet greatly changed from the man of sixty years ago.

In justice to Japan,

however, it must be said that we can also discern in the Japanese people the
essential foundations, - that is industry, courage and character, - upon which
can well be created a great nation whenever they awaken to consciousness of their
power, comi:rehend the principles of democracy, and determine that the people shall

govern the country and no longer submit to exploitation by a group of selfish and
ambitious politicians.

The foregoing is preliminary to an expression of impressions regarding
present relations between the United States and Japan.

In considering what follows

it must always be borne in mind that Japanese character is the thing to be reckoned
with.

The population as a whole still retains many of the characteristics of the

serf of feudal times.

The men of the governing class are almost a different race.

They are ambitious, proud, reserved, dominating and frequently arrogant, and only
too often are unreliable or unscrupulous.

There are of course many exceptions to

this general statement - men of high character, honest and straightforward, who
excite admiration and respect when one considers the environment in which they
have developed.

But the record only too clearly justifies the general conclusion

f

-12 -

stated.

And behind these men is the driving force of over-population which can

or well direct a selfish and egotistical government into a policy of calamity.
To-day Japan, largely as a result of the war, has drifted into an unexpected economic dependence upon the United States.

We are not only their

principal market for surplus products, but we furnish them with much of the sup -

pliesof raw material, machinery and technical knowledge which has enabled the
trade to develop.

One must likewise observe that their exports to us are largely

articles of luxury, such as silks, not necessary to our welfare.

We are their

bankers 'who finance their trade and with whom their surplus Government and bankers
balances are principally carried.

Our educational institutions are being called

upon to educate their young men in Western advanced courses and our business houses
are giving training to their future professional and business men and bankers.
One is struck by the frequency with which the desire is expressed by Japanese to
visit the United States for the sake of experience and learning.

They respect

our progressive ideas, our business success, and the courage and ability with
which our part in the war was conducted.

In three directions, however, our

interests clash:

First: Our policy of excluding Japanese from settlement in the United States.
Second: Their ambitions in China and Siberia.

Third: Our determination to absorb a share of the trade, shipping and
banking of the Orient.

In the first we have undoubtedly hurt their pride, a much more serious matter than
Kay be generally reali2.ed.

In the second and third we directly conflict with their selfish interests.
Even the best disposed Japanese believe that our methods of dealing with
both the immigration and China cueetions, are needlessly brusque and disclose lack
of respect for a sensitive people, who regard themselves as our equals, and earnestly
desire recognition of their claims of enuality.

-

- 1F -

-

resort to rescue their leaders.

Third: Their pride might lead them to a war of folly and disaster over
the imrigration dispute, should their leaders and press succeed in creating what
would be an artificial popular support.

That is, however, most unlikely, and the

crisis could only be one of their own creation.
To conclude, it seems as though the remote possibility of actual
hostilities could only arise from domestic difficulties, growing out of their present
misgovernment of their own people, driving a distracted military bureaucracy into
the folly of a hopeless foreign war.

COPY OF NOTES
IN HANDWRITING OF BENJAMIN STRONG,
GOVERNOR OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF NEW YORK,
MADE IN JAPAN IN THE SPRING OF 1920
(Copied August 3, 1962)

Japan makes claim that she has become a modern nation
and submits her claim to the judgment of the world.

This judgment

will at present be based upon what we observe of the behavior of
her official and military service in their contacts with Europeans abroad,
as in China and Siberia.

It vill also be formed in a large degree

from the impressions of casual travellers in Japan.

It must not be

overlooked that those critics who condemn the Japanese and their
methods may have been misled, by having had no opportunity to
observe the mass of the people in their home environment, while
those :rho lavish praise upon them are too liable to have been mis-

led by the impressive hospitality which is showered upon travellers
in Japan of position and influence.

The former are perhaps blind

to the best in the country and its people,--the latter blinded,

by deliberate propaganda, to much that is deplorable and saddening.
The following comments claim to be no more than observations and impressions gathered in a stay of three months.

They

are however the fruits of trips into many places rarely visited

by travellers, and of rather intimate association with all clauses,
from peasants, cooleys and priests to leading statesmen, bankers
and business men.

They are distinctly impressions rather than well

settled convictions.

Japan is an open book to one who desires simply to
learn what Japan has done and is doing.

The Japanese, however,

is a perplexing mystery to one who tries to fathom the mental
processes and motives actuating him in his affairs.

Nor can

this distinction be aseaped when the history of the natiun is
considered.

Japan is the only great nation which has preserved

a highly developed oriental civilization down to modern times,

wholly untouched by the influence of western civilization -- and
then in a period of fifty years has adopted western things as one
would put on a suit of clothes.

The clothes are western, but the

man inside is a Japanese and an oriental.

For hundreds of years his

blood has been unmixed Japanese,--he has lived for many generations
within the influences of a feudal and paternal political and social
system.

He has had no true religious instruction and worship and

he 'seas recently conducted, with great courage, the fight for sub-

sistence in an overpopulated land.

We can readily understand what

the Japanese have accomplished but none of us can honestly claim
to understand the man who has done it.
The greatest asset of the nation is its common people,

whose characteristics will, in due time, determine the place Japan
is to occupy in the world.

One cannot meet them intimately without

realizing their many admirable qualities.

Long discipline has

made them singularly obedient, they are respectful almost without
fail to those whom they regard as their superiors, and even amonst

menace to lives, crops and buildings.

Japan is a series of precipi-

57,000,000 people on an island archipelego are to be governed and

and America, and Japan's flag soon became a familiar sight in
many ports of the Seven Seas.

Arsenals and navy yards were built,

and the disabilities of lack of technical training were largely
overcome by drawing men from abroad as well as by sending men
abroad in all capacities, and by establiching technical schools
at home.

Compulsory lover education, supplemented by middle

schools and universities, although not adequate for the demands,
have developed the existence of an inaatiable desire for education
among all classes.

Efforts were undertaken by the Government to

improve the culture of silk, rice and other of the native products,
and to protect the farmer from pests and from deterioration of
qualities.

The results of fifty years of determined pursuit of a

set purpose have been to establish Japan as a powerful factor in
the political and economic affairs of the world.

Material develop-

ment has been the reward of intelligent effort, and the Japanese
looks upon his handiwork with justifiable pride.

Should you ask

him to explain the motive actuating him he 'Jill reply that a popu-

lation of 57,000,000 people cannot be supported on the Japanese
archinelego, of which he Claims but 17% of its area is capable of
cultivation, and that he must produce manufactured goods, for which
much of the raw material must come from abroad, and exchange
industrial products for foodstuffs.

He points out that the annual

increase in population is 700,000 and at least this number must
each year be provided with industrial employment if Japan is to be

S
of King John.

At present the revenues of the Federal Gov't. are

principally drawn from indirect taxes, and between fifty and sixty
per cent are consumed in military expenditures.

Popular franchise

is based upon the amount of direct taxes paid, which was originally fixed at y 15 and is now y 3.

Inevitably the business man

of large means has been drawn into political activities and politicians have been tempted into business ventures.

The association

has so far produced only what could be expected, a venal political
class, closely associated with men of Large affairs, and corruption
in elections as well as in the Legislature and officials.
serious this has become cannot be stated or assumed.

How

It is common

knowledge that the rich escape taxes, large holdings of unimproved
real estate, lying within city limits, frequently in the heart of
Tokyo, Kyoto etc., belonging to business men & to the old nobility,
are taxed still as forest land.

The association of business and

politics so far seems to have resulted in fortifying the policy of
subsidy
indirect taxation) nnbiltdION to industry and other evils of like
character, both debasing to the government, and dangerous for the
people.

Quite certainly the rich are growing richer and the poor

can only become poorer, until a change takes place.

More difficult to describe, because of the deep obscurity
which characterizes Japanese Gov't affairs, is the Government itself.
Japan claims to be a Democracy.

In reality it has adopted some of

the forms of democracy, under the cover of which it has developed
a highly organized bureaucracy, which is to a greater or less extent,

arrogant, and only too often are utterly unreliable and unscrupulous.

There are of course many exceptions to this general statement,-

men of high character, honest and straitforward, who excite admiration and respect when one considers the environment in which they
have developed.

But the record only too clearly justifies the

general conclusion mentioned.

And behind these men is the driving

force of overpopulation, which can well direct a selfish and
egotistical government into a policy of calamity.

Today Japan, largely as the result of the war, has drifted
into an unexpected economic dependence upon the United. States.

We

are not only their principal market for surplus products; but we
furnish them with much of the machinery, supplies of material and
technical knowledge which has enabled the trade to develop.

One

must likewise observe that their exports to us are largely articles
of luxury, such as silks etc.

We are the bankers who finance their

trade, and with whom their surplus bankers and Government balances
are principally carried.

Our educational institutions are being

called upon to educate their young men in western advanced courses,
and our business houses are giving training to a constantly larger
number of their future professional and business men and bankers.
One is impressed by the frequently expressed desire of their people
to visit the United States, for the sake of experience and learning.
They respect our progressive ideas, our business success, and the
courage and ability with vhich our part in the war was conducted.

1110

In the three directions named however our interests ,;lash.
let

Our policy of exclusion of Japanese from
settlement in the U.S.

2nd

Our resistance to their ambitions in China
and Siberia.

3rd

Our determination to absorb a share of
the trade, shipping and banking of the
Orient.

In the first, we have undoubtedly hurt their pride, a much more
serious matter than may be generalky realized.

In the second and third we directly conflict with their
selfish interests.

Even the best diaposed Japanese believe that our methods
of dealing with both immigration, and Chinese matters, are needlessly brusque and display lack of respect for a sensitive people,

who regard themselves as our equals, and earnestly desire recognition of their claims to equality.

One must consider the visible

evidence at hand, taking into account Japanese character, and ask
frankly whether the interests of the nation, or the folly of the
nation, might lead them into an armed conflict with the U.S.

My conclusion is that such a calamity in impossible, or
at least very remotely possible at the present time, and the basis
of this belief is the following.
1st

Their trade with us is vital to their
continued prosperity.

2nd

They now have with oe bankers probably
$400,000,000 to 4500,000,000 of their
reserves, which they consider gold
balances, and the greater part is the
property of the Government and of the
Bank of Japan.

3rd

They are conocious of their economic
weakness and of our overmastering
economic strength.

hth

They have come to realise their weaknesses and their unpopularity. The
recent financial reaction opened their
eyes.

5th

The credit of their Government has already
been strained to finance their military
expansion.

6th

A large class of their thinking people
liave drawn correct conclusions from
the disastrous policy of Germany.

7th

The treaty with Great Britain presents at
present a distinct political weakness.

ath

;Tyre than any other circumstance, they
have learned wholesome respect for the
military strength of America, and for
our ability to create and equip an army
and navy far exceeding anything within
their capacity.

On the other hand certain dangers do in fact exist,--which
must not be overlooked.
1st

Their policy in Chita and Siberia has progressed to a point where recession at
our demand could only be arranged without
humiliation, loth great skill.

2nd

Their dortest±c policy of exploitation of
their people,--if continued,--has
certainly a day of reckoning in prospect,
from which a foreign war alone might
rescue their leaders.

'heir pride might lead them to a war
of folly and disaster over the immigration dispute, should their leaders
and press succeed in creating what I
believe would be an artificial popular
That I regard as most unlikely,
support.
and the crisis could only be one of
their ovn creating.

To summarize, it seems an though the remote possibility
of actual hostilities could only arise from domestic difficulties,
growing out of their present misgovernment of their own people,
driving a distracted military bureaucracy into the stupid folly
of a hopeless foreign var.


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